I'd been placed on the reserve list to represent GB at the World Trail running Championships in Annecy on the 30th May. Whilst this should be an honor it was a little short of that for me and without trying to be conceited, I can't hide that I was disappointed. Yet on the other hand, it kind of made sense given that I'd picked up a stress fracture and couldn't run for nearly six weeks.
I worked really hard with cross training and yet, the fitness was slipping away as well, cross training is just not specific enough to running. That said, it was a necessary evil and i'm amazed I recovered as quickly as I did and made it to the start line in Annecy. I was painfully aware that I was not running to capacity at the time nonetheless. It was all I could do to be smart, play it safe and do what I could.
I'd planned on a conservative first half of the race, as I'd become familiar with the course and knew exactly what to expect. It's a wonderfully brutal course the Maxi-race, I was so excited to get out there on race day. However, you know that sense when everything just isn't right on the start line? Pre race had been a calm affair, I'd tapered well, relaxed well, had some space and did all the pre race rituals that I know work for me. Yet, on the start line I realised I had not got my splits, so I was simply going to have to just run to feel. All the careful plans to pot. This unsettled me initially, excuses, excuses. I'll not list them all, however it's safe to say that I was fighting negative demons from the off, how energy sapping that it.
The intention was to put some effort in at the half way stage, Doussard, and yet so many folk had gone blasting off at the beginnng that I simply didn't believe that I could make the time back. Again, negative mind set that took way too much energy in the end. So plenty of meandering, hiking, and three hours of nausea overcome and Doussard arrived. "Better start racing and get a wiggle on" I recall blurting out to Elenor, GB support crew, "yes you had" she insisted.
So I left the checkpoint, and turn the burners on, I said, "turned the burners on" ... nothing, there was nothing there, it was the same plod that i'd started with. What the hell happened, this was supposed to be where I speed up and do all of my overtaking, blast the field and sail home. Er, nope, again I tried to quicken the pace and get into my groove, yet, it simply was not happening. I felt nauseous again, a different kind of nausea though. This time it was disappointment, with myself, with overestimating my capacity post injury and feeling a failure through and through.
I talked myself into stopping at St Bernard, if the other GB girls were going well. I had no idea where I was in the race, or placed compared to other women, I was so consumed with beating myself up for lack of fitness. If the girls didn't need me to count then I had firmly convinced myself that it was time to stop. Adrian of course gave it all he could to get me to continue, yet, he was wonderful in making it ok to stop too. Are you a failure when you DNF, are you weak and fickle? Is it self preservation so that you can keep running ok over the coming months. I DNF'd because I was not up to fitness, I'm not going to fain any other reason. I simply didn't have what it takes on this occasion.
The best advice I was ever given was, "get yourself booked into your next race" as soon as you can after a bad one. No ruminating, the next races are booked, and safe to say, i'll be doing another 80 ish k in two weeks. Nutter, yes, determined to use races to get fit and strong again, yes, proud to have represented my country again, yes, excited to see what the rest of the year brings, yes. Glad it's summer, yes, the start of the fly eating season. Consumed two on today's canal run.