“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back then its yours, if it doesn’t then it was never meant to be”
After a very long break from blogging, I’m back. I needed the break, mentally and physically, to give myself the time to reassess and reassemble, but now I am ready to start blogging the project I am calling “getting back on track” (quite literally!). On this blog, I have detailed my journey through the world of distance running, half-marathons, trail runs and endurance, but my sprint roots never really left me, and I could never shake the nagging feeling that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be in the world of endurance.
Aged 15, my friend Ruth dragged me along to our local athletics club, with the promise of a sleepover and snacks. Bribed with food, I ran, threw, and jumped my way through the session, my first taste of the world of athletics.
A couple of months after joining my local club, I entered my first competition (oblivious to the fact that it was my county championships!) and won bronze in the 100m and 4th in the 300m, taking off 2 seconds between the heats and the final.
Just over a year after this, I had my first junior international call up. I won the bronze in the 400m, proudly wearing my Welsh vest. I had completely fallen in love. The discipline of training, the buzz of competing and, unquestionably, the feeling of winning.
So why did I ever stop sprinting?!
Fast forward to university, and my life completely changed. I no longer had my mum (aka my life coach!) helping me eat well, school bedtimes quickly became all-nighters and I felt completely out of control. Within a few months, I gained a lot of weight, and lost motivation- my times were slipping and I felt out of my depth. Desperate to maintain some kind of love for athletics, I entered the world of road running. My mum had always run when I was younger, and I knew that I could use it as a kind of escape- and it worked! I lost the weight I’d gained, started eating well, and felt like I had regained the love that I’d started to lose.
Distance running had been a way for me to have space from the track, space from the constant pressure to run qualifying times, and space for me to realise that the track really was the place that I wanted to be.
I tested the water by entering a few local competitions at the beginning of this summer, the second I stepped out onto the start line, it all came flooding back, everything down to my routine of tucking my hair back when I was down in the blocks came naturally. The races may not have been pretty, but they confirmed what I knew in my heart- that my legs were built for speed, and that the track was my home.
A part of me feels so upset at the thought of the wasted years at university, playing around with distance when I could have got strong and fast, but who knows where I’d be now if I’d trudged on with something I didn’t feel I was enjoying. All I know is that even after years away, I can’t escape my need for speed!