It's Been a While, Cross Country.
As I gear up to compete in the club cross country national championships, a few things stay on my mind.
First off, it’s hard to imagine a race when you can’t even remember what cross country even feels like. It has been over three years since I have last competed in a cross country race, so introducing it back is a little intimidating for me. I didn’t have the best experience in my last cross country season, but that’s a story for a different time. The exciting part about this experience is that I get to write a brand new story for my present self as I approach my last race of the fall season.
How I viewed cross country:
Failure terrified the shit out of me, especially in cross county. There are points in the race when you are not aware of where you are, and that is when panic strikes me. Thoughts such as, “I feel tired,” or “I only have run 2k of the race?!” or even, “Crap I started off in 50th place” swarm in and take over my body. At that moment I tell myself something is wrong and I put on a pain face so I can find any excuse as to why I am not going to perform well. I do this in order to save the embarrassment of failing while trying. You’re not always held accountable with spectators while you are midway through a race like you are with track. It’s almost a battle between you and your mind, not the other competitors. At times I won, but more times I lost.
I have worked on trying to make my mindset a priority as I am going into Club Cross. I am not perfect, and it will be a challenge, but I am excited to face my fears and do something that I have always loved, even through the dark times. Going out there will be different, and I am lucky to have my mom by my side as my travel buddy to take my mind off of the race beforehand.
One of the beauties of our sport is the places you get to experience while at races. Yes, I came to race and do my best, but life is about the journey, isn’t it? The most important advice I can give to others and myself is to enjoy it and stop taking it too darn seriously. Tunnel Vision is a thing, and it can ruin someone’s career contrary to what people think. I have big goals for myself, but I will allow myself to let go in order to thrive.
A few thoughts I have that can help others too:
“Hay is in the Barn!”
Dude, I have been at this for awhile now, I put in weeks of 60 plus miles ensuring I do things right. There have been killer workouts leading up to the race, so what if I arrive late on a flight 2 nights before, or I walk around town for an hour? I tend to race better off of it anyways.
“Break up the race”
Unlike the marathoners out there, I think a 6k is a decent distance to go while keeping your mind engaged. That is why I chunk it. It allows my mind to reset after each kilometer to focus on what I can do for the next one.
“Stop thinking too much before hand!”
Your brain has enough going on. Give it a break. Do something for yourself that allows you to let go and enjoy where your at. You have the whole race to focus on it, you’re not destined to race well thinking about it 247 a week leading up to it.
We are so excited for Sammy’s race!! She will toe the line in Spokane, Washington on Saturday December 8th. Follow this link to view the race results.