Dime a Dozen
When does it happen? When does is become harder to win a race, to experience euphoria, and to gain confidence of running at the front of a race? For some it's high school, for some it's college, but for me it has been post - collegiate.
I had a very successful high school career. It allowed me to learn to run from the front or from the back, and win either way. No matter what the race distance was I was confident every time I stepped on the line. Why? Because I believed I could win at whatever distance my coach put me in (of course not something like the 100 or 200). Where did this confidence come from? It came from crushing workouts, winning race after race, and having a coach that feed me exactly what I needed to make me "feel" like I was ready. At that time in my career I can honestly say I was running off of talent. Yes, I worked hard in workouts, I was challenged, but I wasn't a work horse that crushed off the charts workouts. Talent, trust in the process, and belief in myself is what got me to run 2:05 by the end of my senior year.
Hard workouts, and getting my butt handed to me is what made me believe I could do anything my coach said I could when I was in college. I was fortunate to have a coach that coached the likes of, Shalane Flanagan, Alice Schmidt, Erin Donohue, and Brie Felnagle. All I could do was believe there was no wrong path he could take me on. College then became rocky when he left after my sophomore year. Going through three coaches in 2 years shook my confidence to the core. I was still able to walk away from college with plenty of accomplishments, so when did it get hard to run with the best and believe I could? My first meet back to running in 2013 was the year.
I went from running at the top, to a year off, then to feeling like a total fish out of water in 2013 . Racing became hard, mentally taxing , and I had no confidence when I toed the line. Did I deserve to be back in these races? Could I still run with these women? Do I belong anymore? And I can honestly say it still hasn't been an easy way back. I have people ask me all the time, how do you run with so much confidence or do you get nervous? Yes, I get plenty of butterflies, and I don't always have the confidence I want when I step on to that line. But when it's there, it's there. Full on "no one is going to stop me" confidence.
As I watched my teammates today in the Olympic Trials Marathon, it hit me. Does winning even matter anymore? As I cheered on every last runner that passed me, I realized that yes, wins may come a dime a dozen. You're not going to win them all, but the real win is you being able to toe the line, compete with the best, and give it everything you have on that day. So I may not win every race, but every race I run I will be running with guts, courage, and the belief that hard work pays off all at the right time.