Running Away and Moving Forward

Hi guys, well what a weekend is all I can say. A lot of highs and lows!!

Saturday morning Ben and I got up early and got ourselves ready to head to our first ever Parkrun (informal 5k race that happens all over the UK and the world on Saturdays). It starts at 9am and isn’t very far from us so we could leave at 8.15am and have plenty of time to work out where we needed to be etc. I had breakfast about 8am – absolutely standard oatmeal. Nothing fancy.

I was so nervous I can’t tell you. I know it’s stupid. But at Running Club on Thursday all the people were saying because it was such a flat course this time (it changes occasionally) and that I was a fast runner I was sure to do amazingly. And then when I got there a few people were saying I was going to be high in the table for the females.

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I felt under a bit of pressure. Ridiculous I know because if I didn’t do well no one would really care except me and this was just a Parkrun. People were just observing I was a ‘fast’ runner and it was a flat course and they were being polite and flattering me.

I was also a bit caught of guard as it was very informal. I guess I should have expected this. When we all crowded at the start I was mid-conversation when they started counting to go.

Then we were off. I have never felt so sick in my life. I was jolted into a sprint and pegged it as fast as my little legs would go. I knew the 5k would all be about speed and it was just about going for as fast as you can for as long as you can until it’s over.

A mile in and I knew something was wrong. I started panicking in my head. I felt so sick. I knew I had to slow down but I couldn’t. I felt I would fail by slowing down (yes, I realise this is absolutely ridiculous and I am an idiot). But I knew by then I was going to be sick.

So I ran off the race. I literally ran away from the race.

I did what I had to as far away from the race as I could. Then I kept walking and didn’t look back. I was so annoyed with myself you wouldn’t believe. I started crying (I know, I know – so not worth crying about!). I kept walking to get as far away as I could.

I then flopped onto the pavement and let myself be pathetic for a while until I realised I was lost. With no phone. Nothing.

To be fair, I hadn’t walked a great distance from the race. Probably half a mile. But I couldn’t go back. I was convinced people would have seen or wondered what happened. So after about 15 minutes I realised I needed to do something constructive. The only number I knew off by heart was my parents’ house phone. So I asked to borrow a very nice lady’s phone and rang them.

My parents, bless them, drove and picked me up. They were so lovely and comforting with words of “it happens to all runners” but I was just hating myself right then. Why didn’t I just slow down? Why did I put so much pressure on myself? Why did I eat breakfast!!!!

Then we had to find Ben as I knew he’d have finished by then and he wouldn’t have had a clue what had happened. He was obviously very worried when we found him but very sympathetic as well.

Ben did amazingly in the run. He got 25mins30secs. I’m so proud of him. Bless him, he didn’t want to tell me what he got because he worried it would be “rubbing it in”. But I’m so pleased for him – I’m glad one of us had a success!

Sunday morning Ben and I got up early again. It was time to get back on the horse. We had planned a 10k race in a lovely country park (provided we both felt up to after the run on Saturday). Ben was good to go. And so was I.

Moors Valley 10k

I was nervous again, but not because of any pressure I’d stupidly put on myself but because I didn’t want to be sick again. But I had breakfast early and I thought to myself “this is just a nice run through a lovely park”. No pressure.

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There was less than 350 people running and it was quite informal. We had numbers but we didn’t have chips or anything. Perfect for a no pressure run.

The first mile I was running literally next to another girl the entire time. Psychologically this is quite hard. But eventually I broke off and then managed to keep ahead. But I then had the issue that I needed to keep just slightly faster than her, which was a hard pace to maintain. It literally felt like a proper race in that respect. And then miles 2-4 I kept thinking she was just behind me. Thankfully by mile 4 I realised she was a fair way back and I was running strong. It was tough don’t get me wrong. Hard, fast running. But I wasn’t feeling sick. In fact, though it was bloody hard work, I felt pretty damn good. The competitive element wasn’t causing me any issues like Saturday.

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My Garmin says under 10k which annoyed me and the official times haven’t come out yet (well, as official as someone with a stop watch at the end can be). But I’ll take it Winking smile

And…I came first out of the ladies!! The girl I was up against at the beginning came second.

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I got a little trophy for being the first female!

Then I glugged a load of water and waited for Ben. I was quite chuffed I’d get to see him finish and was ready poised with my camera.

Ben running

He beat his Marwell 10k by around 4 mins by finishing 52mins56secs. Nice work!

I am really chuffed with the both of us. Firstly, Ben got two PBs in one weekend. For a guy that’s just got back into running I’m pretty damn proud of him. Secondly, I’m pleased that I learnt from yesterday. I put pressure on myself when I shouldn’t have – who the hell cares what time I do a run or race in! No one cares but me, and I shouldn’t be too hard on myself! I love running. Full stop. Getting good times is a great extra. I shouldn’t be so focused on it. I loved running months ago when I wasn’t doing races. I should just enjoy the race and let the times be what they will be.

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Beautiful scenery near the finishing line

I’ll leave it there for today as I’ve gone on a bit in this post. I’m pleased with this weekend, warts and all. It’s the failures and issues you have in life that make you stronger!

Have you ever pushed yourself too hard?

Have you ever had a similar ‘issue’ when running/exercising?

If you do races, why do you do them? I like challenges and I like pushing myself. But I have to realised that I love running so much more. I cannot let my need to succeed compromise my love for running.

18 thoughts on “Running Away and Moving Forward

  1. I’m glad you were able to let the past be the past & move forward from what took place the day prior. Good for you, and congratulations on placing 1st in the ladies. As proud as you are for Ben, I am so proud of you 🙂 Have a lovely day, Anna!

  2. Sorry to hear about that Anna, I hope you will go back and enjoy the parkrun another weekend. I am not surprised you felt like that though, as that is some pressure (but look how you rocked it on Sunday!). I felt a bit under pressure yesterday as I really wanted that sub 60 min 10k time, and when I realised I would not quite make it I felt annoyed (for a few seconds) but then I realised it is only me that has set that goal, and I still finished with my fastest time, and even if I didn’t finish with a fast time I still enjoyed it. I think you are right, focus on what you love about running. Maybe you should try a parkrun that is not so local so you don’t know any runners? Or say at the start something like “I am just doing this as a recovery run as I did a hard session the other day” so you are outwardly saying that there is no pressure for you to get a certain time.
    Well done to Ben too! Awesome times!

    • It’s stupid the amount of pressure we put on ourselves…

      I’m going to try the Parkrun again this week but it’s a more hilly course so I’m not going to try getting a good time. I just want to enjoy it and I’ll make that clear when I’m there!

  3. Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that running is not just physical, but really psychological too. I bet it was hard to put it out there about your 5k, but I’m honestly glad you did. I think it’s great to see that even for great runners like yourself, not each run you do is perfect. Also, it’s amazing that you picked it up and were able to have such a great time the next day!
    Question: You are the only blogger that I’ve read about who prefers long distances and actually hates short runs. Do you know a lot of others like that? It’s just so funny to me because I’m the opposite 😀

    • I was embarrassed about the whol fiasco that I debated not even mentioning it on my blog but I thought that would be dishonst. It’s not always about the good runs at all. I have had my fair share of fairly rubbish runs to be sure!
      That’s so weird about the short run preference. I just find it so painful and difficult, I’d much rather take it slower and go for longer.

  4. Oh yes, I know ALL about running nerves! I was on my high school’s cross country team in high school, and took myself waaaaay too seriously. As one of the fastest females on the team, I felt as though it was “expected” that I do well in every single race. I’ve always been competitive with myself, but the pressure of performing for my team only intensified the feelings. Looking back on it now, I laugh, because it was such a trivial worry, really. However, I completely understand how nerve-wracking it is in the moment! I’m so sorry the park run wasn’t a good experience for you, but I guess the silver lining is that it helped you reevaluate your #1 running priority—to have fun. 🙂 Too much pressure sucks the enjoyment out of running (and exercising in general), which then begins to turn it into a dreaded chore. I think it might help to remind yourself why you started running, and why you’re so passionate about it now. 🙂

    CONGRATS on the amazing finish Sunday! And congratulations to Ben on setting two PRs, too! I sure hope you celebrated accordingly that night. 🙂

    Happy almost-Tuesday, Anna! <3 xoxo

  5. Well done on getting first lady!!! That’s great! 🙂
    I get incredibly nervous before Parkrun events. I think it’s mainly because the pressure is on over such a short distance. I’m very conscious that all race events we enter as members of our running club get posted on the club website and I am worried about letting others down with a poor time. (I’m also incredibly competitive with myself) With a Parkrun you have such a short time to recover if it doesn’t all go to plan. I LOVE the Parkrun concept though and I hope you can try again sometime under a little less pressure. Try not telling anybody when you are going next time. Perhaps not even Ben or your parents. That way you’ve taken the pressure off a little from the very beginning and you will have a more relaxed run.

  6. Sorry you felt like that at the park run, Anna, It can be really easy to put too much pressure on ourselves. But well done for getting back on the horse and going for a run the next day and that’s awesome you came first out of the women.

    Me and the boy have been thinking about doing the park run near us.

  7. Good for you!! I’m so sorry you felt awful after the first run, but you have a great attitude and you certainly seem to have learned from it. Good for you, Anna!

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