So, you ran race that you were not happy with. It sucked. It hurt. You hated every aspect of it, and feel worthless. Where do you go next? That is a question that I struggled to answer after my first conference meet this year. I felt pain, and I gave up in the race. No reason to go into specifics, because the fact that I did not give the required effort for the race is what matters. So, as we all do, I went and sought help. I concluded that I did not put out as much effort as a I could, and that I did not take the most amount of pain I could. Afterwards, I thought that I figured out what I needed to. I went to bed, and prepared for 6:45 practice the next morning. The time came for that practice, I checked the time, and I felt bad for myself. Thoughts like “you didn’t do well enough” flew around my head. I felt sorry for myself, and thought I might as well just sleep in. The entire day I dreaded that decision, and what I had done. What it said about me. The next day, I had a conversation with someone that helped change my perspective. I got several things from that conversation that changes how I view running, and even life.
One thing, the most important thing, is do not feel sorry for yourself. So, you ran a race you were not happy with. It sucked. It hurt. You hated every aspect of it. Where do you go next? Face it, do not submit to it. You ran a terrible race. Move on and try harder. Do not get too down about it. Now, obviously there is some degree of disappointment that comes with having a bad race. But never give into that. In other words, keep your head out of the gutter. Once you give into these ideas of “I am not good enough” or “I could not do it” it leads on a long and dreadful road. Being sad about it does not prove anything. The more you feel sorry for yourself and how your race went, the deeper you dig yourself. So, get out of that hole. Face the problem at hand. What is being sad about a race going to do for you besides harm? It is especially important to identify these bad thoughts before you let them take you over. I have an issue with dealing with this still, and it takes time to work on. Dealing with it may seem hard and might be something you do not want to do, but it is a necessary step for growth.
Secondly, is to do better. After you have faced the issue and are not down about it, it is important to figure out how to grow from there. Make a promise to yourself; if I am going to have a bad race it will not be because of x reason. For me, my promise was put out as much effort as I can. As Coach winters says: if you are going to have a bad race, make it bad for a different reason than before, in other words make a new mistake. Fix what you know is wrong and grow from there.
After applying both of those ideas to my race, I was able to run a much better race at Six Flags. I did not give up. I did not feel sorry for myself when pain came along. I vomited four times in that race. I felt like I wanted to stop because of it, but I knew that I was never going to let something like that happen ever again. If I was going to have a bad race, it was not going to be from giving in to pain. So, I gritted my teeth, pumped my arms, and ran my heart out for the rest of the race. Do not let things you have done or things that have happened to you get in your head. Being sad about it does nothing, but identifying your issue or coming to peace with something you have done is the way to grow. I have had more than just poor races; I have had low moments in my life that I have thrown my head into the gutter for. Not a good habit to get yourself into. How did I overcome some of these issues? I identified that it happened. So, it did not go my way? What happened happened and it is time to move one and grow. Relating this to racing has done a lot for my improvement. It is time to get out of the gutter and deal with issues you may have. The road may be short, it may be long, but it always pays off. Always.
Stay out of the gutter,