Wow. What an experience.
I thought it would be good to do a post on my British Champs experience; to update you all and tell you what an amazing experience it was. Whilst it didn’t quite go as hoped, it was an experience I will never forget, and something that I will build upon to make me stronger into the future. As you will all know, every race teaches you valuable lessons that you can take into the future.
My build-up to the race was far from ideal. For over a week, I had been suffering with a stomach bug that didn’t show any signs of shifting. As the race got nearer, my nerves got bigger, in my head I knew racing probably wasn’t the best idea, but in this case, I wasn’t going to miss it at any cost. Had it been any other event, I would’ve counted my losses, but for the Senior British Champs, I was going to race no matter how bad I felt.
Arriving in the athlete warm up centre and being surrounded by countless professional athletes and athletic hero’s was incredible. Callum also loved the warm up area as you were supplied with free yogurt, coffee, and biscuits. As it was such a hot day, they had regulated the temperature of the arena to 15 degrees, which didn’t even feel cool when it was 31 degrees outside! We were given lanyards to identify who we were and our race numbers, a number I am going to treasure forever.
We had to be in the call room 25 minutes before our race, so with an hour to go until my race, I began my warm up. Given the temperature, warming up wasn’t a problem! I went off for my usual warm up jog, along with the likes of Melissa Courtney and Laura Weightman! From the get go my legs felt like jelly and were lifeless, but I thought nothing of it and carried on as normal. I took a few of the energy chews I take when I feel as though I need a little pre race boost, and continued with my warm up drills. To be at an event where next to me on the warm up track was Eilish McColgan, felt pretty surreal.
With about 15 minutes to go, we headed out on to the boiling, heat saturated track. I did a few strides with my legs still feeling lifeless, but relied on this going away as soon as the gun went off. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The first half of the race went as well as any other race. I felt strong and composed, and although the pace was tough, I felt as though I had the strength to stick with it. Gradually as the race ensued, the composure faded away. With every lap I could feel my legs less and less. It wasn’t a lactic acid build up type pain, it was numbness, an emptiness. As the time ticked by, I was beginning to fight my body more and more. My body was desperate to stop, but I wouldn’t let it. I was determined to get to the finish no matter what. As I approached the 3.5k mark, my body won the battle, and I collapsed. I couldn’t feel anything, my legs felt numb as they went from underneath me and I was left lying on the track. All I remember was it wasn’t long before a medic was with me. What she was saying, I don’t know, but all I can remember wanting was water. Before too long, I was wheel-chaired off into a medical room and attached to lots of wires.
Something I do remember vividly, as I began to come back round, was what I said to the doctor. I said, you will see me here again, but next time, not in the medical tent; I will be on that track again! Whilst it wasn’t a pleasant experience, it hasn’t affected me in any bad way. It has taught me valuable lessons and given me tonnes of experience for the future. And I’m definitely not a quitter, so not finishing a race is not taken lightly!
If anything, the British Champs confirmed something for me. This is, that one day I want to be competitive at that level. Whilst I am a complete underdog at the minute, I am so determined and driven to get there, and I know I will in time. Just in one piece and when the time is right for me.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!