A Step in the Right Direction
Going into races with runners far ahead of your current fitness level can be intimidating. We tend to put others on a pedestal when we see their accolades on paper. This can make us hesitate from unleashing our true potential because we lack the confidence to believe we belong in the pro circuit--all because we compare our PRs or the attention we get on social media. I was thrown into this exact situation on August 3rd during the Sir Walter Miler. Following my fellow teammates Andie Cozzarelli and Sarah Rapp, I put myself into a field of Olympians and established professional runners.
I saw myself as the pop up miles’ champion, the one that gets the free entry into the race and fears that she is going to get her butt kicked by everyone else. At least that is the mindset I had for the past month, which is an extreme thief of joy. My life hack this year has been the love of the process of gaining back my fitness. When any fear, doubt, or comparison creeps into my head, instantly the love diminishes. This showed in my last two races. I knew I had to change my mindset going into the race or I would dread toeing the line once again.
I have always struggled with mental blocks and at times I fail to see that I belong in places. I may not have been as successful as my competitors in the race, but that does not take away from the fact that I have the drive, passion, and potential that is needed to get there.
Something magical happened that night. I felt a rush as the crowd recognized my name and fully had my back with each lap I ran. Initially I was terrified and had a fear of embarrassment since I knew a majority of the crowd. Let’s be honest, my pride got in the way and I didn’t want to look bad. I got over that real fast. We started out at a good clip and when people started to break away I continued to run bold, not letting that gap get in my head. By the last lap I saw some of the field coming back my way, which carried me to the finish line. I ended up running a season best by 5 seconds!
Experiencing Sir Walter has opened my eyes to a new concept of not putting anyone ahead of myself until the race has finished. You never know what will happen in those situations, you have as much potential as you tell yourself. You are limitless. I take that season best as a step into the right direction as I head into my next year of training. I may not have been at my best on papers, but I sure gained back that hope that I am well on my way.