Last night was my first race of the 2011 season, my first race with my new guide runner and my first race with starting blocks. Yet I still had a good feeling that I was going to smash it! I suppose when you have such high expectations as I always do, there’s a high chance of failure. Does this mean I’ll lower my expectations in the future? Hell no!
The race was just my local club’s open and therefore whether I ran amazing or not the times are not eligible for Paralympic qualification or UKAs WCPP. However, it was an opportunity to see where I’m at and remember what it’s like to be in race mode.
My 100m was up first and my immediate error was that for some unknown reason I hesitated when coming up into the set position and therefore didn’t raise my hips high enough. The only explanation I can think of is that I might have panicked that the gun would go before I was ready. My reaction was adequate, but because I had already made an error, my drive phase was compromised and I felt the field immediately pull away from me. Instead of relaxing and set on catching them, I completely crumbled. My whole body seized up, I could feel I was running like a robot, but I couldn’t do anything about it. When I eventually strolled across the line in last place, I growled in frustration. I don’t believe I’m mentally weak and yet I allowed myself to be crushed. Unbelievable and let me assure you I won’t be making the same mistake again! I’m so used to chasing my group in training; it normally makes me more determined. My time came out at 16.00 and I actually burst into tears! Don’t worry it was for only about five seconds and then I became my usual hard core self, ready to murder the 200m!
It was a long wait until the 200m, the temperature had dropped somewhat and the wind picked up. Thankfully when you’re as slow as I am, you don’t have to wait too long for your heat as it’s graded in time order. I was down to race in lanes six and seven, but asked in my sweetest, poor little blind girl voice if I could run in lanes 1 and 2, as I didn’t want the pressure of having to chase again, I can feel the bend better on the inside and we had only practised setting the blocks up in those lanes! The stern ice lady nearly choked when she approved it and I was pleased to see my A Level drama hadn’t gone to waste! Anyway, I killed the start and when my guide runner called 30m to indicate to come out of my drive phase I was shocked that I had got there so quickly and it took me a bit of time to register it. I continued to execute the bend, which has been my Achilles heel since time began! Then, something had to go wrong! The transition off of the bend wasn’t smooth and I found myself unable to straighten up causing some co-ordination to be lost between my guide runner and I. In all the mayhem I didn’t hear or my guide runner forgot to call 80m for the kick to the finish and so I didn’t start to kick until it was 50m to go. My legs were completely like jelly at this point, my technique had gone out of the window, I was doing more of a front crawl swimming motion towards the end and the last call I heard was 10m to go. I didn’t feel my guide runner pull back before the end (they aren’t allowed to cross the line first), but guessed I was at the finish and slowed down. As soon as we stopped, I found the energy to ask if I stopped before the line, but was assured I didn’t. However, on reading the results I show as two seconds behind everyone else. That equates to approximately 12metres and I know I wasn’t that distant. My time came out as 34.15 and yet everyone else in my race ran sub 33. I wouldn’t have run a PB because of my poor ending, but I wouldn’t have been miles outside of it. Therefore I’ve learnt never ever to stop running until told, no matter how traumatic it is!
Enough of the negatives, I need to reflect on the positives and what I’ll be taking forward.
1. I came out of starting blocks
2. I made it to the end of both races
3. I ran the best bend of my life
4. I reacted well to the gun
5. I’ve learnt so many valuable lessons
I could be racing next Wednesday, but it’s not confirmed. If not I’ll next be competing on 14 May.
As an iconic song once said ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down’!