back to the track
Although I had my first “track” race with school last weekend, yesterday’s race was my first proper one. Let’s just say last weekend’s track was a bumpy grass one, and the timing was
slightly very dodgy. My Mum had clocked me in at 5:02 for the 1500m, whilst the “official” time was 5:50. Therefore, going into today’s race I had no idea what to expect. I knew I’d been training hard, but had yet to see whether it was paying off. I spent my Friday night with a mixture of nerves and excitement as I tried to get a good night’s sleep to be fully refreshed for my race.
I don’t think the weather can make up it’s mind at the moment whether it’s autumn or summer. Last weekend it was 25+ °C and scorching hot, whilst yesterday it was a constant drizzle and I struggled to keep warm. To be honest though, they were ideal running conditions as there was no wind whatsoever and no chance of heat stroke.
I had my usual pre-race breakfast (porridge), managed to sneak a few hours’ revision in and have an early lunch before we headed off to K2 leisure centre in Crawley. We arrived with just over an hour before my race was due to start, giving me plenty of time to prepare. After a mandatory toilet trip, I got my number and met up with Immy (@thekeanbeanrunningmachine). We may have got a bit distracted catching up and didn’t start warming up until 2:45pm, which was only 35minutes before our event. However, we both tried out something new which I think really helped me mentally prepare for the race; listening to music whilst doing our warm-up jog. It got me in the race-zone and really motivated me, and has also made me want to try listening to music on my long runs!
After our jog, we decided to put our spikes on (which happen to be matching!) and then finish up our warm-up. With 5 minutes to go I’d only managed a few dynamic stretches and drills as well as the jog, and so was feeling pretty stressed. Thankfully, the programme was running 15 or so minutes late, giving me enough time to finish off my usual pre-race routine and get rid of that negative energy. As I said earlier, I had no idea what to expect, and going into the race seeded 3rd (out of 4) U20 made it hard to be optimistic. We were also racing against the Senior Ladies (although there was only 1) and the U17 girls (who have a habit of setting off so fast!)
on your marks
Before we knew it, the officials were ready to start our race. Lining up on the start-line, I was quite near the outside and so knew that I couldn’t afford to get pushed out when the gun went. I don’t have the fastest start, and therefore my plan was just to try and stick with the pack and not drift. Nothing too complicated in my books!
go *(imagine a gunshot)*
And we were off. It felt fast, but not as fast as I was expecting which meant that I didn’t start right at the back as usual. I was somewhere in the middle for the first 700m, which I just tried to maintain. I wasn’t wearing my watch so didn’t have much of an idea of my split times, but I could vaguely hear the officials calling out a time after every lap which sounded encouraging rather than demoralising. With 2 laps to go, I overtook a couple of girls and focused on sticking with the girl in front of me who also happened to be a club mate (whose PB I knew was around 4:46).
When we were coming into the final 300m, I felt one of the girls in front slow down a bit, at which point I decided to go for it and overtake her. Sometimes this can be risky, but it payed off and I wasn’t overtaken again by her (I hate that mid-race yo-yo process).
crossing the line
I crossed the finishing line 3rd place overall, with no idea of my time and uncertain of my placing in the U20 race. Although I knew the girl right in front of me was U17, I wasn’t 100% sure if the overall winner was U20 or Senior. It was only when one of my coaches came up to me and told me I’d won that I realised for the first time ever I was county champ. Plus – and this was the biggest high for me – I’d smashed my previous time of 5:00 minutes to get 4:51. Not only had I finally gone sub-5, but I’d also beaten the school record by about 2 seconds which I was over the moon about.
cool-down & medal ceremony
Immy and I went for a cool-down jog in the rain before she had to head off home with her mum. I stayed with my parents for the medal ceremony – which was surprisingly not delayed! – and we had our 10s of glory on the podium with a few half-hearted cheers from some random spectators. What more could you want?! Overall, I was so pleased with my performance and although I felt as though I could’ve gone faster at the end, it’s left me certain that I can get another PB in the near-future.
I just wanted to round off this post by saying well done to all those who competed this weekend, and even if you aren’t pleased with how you did remember that there is always another event, and progress is never a straight line up.