Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ups and downs

Just after finishing the very tough and tricky
British long championships at High Dam in the Lake District. 

A lot has gone on since my last post, which is half an excuse for not updating the blog. The other half is that I’ve been quite confused about how I feel about everything and so summarising the situation hasn’t felt easy. Here’s half a go anyway.

First off, I have to say there has been a lot of good. I’ve produced some performances I’m proud of which has meant I’ve been able to add the following to the list of achievements this season: British individual and relay titles, Scottish champs title, equalling Tyrving’s best TioMila result, one of my best World Cup individual sprint runs, and a World Cup sprint relay bronze medal. Certainly when I put it all down on paper, I can’t see how this is anything other than my best season ever.

But yet it doesn’t feel like it. One of my real aims this year was to run in the forest at the World Champs. I had developed a two year plan to fulfil the potential I thought I had. One of the main enjoyments through the winter has been noticing the improvements I have made, going out to run a clean race, and then achieving it. I was so pleased to pull it all together at the JK, even if the terrain wasn’t regarded as particularly tricky.

A very happy time with the girls at TioMila.
But then it came to the test races. For various reasons I didn’t believe performing like I had done at the JK would be enough. I felt I needed to do more. This was a disastrous way to approach the races - I know enough sports psychology to know that - but how do you convince yourself? Needless to say I bombed and blew the chance to race in the forest at the World Champs this year.

What has ‘interested’ me has been my reaction to that experience. For me to mess up a big international forest race is not a surprise, it’s been a regular occurrence every season. In previous years, I have picked myself up, dusted off, and resolved to put things right another time. I didn’t have that desire this time round. I don’t really know why.

Thankfully the sprint side of things is something I can rely on and so I’m channelling my efforts there. I take a lot of positives from the World Cup races a month ago where I was a few route choices away from an excellent result, and I still achieved one I was very proud of (13th). I’m excited by the times I’m posting on the track too, I’m faster than the most ambitious of the targets I set myself at the beginning of the year.
World Cup sprint final
Photo:Hannu Kaasalainen
So the stage is set for a really fun sprint relay on the steep hills of Viljandi this time next week. I’m racing with Cat, Ralph, and Kris, and I’m so excited to see what we can do. I’m really grateful to all those who have contributed to the GB team fundraising to help us get there, and to those who have helped in many other ways over many years. I do love a good high pressure sprint race, and they don’t come much bigger than this. Bring it on – give me the map!   

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