The dread of the event , you just paid to enter.
How many times have we all entered an event, literally felt yourself feeling a little sick whilst entering it , then from each week on dread the event itself.
You secretly hope its cancelled due to snow, covid or some other natural disaster. You hardly sleep feeling the nerves, you get there either far too early which can be way worse than a little bit late, and walk on tender hooks , panicking because you haven’t packed your dog , your watch or shoes.. (the photo above I had on 2 watches at a world champs, neither worked, I learned this on start line.)
Never the less you get to the start line after some alligator GSD has had your dog’s head in their mouth making said dog even more terrified than they would be just being attached to anxious Annie the racing psycho.
Get to start line, you question your need for a shit , pee , spew and all life choices the past few months, including your aimless scrolling on fb leading to the worst race entry system which has all your life data on saved , entry central.. When will they update it with a picture at least!
5,4….1 …WTF where was 3,2 … Am I meant to go now ??? OK , go go go go go.. All those years of line out, calm starts.. put to good use not!!.. You are given what feels like minus 20 seconds to go in a packed line of sardines..
Off the start chute like Usain in his last 20 metres, you’ve never ran so fast in your entire life, in fact you are now partially blinded as the tears of what may seem like fear and regret , but is actually just the wind force smacking your shocked eye balls cover all ability to see.
So not only can you not see like you once used to , you can not breath, your heart is literally in your mouth and oh whats that a taste of metal I detect.. Yep I think thats a heart attack warning light right there.
Now my arms seem to have been replaced with wooden sticks that do not bend, my shoulders are rapped around my ears and any second now, yep thats my quads now screaming “Think you forgot to warm up you stupid bitch, hope you like this dead leg to teach you “ .
However you talk yourself round and 2km in you fake it until you make it, kidding yourself on your loving it, saying hi and attempting a smile for marshals and photographers to take that crazy slightly neurotic edge off you (until you see the photos , yep you did look like a crazy bitch ). “Oh isn’t this view of mud so lovely and tranquil, I love enjoying nature ( all lies, first thing your doing when home is lying on your couch ya lazy cow).”
The heart attack threat wears off, and your dog starts to flag, you can now breathe a bit more, and get through the finish line, where you tell the biggest lie known to man “That was so much fun, wish I could do it again “ .
Then like a scene out of one flew over the cuckoos nest you gather with others and all talk at each other, not listening to a word each say, and go through step by step of your experience, almost like it was an outer body , aliens came and took me through these woods for 5k experience..and you believe for a minute that everyone cares and wants to hear your meter by meter run through ..
You then pay the price in DOMs for two days , whilst trying to get through normal life, wondering why you don’t have days off after races..Oh thats because you are not a fucking olympian and just some crazy person who batters their body round a course on a sunday. So like Britney once told us “You better work bitch !”
Does this all sound a little too familiar ? I know I am not alone , however I know not every race experience is like this, but we have all been there right ?
A lot of the above may be true and a lot is jest , however the majority of those DOMs we suffered would be from the tension and stress we put ourselves under as opposed to the run itself.
The lack of sleep, the lack of warm up, the tension in start line, first km, and so on .
Sometimes these thoughts are engrained that every time we enter an event we relive these negative feelings , like some form of personal torture.
Part of us knows that events can be fun, they are a great goal post to aim for , a chance to put our training to the test, a chance to push out or comfort zone, a chance to challenge and grow, meet new people, catch up with friends.
The other part can some times cloud and over ride those experience.
As much as it feels good at the time to blame an other racer , their dog, the event organiser, the sign markers, the marshal, your watch, your kit , your kids, your partner for all the things going wrong , really it is down to us and our self destruct , self sabotaging habits.
Do you enter events with a goal in mind (strategy ) , do you then plan and execute that goal ? Or do you do very little and keep telling everyone you are slow, injured, beginner, at the back – but you forget to tell your inner self who actually wants to see some sort of achievement .
Do you enter the events, then smash yourself doing everything and anything you can to hit that pb, you know “Go hard or go home” , “Train hard , race easy “ all that piss we see on insta “inspiring us” yawn !
Do you enter the events and do a mix of the above and hope for the best?
Do you enter as many events as you can, forgetting you once had a life, family and a house that needs the odd clean , never mind that shit you have PBs to smash “souls to steal” .
Either way , do you look at your mindset towards all of this, do you look in wards and ask yourself your true why ? Why am I doing this and what do I authentically want to achieve .
Do you have a plan, and I don’t just mean a generic training plan, do you have a plan to help you achieve mentally and physically what you want out of these events for both you and your dog?
Having accountability and someone who can help guide you through the whole process , not just training is a god send. Being able to self reflect , not self blame or self torture is a priceless tool set to have to lead you to growth.
It is true what they say , your experience at races are what you make it, however they play such a small part in your canicross journey and your training time with your dog that the process in getting there is what should be viewed as the reward . You have to learn how to lean into that, enjoy that and allow the event to be the cherry on the cake.
If this resonates with you , I would love some feedback , a share , like whatever , it all helps and is appreciated.
I will be hosting a workshop come end of October, breaking down racing barriers. So please drop me an message if this kind of work interests you, alternatively you can work with me via online coaching, or through our Cani-Fit Academy .
Much love and happy trails.