Sport can be cruel…

Okay, so the title of this blog post seems very negative but don’t get me wrong, I love sport. Sport makes up such a large portion of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way but it is inarguable that sport can be pretty cruel sometime. This Saturday, I felt the full brunt of this. It was the 4th Surrey League, after my last race disappointment, I was really ready to have a good run. It was the last Surrey League (and one of my last cross country races this season) so I really wanted to take everything I had learnt from all my races and perhaps secure a top ten position and an individual ranking. I tapered for pretty much the whole week and was feeling excited and ready to go. The venue, Happy Valley, was beautiful – filled with huge fields, areas of forest (and hills). The weather would also have been beautiful – it was windy and snowing- if I wasn’t going to be running in it. It didn’t take long for me to decided that I was going to have to run in full winter gear: leggings, a long sleeved top and my gloves.

By 1:00, we were on the start line and, for once, I was genuinely excited. Bring on Happy Valley! The race started off well and I found myself relatively close to the front. The trouble only began to start when we ran out of the field and on to a long area of road. My 15mm spikes were not happy! I was actually relieved when we finally reached another field. This relief didn’t last long though because the mud up the hill was insane but I could deal with that…it only really took a turn for the worse when I tripped and almost went face first. Immediately, I was worried that I’d ruined my chances but thankfully, I managed to regain my composure and keep going but I was definitely shaken which did not help my already tired legs. Despite this, I was able to get back into my rhythm and start building up the pace. Eventually, we got out of the horrible field and we finally got to a down hill on a rocky path. Suddenly, the descent started to become a lot steeper. A marshal warned us to be careful as we were just approaching a very slippy area. I was desperate not to trip again. Turns out that wasn’t enough. Before I could even realise what had happened, I was face first in the mud.

The start of the race (I’m in the white)

The marshals and my dad ran over to help me up and immediately I was devastated. I had lost my chance. It didn’t help that I found out that I had been high up in the placings. By the time I had regained my composure, it was too late for me to carry on with the race and regain my place. I regretted this decision almost at once and simply sat on the snow covered ground basking in my disappointment. After a while, we walked back down to the base area. I was not in a good state: I was still very upset and muddier than I had ever been in my entire life. You could no longer see what club I was due to my vest being brown, my legging were covered, it was in my hair, all over my gloves and watch, on my face, even underneath my first layer of clothes! It was pretty darn awful but, honestly, that didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact that I hadn’t finished the run.

The conditions were pretty tough!

For the rest of the day and most of the days following the event, I was still devastated. I knew that I would have finally had the race I was looking for, the race all that hard work had been for if I had not fallen. For quite a while, I was really annoyed at myself for not getting up and carrying on but now I know there really wasn’t much I could have done. It was a pretty heavy fall and I was already frustrated from the fall beforehand but it was hard for me to accept this. As the title of this post says, sport can be incredibly cruel sometimes and this is a prime example. I was very downcast especially when the results came through and confirmed my belief that I could have quite comfortably made the top ten. Despite this, I was able to slightly changed my mindset on our “recovery run” the next day. Recovery runs are always my favourite thing to do to clear my head and have a nice conversation with my dad but I wouldn’t exactly classify this as a recovery run. The frustrated energy from the day before made run fast – and quite easily. This made me think that surely, Saturday’s occurrences can be channelled as a good thing. I hope to be able to using my annoyance as a determination and energy boost. It has left me even more focused on training hard and achieving. Let’s just say, I’m now 100% ready to push myself.

I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post and hope that it wasn’t too negative! I would like to say thanks to everyone that has been so supportive over the last few days as it has really helped me feel better! I have about one or two more cross countries left this year and I am sad as I love them so so much but I am looking forward to the various road races and training I will be doing soon (and the track season which is approaching scarily fast). Right now I have a lot of time before my next race which is a perfect opportunity to train and to check out new parkruns. This weekend I am doing a double parkrun in Staffordshire: Cannock Chase (which I am very excited for as I have loved the park ever since I was tiny) and Telford Juniors (which was one of the most exciting parkruns ever – see Parkrun Tourism x2). I am going to try and harness my frustration into two fast times!


Thanks for reading and hope you all have a good half term/ week,

Ellie x

Also, in case you were wondering, I was fortunate enough not to be injured from my fall. The worst I got was a grazed elbow and knee. As for the mud, I was helped by a lovely lady who happened to have a towel on her, my dad and my club coach. My vest did not survive the experience and is still brown but I don’t mind too much as it was way to big for me anyway (I think I’ll be purchasing an age 10-11 this time).


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