The Crawley track race was a combination of 6hour, 12 hour and a 24 hour, track race. It's reputed as being well organised and offers a quality venue and knowledgeable team behind it to make this a race for the diary for those who want to experience this type of run, both frequent track runners and newbies alike.
Crawley track race this year occurred on the weekend of 7/8th April 2018. I competed in the 6hr race in order to test nutrition and get into the loop mentality again. The aim therefore for me, was not about chasing times, winning, fast running, being competitive, rather, and certainly more challenging, it was about holding back and using the conditions to test nutrition and timing of nutrients, and dealing with adversities that this type of running throws up.
My plan then, in line with the overall goal in Crawley was to run very conservatively for 4-5 hours and then if all is going well, then I would put a bit more of an effort in for the last hour in order to get the legs turning over a little quicker. This bear in mind though, was simply a 'see how it goes and how you feel', tenuous plan.
Generally, all went accordingly, it was super hard to not speed up particularly as I was feeling bouncy and capable, so more than physical, this run was more cerebral and strategies for going against everything we, as competitive runners train for had to be employed for 6 hours. Now, that's the hard part.
Undoubtedly, there needs to be a plethora of tools in your kit bag in order to control that competitive nature and be smart about what you are doing. Development of positive mental strength is so important in order to be successful in your goals. To detach yourself from what others are doing, detach from the results and detach from a sense of negativity because you are slower than everyone else takes practice. This race and the process that I followed has served to strengthen my confidence. Confidence is tested when you put yourself under these types of conditions, particularly when you feel a need to prove yourself by outcomes, a culture that is rife (if not inadequate and egoic), sadly. And yet, what I have gained in terms of keeping my wider goals in mind, trusting myself and the process and enjoying every minute of it has left me wanting to return to the place that afforded me the opportunity to grow.
I finished the race with an effort put into the final hour and although I felt tired generally (probably restless hotel sleeping the night before) at the finish. Nonetheless, in terms of the legs, I'd felt that they had been preserved enough to continue with quality training over the coming weeks.
For those interested in stats, numbers I won the ladies race. A few nice words from the race organisers on their website:
"Tracy Dean won the women’s event, third overall, with 70.840 km – third best performance in the world this year".