The race that never was
By fin55fin, Dec 10 2017 11:18PM
So here it is the finally race of my season and for next as well but we will come onto that later. So its not shock that I have been working crazy hours at the new job and as a result thing’s have had to take a backseat and training was one of them as the little time I now had with my family I wanted to keep.
So the last race picked was an ultra run by Endurance life in Dorset. In the last 7 weeks I have done a 20 minute treadmill jog and a 6 mile easy base run. Oh shit, even I know that’s not enough, adding to this my crap diet things couldn’t be going any less smoother.
Anyway I’m not one to back out of races so even my lack of training had been there, my mind was still in it. In fact who am I kidding, it wasn’t there at all, I knew that if I got to the start line I had a good chance. ( lol who the hell and I kidding ) The only race I could win at the minute was the one into my bed at the end of the night.
So race on Saturday and for all of those who know my well, I have my maps all printed out of the local area, sat nav ready , and I’m all set. Once again who am I kidding. Its Thursday night and I haven’t booked a hotel yet. So go online and book an cheap B & B but I don’t get the fry up ( think ive had a few too many anyway ) so have a shift at work till 2pm after bootcamp then home for an hour, pack, see Tommy and Claire and then I hit the road to register.
Even on driving up I still couldn’t believe I was going to race 33.5 mile, even walk or jog, but I was actually in this now and I had to at least take it as a race. I never turn up to a race not believing I can win it and actually I never would turn up to a race having hadn’t trained to win the race, that’s not big headed at all, I just don’t believe in putting in all those hours not to win, plus I very a competitive (well actually I’m not, I’m just a bloody sore loser)
So get to registration after a 30 minute detour through the military ranges but that’s ok as I actually remember my way around lulworth area from my army days. So register and I felt ok, off to find b & b and book in, Go out and get pizza (not in the mod tonight though) and as I pack my bag for the morning I fear it may be a long day. I didn’t even pack my phone charger so I may not even wake up. The prospect of this felt great as I get a lay in for once, although I get kicked at room at 10:30 so not like I could spend all day in bed.
Asleep by 10ish and now up at 4am to get some porridge down me. Coffee and all packed by 5am and off I go full of myself, until I turn up and think, my god I have 6 hours at least running in this today. There are loads of people here some doing ultra, some even the ultra plus, which is 44.5 miles, after hearing the brief I’m so glad I didn’t sign for this bad boy.
So the start of the race and what can only be described as a f^&$ off big hill in front of us, and I’m not even joking, I figure if I go off with the fast boys at the front my body and brain will just believe I can do it and that’s it, everyone else will fail and drop out and I can walk over to win. Lol How wrong is that, funny but very wrong, counting down to 1 from 10 is normally easy but as I get out of breath by 3 I fear I may be too unfit for this. 2,1, GOOOOOOOOOOO and we are off up the first steep part and in the lead 5 for at least 4 metes until my body and lungs remind me about I’ve only done 20 minutes or so and 1 run with my lungs coming out to see the view and I start breathing out of a another whole in my body which isn’t my mouth. Man this is going to be a long day, what’s funnier still as in my head its still saying, keep going Fin those guys will burn out soon and you will fly by them. Ha ha ha ha , I wanted to laugh but I didn’t want to waste my 5% oxygen I had left.
So its not going to plan but I stick with it and off we go again down hill only to be faced with some sort of a death slide made of grass again called a hill and we were going up. I actually wished it was a death slide as I know as a kid my mum told me never to run up a slide so in that case I would have to stay at the bottom and watch and that would of suited me.
Ok so I did go up it and NO I didn’t run it, although some did and I was in utter amazement of those who did. So we get through the first set of hills and now we have a check point at 6 mile which may have me in 20th or so place and I fill up with jelly babies and run through trying to pull a few places back only to find being passed a few seconds later. So another 6 miles and we are back via the start and off onto the west loop of the course. Now at this point im a good 35th place and its not fun anymore but I now know that people are not going to slow down and also I cant go any faster so it’s a case of completing this which doesn’t sit well in me.
Over the next 12 or so miles I went through a lot of thoughts and fears and even a few tears may have been shed as I truly wanted to stop. Now for most people this is fine, but I have never quit a race and not finished even when been injured in my life so knowing that my brain wouldn’t even let me stop as id eat myself up inside was pretty harsh.
As the miles went on I just wanted to finish, I could see that I was in no fit shape to be here this time and not in the right frame of mind. I would not give up but it made me reflect on a good few things in life, such as my time, my family and what I’m doing.
As we got to the furthest check point the only thing that was keeping me going was the fact that I could see a some people with an ultra plus badge and that meant they had 11 miles to do more than me, and this was keeping me a live.
At the next check point which was 23 mile we were around 4 hours in, and one guys said the ultra plus, well done mate you are half way, and that made me feel sorry for him. I had 10 or o mile left so I just needed to man up and finish it. Once again the last 10 miles were a mixture of all my emotions and feelings that I had neglected my family this year to do what I wanted and this new job had also taken over. This was the deciding factor when I went home on Thursday before going away and Tommy said look mummy its daddy, mummy mummy look daddies here. He honestly was shocked to see me and I was so upset, added to the fact he kept pointing at Claire’s phone saying daddy in, daddy in. What he meant was, that he though I lived in Claire phone as he only sees me on face time that whole week near enough and these thoughts made me come to a big choice.
I dont see this as a race even now, i see it like i did it, in some sort of way to help me come to the correct decison in my life and i have.
I AM NOT GOING TO RACE AT ALL NEXT YEAR!!!!
I cant believe I actually said it but as I said it a weight was lifted form my shoulder and I felt the upset person leave and a smile came on my face. I will now have all my spare time to do what I want and if I want to go for a run I can. My world championships in 2018 were in Australia and I am not spending that money on 1 race. I would not race in local races form fear of not doing well and if I am not training as much then I cant expect to win them all. So that was my only conclusion.
I have no sponsors lined up for next year, I have no ties, and I can enjoy my family, as they should be. I took on this job to make a better life for Tommy and Claire and I believe it could do this, I’m still not sure if I’m honest if it’s the right choice of job because of how it is but only time will tell for sure and its worth a shot.
I am trying to give back some of the time I lost and time with Tommy and Claire is what I have lost and I cant get it back and this year they have supported my at all my races and all my highs and lows so its now time to say thank you, so I will be still coaching in 2018 as I want to keep coaching to the best of my ability and get my athletes all to the top and where thy want to be, my drive for this and the love of the sport has not changed at all, just my personal goals in the sport.
I am selling my bike and all the money is going to taking Claire and Tommy on holiday early next year as a thank you for being with me these last few years and the changes of the job etc but mainly for believing in me when I race and I’m sure deep down I know that some of the wins I have had have been down to them making me believe in myself.
So that’s it for blogging etc for now. I will plan to return in 2019 for the world championships in Switerland and go for my medal there and possibly in Canada in 2020 mainly because this was my first ever GB world champ race and feel I want it to be my last also, so all hopes will be on that gold medal that has slipped through my fingers these last few years, although I’ve been very close it been just out of reach.
I thank you all for your support over how ever long you have followed me for and it wont be the last but it will be a gap year for me.
I am definitely not spell checking this as there is bound to be loads and that will give you the final laugh of my year. Have an awesome xmas with your family and loved ones.
Sat here in tears....glad i read this in my van alone.
Not because I feel sorry for you but because it takes a big man to make a decision like this. Inspirational is just one of the words that I use when describing you and you bloody are, big decision, big result and big respect.
I truly hope you Claire and Tommy have a great family Christmas and make some wonderful memories next year.
Bless you mate
As usual, a blog straight from the heart mate. For what it's worth I reckon you have made the right decision. You are not the type of person to do something without committing 100%. I'm also sure that you are being too hard on yourself. You just need to give yourself a break and this 'sabbatical' will enable you to come back stronger and faster. The pressure should ease a little now & here's hoping you can free up some time from those ridiculous hours that you work. Have a great family Christmas & a less busy 2018 buddy.