The Blog is Back!!! Catch-up with me: September – November!

Hi Runners,

How is everyone doing? It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. I honestly can’t believe it’s nearly February; where has all the time gone!

It’s been about four months since my last post, and I’ve been so surprised by the amount of visitors to my site. So thank you to all the new readers! We’ve hit 24 followers, which is a huge achievement for me, and I hope you enjoy reading all the new blog posts to come. I haven’t been the most active due to challenges from college and running, but I’m finally ready for the blog comeback!

But, first, a catch-up of the past few months. They have certainly been months of learning and development as a person. I know that everyone claims on social media that they have developed into a more vibrant, radiant person due to their challenges, but I have a much more positive mindset from the setbacks I have faced. It took five months of really difficult times and feeling like a disappointment to finally realise that I needed to shift my perspective of life. I honestly hit rock bottom, but I learnt how to pick myself up, dust myself down, and see the enjoyment in running once more. It was all about relieving the self-pressure, putting life into perspective, letting go of past failures, and stepping away from the watch.

September 2020 – My first month at my new college! It was a nerve-wracking experience having to make new friends in a new town, but I’m glad to say that I have met people who I am genuinely close yo and have a lot in common with. I know for some people making friends is hard, but in a college environment, there are so many people you communicate with everyday, that there is always someone you will click with.

Running-wise, it was the start of my comeback month post-injury. I was running a consistent mileage week with one track session, one long run, one tempo run, three recovery runs, and one day-off. A few races were being held, but I decided not to compete in them as my times were relatively slow and I was focusing on strength and endurance, rather than speed.

October 2020 – College work started to ramp up, and I was spending time with friends and family, but also working hard to maintain my grades. We were regularly being tested and I knew I had important exams in November, so I made sure I kept my binders, online folders, and notebooks organised. I have always wanted to work hard at school, but I realised that I was spending hours every night studying after school and running, and not giving myself any time to relax and unwind.

So, Lesson 1: give yourself time to unwind in the evening, otherwise the mental weight of homework and computer time can have a negative impact on your life.

Running was not quite going as planned. Although I was performing consistent mileage week-after-week, I hadn’t seen any improvement since August. My dad and I would go to the nearby town for a 5k time-trial around the estuary (a 3k loop), and my times were clearly showing signs of getting slower, rather thank faster. Honestly, it was heart-breaking, feeling as if my hard work was going to waste, but I had faith that soon I would start to see an improvement, however long that took.

November 2020 – My first 1500m time trial at the track. I was currently training with the adult endurance group, but I was racing against the 15-16 year olds who train in the speed group on Tuesday and Thursday. After the 5k time trial at the end of October with an even slower time than the September time trial, my dad talked to the speed coach who invited me to come train with the group.

My first session was the week before the 1500m. It was 15x200m, and my body received a shock from the speed. I had become so accustomed to running slow, steady miles, that I had lost all my speed. My body ached the day after, but I finally felt that I need to join the speed group to start seeing faster times.

So, Lesson 2: make the change. If something is not working out, find a way to deal with it.

The 1500m time trial was the following week, my first ever attempt at the distance. I ran a 5:24, finishing the race humiliated after coming last by around 20 seconds. It felt like another setback, another disappointment following a string of disappointing time-trials since September.

The following week, I ran a 5:18, a 6 second PB. It felt like my times were on the rise.

Lesson 3: You will see results eventually (and always race in shorts, they are much more liberating than leggings).

The following week, we were back in lockdown. Having to adjust to the ever-changing news and lockdown rules has been difficult for everybody, especially athletes. Training alone on the streets is so different to training on the track with your team and it can leave us feeling lost. But, we are also the luckiest because we have running as our outlet from life, from all of the online school and homework. It is the one time in the day to escape the problems of life. So, don’t beat yourself up if you had a bad run, a bad day, or even if you didn’t manage to fit in a run. The winter weather is making it harder for us all, but by sharing our experiences together, we will get through this.

The catch-up with me series continues next week, when I will talk about my experiences from December to January.

Until then, stay safe and find ways to brighten the day, however small they may be!

Lots of love,
Florence 🙂

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