Everybody goes through spells of self-doubt - I am sure that people from all walks of life, whatever their goals and aims, still have times when they wonder if the effort is worth it, or doubt they can achieve what they have set out to do, but the thing to remember is that you do come through it. Those nearest and dearest will understand how you are feeling (and even expect it) and so make allowances for you, but it's only when you come out on the other side that you realise what a nightmare you have been!
For me, it took a total break from the grind - a night out bowling with friends, a jog through the woods stopping to eat blackberries (and being gently chastised for eating all those in sight), and a road trip with friends, for me to get things back into perspective. Yes, I'd been tired; no, I hadn't met my times in track reps......but in the grand scheme of things, that didn't really matter as long as I still had the enjoyment in it.
A short fast race that focussed my mind was the final thing to lift the funk - and Stirling certainly did that.
The Wallace Monument (with turnaround point just below it)
Stirling 10K is known as a fast flat course (less than 90 feet gained and lost over the course) and so always attracts a high quality field, especially when it doubles as the Scottish championship race. There are always surprise roadworks when you drive north, so an early start was necessary.......but the road was relatively clear, hence there was lots of time for coffee before warming up.........and it was interesting that the first person I saw on getting out of the car to register for the run, was a fellow D&G runner.
I hadn't been looking forward to the race, as I was worried about having lost leg-speed while doing distance training, but it turns out my fears were unfounded. Some judicious resting of my legs (and mind) meant that I could start at a decent pace in touch with some speedsters I recognised. Content in my usual mode of a slower start, picking up as I get into a race, I was surprised to have covered the first mile so fast, and indeed passed the 5K mark in my fastest ever 5K time. What was less impressive was the fact that we still seemed to be heading away from the start on the outward leg as we passed this marker. Instead of worrying about this, I focussed on watching the race leaders as they came flying past heading the other way.
The female leaders were a long way ahead making it look easy, but after turning round the cone in the road, I could see who was behind me and looking strong.
Proudly holding my Scottish Masters 10K gold medal
I worked my way up the field a bit further on the (obviously shorter) run back in, and even managed to get a sprint finish in to pass a man coming into the line......I was so proud of this as I've never been a sprinter and so would usually mentally hand a sprint victory to anyone else rather than go for it).
Not a bad 2 weeks' work!!
I knew Sarah McCormack was an amazing hill and trail runner (we shared a caravan down in Keswick for the International trail race), but she had a fantastic roadrun to finish in 33:33, over a minute ahead of the 2nd placed lady and take the national title. I was really pleased with my run, as clearly still have some speed in the old legs despite the mileage....and when I say "old legs", I mean "old legs" as an added bonus was finishing as first veteran and so winning the Scottish Masters 10K Title! A boon for the confidence and just what the doctor ordered!