Tonight at Backpackers Leeanne asked me if I was going to smash my races this weekend and I laughed and said no.
One thing I didn’t anticipate coming to the end of my masters was the physical toll it would take on me. In the last few weeks I was juggling finishing off my thesis with working full time, which meant hours each day at a desk and very little exercise. Factor into that stress, and it’s fair to say that my body is a bit of a mess, hunched, stiff and painful, it’s like I’ve run a marathon, without having actually run a marathon. It hurts. It’s making me wonder if running two 10ks this weekend is a good idea, and while I know it’ll be fine I also know that I need to adjust my expectations a little.
When it comes to training, while my strength training and Pilates work have been consistent, my running has not. I’m a pack animal, not having time to run with my crew has had an impact, and the sheer exhaustion which comes with the pressure of submitting a big piece of work has floored me for any runs alone. I’ve made it to Park Run a few times, I’ve run home from work a few times, but recently my mileage has been low. I could let this bother me, to feel like a failure, or I could adapt and refocus my vision for this project.
Originally I had it in my mind that I wanted to live up to my potential for these races. I think deep in the back of my mind I was thinking of my potential a few years ago when I was a lot fitter and had more time to dedicate to running. However, right at the moment my potential probably isn’t what it has been at other times because my circumstances haven’t allowed that, and that’s ok. Our lives are dynamic and change, we can have all the best intentions and plan, but we can’t anticipate everything, and rather than getting stressed about our circumstances it’s better for us to adjust our expectations.
Which brings me back to Leeanne's comment. At Backpackers the only acceptable answer is that you're going to smash a race. Smashing a race as a backpacker means embracing the #sexypace, doing YOUR thing and not worrying about what anyone else thinks. With that in mind I’ve set out a few goals for this weekend that are simple, achievable and in line with where I am at now…
- Have fun – I’m not running these races for a PB, it’s all about having fun, spending time with my family and exploring new places
- Enjoy the ride – I want to feel good while I’m running, so if that means slowing down then I’ll slow down!
- Invest in my recovery – two races in less than 24 hours is going to take a toll on my already battered body, so I’ll be making sure I look after it with magnesium, stretches and my 2XU compression tights
Simple goals that aren’t quantified in statistics but which focus on how I feel and importantly enjoying the journey. I’m really excited about this weekend, it will be a fun adventure racing in two different cities with my family. I cannot wait to see the sea down in Bournemouth, and I feel so privileged to run with a whole group of other women in London, including my Mum who is taking on her first 10k!
*image: Anna Rachael Photography*