Last year was a bit of a PB year for me. I got my 5k PB at the final Kevin Henry League race in September when I ran a 20:19. I then achieved my current 10k PB of 42:41 at the Cambridge Town and Gown event in October. I also got my default Sprint Tri PB of 1:17:44 (but since this was my first ever sprint tri it only kind of counts. Essentially it’s both my best and worst time….).
In both the 5k and 10k races, I found myself experiencing what I would call ideal runs. Perfect conditions in regards to weather and terrain, and physically I felt GOOD. I also found fantastic people to pace me (whether they realised it or not) – Mary in the 5k and Pete in the 10k (up to about the 6k mark anyway). Seriously though, if you’d told me when I first started running 6 years ago that I would achieve a 20:19 5k I would have died laughing like those hyenas from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”.
But there comes a time when PBs become harder and harder to come by. When you reach a certain level in your running abilities, things start to plateau a bit, and you have to start looking at more than just your running if you want to get better.
Training with Alan and working on my strength and conditioning has seen me go from a 24 minute 5k to an average of around 21 (my last two races were 20:48 and 21:17). This is more than I could have hoped for, and it’s shown me how there’s so much more to being a good runner than just pounding the pavements.But when you’ve found yourself a measly 20 seconds away from a sub 20 minute 5k, you do find yourself wondering “what if……….?”.
I’ve come to accept that not every race is going to be a PB race. I understand that. So instead I’ve been looking at what I can learn from every race that I do. I try and take away the positives, such as the fact that I didn’t panic when my mouth turned to dust and I wanted nothing more than a drink of water, or the fact that I managed a sprint finish in my last race which saw me take out the girl who had overtaken me in the last 800 metres.
And in addition to the positives, I’m also trying to take what I’ve learned and use it to see what I can do better. And for me this is always – always – about controlling that stupid voice in my head that says “you, a runner? Seriously? That girl over there – she’s a runner. You’re nothing but a fake. Go home before you make a fool of yourself.” And while that bee-yatch is wanging on, I’m also constantly thinking about how I want to make myself proud. Alan, my club mates, everyone who reads this blog even – I want to do my best.
There’s nothing wrong with having passion. On the whole it’s a really, really good thing. But when you’re at risk of becoming known as your club crier, you really need to get things in check and make an effort to start working on your mental strength. So I’m finally going to read The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters (I bought it a year ago FFS) and try not to put so much pressure on myself. Without being all mega cheesy FITSPO about it, one of my favourite quotes is “Don’t look at how far you’ve got to go, look at how far you’ve come.” I’ve come such a long way in my 6 years of running, but I’d like to go a little further please. Let’s see if 2016 has any PBs up its sleeve. But if it doesn’t that’s ok.