Anxiety has been blighting my enjoyment of races in recent years.
That chronic gnawing anxiety that has no obvious source. Yuk.
I had a dilemma.
I did not want to step away from races as I knew that once a race began, I thrived on taking part and basked in post race fulfilment. I had to find a way to override the physical and emotional discomfort I felt before the starting klaxon went.
The answer was to be found in trail running.
I adore running off-road whether it be alone, with my buddy Ted the Sproodle or with friends at Park Run. So the search for a trail running event in the Surrey Hills began.
The Fitstuff G3 series (run by aat events) jumped out and I quickly booked my place on race three. I was glad I did as it soon sold out! What better recommendation for an event than for it to sell out.
Snow postponed the race initially, but last Saturday morning, without a snowflake in sight, it was back on. Time to tackle nine hilly off-road miles, as well as address any anxiety if it decided to raise its head.
By 8.00am I was registered, enjoying a coffee and milling around the race start at Newlands Corner. Serendipitously I bumped into Patrick from Sandhurst Joggers, who I used to run with. His wonderfully calm and steady presence was just what I needed.
Together we ran, talked and scrambled up St Martha’s Hill. Before I knew it we had covered nine miles and I could see the ever supportive Jon waiting for us at the finish.
I had not experienced one flicker of anxiety, only joy! So how do I think that happened? A range of factors I guess:
- Morning races mean I do not have time to over think.
- Hilly muddy runs removes the pressure to chase times.
- Roots and rocks force me to concentrate on the running and nothing else.
- Countryside scenery is sensational.
- Sharing the experience with a like minded person (thank you Patrick).
- Embracing the support you are offered (Jon you are a diamond).
A positive outcome all round and maybe I am starting to understand what makes running work for me.
As always keep moving and do what makes you happy 🙂