Struggle Before Fulfillment

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This is my second blog so if you read my first piece and came back for round two then I am very grateful! I spent the better part of my weekend casually thinking about what I wanted my next blog to be about. Naturally the blog had to revolve around my race in some way so I figured a lesson could be learned despite the outcome.

IMG_1398So here it goes:

You cross the line, catch your breath and look up at the clock. Damn.
You may have known all along, or you may have found out at that moment.
Either way, it hurts- sometimes more than others, but for now it is the one of the worst things you have ever experienced.
That feeling may be amplified a thousand times more when one or more of your teammates has posted a personal best.
You may or may not have watched them finish from the other side of the track (unfortunately this has happened to me before).
You may want to cry, but you don’t because you’re too tough for that (and those guys will never let you live it down).
You might even be mad for a while and go pout under a tree while avoiding eye contact with your coach.
I ran a terrible time today.
I didn’t see the official time but I could honestly do without knowing for now. Anyone that has done any type of competitive running on any level knows the frustration of running a bad time. All the Tech Cross-Country guys are in a group text together, and I’m sure most of us would admit to having been annoyed (and maybe slightly ashamed) when we’ve had to send out our times.
Today is one of those days.
Right now, I have a strange combination of disappointment and optimism.
I’m disappointed for the obvious reason of running a terrible race. It is also my last race for the season with Louisiana Tech. The next meet for Tech is the conference meet; my season best in the 1500m would probably have a hard time fairing in the first 1500m of the 5000m in our conference.
I’m optimistic because I’ve recognized what has been holding me back and I know how to fix it. In an attempt to avoid explaining an overly complicated runner problem, I will condense it down to muscular imbalances and small issues with running mechanics (form). These problems can be addressed by incorporating a good strength and conditioning routine (i.e. weight training) as well as form drills.
Maybe I will dive deeper into this rabbit hole in a future blog, but for now I will take my bad time and let it be fuel for the motivational fire that still burns.

I’m a senior with one year of eligibility left and I’ve barely run faster than I did in high school.
I’m a complete walk-on for Tech, which means I’m not a high-dollar scholarship athlete.
I will log hundreds of miles this summer and throughout next school year in addition to dieting.
In the end, even if I run much FASTER than my goal times, I won’t be a national qualifier.
That being said, I will still keep chasing my goal.

In the words of Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own:

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

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