The season is over, and it is time for some rest. Part of that rest entails reflecting on my season from different facets. For me there was one thing that really hit home for me this year, and it took me a long time to get to this point.
This year I started working with an incredible sports psychologist, Traci, and she could tell right away that I was not a confident person. I had trouble verbally telling what I was good at, and when I did say something I felt I did well, it was not said with any conviction. This was how I was all the time! I have always felt to be humble you needed to undermine yourself (which is completely untrue and if someone else had told me that personally I would of thought they were being ridiculous). Working with Traci helped put a stop to this thought process. We worked on finding out how I was going to feel confident in my everyday life so that I could transfer that into my athletic life. This was not an easy task by any means. I would still say I am not the most naturally confident person, but I have incorporated certain positive routines throughout the day.
After races I can be extremely hard on myself, even if the race went well. I always put this pressure on myself that was unnecessary, and even if certain goals were met, I would still be disappointed with myself that I didn't set higher goals to try and achieve. The truth of the matter was I was never proud of myself. I was never happy with who I was as an athlete. A great example of this was this past year USATF Indoor Nationals this past year. I was already working with Traci at this point and we had discussed a race plan and how I was not going to get caught up in certain other dynamics of the race. The women had a 2mi race for the racewalk (this was unusual, as it is usually a 3000m race). It was still very early in the season and I felt that I was getting in great shape. I believed I stood a good chance at racing well, possibly setting a new PB (for the 3000m split), and even win. The race did not go as well as I had hoped. I got second and I tied my PB in the 3000m. However, I raced strong, stuck to my race plan, and set a 2mi PB. Even though it was still very early in the season and all those positives occurred, I could not get past the cloud of my demise. I felt like a failure. I was not, but it was difficult to see that at times. I was so grumpy after the race and very (undeservingly) rude to my coach.
Traci texted me after the race saying she had watched it and thought I did a great job. I raced my own race and I should be happy. After a few hours I had to think of what she was saying, and what we had been discussing for weeks, and how I was acting at the time. This was kind of that defining moment where I decided it was completely unacceptable to keep being this negative person and I had to truly try and get past this wall of insecurity. I apologized to my coach, and he emphasized how others success does not make me a failure. THAT WAS IT! That was the nail on the head.
OTHER'S SUCCESS DOES NOT EQUATE TO MY FAILURE.
I should have understood this long ago; it took until age 25 for this life lesson to finally hit home. Part of my insecure outlook was due to my constant comparing to others. If I did well, but some one else did better, I automatically thought I was a failure. I could not tell you the root of this thought process, but I can say now that I see it so clearly I am able to attack it.
The entire year I worked with Traci on getting through to myself on how strong I was and how to handle different aspects pre/during/post races. I would say there are plenty of moments that can teach you great lessons in life. For me, this was the big lesson. Working with Traci has definitely worked. There will always be those "would of... could of... should of..." moments, but that was irrelevant. I have just enjoyed the ride more this year since that race and have indulged in my accomplishments both in and out of the racing atmosphere.