Yesterday I made a breakthrough. For over a year, one of my most important personal goals was to run under eighteen minutes in the 5 kilometers. Last year I got close but never made it. I built myself up before every race. I told myself “this is your chance” and “This is the race that you will finally do it”. After each race I couldn’t help but be a little bit disappointed. I was eating right, getting enough sleep, and training hard. I even tried visualization. “It’s alright”, I told myself. “You can do it next year when you are older and stronger.” However, when this season came around, nothing changed. At the SHAPE race I ran as hard as I could and was incredibly disheartened to see that I only ran 6 seconds faster than the previous year. I was running more than ever, but did not see the results I was hoping for. I was about ready to settle for the times I was getting. I even told my teammate that I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I just could not get past the barrier of eighteen minutes. I kept expecting it to happen, and it never did. For a while I gave up and I stopped expecting it to happen. People would ask me if this was the race that I would run in the 17s and I would respond “I don’t want to have any expectations. We will see what happens” rather than “Absolutely, just you wait!” like I had so many times before.
Recently I watched a video about a 64-year old women named Diana Nyad who swam from Cuba to Florida. She tried and failed three times, but every time she believed that she could accomplish this dream, because she wanted to do it so incredibly bad. On her fourth try, she absolutely refused to give up. This made me realize that maybe I do have it in me, and so, yesterday, I made another attempt to break eighteen minutes. I ran my heart out and I couldn’t keep myself from crying from happiness when I ran 17:40. I know that eighteen minutes is just a time. I doesn’t define me as a person or even a runner, yet to me it means so much more than a time. Achieving this goal gives me hope.
I do believe that anyone can do anything with enough work and the right mindset. Never again will I give up on myself.
By a St. John’s Cross Country runner