Exceeding my expectations

In an attempt to get back into more regular blogging, I’m going to hammer out a short post as an alternative to hammering out a long status message on Facebook, where people are most probably getting bored of my crap now anyhow.

Today I ran in the 12km Dirty Dozen race in East London. It was awesome – a beautiful sunny day for starters (much unlike the race we did a few weeks ago in 11 degrees and driving rain), the obstacles were epic (even the log carry was the most fun one I’ve ever done), the soil clay (good mud), the marshall’s friendly and the all-round vibe amazing (think festival stylee, with lots of people chilling in the sun, although they were probably even muddier than Glastonbury go-ers!).

Anyhow, I somehow came 12th out of the women, beating a lot of what I would call “proper” runners. I still don’t think I’m a good runner, but I’ve done better than I thought I would at all the races I’ve done this year – 5th female in 17km Nettle Warrior (first time last year) and 17th female (out of 400!) in the 10 mile Total Warrior (that was the aforementioned cold and wet one) – and perhaps it’s time I start changing that view point.

There are two downsides to exceeding your expectations though…

Firstly, it makes me look at the results and see how many people were just minutes in front of me, then think back over the race at all the times I could’ve shaved off a minute or so in order to get me a few places higher. On one hand it’s a stupid thing to do (the past is the past) but on the other it does flag up the areas you could improve on (I bought gaiters from the awesome Obstacle Kit to stop stones getting into my shoes, which would’ve saved me at least two minutes on the course!).

The second thing is that doing well makes me want to do better.

Someone commented on something on my Facebook recently about how I stay motivated to run. My response was something like “I surround myself with inspirational people, so I train hard, I do better, and then I train more”. That’s pretty much my view of motivation. I’m not trying to beat any world records, but I am trying to do better than my previous self. Also I’m incredibly lucky in that I always seem to stumble, usually blindly and unwittingly, into people that are at the top of their game, or at the very least have serious aspirations to be there. Seeing them train, hanging out with them and just getting that positive energy really pushes me forward, and combined with knowing that all I need to do is continue training smart to get the gains that I want, it’s an unstoppable combination.

You may be wondering where the downside to that second point is, and it’s this: the risk of over-training for a highly motivated nutter with no “off” switch is immense. I’m so scared of ITB woes coming back, or other bits of me breaking, that I am now quite careful about overdoing it. So since my next race isn’t till September, I’m going to take some chill time to strengthen my legs, do some rehab work (foam rolling, tennis ball, Stick) and do more yoga and general mobility stuff, and switch back to having more of a focus on  the bodyweight stuff. Of course I will probably still get up in the morning and run up hills, powered by the marvels of coffee and peanut butter, but I will try and do that less. For a little bit at least…

This might be the return of more regular blogging. I do at least have the idea for five posts churning round my head, and at the moment am also feeling quite inspired on the writing front, so fingers crossed… Also, I promise the next one will have pictures. And the one after that a video. Woo!

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