Sometimes, I don't want to win. Well, I guess it's a half truth, I'm competitive by nature so whilst that drive is always in me, on occasion, I use races in order to develop my skills and work on my weakness's. So, a 26 mile Trail marathon, is just one example of this recently. The Montane, Grizdale Forest Trail marathon in the lake district, Cumbria I entered at the 11th hour and the purpose was to focus.
It's easy to get carried away, swept along, frustrated, competitive, lack confidence and all the other things you want to say describe those times when you run someone else's race and throw your own away in doing so.
The aim for Grizdale was to run the first loop conservatively, holding back, sticking to the time that I had set for myself to complete the first 13.1 (or 14.5) and to focus focus focus on what I was doing. There were moments, when chatting to a few familiar faces, where I got into their groove, and had to bring myself back to my stride and let them go. It's hard, it's really hard to do this, there is a sense of losing it, throwing it away, being a lesser person, lacking in skill, speed and failure, however, I was prepared to experience all of this however uncomfortable and adhere to the goal of focusing.
Given that the first loop was all runnable, it was just as hard to not push on in order to get a good lead before the more technical second loop which had plenty of drawn out climbs to contend. Yet, I flexed the re focus muscle constantly and whenever I caught myself day dreaming or getting competitive, I'd pull myself back into the moment, focus on how my body felt and kept well within my comfort levels, fighting off the chattering monkeys is hard work.
Loop 2, I spent pretty much alone, so I found this much easier to focus. I relaxed, enjoyed my running, chanting mantra's to keep me focused, pushing my boundaries, running unrunnable sections, the focus was to run my race, and so it didn't matter if I fatigued too quickly. And, fatigue quickly I did, I pushed on, refocused and fought the worry demons, beat them down, they were taking way too much energy out of me to give them time anymore. So I enjoyed my running, the crisp conditions, the warmth of the sun rays through the forest trees, the mountains pushing their tips through the low lying mist and fog what a day.
Now there is always a calamity in Fairy world, and I'm happy when I learn lessons. Safe to say, whilst it's great to focus and stick to the plan, it's also worth now and then just becoming aware that you are actually in a race. I crossed the finish line, 1st lady. 2nd lady.... ahem, 4 seconds behind. I had no idea.
FACTS: I used TORQ gels every 30 mins.
250ml of fluid
Handful of nuts
It was not 26.2
INOV8 Race Ultra 5
Thank you sponsors INOV8 and TORQ