I competed in Snake Lane 10 on Sunday. It’s a 10 mile running race which I had wanted to do ever since I first heard about it a year prior. My keenness to take part ensured that the entry date appeared everywhere as a reminder so I wouldn’t miss it and I’d persuaded some others to give it a go too. It’s a popular, rural race which sells out quickly so we were all lucky to bag a spot in the line up.
Snake Lane is billed as a fast and flat race but after a little chat with my colleague at work, who runs that route regularly, it was apparent it had some long inclines which she deemed pesky for the legs. I love learning about races beforehand and usually this helps me prepare but on this occasion it spiralled into an expectation of me not achieving.
With hindsight, the hills and inclines were nothing and certainly not as bad as a recent 10 mile route I’d done a few weeks previously, which I didn’t mind at all. But that pre-race hill and incline information meant I’d mentally given up before I’d even got to the race. I knew I’d be the last back from our running pack, so when my legs turned to wood at mile 3 and I started slowing down at mile 4, I was already prepared to give up and told my running friend to go on and leave me.
I think my eventual mental defeat was partly to do with me not being able to wear earphones. I know some runners do not like music when running but my personal stance is that podcasts help me to zone out because sometimes all it takes is one negative thought and the devil is on your shoulder, whispering in your ear about why you don’t belong in the running pack. At Snake Lane, the devil and the angel on my shoulders fought and the devil won. But I can and will take something positive from the experience. In fact, we should all try to walk away from runs and events with a positive no matter the outcome. Here are mine…
For me, Snake Lane was a good start to 2019 running. I may not have got the time I wanted but I ran and I completed it, in glorious sunshine along a gorgeous route where I saw a fox! For four miles of the race, I chatted to my running friend, something I’ve never done before but will endeavour to do it again at our next race together in June. It will probably mean I’ll need to dig deep and push, and I’ll use Snake Lane as an benchmark (of what not to do).
I also got some post race tips about not being able to use headphones. I’m told that when the devil starts to whisper, simply chat with someone at the side of you to drown him out and then push on again. This makes perfect sense.
Running is a journey and you learn something every time you lace your trainers up. So thank you Snake Lane, I’ll hopefully bag a place again next year and poke the devils eye.
This year will be my happy running year.