When it comes to racing, having the right mindset can make a big difference to how you perform. A little positivity and self-belief can go a long way.
After setting a PB at the Dewsbury 10k, and winning a 10,000m track race, I was definitely feeling optimistic that my next run – the Wombwell five miles – would be a good one. The aim was to get a five mile PB. I thought I’d have a good chance. I was in the right mindset, and I was looking forward to the race.
Then my friend Mark opened his mouth. ‘You’ll probably not run well at Wombwell,’ he said. ‘Don’t be disappointed.’
Mark is a good friend, a very good friend actually, and a lovely person with no malice in him whatsoever. But sometimes, just sometimes, he’s been known to open his mouth before engaging his brain.
‘Yer what?’ I said.
‘You’ve done a lot recently. I don’t want you being disappointed.’
Until Mark mentioned it, I’d never thought about not doing well. I wasn’t being arrogant. It’s just that I don’t spend my days thinking about how badly I’m going to perform in a race. That would be a very bad thing to do. The mindset would be all wrong. If you set yourself up to fail, you probably will.
But now Mark had made all the negative things come rushing into my mind. The seed of doubt had been planted and that was a dangerous thing. How very dare he say such things? I could feel the anger bubbling away. For a few seconds, I didn’t say anything. And then.
The chuntering began!
I chuntered at Mark. I chuntered at Chris (my partner). I chuntered at everyone who’d listen. I was still chuntering on the morning of the race.
‘Do you know what Mark said to me on Tuesday?’ I asked my friends, Dave and Jon. ‘He says I’ll not do well!’
Dave shook his head. ‘That’s not good.’
‘Will you win it?’ Jon asked.
I took a deep breath. Jon was clearly over-estimating my running ability.
‘What we need,’ said Dave. ‘Is some middle ground. Mark’s at this end. Jon’s at the other. Let’s aim for somewhere in between.’
The anger subsided. The ranting stopped. I felt better. I felt more relaxed. My mindset shifted.
And, I exceeded all expectations and finished second lady.
Within a minute of having a lovely new trophy in my hand I was on the phone texting Mark.
‘What were you saying about a bad run? EAT MY SHORTS!’
His reply came back. ‘…amazing Liz. I’m so proud of you 🙂 Superstar. Good that I got you annoyed!’
Then another. ‘I said you’d do well. Am I going to be in your book for firing you up?’
No Mark. You’re not going to be in my book! But you are going to be named and shamed on my blog. So, without further ado. I would like you all to meet my friend.
Mark Mr Motivator Havenhand!
Disclaimer: This is all in good fun. Mark is a lovely friend who has done an awful lot for me, but that wouldn’t be nearly as interesting a read.
Wombwell 5 race report to follow including an update on Sarah’s shiny trophy, and Adrian Gough’s amazing pacing!