MY EXPERIENCE AT THE BRITISH INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020
On Saturday 22nd February I braved the 3hour 30minute drive up to Glasgow (in 60mph winds, extreme rain showers and even snow storms- got to love Scottish weather!) to compete in my first ever British Championships, which was a massive step up compared to any of the previous competitions I have ever participated in before. From the athletes, to the event staff, to the track itself, it was all too a whole new sporting level that I had never experienced before. In the run up to this competition I went through so many emotions, from excitement and enthusiasm, to pure dread and anxiousness which I found really hard to try and regulate at times.
I received the invitation to the British Indoor Championships at an extremely pivotal time in my athletics career. I had gone to my final training session of 2019 with my two coaches Glynn and Carol with the mindset of ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’. I had lost all of my motivation to continue with my athletics after all the set backs I encountered in 2019 within my hurdling. Just as the session was finishing and I was going to have the dreaded chat with my coaches, I received the invitation to the British Indoor Championships- one the biggest athletics competitions in Britain. My first reaction was – me? Why have I been invited to this? It must have been a mistake. I’m not good enough to compete with some of the quickest girls in Britain!! After a lot of persuasion off both my coaches and parents, I agreed that it was too big of an opportunity to give up and to compete in the Champs.
I had just two months to change my whole mindset and to try and find the love and passion I used to have for hurdling again. To say these couple of months were tough would be an understatement. I was having a constant battle with myself. One half of me really wanted to train hard for the Champs and do well, whilst the other half had absolutely no motivation and didn’t want to compete at all. After the constant to and fro, I told myself that I would compete in the Champs and after that I would be done with athletics.
The dreaded weekend finally arrived, and it was all starting to feel so real. The night before the competition began, I honestly felt like crying, I was absolutely petrified of letting everyone and myself down. I remember thinking that I just didn’t want to embarrass myself on TV and come last by a mile or for everyone to judge me for not being as good as the other girls who were in my race. I woke up on the morning of my race absolutely passed myself with nerves, I couldn’t eat and hardly could talk. Looking back I don’t know why I got myself in that state, I had absolutely no pressure on me at all and had a huge support system behind me.
So me, my mum and my boyfriend all arrived at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow (Don’t be fooled by my happy and smiley face – I was sh**ing it !!) along with my full family and friends who had to all tuned in to BBC to watch me perform. After watching some of the events before my race it started to calm my nerves, it made me realise that everyone competing was feeling the exact same emotions as me. I took myself off to the warm up area after hearing some ‘motivational speeches’ off both my Mum and boyfriend and I felt ready to perform well. I remember being in absolute awe of all these amazing athletes around me as I walked into the warm up area. I just sat and watched everyone’s different warm up, hurdling and stretching techniques thinking wow for around 10minutes. Them few minutes were a turning point for me. I WAS AT THE BRITISH INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS. I had done it. The 8 years I have been hurdling I have always dreamt of being at a competition like this and running on TV and I was there. I was about to fulfil my dream.
Why was I feeling dread and absolute terror, and not living in the moment and enjoying the experience that I had worked so hard for 8 years to achieve? At that moment I decided that I wasn’t at the competition to win – I knew I was never going to win- so why was I putting so much pressure on myself? I told myself to take advantage of this amazing opportunity of running against top class hurdlers in such a professional and big event and to run my OWN race. No one else’s. The girls in my race have trained so hard with the aim to peak at these championships, I had not. They wanted to win, I just wanted to run my best. This changed mentality changed my whole experience of the champs from then on, I loved it.
I was able to find my love for the sport again, meet some amazing athletes and watch some elite athletics that I was lucky enough to be involved in.
When it was finally my heat, I ran out onto that track with the biggest smile on my face, I waved to my mum and boyfriend in the crowd and then waved again on camera to all my family and friends at home whilst they read all my past achievements out for the country to hear. I was so proud of my little self.
Why on earth was I going to give all of this up?
What an amazing experience that I quite easily could have gave up. I am so grateful to all the people who motivated and believed in me otherwise I would not be in the position I am now. The race did not go to plan, I came last in my heat (as expected) and did not get a personal best time. Previous me would look at that outcome and be annoyed and upset with it.
The me now couldn’t be happier with my performance. Obviously I wish I had ran slightly quicker and maybe ran a PB however, I was able to run a seasons best time in my second competition of the season. After all of the set backs I experienced last year and my lack of motivation I have come such a long way both mentally and physically and it took this competition to show me that. I am now more motivated than ever to continue with my hurdling. I am excited to train more frequently and intensely in order to better myself and my future performances. As we move from the indoor to the outdoor season in athletics, my next goal is to achieve the outdoor standard of 14.4seconds to gain an invite to the British Outdoor Championships.
I hope you can come with me on this journey of finding myself within my sport and achieving my goals.