I am back!!
I feel like that little phrase perfectly sums up how things are going with me lately. My absentee blog writing aside, I am back in the blogging mood and promise that more blogs are coming your way in the near future. As for what's been going on with me lately, I felt like the best place to start would be, of course, on the track.
This past weekend I competed in my final race for the indoor season. I had intended to only race three meets to get myself back in the routine of competing and try to hit some technical benchmarks. I had discussed with my coaches and sports psychologist that the goal should not be for me to run a specific time (although of course, I always have a time in my head I want to run), but the goal should be to execute a certain task. My task was to execute the first and second hurdle as I find they tend to be my weaker point in my race, leaving me to always feel like "I always screw up the first hurdle." Although, I am learning this thinking is not helping me make it them better. So my goal for my indoor races was to execute the first two hurdles so as to carry me into the next three smoother and more quickly, while also telling myself at meets and especially at practice that I am good at the first two hurdles (creating a new mantra); they are my strength not my weakness!
I opened the "season" at the Don Wright Team Challenge at Western University here in London mid January, which besides being my first race since July, was also my first time back racing at Western and at this meet since graduating in 2017. It became a bit of a special weekend for me as well because my Mom had flown out to London from Alberta to spend the week with me and watch me race. Don Wright ended up being a perfect rust buster as I got myself back into the groove of competing and had a chance to shake out some of the nerves. I don't know about any other hurdlers out there, but my first race back (indoors or outdoors) always has me trying to shake the same nervous thoughts: "please for the love of God, do not fall on your face and do not run slow." Well, I am happy to say that despite taking out a hurdle in the prelim, I did not fall on my face! I ran my fastest season opener to date and even took home a meet record in the hurdles! To say I was excited was an understatement! After the past year of crying after every single track meet feeling like a failure and asking myself what I was doing wrong, it just felt good to feel like myself racing again and know that I am moving on the right track.
I followed up Don Wright the next weekend by competing at the Eastern Michigan University Can Am International Meet. Even with my results from the weekend before, the meet provided me with a few new challenges. I have been saying that I am feeling my confidence come back and that I am feeling like myself again, which is true! But I still have my moments of self-doubt and my insecurities. I was warming up . for my race and for some reason I started to have those thoughts creep into my head: what if last weekend was a fluke, what if I am going to be slow, what if I don't live up to my potential and my goals, what if I embarrass myself? Sometimes, I still need a little reassurance that I am going to be okay and that I am moving on the right path again. I was able to talk out these thoughts and nervous feelings with my coaches before my race, and they both assured me not to worry. They were right, of course. I finished second in both the 60mH and the 60m, improving my hurdle time from the weekend before. What I learned from this meet was that there are still some feelings from this past year that I need to work on when it comes to my mental game. If anything, I fear letting myself, and the people who support me down. Learning to trust in myself, my hard work and my abilities, and not fall into a rut of old feelings of when I felt that I had disappointed myself is a work in progress sometimes.
My final meet for indoors came this past weekend at SPIRE in Geneva, Ohio. I went into the meet feeling pretty excited because for one, it was a new meet for me on a track I had never been to, and also because I was feeling ready to lay something big down on the track. I had reached out to some personal contacts after the last meet to talk through some of what I had been feeling from the last meet and I felt a little more mentally strong than I had that weekend before. Funny enough, my body took a bit of an opposite stance and decided that some sporadic body aches and digestive pains were the way to go. I always believe the mind is more capable than we give it credit for sometimes, and while I may have been feeling just a tad uncomfortable I tied my personal best in the hurdles in the prelim and took home the win in the final!
So, in recap of my little indoor "season," I am just so incredibly thankful to be BACK! Back in my supportive environment where I feel so much more settled and so much more at home than I ever think I truly felt before. Back to feeling strong and confident in my abilities as an athlete. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin and more confident in myself. I feel like the past year was the personal growth I needed to be able to get to the place that I am in now. Now, I am feeling excited for this coming outdoor season; excited to show that I am ready to take on the challenge of competing on the world stage. I am happy, but I am hungry for more and I know I am capable of so much more. I just keep repeating in my head: "just you wait." I have been fighting for this for awhile now, and I am ready to go and get it.