As most of you will know this is the week.
The week I’ve spent the last 6 months working towards.
I am in such a different place to last year.
Last year I was oldest in my age group and it was me Vs my younger self.
Could I break not only my current masters PB’s but could I break those PBs set in my early twenties?
Even on paper I would be lucky if I made a final so that was my goal.
I have never felt emotions like it before, tears before and after most races. Not quite believing in what was happening (and even now it all feels a dream)
This year is different.
A new age category, you’d think I’d feel an element of outside pressure.
As always the only pressure is the one I put on myself.
My pressures previously have come because I’ve never really felt like I “belonged” on the track amongst these amazing athletes who have worked so hard.
I’ve always felt I’ve been winging it, not deserving of being at such championships.
At my first European championships back in 2019 i wasn’t even track training, just working off my base fitness.
At the European indoor championships in 2022 I decided not to focus on it and stayed in “heavy” winter training with my main focus on the world championships in Finland.
Even heading into the World championships in Finland I only track trained once a week until 8 weeks before because I was working around Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, heavy mileage with clients and then just a week before the event a hip flexor strain.
This year, for the first time, I know I couldn’t have done any more.
I’ve hit 2 track sessions a week (and in the last 8 weeks 3) and all my gym sessions since October, bar 1 of each when I had covid.
I’ve trained at 9 pm at night to get my gym session done, I’ve worked around my children’s commitments and travelled between two coaches at Reading AC and Wycombe to get my two track sessions in and gym hopped to get my sessions in when it suits best.
I’ve travelled the country to get that all important race experience in the bag, I’ve travelled on week days over to Lee valley to get training sessions in to battle the undulations of an indoor track.
I’ve kept those niggles at bay, booking in regular treatments with my sports therapist, using a physio to get me back on track when an ache has felt more than just an ache.
I’ve asked clients to move running sessions because I was racing the day after, cancelled classes so I can get to my physio appointments.
I’ve removed those negative voices from my life, those people who unbalance me.
And for the first time I feel I’ve trained like an athlete.
I feel I am an athlete.
I really couldn’t have done any more.
So whatever will be will be now.
Physically I am in the best place I can be and it’s over to finding that strength mentally to focus on my own lane, my own race, race by race through the rounds.
Controlling my nerves and anxiety.
Understanding that these are part and parcel of the process.
Of course I’ve dared to dream, but I’ve really gained a appreciation of my training journey this time round.
A journey to accepting that I am an athlete.
A journey that has helped me through a tough 6 months at home.
A journey that’s brought balance and reasoning so I am able to tackle those everyday “dramas”, for want of a better choice of words.
A journey that has brought connection beyond athletics.
Specifically shreddette Leanne. A coach, a training partner, a work colleague, a competitor, my competition, and yet best of friends supporting each other during the hard days and laughing through the good ones.
The one thing that’s kept me feeling like “me”.
My rock if you like.
Both coaches Leanne and Nathan completely believing in me, through the stressful sessions where I would rather be curling up in a ball than heading out into the cold and wet. My rocks.
The days when actually I’ve just had one of those days, but I know training with friends will bring me a giggle or smile in the group. My rocks.
The friends who I’ve been absent from but who understand and still show up with their support and love. My rocks.
My parents. who get that training is often my only time to just be “Karen” and take on the parenting duties whilst I am working, training and competing this week. My rocks.
So as I go through the rounds this is my focus.
To remember I’ve done my best.
And that’s enough.
Whatever it brings.
So if your having those days where doubt creeps in, when you’ve woke late for your class or missed a run because of work.
Just remember your doing your best, trying your hardest and that’s good enough.
You can follow both my journey at the world championships through my stories on my facebook page Karen burles PT or elite_strong on Instagram and Leanne’s on her Instagram page Lwcoaching.
Here’s to returning as winners regardless, because no medal can beat the lifelong friendships and support I’ve gained on this journey, because that to me is priceless and came at a time when I needed it most.
Thank you for the journey.
Karen and the team