Nonetheless, tapering is an important part of race season, so taper we did. Grandtully had been sitting at a higher level than usual, so there was concern about the event running at all. Indeed, the level changed several times over the course of the race, so some ingenious adjusting and occasional flinging of lines into the water ensued.
I think the first race of this season is the best mental attitude I've ever had. Psychologists, mums, books, websites can all say really good words, and all the words can mean the right thing. But until I've had a chance to actually try the words, and try them how it suits me, it is always just a theory. Last weekend was about the gates and the river. It wasn't about me, and it wasn't about my result. It was just about finding a really good line, and doing it. I understand why the reasonably corny Nike slogan makes sense to a lot of athletes now - 'Just Do It.' Because that was all I did - I did what I do every single day, which was look at the gates, make a plan, and then do the plan. No extras, no worries. Having said that, as with all things, there was plenty of room for improvement. Especially on Sunday, I wasn't particularly happy with my runs, but that was more to do with the plan I had set, rather than the way I did it. My goal going into this race was to come out the other end saying I had maintained my values, one of which is 'do the best I can do.' And I'm satisfied that I did that on both days. On Saturday I came 5th in Premier, and on Sunday 6th - both of which are the best two results I've ever had at a Grandtully Prem.
This coming weekend is another Premier race in Nottingham, and I can't wait! I think a big part of my mental attitude can be attributed to just how much work is getting thrown at my year in uni. Suddenly everything is a big project. Processes make outcomes, and there is a distinct correlation between the quality and time spent on one, and the quality and success of another. To get to where I want to be at the end of this week, I have to work between sessions. And my sessions have to be quality.
Last week I also provided the secondary visit of three consecutive visits to Blairgowrie High School. There I am speaking to a lovely class of first years, all of whom are passionate about sport. It is amazing sharing knowledge I have spent years gaining, and watching the benefits of that knowledge take route in people seven years younger than me. Which in terms of life really isn't a significant age gap, but in terms of sport can mean everything.