Monday, 21 March 2016

Nine lessons I've learnt this cross country season

Hello you lovely lot,

Yes...I do admit some of these things I already knew before this cross country season began. Nevertheless, they have been of particular relevance this season. So let me share my nine things I've discovered or re-discovered during cross country.

1: Never be afraid to dream...

I was over the moon and so honoured to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Great Edinburgh Cross in January this year after having a good race at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Liverpool. I couldn't wait to get out there and show that I'm not ~just a mountain runner, who can't run fast~.


2:...but be prepared to pick yourself back up when those dreams are shattered. 

After catching a nasty cold just before I was due to represent Great Britain in the Great Edinburgh Cross, I had to make the extremely hard decision to withdraw and allow a more healthy athlete to have the honour of representing the country and do the vest justice. Looking back now, that was the right decision but it was an extremely difficult one to come to. What was important was I was able to recover and pick myself back up to compete well for the rest of the season. I am hopeful that there will be more opportunities to represent my country in the future and I will be able to show people that I am not ~just a mountain runner~

3: Trust the process and don't stress over the short term results. 

The short term races are just stepping stones to the long term goals you are aiming to achieve. In the long term you'll look back at the ups and downs and see that they helped you to learn and understand what you need to do to achieve your best. It's all just part of your journey.  


4: If the tactic doesn't work the first time; it's probably not going to work the second. 

Enough said.

5: Appreciate the moment.

This cross country season I competed at my last ever Welsh Schools' Cross Country Championships after competing in every race over seven years.  It was the end of an era and made me really appreciate the amazing opportunities I have been given through being involved in this fantastic sport. This was further re emphasised when I competed for Wales at the Home Countries Cross Country this past weekend in Scotland. This was combined with the Schools' International (SIAB) and seeing all the younger Welsh athletes so excited to race in their Welsh kit for the first time was priceless. I remember that feeling; a feeling of nervous anticipation that I do still get standing on any start line today.

6: A bad race does not make you a bad runner. 

Everyone has good races. Everyone has bad races. It is important not to lose your motivation when you have the latter. Each race is a learning curve. Don't beat yourself up. Learn from it and move on.

 

7: A friendly rivalry can help bring the best out of each other. 

This cross country season myself and Cari Hughes of Menai Track and Field have had a friendly rivalry all season.  When you have those sorts of races it really helps and pushes you to achieve your best. I was obviously extremely happy for Cari when she won the Under 17 British Athletics Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships recently. Watching her run away from the leading group was amazing and I am glad that we have been able to push each other and experience this rivalry within Wales. I'm already looking forward to pushing each other over the country next season. 

Sorry Cari, I stole your photo!

 

8: Once people start to realise you write blog posts, they naturally want a mention and keep asking when you're going to write your next one. 

So here's a shout out to all those Welsh athletes wanting a mention that competed at the Home Countries Cross Country on the weekend. Naming names would be seen as favouritism: you know who you are! 

The Welsh team at Home Countries

 

9: Without my family and people around me; I would not be the athlete or person I am today. 

I am forever in debt to my family who have spent the last seven years being my number one running fans and supporting me wholeheartedly towards achieving my dreams. So a huge thank you as ever to my family and also the people around me at school, my friends, teammates and people within Welsh Athletics and Sport Wales for helping me along this journey. 


Onto the next chapter.
See you in the mountains, 

Heidi x


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