First Event Feelings
Some of those I train recently ran a 10k race with thousands of others! It was the first ever race for Claudia, a 42 year old working Mum of two, so for her especially, it was going to be a memorable experience: Traumatised by running disasters at school, this was certainly going to be a challenge.
Photograph: Copyright Running4Women
Training began with a mixture of my fitness classes consisting of all over body workouts and interval training. She also started doing very short runs which built up gradually over quite a few months until the 10k distance seemed possible. Juggling work, parenting and her running race ambition, the preparation involved prioritising exercise alongside everything else, and sticking to a plan to ensure that she’d succeed. (Claudia isn't the type to give up on a challenge!)
The fact that there was a group of friends doing the race certainly helped. Finding training buddies is important, especially if you’ve set yourself a real challengewhich makes you feel slightly anxious. It can be a lonely road to travel on your own, both training-wise and on the race day itself, especially if the weather’s been like it has been, and if you have many demands onyour time.
But in spite of this, Claudia sought opportunities to fit in a quick training session wherever she happened to be: straight from school drop-off, before work, or sometimes whilst the children did something. This meant she maximised her time, avoided sitting in rush-hour traffic, or watching an activity where the children weren’t exactly bothered whether an audience was there or not! Whatever location they happened to be in, whatever time of day and whatever amount of time available, she and the team went running. This made sure the runs were varied and regular. And rather than read a paper, have a coffee or watch a kid’s football lesson, they got out there and worked towards their target.
So,with training complete, race day arrived:So I asked Claudia how she’d felt in the build-up to the event, during and afterwards, and this is what she told me:
‘The main concern was fear: worried that I couldn’t do the distance: Coping with the failure or humiliation of being the only one not to finish, orworse still, the last one to cross the line. Then, one month to go, and I managed to nearly do the distance on a treadmill. From that moment I knew I could do 10k, but then I started worrying about how to pace the race. What if I set off too fast or too slow? Our group were great though, and convinced me that I shouldn’t worry about the pace, as they’d be running with me and would ensure we didn’t do anything too radical too early.
So race day arrived and I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves as I waited to start. I hadn’t been prepared for how many people were running. It was in fact really hard to run around them, since many were walking from the start! Ironically, this made me feel confident that I didn’t need to walk it, at least not yet.
During the race I can’t say I enjoyed it, especially in the rain! At 7k I felt like stopping. My legs were heavy, my breathing wasn’t great, but my friends got me through. When I then saw (and passed) my husband Ed who’d sprinted off at the start, I suddenly realised that we must be doing ok. In fact, to my total astonishment, we came in at 54. 5 minutes! It was the most incredible feeling when I crossed that finish line and even better to break the 60 minute barrier. I realise that a 10k compared with many events is a drop in the ocean. However for me it was about overcoming my fear, believing that I could do it, and finishing no matter what.
The fact that I beat my husband (on his Birthday!) and about 15,000 other people was the icing on the cake. Would I do it again? Well I feel I’ve ticked that box now and whilst generally I don’t do much that’s worthy of public broadcast, I did put this one on Facebook!If I do ever enter another race, I may try a different challenge next time. But equally, if I never do anything like this again, I feel proud of myself for accomplishing my 10k goal.’
Pre-race feelings generally involve fear, uncertainty and sometimes lack of confidence, to somehow finding the self-belief necessary to push through the barriers, and ultimately succeed. At the highest sporting levels, we’re going to see numerous examples of this over the coming months at the 2012 Games.Clearly we can’t really compare the two scenarios on a like for like basis, but the principles of getting to the target are the same.
Like many other things we do in life, it’s on reflection that we feel able to do more and more. As long as we give the task maximum effort, then we should feel satisfied afterwards. And as for Claudia, finishing her first ever race was noteworthy. To do it with such grit and determination was even more so. And now she’s experienced that feeling of success, who knows what will be next?
For anyonewho feels afraid of entering something, remember you can’t truly replicate that sense of achievement unless you get out there and have a go yourself. Take it from Claudia, if she can do it, anyone can, and when you get that feeling at the end, it’s all totally worth it.
- Filed Under
- Real Life