Race day is a day to be a hero... or not
John and myself tend to have a chat before most races or events, we’ll talk about how we’re feeling, the course and the weather (obviously) but most importantly we’ll talk race tactics.
The tactics don’t ever seem to change a huge amount, despite talking about all the important things such as the competition, work out where to push and hold back and what splits to try and hit, we always seem to wind up at a similar conclusion:
Race day is a day to be a hero
A Hero Day however is not about winning, it’s about going all out, knowing you’ve given it full gas.
The only downside to Hero Day is despite the mind being willing the body isn’t always. I’ve had a few races so far this year (Tigger Tor, Wolf’s Pit Fell Race and the Edale Skyline). Having drawn up the 2014 race calendar the Edale Skyline was with out doubt one of the races I was looking forward to the most. Not only is it an iconic race, it has history, it is a stunning route and it’s on our back doorstep. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit I whole heartedly wanted Edale Skyline day to be a Hero Day.
Unfortunately, as the ‘sprint’ up Ringing Roger drew ever closer my body rebelled (Since my last blog about comfort zones I’ve been suffering with some shoddy ankles brought from my ski trip last month. Ironically, making me very uncomfortable!)
Photo: Boxed out of my tree approching the Ringing Roger checkpoint, 1km from the start line. Thank you to Summit Fever for the photo.
My mind was willing and I did what any self respecting idiot would - kept training but to very little avail.
To cut a long story short, The Skyline was not a standard Hero Day. Whether I quit, failed or retired would be a subjective decision. There was a bit of mental battle from Lose Hill over to Mam Nick; the mental monologue was mighty monotonous “I could finish but I might not run for months but if I stop I’ve failed” on repeat.
I stopped at the Mam Nick checkpoint.
I stopped because I jumped out of my shoes (if only this wasn’t a metaphor, as this would have been a good alternative) and put my brother, Mark and every other friend I’ve run within them. I would have told them to stop, to consider the bigger picture and look forward to the season ahead.
Hind-sight is usually 20:20. I desperately wanted to run the Skyline. I put myself through 6 weeks of very uncomfortable training and for what… to tick another lesson off my list of future mistakes not to make.
On to some recovery and an injury free Summer.