Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as… Time Trial

The MAC Time Trial. A bane of my life. I ran one good one last July in 24.34 when I was in my best form and got injured shortly after. In my last one in January I managed 26.41, more than 2 minutes behind and in second last place. The rules were changed re the handicap so that December and January ones don’t count, and the February time trial was cancelled so still running off that bloody July handicap. So to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to this, but know I am better than I was in January so wasn’t as hung up about finishing last. It was back to the “summer” course. A loop round Strathclyde Loch then an extra long straight section to bring it to exactly 4 miles. But after Sundays better than expected National Relays run I had made a wee agreement with myself to start working hard outside my comfort zone. The legs were still a bit tight and as I confessed to the legend in lycra during the warm up the head still wasn’t being kind to me. After Marcus’ excellent run last month he was starting 8 seconds behind me, and the nearest person in front of me was to be the legend a good minute and 20 or so ahead. My head started to calm down and I made my race plan. Fast start, fast finish and try and keep the in between kilometres as close to 4 minutes as possible. This would get me under 25.30 which was my big aim tonight. Forget everyone else, all about my wee journey back. And so we were off. The wind was a bit tasty the first long, long stretch. I was off at about 3.30 pace for the first 1/2k as planned, but within 500 m Marcus had sped past me. He has been flying his season so that’s ok. My head accepted it. I stayed confident that I could maintain my game plan, and do the run my way. What a difference a wee bit of confidence can bring you. Last season got kickstarted by the Edinburgh 5k, this season by a Road Relay. Marcus never really got that far away from me, like Cambuslang he’d surge ahead and I would close up to within maybe 10 metres. But I was keeping it steady, first k in 3.48, then a couple in 3.55, 3.56, all good. My worst section came up where we go up a wee windy slope and across a bridge and I never seem to get moving here. Didn’t help when slipping in the mud trying to get past a group of walkers (sadly not of the Walking Dead variety) who were determined not to move for anyone. I swore. Though I didn’t feel big, nor clever, but slightly satisfied. A mouthful of midges and Nick Hughes came past me at pace, as he does. There’s only 3 people who have started behind me that haven’t passed me yet. And they will. But remarkably my head remained unphased. Time slipped the wrong side of 4 minutes but meh. I noticed Marcus was only about 30 – 40 metres ahead, and Nick wasn’t really getting that much further ahead, and I had the lovely sight of the handicap starting to unwind and a couple of runners ahead of me. Got past the first of these just before the wee dodgy hill and I was feeling good. Feeling confident. I could keep this pace going. About 1 1/2k to go and was on Marcus shoulder but unlike Cambuslang I had the confidence to crack on from here. So I did, going past Marcus looking ahead with no caring about the repercussions. That’s an improvement. Was still tracking Nick. Was never going to catch him but was maintaining the gap. Into the last k and was feeling it a bit. Craig came flying past, followed by Cammy and Mark P, but I was also going past folk. Wobbled the last 250m but to be expected. No idea where I finished but definitely not last and looked at the watch. 24.37, my second fastest ever and only 3 seconds off my best. Two minutes faster than January. Unexpected but felt really good, really happy and hopefully gives me a bit of confidence going ahead. So what’s the point of all his? Two things. Believe in yourself and feel a wee bit of confidence but be aware of the fine line that separates it from arrogance (my lesson from last year.) Secondly since I am almost as fast as I was last July then it is no longer right that I bang on about coming back from injury. Permission to slap me if I do. Form that orderly queue. A season that had been written off is back on. No time targets so no pressure. Hopefully I can work hard, keep injury free and see where it goes from here. The head is back up and I am very close to being back where I never thought I would be again. Mon the fish!

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