DSC_5338After putting together a decent five week training stint in the States I headed to the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k 2 weeks ago hoping to put in a good performance. It was ‘solid’ nothing special in what turned out to be a fiercely contested women’s race. Not surprisingly I felt a little flat having only arrived back in the UK but I felt like there was more there on a better day.

On Saturday I had the ideal opportunity to prove to myself that I had trained hard and could be competitive for a place on the European XC team for Bulgaria. I wasn’t in the race preview or a favourite for a spot on the team but that’s the way I like it…to be a dark horse.

These days I see myself as a marathon runner but this year has been about improving over the shorter distances as well as taking a break from the marathon training. My running career first started on the mud and although I have raced pretty sparsely these past couple of years I really enjoy competing over the country. I just love the smell of mud! It’s totally different to running on the track or the road where lap times or mile splits determine your every step, on the mud you can run free.

For the first time (perhaps ever) I decided to go off with the pace and try and hang on, I’m usually a strong finisher having worked through the field but I wanted to take myself out of my comfort zone, try a new tactic. Quite often it’s not that we can’t do things; it’s that we won’t do them. It paid off in Liverpool and I am so pleased that I will be part of the GB team in Bulgaria in 2 weeks. If I am honest I wasn’t completely comfortable racing this way but I think I may have just expanded the boundaries of my comfort zone.  Fear and feeling uncomfortable is part of the process if you’re doing something different.

So doubt whom you will, but never yourself… American proverb