Sometimes running fast and turning left isn't always perfect. I tend to forget that every race isn't the same, and every race is not going to turn out how the last did. As excited as I was for USA's, I forgot it was just another race. Championship racing can get nerve racking, it can stir up feelings that you even sometimes don't expect, and all of a sudden the race isn't about running fast and turning left anymore.
I was emotionally torn after my prelim race on June 25th at USA Championships for more then one reason. The first reason was due to not feeling like I had the legs in the race to do what I had just done 11 days prior. The second reason was because I felt like I was going to be looked at as a non-championship racer. As I talked to my coach, I later just had to stop over analyzing everything, watch race video, and just learn from my mistakes. Either, that mistake being more mentally prepared for what's to come, or being more confident and composed in championship races.
I had a great talk with a new friend about championship racing, running fast times, and being back in the thick of things. He told me it's not about running fast times in championship races, it's just about knowing how to run rounds successfully. He made me remember that I haven't been at this level since 2009, and that I'm still a fish out of water when it comes to running rounds. I totally agreed with him and found myself in a calmer state of being. It's something I can now take and use to help me for next year, and the years to come.
"Running fast once is like kissing the hot boy at the party. That's cool, you kissed the hot boy. But consistently running fast is being married to the hot boy. Just because you kissed him once doesn't always mean you're going to get married to him."
As my friend and I talked more, I began to see things a little different. We all want to #RunFastTurnLeft and call it that, but it doesn't always work that way. Yes, it would have been nice to run another 2:03 at USA's and make a simi-final for the 2nd time in my life, but realistically it's also not my last chance. Would I have been happy with running 2:05 and making simis, yes. Unfortunately, coming up short and getting 4th hurt; I'm not going to lie about that. I also am not going to lie to myself about how I made myself feel before the race. There was no reason to feel inadequate to those in the heat with me, because I made it, I was there, I did the work and nothing should have made me feel less than.
As I move forward I am slowly growing as a person, and as a runner. I'm excited to learn more about myself, and more about racing at THIS level again. I am racing tomorrow at 8:40pm at the Portland Twilight meet. No stress, no pressure, just running for myself, and focusing on what I have learned over the past week. Just run fast, turn left, and let the legs do what they know how to do.