Week three and it’s Easter Sunday. For the majority of my twitter feed, this seems to mean chocolate is back on the menu and a lovely long weekend with family and friends. Out here though it translated into two big track sessions in three days and life as usual. (I’m @dikkydavenport incase you’re interested).
We have now reached the transitional period in the trip where training is no longer the thing on everyones minds but racing. All the usual questions are running through the mind. Am I in shape? Can i even remember what it is to race? What is everyone else running? Where did the winter go? Have I put enough work in?
Eclipsing all of this though is the return of ‘that feeling’. In the 4 years I was injured, unable to race, it was probably what I missed the most. It is irreplaceable. I have come close at times. The seconds before you turn over an exam sheet panicking that you might not have learnt the right things. Or the first few seconds of your driving test when you strap yourself in and adjust your mirrors wondering if it’s going to be alright. Even when your girlfriend gets her haircut and you wonder if you’re gonna like it!
Nothing however quite measures up to racing.
Picture the scene. You’ve killed the awkward hour or so, counting down the minutes until you can finally begin your warm up. Maybe you’ve seen a couple of people you know already race, some successfully, some not so much. But no matter it’s your turn soon!
You’ve navigated your way through your warm up, trying to remember what it is exactly you do before a race. It’s only been 6 months… How have I forgotten?…. Next comes a few select words from the coach, before the long and lonely walk to call-up with nothing but your spikes, a drinks bottle, a vest and your dreams.
Call-up is quite like a departure lounge in an airport. It’s the collection area before athletes are led out onto the track. 8 seats all in a row. Stewards shepherding you about, checking this, checking that. Pin this number here, this one there, cover this up, cover that up…it’s all hussle and bussle, but the best part is the athletes themselves.
Some sit dead still, unaffected by anything around them, usually shades on, gladiaorialesque. Some look as if only death awaits them (they’re my favourites), others won’t stop fidgeting, stand up, sit down, jump on the spot, more stretching, never calm (I think this is me) and a few who just talk incessant jibberish, trying to expel all the nervousness with words and alike.
Then the order to line up, you’re walked out onto the track, to the blocks, quick practise and then those fateful words ‘stand behind your blocks please’ and there it is!!! ‘That feeling’ which has been building the whole day has finally peaked. And it is an addictive feeling. Irreplaceable. I can almost feel it now hahaha I can’t wait for its return.
The thirty seconds between that order and ‘on your marks’ can feel like an eternity, but come starters orders and it’s auto-pilot as always and you’re off and flying towards Olympic qualification. Here’s hoping.
Right, I’m out of frappucino and the sun is setting on this beautiful car park i feel like im sat in and i feel i have got a bit carried away this week so I will cease typing and let you know how it all goes next week. Wish me luck