I began 1999 following advice and recommendations from the Baylor Sports Clinic in Dallas, TX to recover from ‘burnout’ in my running life. I was concerned that I might never be able to run competitively again? That was an important event in my life.
But little did I know that two more and very important life-changing events would also occur at the start of this year? Well that is a little white lie since I knew one was about to happen. I had made an important decision at the end of 1998. I would retire from my job as an executive in Marketing and Sales for a hi-tech company that manufactured telecom equipment. The retirement would be effective the 1st week of Jan 1999! I had beaten my goal to retire at age 55 by three months! Now what would I do?
That question was answered shortly when Nicole’s company Nortel, offered her a one-year foreign assignment in England. She was eager to tackle this challenge and since I had nothing to do – other than rest – why not? I encouraged her to accept the transfer. While she worked her butt off, I could travel around Europe – and maybe even run a few marathons after I recovered from my ‘burnout’?
She needed to start the new job in March so we agreed that she should go ahead and I would stay behind to sell our house in Dallas and most of our belongings. We would not be returning to Dallas. She would retire when the assignment was over and we would move to our retirement home in Florida. We had planned for retirement and had purchased a house in Sarasota, FL in the mid 1990s. Since it was furnished we didn’t need to move furniture. We could sell our Dallas home and put our personal belongings in storage and Nortel would pay all the expenses. What a great deal and good timing!
I was able to continue with my “REST & recovery’ program while preparing the house for sale and packing. I had to complete my month of rest and begin a 10-week training program with a professional coach that trained pro and elite runners in Dallas. Nicole left for England in March and I stayed to sell the house, pack and complete my training program. I successfully completed those tasks and was ready to join Nicole in England in April. By then she had rented a new 3 BR house in St Michael’s Mead, a new subdivision in Bishop’s Stortford, about 30 miles north of London. Nortel paid all the expenses on the rental house, provided a company car and a monthly stipend to cover additional costs of a foreign assignment. Essentially we lived for free in England for one year and banked Nicole’s entire salary. What a great deal!
I had contacted the Bishop’s Stortford Running Club before arriving and was welcomed to join the club. I had completed my 10-week training program and was once again running but had no plans yet for racing. I quickly learned that Running Clubs are much different in England than in the USA. As the members would proudly claim, “we are a bunch of drunks with a running problem”. The clubs are much more social. The BSRC had a clubhouse with meeting facilities, a kitchen and a bar with beer taps. On a typical meeting night members would meet for a run or race and then convene to the clubhouse for a shower, followed by a pot-luck dinner and beer! I really enjoyed my year with the BSRC.
First recall that it was 1999 and the Internet was in its infancy and not very robust. ‘Big’ races like London, Paris, etc did had informative websites and the capability to register but races in small, poor , 3rd world countries did not have the expertise or budget to develop websites. So the big races were easy to find, get info and register but there were few of those.