*The featured image is actually from a difference race but I forgot to take one that fit so this will have to do!
With school just around the corner, I assumed that my short first track season was well and truly over. I was a little disappointed because I never got a chance to run for my club due to being busy on all the occasions. However, to my delight, an unexpected opportunity came my way! My coach recommended that I went to The Young Athletes Championships as it would be an appropriately high-level competition for me to enter. I signed up as soon as we got home as I knew it would be my last chance to get a good time made official (my PB was annoyingly never recorded on the power of 10)
As always, my routine started the night before. I downed a big bowl of pasta and hot chocolate before having a long bath and stretching out. Due to my nerves and excitement, I dipped in an out of sleep that night and ended up waking up pretty early. Not wanting to waste any time, I quickly dressed into my kit (which included a ridiculously oversized vest) and went in search of my usual breakfast: porridge. By 8:30, I was packed and we were off! My race wasn’t scheduled until 10:39 but I tend to feel it necessary to arrive very early. When we arrived at Woking, we quickly collected my number and a program. I was already feeling slightly sick with nerves and the fact that it was already filled with people all in professional club kit didn’t really help. I scanned the starting list of my race to find that I didn’t know any of my fellow competitors. This scared me because, for all I knew, they could have all been sub 5:00 minute runners! I forced myself to keep calm and did my warm up with the help of Sam whom was unfortunately not able to participate due to his recent injury.
To my slight horror, they soon called all the U15 boys and girls 1500m runners to the marshalling area. I signed in and was led into a little pen where I found most of my competitors already warming up. I was so so nervous! I knew that every single one of these girls was going to be good! This was the first time I had ever ran against all club runners and I was the bottom of the age category so I immediately became scared of coming last!
We were all led on to the track and made to line up. If there is anything I really hate in running, it is the start line. That moment when you don’t know how fast your competitors are or how you are going to run but you know that soon you will be in a lot of pain. Suddenly, the gun fired and we were off! I found myself at the back of the front pack in around sixth or fifth for the first 300m. To my relief, I was feeling pretty good and decided to pick up the pace a bit during the second lap and was able to overtake one girl and edge closer to the top three. Unlike usual, the middle laps went by surprisingly fast and I was able to hold onto my position. My plan was to go mad on the final 400m. It was going to be all or nothing. As the bell rang, I put on a burst of speed. With 200m to go, I caught the girl in forth but, to my annoyance, she sprinted off immediately. With only the final straight left, I would have usually tried to go with her but I realised that, with a slight panic, that I no longer could feel my legs! Aggravatingly, my lungs could have easily managed a final push but my tiny little limbs just weren’t having it! To worsen the issue, I briefly managed to get my foot caught on the barrier, disrupting my stride. I hung on desperately for the last 50m and was, miraculously, not over-taken. The finish line came as a massive relief and I just managed to stay standing! Somehow, I don’t think my legs were quite prepared for the pure speed as I hadn’t raced on the track for over a month. Also, I have a theory that, as I am about a foot shorter than all the other girls, my legs have to move at least twice as much so they probably got more tired with all the frantic movement!
Although the results aren’t officially up yet, my dad timed me and I was around 5:22 which is honestly more than I could have hoped for with the windy conditions and the sprint issue. I was delighted with my performance as I managed to stay relaxed and generally keep my form -plus I was able to come pretty high up the field!
Overall, I am very happy with my first ever track season. It has been a roller coaster ride with a fair share of delights (including 3 wins) and disappointments – but thankfully not too many! I reckon that next year will be my chance for good times as I will be top of the age category and a lot more used to running on the track but we will have to wait and see! In the meanwhile, I have cross country to look forward!
School starts tomorrow and I can’t say I am not excited. Although the holidays were brilliant, I am a routine-based person at heart and must admit that I am looking-forward to having a busy schedule again! Hopefully it won’t affect my ability to blog regularly but I apologise in advance if that is the case. Also, it’s my birthday next Friday (I’m seriously excited) so I may struggle to get out a blog post next week but I’ll certainly try!
I would love to thank everyone who has read my blog so far! When I started, I assumed it would just be a little summer project but I am now determined to carry on! I couldn’t do it without everyone’s support! Thank you!