Yesterday I ran in a race that made me so nervous it reminded me of my first ever event last year where I spent a good amount of time crying before it! So why, a year later, was I catapulted back to those emotions?
My local running club hold an event called The Tay 10. 10 miles up and down the River Tay where I live and run every single week. So naturally, I entered. I saw it as a good training opportunity for the marathon next month. Didn’t think much about it as I’m confident in running 10 miles and know the route.
But then I looked at the entries.
At least 90% were affiliated. Entry after entry had a running club next to it. Except mine, it was blank.
Then I looked at last years results.
Again, the vast majority came in faster than my 10 mile time.
I’ve slowly made my way up the pack when it comes to finishing. First race was all about getting to the start line without freaking out, then it was about finishing, then I started looking at how I compared against others and I was getting good. Top 20 in most races. The Tay 10 however, was going to see me being one of the very last. So that was it, positive thinking, mindset, confidence – all shattered. Completely blown out the water. 10 miles is fine for me, I can do that, I have been doing it regularly. But coming in at the end of a race? Not so much.
Friends and family were a little confused. I always batter on about the only competition is yourself, you shouldn’t compare, they knew the distance wasn’t an issue (in fact most expected me to go out running again that day). Mindset is a big thing for me – I have to get that where it needs to be before I do anything. So why did I care?
Can’t tell you. All I can say is I was hugely nervous, almost to the point I nearly muttered ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ (almost, not quite, saying it out loud takes it to a whole new level). But I went to the start line. I stayed at the back of the pack so I didn’t have a huge rush going past me. I put my earphones in and ignored everything! Everyone was wearing a club vest. Very nice. I like my blue top though. Got it in the sale.
I ended up behind the same guy for the entire way – that’s right, I kept pace with him, and I wasn’t even trying! If I’m honest I was fixated on his calf muscles – huge! There may have been a mile or two I pretended they could talk to each other, imagination is a wonderful distraction.
2 miles in I got a stitch. Nerves hadn’t let me eat anything but a banana that morning. By 3 miles I had managed to get rid of it. 5 miles my hip started hurting. Just a niggly pain but it didn’t go, it was a constant throb. Had the race been more than a half I’m not so confident I would have done well. Mile 8 to 9 I felt it quite bad and I started worrying about doing an injury just 8 weeks before the marathon so slowed down for that mile. Picked it back up a little for the last mile home though.
Reaching the finishing track I knew I was almost done. I had no idea how few people were behind me or how many had already finished, the weather was very cold and wet so the poor spectators weren’t for sticking around longer than needed. At this point all I could hear was my running club coach in my ear ‘push, push, drive with the knee, don’t you stop’. Now I hate sprints, detest them with an eye roll everytime. So yeah, I sprinted, because I could!! But I seriously thought I was going to throw up at the end….. damn you nerves.
Finishing time? 1hour 24mins. 14th in my category and 125th out of 270.
Nerves? You can do one.