Last weekend marked my first race of the track season and the first stop on my journey in 2016! I was excited for the race in Boston (a 3k at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix) but nervous as to how I would do in it. I knew the race I was entered in was stacked with great competition from around the world so I was excited to be in such a competitive field but also a little nervous. That week marked my first competition and it also marked my first week back fully on the ground since some tendinitis issues. I ran a time trial earlier in the week that didn’t go so well so I was nervous about being strong in a race. Even though the time trial wasn’t great, it gave me the feeling of a faster effort and I started to feel a little quicker as the week went on.
The trip started out well. I drove from Waco to Plano the day before my flight so I got to do some strides at my old high school track, meet some girls on the Plano track team now, and I got to hang out with my parents a bit before I flew out in the morning. Somehow I managed to get the entire row of seats on the plane to myself so the flight was great and I was able to stretch out and not feel so cramped on the plane. I went to the track and shook out right after I got in and then I got to grab dinner and hang out with one of my best friends from college who’s up in Boston for grad school. I got to see her again the next day, race day, and we grabbed coffee and caught up on life for a good amount of the day before I needed to focus and get in the mindset to race. I’m writing in all this detail (my stop in Plano, hanging out with one of my best friends etc) because these are things that helped me so much this past weekend. A runner who is content and at peace is going to be a fast runner and being able to see my friends, family, and run/meet people who are passionate about running at my old track really filled me up and helped me enjoy the journey of the weekend. I was calm for my race because I put myself around people who love and encourage me and I did things that filled me up and helped me relax.
During the race, I felt good the first mile. We didn’t go out at a very fast pace; it was under five minute pace (which was the fastest I had gone since before my injury), but I still felt relaxed and didn’t feel like I was pushing hard to be in the race at that point. After about the first mile, the pace really started to pick up. Mentally, I was still in the race but my body wasn’t ready for the increase in pace so I fell off from the pack. Even though I fell off, I still felt like I was in a race. My mentality is that I won’t back down or quit even if a race gets hard. I got lapped by Meseret Defar on a 200 meter track (she was 25 seconds ahead of everyone so I didn’t feel tooooo bad about that) but I knew that by finishing this race hard and doing my best, I would be ready for even more mentally challenging races ahead. I stayed in the race and my second mile was only five seconds slower than my first so I know that I didn’t back down and I did my best.
Some people might say I had a really bad race but I don’t see it like that. The time was not good, I have run a lot faster than I ran in that race so I’m not going to say that I’m proud of my time or would be stoked to run that time again because I’m not and I wouldn’t be. However, I am proud of myself for getting out there, doing the best I could, and growing and learning from being in another race. I’m proud of myself for getting out on the track and beginning my track season and I’m proud of myself for not giving up.
One of the most important things I learned from this race is to be in the moment and to be ok with being in that moment. What I mean is this: I can’t spend time worrying about where I wish my body were or where I will be in a few months because that moment is not here. The only place you or I can be is where we physically are right now and the only way I can get better is by doing everything I can in the moment I am in to reach the next level. Is worrying about my future in any way going to help me reach a better future? No, it will probably just make me more stressed which will cause me to worry more which will make me more stressed… you see the cycle. Not all stress is bad, stressors and hard times can make me stronger but when I start to worry I end up stuck. I don’t end up doing anything to propel myself forward; I’m just worried and stagnant. So I am learning how to be in the moment and be happy and calm in that moment. I was happy to be on that track in Boston because it meant I was healthy to run and race. I’m content with where I am in training and I know that by being content and working hard in the moment I’m reaching a better future and have big races ahead of me. I’m loving the moments I’m in, I’m filled up by people I’m around who love and encourage me, and (as my coach always reminds me to do) I’m having so much fun running and making myself stronger every day.
Live in the moment, love people you’re around, and get out there and run the world! 🙂