This Saturday will be the first time in exactly two years I have pulled on my university vest. To be quite honest my memories in the vest aren’t the best, but I hope to set them straight this weekend at BUCS XC.
My first two BUCS XC experiences have not gone well to say the least, but let’s hope it’s third time lucky. To simply finish the race in one piece, with a smile on my face is all I am aiming for.
My first ever university cross country in first year was disastrous. It wasn’t until over a month later I found out I had been suffering from severe anaemia! No wonder it felt so difficult. I remember setting off on the start straight, only to be elbowed in the head on he first corner. Now, this would not phase me, but when you are tired, under fueled, and weak, a hit in the head is the last thing you want. The course that year was a relatively good one, speaking from present day me, but the Hannah two years ago, struggled to run 100m at any sort of pace, let alone in thick mud. I remember vividly making it to about 2k and seeing my mum and brother on the side and bursting into tears. I didn’t have the strength to compete in that sort of field. My mind felt it was capable of so much more than my body allowed. I went to the edge of the course, collapsed in my mum’s arms, only to be told, I had to get on with it. This was the sort of thing I needed! Tough love goes a long way!
She said to me… 'no one cares where you come, but for yourself, finish this race.’
'no one cares where you come, but for yourself, finish this race.’
And I was so pleased I did. Whilst my positioning is irrelevant, and I now know exactly why I ran so badly, I am forever grateful I finished that race. Sometimes we do races to prove to ourselves we are mentally strong enough. Whilst we may have the physical strength, it is the mental strength that matters the most. Although at that time, I did not possess the physical strength I needed, my mind did not let me give up, and I am so pleased I didn’t!
Surely the second year must have been better? Umm, definitely not. Whilst I did not stop halfway round the course in tears, that would’ve been an improvement, as I didn’t even get to the start line. Yep, you guessed it, I was injured. I spent the race as a spectator. I do believe spectator duties are essential for all athletes to do, as it allows you to see what you are missing, and I doubt I’m the only one who thinks this; but, it motivates you! Even if I was broken, it made me stronger going and watching everyone else race. Plus, it wasn’t uneventful to say the least. Following the massive mud/water ditch… my boyfriend came out with a dislocated finger. But, as should be done…he finished the race, then we drove straight off to A&E!
Yet again, last year I had the mental strength, but not the physical. My body had told me if was weak by breaking, yet my mind was eager to race.
Let’s hope this year is different. Whatever the outcome, I know I am going into the race, happy and most importantly, healthy.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!