Last week, I went on a plane for the first time in a year and a half, and headed to sunny Belfast for the Northern Ireland Senior Track Champs. Seeing as my father is Northern Irish, I am equally eligible for NI as I am for England, and recently I made the decision to switch eligibility to Northern Ireland. The Champs were an essential race to tick off, and it was one of the most enjoyable races of the season.
I headed into the race with no focus on time and purely concentrated all my energy on trying to win. I have to say I loved doing this. I had hoped to sit in for the first few k, but I ended up heading straight to the front of the pack, and staying there for the entire race. A lot of people don’t like doing that, as you have to do all the hard work, but I enjoy having the difficult job because it can only make me stronger and be beneficial in the future.
The first kilometre went out very slowly, and I felt incredibly comfortable, but rather than panic that I’d gone out too slowly, I used the energy I had conserved to my advantage. I worked to pick the pace up slightly each lap, until the point I knew I could create some distance from the rest of the girls. As I hadn’t raced against most of them before, I wasn’t sure where I stood in comparison, so I didn’t want to push on too much incase they did come past me and push on. Instead, I gradually wound the pace up each kilometre and pushed on in the last mile. The great thing was I felt soo strong! I had no idea of the time I was on for, but I expected it to be slow after the pace of the first k. I was very pleasantly surprised when I crossed the line in 16:03, having front run the entire 5k, but knowing I had much more left in me to give.
Confidence going forward.
Something the race gave me was a lot of confidence. It reassured me that I can pick the pace up when a race goes out slowly and my legs can move at a decent pace. I do tend to run better when I gradually build into it, so knowing that I can run a decent time even when I start feeling extremely comfortable is very reassuring. It makes me excited for future races knowing that I can push on in the last few kilometres to make up ground. It also shows that in order to run fast times, I don’t have to go out with the lead back and kill myself immediately. I can run my own race, stay a little bit reserved, and then work even harder in the business end of the race.
Having felt the strongest I have in a race for the past month or two, I now feel more determined and motivated than ever to work hard to achieve my goals. It is so great when you come out of a race feeling excited for the next as motivation in training is incredibly high. I can’t wait to have a few more races, and then focus on working hard over the winter to chase after my goals.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!