Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off to Cleveland! :)

Well, it's official: I'm off to Cleveland for the NCAA DIII NATIONAL XC Meet tomorrow morning! The race isn't till Saturday the 21st, but I get to leave a few days early to run the course ahead of time and get mentally prepared :)

Regionals was my absolute best race of the season (thus far), and it was so nice to be able to smile after my race. Previously, that hadn't happened much this season. Basically I realized I had been too hard on myself, trying to compare this season to last season, and just overall getting myself stressed and worried a lot more than I should have been. I went in to Regionals incredibly relaxed and focusing on the reasons why I love to run, and this mental outlook on the race obviously helped a lot as I PR'd for the season (21:31, good for 3rd place) and beat out a rival who had trounced me by over a minute at Conference just 2 weeks prior. It felt great.

So, now it's off to Cleveland, Ohio. I'm in the midst of packing and it's overwhelming me as usual. So many layers to pack, and when we went to Ohio for track, I nearly went over the 50 lb. weight limit, so I have to be careful with that as well! The airlines charge a ridiculous fee for going over 50 lbs, so I really am going to have to try my hardest to pack lightweight. Anyone who really knows me knows it's going to be very difficult! I'm still really glad to be flying vs. driving, though! Saves the legs SO much!

Any of you runners out there or anyone involved in competitive sports, I highly recommend reading "Mind Gym," by Gary Mack. It's another reason I was able to turn around my season and get my "mental edge" back. Mack is a sports psychologist and really helped me see that I need to think more positively and that confidence is the key to succeeding, especially in running where mental preparedness is easily just as important, if not more so (especially for elite athletes), than physical preparation. I also want to thank my parents for their unending support. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, they are always there and always have good advice to keep me headed in the right direction. I honestly have no idea what I'd do without them!

I'll end with a couple of quotes that my Coach has repeatedly sent me throughout the season, reminding me that I had to be patient, that our "plan" was designed for me to peak at the right time (as in, on November 21st!) and that even though it may get frustrating, that I must continue to stick to the plan we set forth. I reaped the benefits of this plan last Saturday, and there's no doubt in my mind I'll be ready to run at my absolute best in Cleveland this Saturday.

"The height of your success is determined by the depth of your belief..."

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”– Jacob A. Riis

This race is an accumulation of all the hard work I've put in since track season ended last Spring. This is what those 80+ mile weeks during the summer were for! I relish an underdog role, and I can't wait to surprise a lot of people with my performance on Saturday.

Bring it on, Cleveland! :)

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