Well, my 2015 season may have ended on a low note, but rough patches are normal. Even so, I was a little surprised when several athletes personally told me they identified with my last blog. Because track & field is a largely individual sport, losses and letdowns often feel lonely since we don't share them with a team. I’m so thankful for those messages and all the others of encouragement I received!
After all my chatter about positive thinking and its impact on my life, that last blog may seem to have come out of left field. But learning to think productively hasn’t granted me immunity from sadness. Knowing there was more in the tank, and falling short of expectations - in these circumstances sadness makes sense. Self-pity however, may be the most detrimental attitude for an athlete, so even though I allowed myself to be down for a while, not a second was wasted feeling sorry for myself.
Now that I’ve begun running and training again, my optimism is creeping back. I’m bringing a lot new info with me to this season, and it’s a big season with the Olympics (BASICALLY TOMORROW) just around the corner! I tried some different things last year and in turn learned a lot of valuable lessons about myself as an athlete: what it feels like to be at the top of my game physically, what it takes to get there, what prevents me from getting there. And the mistakes I made in Beijing? Won’t be making those again.
In recent years I have been half-jokingly hopeful (secretly genuinely hopeful) that I’d stop learning so many lessons as an athlete and just focus on applying everything to training and racing. But as it turns out, the "learning phase" might not actually be a phase… Isn’t that true in all walks of life, though, and in every job and endeavor? It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to keep learning - keep stumbling and picking myself up again - while doing what I love. Sometimes I still can’t really believe I'm a professional runner.
I wanted this job, trained for it, and am incredibly blessed to find myself healthy and excited to tackle a second Olympic bid. No doubt there’s more to figure out along that road. I’ll add it all to the wealth of new insight already in my back pocket. Nothing will go to waste. I signed up for this. Bring it on.