Thursday 14 October 2010

The end of the season is always a good time for a bit of reflection on events. Analysis, self assessment, navel gazing, what went right, what went wrong, that sort of thing and very worthwhile it is too. As athletes we can be very self critical about our performance, cold heartedly pouring over data that tells us we are good or tells us we are bad. Our physical condition and fitness are paramount, it defines us, its what we do. There is very little room for emotion in sport and yet it is full of emotion. Perhaps that should read, there is very little room for emotion in training, but that’s not really true either. We have all felt the high after a good workout, that bombproof feeling that makes us think we can take on the world, filling us up with positivity. Likewise the times when things are not going so well, and we want to jack it all in, wallowing in self pity “why me” Embrace it all, it’s the physical work that sows the seed but it’s the emotions that reap the harvest. Picture the boxer, entirely focused in training, ruthless in the ring yet declaring his love for his wife to the camera post race, the long jumper who seeks out his coach in the stands for an answer, when he cannot hit the board, the sobbing footballers, sobbing when they win and when they lose, ahh! When endurance athletes cry it’s usually because they are tired but that does not make it wrong or a weakness. This season has been full of emotion, from the inspiration of 45 year old Julia Shaw winning bronze at the commonwealths to the despair of Chrissie Wellington pulling out at Kona. From the frustration of Wiggins at the tour to the elation of Emma Pooley at the worlds. The betrayal by Contador (allegedly) to the hope of Andy Shleck. That suicidal feeling as England let us down again in South Africa to the life affirming performances of so many unsung heroes of countless marathons, Ironman Triathlons and crazy endurance events that take place every weekend. Sport is not really important but sometimes it is the only thing that matters, so savour the moment, good or bad, after all it’s what you have been training for.

That’s enough navel gazing for one year, I have got a full winters training ahead and it’s all about, heart rate, numbers, zones, miles and intensity, so no room for looking inside, just focus and hard work, Ha, Ha.

I was at the Gold Hill 10km last week in Shaftsbury my daughter was running in it and as my season is over I thought I better go and support her for a change, it was good fun, took a few photos but all I could really think about were those TV adds for Hovis and the brass band music, “Twas like takin bread to the top of the world” I have cycled up Gold Hill but never down it. It’s the cobbles that make it hard, that and the 1 in 3 gradient; some of the runners walked the whole way up and why not!! Continuing the end of season theme, I went to the London Bike Show, the former world champion, the Lion king Mario Cippolini was there, yes I got a photo but again all I could really think was, if I wore a waistcoat, tucked in shirt, jeans, stacked heel boots and three days of stubble I would look a right pratt but because he is Italian he kind of gets away with it! Good on ya Super Mario.

A couple of friends are running the Cardiff Half Marathon; one is aiming for a P B the other is just jogging round. There will be some physical pain, a few questions will be asked and hopefully answered, the hard work and training has been done but it’s the emotion on crossing the line that will live in the memory. Go on “Dig em in”

See you up the Road