The Waiting (is the hardest part)

Yes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers got that right, for sure.

Ten days ago, I won a bronze medal at the British Masters Indoor Championships. This time next week, I’ll be well into the World Masters Indoor Championships. Right now, I’m in limbo, waiting.

I’d sensed I was going ok when I won gold and silver in the South of England Indoor Championships in mid February, at my first indoor races since 2012. Then, off the back of the medal in the British Champs, which was a real surprise, I had great plans. My expectations had been very low. After all, as at the date of the recent British championships, I was 59 years, 11 months and two weeks old, Almost as far up the M55 age group as it’s possible to get. But nevertheless, turns out that in my first indoor events since that foot injury in 2012, I’ve been able to cut over 60 metres. And I’m already much faster over 200 metres indoors than I was outdoors last summer.

My plans were to use the period between the national champs and the Worlds really usefully. I realised that the training gain, in a physical sense, from a couple of weeks hard graft would have been minimal. I also recognised that I’d be walking a tightrope between going well and risking injury. However, the psychological boost might have been good.

Might. I didn’t count on the week after the latest medal being mostly a nasty slide down into a bit of a depressive funk. I think, as I write – and because I’m writing – I’ve begun to come out the other side of that now, but apart from a couple of desultory attempts to do some gym work, I’ve lost a week. That, and the body is saying “rest now”. Rest? I’ve pretty much been sleeping 12 hours a day lately. What do I need to rest for?

A little while ago, I began to recognise that some of the things I’d been experiencing that I’d thought were longer term effects of coming off anti-depressants were in fact pretty well charted symptoms of anxiety. A good few years ago, in different ways, I suffered badly from anxiety. I thought that I’d overcome it, but by a simple bit of mapping my symptoms against events in my diary, I began to see a pattern of sorts. Throughout February, I was mostly fine. I had a good diversionary activity, after all. But that ended at the start of March.

I have no doubts at all that I’ll get through these things. They have at least pushed to the back of my mind a big event that is a couple of days away, as I write this. It’s called “Being 60”.

Yes, my 60th birthday. It happens two days before I go to Budapest for the World Championships and marks a move up to the M60 Masters age group. The whole “being 60” thing probably needs a blog in its own right, so watch this space, because I’ve been musing on how different “being 60” seems to be nowadays, compared to attitudes etc two or three decades ago.

Not really much else to add at this point. Just like hanging about in the call-room before going out on to the track is one of the hardest parts of any big competition, waiting to be 60 and waiting to go off to Budapest are both hard to live with right now. I’m wishing a few days away, it seems, which isn’t like me.

More soon. Maybe even a post from Budapest.

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2 Responses to “The Waiting (is the hardest part)”

  1. Phil Jewitt Says:

    Good for you Tom. Keep strong, keep running and keep writing.

  2. Dan Slee Says:

    Lovely honest words, Tom made even more powerful for sharing.

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