February 2013 was the last time I stepped into the Dempsey, and boy was that a great experience. I walked away from the Dempsey that year excited about what was coming in my track season. I had run a 800m Indoor personal best, and was on my way to my first USA Indoor Nationals meet; what more could you ask for after a year of not competing on the track? The rest of my 2013 season fell short of what I wanted, but I was just blessed to be back competing at a high level again.
2014 there was no indoor races for me, I didn't get to experience Seattle, or the Dempsey Indoor facility, all due to a injury I was dealing with from the 2013 summer-fall season. This past weekend I got to step back into the Dempsey again. The high energy of the Dempsey is always infectious, and as I walked in on Saturday my heart started to beat faster. My stomach that morning was already doing the flipseys, letting me know race day jitters were on their way.
My first race back on the track after months away is always a little nerve racking. As I found my spot on the crowed infield I began to text my closest friend and my coach. Getting encouraging words calmed the nerves a bit and by the time I looked at my watch, it was time to start my warm ups.
This was the first time, in a VERY long time that I had committed to doubling on race day. The 1000m was first. The race went out in 71 seconds and I was more upset with myself for not taking the lead. You see, anything over the 800 is still a little foreign to me; race day becomes confusing and my legs act like they don't know how to race hard. In fact it's more mental than anything else. At the end of the race I was upset; I didn't accomplish what I had set out to do, and I had just run slower than my time trial I had run 5 days before.
Okay, it was time to redeem myself. There were no nerves, and no mental blocks, I was ready to attack the 600 and have some fun. Little did I know I wasn't aggressive enough(words from the coach after the race). The overall theme of the day was, running scared. This is how my coach described my first races of the 2014 season.
Even though I walked away from the Dempsey with 2 new personal best, I wasn't happy. I raced way under what my fitness has shown to be, and I was a fish out of water when it came to tactics. I've learned over the last couple years that my "rust busters" are exactly just that. I have to learn to stop over thinking the first race, and just run. Even after 11 years I struggle with mental blocks, so don't beat yourself up to much. Enjoy the run, race, or competition you're about to partake in.