I for one find it difficult to be completely happy with the results I get in races. I think it is part of an athletic trait, but we are always focusing on the next goal and the next race as soon as we have finished the previous one. There is always an element of us, that no matter how well we do, always wants to do better. As mad as it sounds, sometimes the races that don’t go so well are easier to comprehend as we find it easier to criticise ourselves than to praise ourselves. I try to always finish a race positively and find multiple lessons I can take away from each race. This may be things that have gone well, but most frequently it is things to improve on and work harder to master. Whilst this is a good thing, it is important to take the time to reflect on how far we have come and how much we have actually achieved!
The MK5000 on Saturday was a great example of a race that caused me to reflect on my progress and actually take the time to be pleased with a race result.
I went into the race on Saturday very nervous. I was against a lot of fast girls and to be honest with you, I felt completely out of my depth. However, I know if I want to get faster I need to race against much faster people. So, this is what I did.
Going in to the race I had a lot on my mind I was worrying about. I found out this week my iron levels had dropped quite considerably, and I wasn’t sure how this would affect my performance. Also, I was due to start my period that day which I was also worrying about happening mid-race! The worries of being a girl! However, as soon as my foot was on the start line, all of these worries disappeared from my head. It was just me and the race ahead.
I had no goal in this race other than enjoyment. I had told myself just to enjoy the race and gain experience from racing against girls a lot faster than me. I wasn’t going for any time in particular and I just wanted to get used to racing in a high-quality field and lap up the atmosphere. And that is what I did.
Throughout the race I felt so much stronger than I ever could’ve expected. I worked hard, constantly pushing myself that bit further whenever I felt as though I was beginning to relax into the pace too much, but I wasn’t going for a set time. I just wanted to see what I could do.
I couldn’t quite believe it when I crossed the line in 16:24, exactly 1 minute faster than the PB I started the season with. I never imagined that would be a pace I could run at. However, this progression didn’t cross my mind for one second, until I was reminded of it at the end by somebody else. Until now, I have never really thought seriously about the progression I’ve made. Whilst I may have acknowledged it, it has never really sunk in. I now realise how important it is to do this. To reflect on your progression and relish every result you get.
Throughout the season we are constantly on the go; training and racing, and training and racing, that there is little time to reflect on our progression. Saturday was a little nudge in the arm, reminding me how important it is to acknowledge the higher moments and take the time to look back on how far I have come.
This time last year I had just started running again and was doing 3-4 1-minute jog reps (but that was more than I could’ve wish for after 7 months without running!) and this is something I forget. I forget that I was out for nearly a year and when I look at the progression I’ve made, I am just grateful to be happy and healthy, but most importantly…to be running! I have a long way to where I want to be, but I have made bounds of improvement over the past 6 months that I should reflect on and be proud of. We are always looking at how far we have to go that we forget how far we’ve come, and this is what is important!
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!