I’VE always believed that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right or not at all. Whether it’s work, running, racing or my writing, I always want to do the best that I can. But sometimes, it’s just not possible.
Last year, when I tried to juggle a full-time job, running, studying for my master’s degree, completing my bachelor’s degree, and planning a wedding, it all got a bit much. No surprise there!
I was doing a lot, but not excelling in the way that I’d want. I made the decision to stop racing and training so much, and instead focus on my writing. The good news is that my book is well underway. The bad news is that by not training I’ve lost a lot of fitness and, apart from Endure 24 and a 5k while we were on holiday, I’ve not raced. It’s been difficult but definitely worth it, because writing a book has been my dream since I was about five-years-old.
I still have a lot of work to do on the book before I hand it in for my final master’s degree submission next May. In eight months, there’ll be a lot of re-writing and editing, so the sacrifices will still have to be made.
The problem is that I’ve really missed all aspects of running – the training, the racing, the social life and my running friends. I don’t want to wait eight months before I do another race or go to a club training night.
I told Chris how I was feeling.
‘Do a race,’ he said.
‘I can’t. I’m not fit.’ I said, because I’ve always thought that if I’m racing, I want to be in the best shape I can be so that I can push for a PB. I couldn’t be on a start line if I couldn’t run as fast as I used to. I’d be too disappointed in myself.
‘So, what?’ Chris said. ‘Don’t be hard on yourself. You’ve had your book to write.’
And when I thought about it, I realised he has a point. So, what if I’m not as fit or as fast as before? So what? Does it matter if I set a personal best or a personal worst? It doesn’t, all that matters is doing my best, enjoying it and having some fun. Racing might even help improve my fitness.
So, without any more fretting, I hopped on the internet and entered a race. It’s a 10k trail race in two months, one I’ve never done before. And when I line up on the start line, I’ll want to do my best, but I’ll have to accept that it’s my best with limited training. When you’ve missed racing like I have, it’s worth doing it slower, rather than not taking part at all.