Returning to racing... soon-ish

Haven't done much racing lately. Wait a sec, I haven't done any racing in months. The best part of a year, in fact.

The past 12 months have been a blur of injury, mundane cross training and frustrating, seemingly futile attempts to return to racing fitness. All that is changing now, as I steadily increase my mileage without (touch wood) pain.

[More: Visiting Seary Physiotherapy running clinic Cardiff]

The aim is to put regular racing back on my calendar. Not to compete per se, other than perhaps myself and the negative voices in my head, but mainly to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the running community.

Enjoying the buzz at my first Race for Life Twilight
Weekly Parkruns are near the top of my list, just after Race for Life's Pretty Muddy 5K that I'll be tackling next month.

I'm probably taking this race too seriously. The point is to relax, walk/run/jog/dance your way to the finish line, and raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. I signed up with a mate and I'm not even sure if I'll run the whole thing. It involves mud and bright pink inflatable slides. Take it too seriously and I'll miss the point.

But I have questions. Serious ones. Ones only an injured road-racer who over-thinks things would ask.

Like, what trainers should I wear? I don't want to ruin my precious new Kinvaras, which aren't designed to be slipping and sliding around in anyway. But then neither are my New Balance 1080s. I have some old gym shoes, which I reserve entirely for cross-training, shall I knacker those instead? Or buy some mega-cheap trainers from the local Lidl and chuck them out after?

Buried deep in the boot of my car, which is like a second wardrobe to me, I find some Adidas Kanadia trail shoes my sister donated to me months ago after she didn't get on with them. I've worn them once. Although they're much heavier than I'm used to, they were brilliant on uneven fields. Back on road sections however, my knees started killing me - the same problem my sister had. So I could opt for these on race day but what if there are sections of tarmac involved? I guess... just walk.

Perhaps I wouldn't look too out of place in these...
Then another question pops into my head, eager to sabotage myself further. I'm doing a mud race... and I wear contact lenses. Don't laugh. Ok, yeah go ahead, it's a pretty silly doubt to have, but I'm good at those. I mean, should I wear goggles? I scour YouTube for clips of previous Pretty Muddy races and spot a volunteer deliberately throwing mud at a racer. Hands up, you can accuse me of being a spoilsport, but that would ANNOY THE HELL OUT OF ME. Race for Life volunteers take note: throw mud in my eyes at your peril.

Reflecting on my self-doubts and over analysis, it's hardly surprising I've slipped off the racing scene. One the best things about racing, if not the most important thing, is questioning yourself, rising to the challenge and quashing all those doubts as you bask in your achievements.

Whether I wear bright pink goggles or not, try out some different shoes or go barefoot, run to the finish line or laugh and walk with my friends, I will be there.

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