Immediately after I published my Henley race report I had reservations. It accurately reflected the day, but as has since been pointed out was very critical of my performance. I believe that if you are chasing improvements you need to be able to recognise when you fall short; the desire not to repeat your mistakes, to do better next time, is a powerful motivator. From the perspective of my racing goals harsh criticism was fair, but in a broader context I overlooked the significance of the event.
This year was a break from focussed training, a chance to put my energy into developing my coaching business. Despite that I entered three long course races and frequently bemoaned a lack of improvement or results. Work has necessitated a more relaxed approach to my training schedule, in that regard my results have been good. Instead of judging myself against previous standards, I should remember the plan – I never intended to be at my best.
More importantly, I disregarded how good it was to be racing locally. I had numerous supporters on the course – friends and family. Every bit of support is appreciated, but being cheered on by people you know is that much better. For the first time my parents were able to see me race. Having that support made the day a truly positive experience whatever my result.
I will be revisiting the race, picking through the data and considering my performance – particularly in light of the disrupted lead in. That can wait, it was more important I keep perspective on the day. Challenge Henley wasn’t my greatest race, but it was a good day. I’m not a very responsive athlete, I have tunnel vision, but I did appreciate the support I received and it did filter through. What could be better than racing in front of my home crowd? I’ll have better races, but that’s an experience that will be hard to match.
Despite the interruptions of the last month I’m in no rush to return to training. Recover first and keep training in perspective. I’m taking a break and heading to Pembrokeshire for the weekend. It’s not a perfect escape – whilst there I’m going to check out the Ironman Wales bike course with a view to entering next year. The mountain bike is coming with me, but the heart rate monitor is staying at home. No pressure, just fun. Time to relax and not stress about fitness.
I’ll worry about the next race when I return.