Week Four from Richard in the USA

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it. The race was an absolute disaster. There, that wasn’t so hard!! After all the build up i tried to give you last week and the excitement of finally being in a race, I performed about as effectively as a handbrake on a canoe.

 Thankfully it’s only race one of the year and there are many more to come.  I don’t think it was so terrible that my Mum will feel the need to disown me just yet, and she might still come visit me when I get back from the States, but I’m very glad she wasn’t there to see it.
Shall I risk a paragraph about me Ma??? Yeah why not. Big Sue as she’s known  to her friends (and not because she is in any way a large lady, in fact quite  the opposite) is a phenomenal woman, my biggest fan by some stretch, and without  her and Big Mart (who again is a very normally sized, beautifully moustached  human being and also my Dad), I would have been long retired and forgotten from this sport that I love.
Their faith in my ability and their drive and determination to give me a second chance can and will never be ignored or underestimated by me or anyone  who knows them. Proper good eggs them two as my Dad would say.
But equally nor can we ignore my Mothers appalling level of knowledge and  understanding of the sport I have done since i was 13 years old.  How a person can watch hundreds of races and thousands of training sessions and yet seemingly be an athletics simpleton will forever baffle me, and this is why if she had seen my race on Saturday she would have struggled to see any positives. Which in all honesty would have been fair enough. But not constructive!! So it’s a blessing she was absent for this one  and my analysis was done with people with a little more understanding.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was trying to squeeze the positives out of  my race and not drag you all down with my woes. To sum it up simply I think it  was just one of those times where you over think a situation and forget what it  is you are actually doing i.e. racing. I will try and think of an analogy  because I like analogies….
Right…I think I have one. Bear with me. So you’re on a first date with a  young lady. You’ve gone to her house, picked her up, opened the door for her,  polite chit chat in the car, which you remembered to tidy, but not too much,  just enough to not seem to OCD about cleanliness.
You’ve got to dinner, been the perfect gent, asked lots of questions, kept eye contact, been funny, but not too funny, interesting and also importantly you are interested. You probably paid, have driven her home, walked her to the door. Everything has been smooth sailing. All this is my winters training this far!
Now, it’s that time, you’re thinking to yourself, I would love to kiss this girl goodnight, I think she likes me, it’s gone well, You’ve had a tactical polo in the car, You’re ready…..but are all the signs there? Should you go for it?  Is it to soon? And before you know it, she’s said goodnight and has gone inside.This bit was my race. I did all the thinking and I’ve done all the hard work, but I just forgot to actually race!!!
Did that analogy make any sense? Unlikely…anyway…
Luckily for me I have an opportunity to rectify this performance next week  in another 400m hurdles race where I might be lining up against the two time  Olympic Champion Angelo Taylor. If ever there was a week to make sure you turn up to a race this is it because it’s one of those rare opportunities in life where you can directly measure yourself up against somebody who has achieved the  things you dream about achieving.
One of the great things I find about athletics is that it is so finite and  measurable that there is never a shortage of feedback and information. In the hurdles for example we work off of split timings for each first touch down  between hurdles, and this information can be analysed and used throughout a  season similarly to how a formula one racer might use sector times through a grand prix weekend.
But, first and foremost a racing driver is in a race and wants to win and if not, cross the finishing line in as high a position as they possibly can, and this is what I was guilty of losing sight of on Saturday, i forgot to race and got caught up in the technical. So next week it will be just me trying to put racing first in my mind and trusting that I have done the work to make it all  come together.
Thanks for reading 🙂