JEN SCOTNEY: CAPPADOCIA PRE-RACE NERVES
Marcus says I’m an anxious traveller and maybe I am a bit; I don’t like all the stages of air travel and a full day to travel there, and one on the way back, seems a lot when days off are precious. I also had an important Parole Hearing for work on the day I got back. This one was 170 miles away and for a young person I have represented for 10 years. My work still means something to me, even if I find my focus elsewhere at times. But I agree the travel to Cappadocia was worth it and I am opening up to considering more travel, as much as my work and bank balance will allow.
We had a few days in Urgup before the race. The caves and rock formations were so intriguing and we recced the first and last few miles of the race. My chest had felt tight, almost wheezy, on the first hill, but I put that out of my mind. Marcus was nervous, and maybe that was making me nervous too. I know I hadn’t trained that much, in my view, and that I wasn’t as fit or a light as I had been. 40 miles also seemed short, and the doubts of how slow I am on flat-ish runnable trails added to my nerves, to the point I thought about pulling out. But really? Why did I put this pressure on myself? I really had no goals other to finish to get my UTMB points and also finish before Marcus did twice the distance in his race so I could look after him on the finish line. And even if I failed on either of my goals it wasn’t the end of the world. So I committed myself to doing the race, relaxing and just seeing what happened. Marcus wanted to vlog but with racing he gave me the Gopro and I had the added excuse of not taking it too seriously if I was going to film bits of it.
So all seemed to be good, and we were staying close to the start so it was actually pretty relaxed morning to get there for the 7am start. But the start is where those doubts you silenced suddenly come back to deafen you. As I looked around I felt really out of place. Maybe UK races are like this now, and I just don’t do many, or maybe I look like this and can’t see it, but the sea of bright kit, of compression wear, of ultra running accessories, of kit and just overwhelmed me a bit. It felt so much bigger and brighter than any race I had been too. So the thoughts of being unfit, undertrained, over racing weight flooded back and everyone just looked so experienced and professional I was resigned to coming last. I put my earphones in, and tried to ignore the rest of the racers and their endless start line selfies and videos. Head down and focus on the feet, they would do the rest of the talking that day.