Altered states.

This is a Stable News x Stablemaster 10 Race Report.

Well, we set off on a lovely sunny but chilly spring morning determined to snag a PB—previous PB being 41min 16sec. Hand on heart, I was hoping for a sub-40min as my “A” goal; goal “B,” of course, is just a new PB.

Warm-up done and feeling great, I set off on my roughly 1km lapped course, thinking to stick to 6:20 pace and go for it the last mile or so if we are feeling strong. As I passed number 32 for the first time on the first km, a small tabby cat was sat in its garden looking at me with the deadliest of looks. That’s strange, I thought.

Laps two and three, the same cat was sat there staring and hadn’t moved an inch. Very strange indeed, I thought.

When we went past on lap five, my heart rate up to speed now and feeling the pace a little as I’d set off a tad quick around 6:15 pace, the small tabby cat had suddenly changed to a tall, angry-looking dog with a glare that could scare a Bengal tiger. That can’t be right, my little tired brain thought; it was a cat five minutes ago. But there it was through laps five and six. Legs are feeling it now, as well as my heart and brain, so like any normal person, I thought, I must be hallucinating surely.

When lap seven came round, and the tall dog had now changed to a great brown bear eight-foot tall, his teeth showing and looking like he was ready to pounce and chase this now out of breath and obviously hallucinating runner going past his house.

Laps eight and nine passed with the bear having the same look of death at me.

Lap 10—the final push. The PB within my grasp, and now the bear still had its body, sharp claws, and teeth out, ready to pounce. And to my absolute dread, the bear had the head and face of … COACH STAZZA, screaming and shouting, NO PAIN NO PAIN NO PAIN, just like Duke in Rocky IV when he was training Rocky in the barn to defeat the unbeatable giant Russian Ivan Drago. My heart’s pounding, and now the Rocky IV soundtrack is pushing me on. I check my shoulder, and to my absolute despair, the bear COACH STAZZA is galloping after me, running with the finesse of a stallion racehorse, but still the body of a bear and face of COACH STAZZA, screaming ONE MORE K ONE MORE K.

Grin and bear it.

With that sight in my mind, I pushed like my mum pushed the day I was born. With 400m to go, I was pulling away from bear COACH STAZZA, still running with the finesse of a stallion racehorse, but with my PB in my sights. With 200m to go, I’m left alone. The STAZZA bear is now long gone. I’ve left him for dust; it’s just me, my pounding heart, and dying legs, but we pushed and pushed, and as the watch beeped to say 10K, I stopped and fell to the ground thinking, what in the blue hell has just happened?

A few moments later, which felt like a lifetime, I caught my breath and looked at my watch to see the result, praying that bear COACH STAZZA had inspired me to a new PB in that final K, where he chased me with rabid drool foaming from his mouth. My hallucinating brain was amazed to see my PB had gone from 41min 16sec, and now here we are with a NEW PB OF … 38min 48sec. Not only had I broken 40min, which was my dream “A” goal, I had broken 39min; I was over the moon.

So here’s to bear COACH STAZZA, my hallucinating mind, and to what can be done with hard work, consistency, and determination. Peace out. 😂 😂