Everybody has time in their life where they don’t live up to their expectations. Instead of getting down on yourself, it’s important to take these experiences and learn from them. There is never a moment where you should feel sorry for yourself. This is a realization I have come to this fall from having an extremely mentally challenging cross-country season. I had put in the miles over the summer and was all set to have what looked like a great season ahead of me. Instead, I had a bad race in the beginning and never pushed through that mental barrier. Racing became a chore. I wasn’t a competitor any longer, I was a participant. Every time I felt sore or defeated, I settled and never ignored the voices in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. Everyone one of my teammates was improving around me and I seemed to be getting worse. Freshman year was exciting because I had no expectations for myself. I ran free with no pressure. Now I had stopped believing in myself, and my coach and teammates could all see it.
I am sharing this story because this week is conference for our cross-country team and i have been doing a ton of reflecting on why I haven’t been succeeding. It always comes back to myself. I had chained myself down with my negative thoughts. This doesn’t just occur in runners. I have seen too many young college students not live up to their true capabilities because they did not believe in themselves. Whether it is athletics or academics, a world of possibilities opens up once you replace the “I cant’s” with the “I can’s”. If you train hard, you can have an amazing game or race. If you study hard, you can get amazing grades. The key is never to doubt yourself.
This might all sound cheesy, but people often forget to just have faith in themselves. One of my favorite things my coach yells at me during a race is “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” I think we all need that yelled to us every once in a while. You have to conquer your mind before you can conquer your competitors.