Not going to lie, often times when I am writing this blog, I feel like this:
So if you are reading this and have been reading my other blog posts, thank you! This blog is really a platform for me to be able to express my thoughts and feelings as I navigate this new adult post-collegiate life. Just being able to share it with people and know that there are people who want to take this journey with me is something very special. So in short, thank you for reading and if you want to see more of my blog please subscribe at the bottom of the page! ;) I promise I will figure out how the whole "subscribe" thing works very soon...
I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who shared, donated, and supported my GoFundMe campaign over the last few months. With your help I was able to not only achieve my goal but surpass it! I truly am so thankful and in awe of the amount of support I have received from people who want to help me achieve my dreams; I was very touched. Without this campaign I would not have had another opportunity to travel and compete in Seattle for a last chance indoor meet, and I have felt more at ease knowing that I can afford my track fees and expenses over the coming months, as well as afford travel and expenses to Nationals in July. So once again, thank you everyone!
Alright, now to to the blog!
I have been waiting to write another blog post until after indoor season had ended, hoping that I could share my news of making the World Indoor team or share that I came out of the season having accomplished some resemblance of my goals and ran some fast times. Well, none of those things came to pass over the last month. Instead, I walked away from three weeks of competition feeling defeated and very discouraged. While I had family, teammates and coaches explain to me that I should not be discouraged and I should take into account everything that has happened over the last few months, a lot of which was out of my control, I still had trouble coming to terms with my performances. I needed some time to process how I was feeling about the indoor "season" and I could not fully process it on my own.
I have been working with my sports psychologist Natascha Wesch for about three years now. I started going to Natascha to deal with the pre-race anxiety I was having when I first started hurdling and since then our relationship has evolved to the place where I know I can call on her whenever I feel mentally or emotionally out of place, in any aspects of my life. She has helped me to create and maintain my mental game when it comes to track and competing but she has also helped me off the track to deal with my life and its many challenges. My life on and off the track are so intertwined now that if something is off in one it affects the other and Natascha is one of those people who helps me manage it all. So when I walked away from these last few indoor meets feeling totally off, physically, emotionally, and mentally, I knew it was time to give her a call.
What Natascha helped me to realize, and truly accept, was the full effect the circumstances of the last few months has had on me and my performances. Whether or not I was willing to accept it, the fires and mudslides did have some major effect on my training. Whether that was access to the track itself, or even access to my coach. Most of December ended up as cross training on treadmills, bikes and makeshift hill workouts. All of that, on top of generally getting into shape from the nice offseason I overtook advantage of, on top of adjusting to a completely new training and competitive model, on top of moving to a new city/country, on top of job searching and my financial instability, all had major impacts on my training, stress and emotions. All in all, I have not had ANY consistency in any sectors of my life in the last 6 months and this has had a huge impact on how I have been feeling, how I handle my nutrition, how I handle stressful situations (such as competitions) and how that truly affected my physical performance more than I could have realized. It truly took talking to Natascha to finally accept that I could not perform great if I was not truly ready to perform at my best.
It has also been difficult to find people who can truly and completely relate to what I am going through right now. My family and friends are wonderful and so supportive of me but sometimes it is hard to be able to have them fully understand and relate to my struggles. In many ways, although I am in a transition period much the same way a lot of my friends are after graduating school, my experience and my life right now is so different and unrelatable to their own; it does leave one feeling a little lonely sometimes. I mean, who decides to uproot their life to chase down some desire, this dream, without money or any real means of knowing how you are going to make it work, yet somehow just trusting that it is all going to work out in the end? I know it is hard for some people to understand and yes I know it seems a little crazy but this is something I have always dreamed of doing. But yes, I am doing better than I was a few months ago! I am finally starting to feel like I am adjusting and "settling" into this new life. I am feeling much more comfortable with where I am, with who I am, and I am looking forward to creating some new consistency in my life in the next little while.
So how did my indoor season go? Well, by straight numbers, it was probably some of the relatively worst results I have ever had at this point of the year. But I am coming away with some lessons learned and some new perspective gained, even if it took some time to find that perspective and to be okay with it. If my track record of the past couple of years has taught me anything, it is that when I am faced with some type of hardships, setbacks or struggles, it just means that something great is coming my way in the future. So yes, I did not achieve my goals for the indoor season, not even close, but I have not forgotten my goals for the outdoor season. If anything, I am coming out of this indoor season feeling hungrier to see those successes and breakthroughs I have been working for. I truly believe I am becoming stronger and fitter than I have been before, and yes I still have a very long way to go. I wanted a challenge when I decided to make this move, and well, maybe I got a little more than I had bargained for. But a challenge has never stopped me before and I know I am not alone in this.