Tuesday, September 10, 2013


On Saturday, my high school cross country team had their first meet of the season.  As we warmed up, the atmosphere around us was buzzing.  Excitement, intensity, moderate craziness - all of it and more was flowing throughout our group and among the other teams.  I was not surprised.  Heavy emotion is always expected, particularly for a first race.  And, to some degree, it's a good thing.  But, right before the race, as my girls were waiting on the line, I saw some furrowed brows and looks of worry; even panic.  Not good.  In so many words, here's what I told the girls:

All the work you have done for the past 3 weeks has made you ready for this moment.  You could not be more prepared.  Right now, there is nothing more you can do to run a successful race but to focus on running well and giving it your all.  Every second you spend worrying or doubting yourself, you are wasting precious energy that you should be saving for your race.  Take a breath, rest your shoulders, shake your hands out.  Don't let the negative thoughts creep in.  Save that mental space and fill it with positive energy.  Believe in your training and trust yourself.  You are right where you are supposed to be.

I'm not sure how much it helped, but it had to be said.  And I believed every word of it.  Running is so mental.  Yes, it's physical, too.  But the physical stuff is much easier to control.  The mind game that we so often play in running can be really brutal. And if we don't play it right, it can so easily take us down.  As a relatively competitive runner, it is a constant battle for me.  Like the girls on my team, I have felt ALL of those same emotions, the good and the bad, before my own races many, many times.  I hope the fact that I could relate to how they felt added some impact to my words of advice and encouragement.  And, at the same time, as I spoke these words, I quietly reminded myself that I need to to take my own advice next time I am on the line.

Listen to this:
You Do You - Bear in Heaven   

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