Growing Pains

I was finally able to compete in my first meet as an unattached athlete– and it couldn’t have gone any worse. I could blame the weather (the rain stopped for a good two seconds during the first heat… by time my heat came around, the rain returned) but I won’t because there’ll be plenty more meets that have the same, or even worse, conditions. I could complain that I don’t have a coach, training group, or any of the like by my side, but that won’t change my situation either.

I don’t cry as often as I should (something I’m working on) but I definitely let the tears flow last weekend. When I woke up the day after the meet, my eyes were swollen like I laid in a bed of pollen. A week later and I’m still cringing from the film my sister took of me running… or should I say jogging.

I’ve worked my ass off these past few years that I’ve been in college but that meet made it look like the opposite. Long story short, I had a bad start coming out the blocks, popped my head up too early, realized how behind I was, and my body and mind shut down as a result.

It’s pretty much like I gave up.

I got out of character.

After everything I’ve battled in the last year or so, I’ve never fully given up on myself like last Friday so why now?

I’m still trying to find the answer to that.

I’m learning that it’s okay to allow yourself to feel. To feel all the emotions. All the sadness, anger, and pain. But the key is to not stay there. I have a bad habit of letting my sulking bleed over a 24hr period mark I try to give myself. I have my days but I’m thankful that I’ve grown in maturity and realize that I can’t sit in that place for too long. I can’t stay stagnant in anything I do. I have to keep going.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that deep down inside, I wished this meet was a “breakthrough moment” for me.

All the hard work I’ve been putting in.

I desperately want a coach, a team, even my mentors and peers to truly believe in me. For someone to give me a shot.

But I have to believe in myself first and clap for my damn self first.

I show up for myself everyday when I choose to train. No one is forcing me to wake up at 6am to lift weights before class. No one is forcing me to eat as clean as possible on a very slim budget. If nobody else recognizes my hard work, I have to… and most importantly God does anyway.

We’ve all heard that comparison is the thief of joy, right? Okay, cool. I don’t think we realize how true that is.

After the meet, I realized that my subconscious comparisons really have gotten the best of me lately. I follow a bunch of track athletes on social media, most of which are on D1 teams or compete professionally. I want to be successful so badly it hurts. I don’t necessarily want to be those athletes.. but I do want to be in the position that they’re in to an extent. Granted, everything that glitters isn’t gold and we all have our demons that we’re fighting. Just because an athlete is signed and/or on a team doesn’t mean everything about their situation is perfect.

As easy as it is to focus on the lows and how I don’t have much of a support group to rally around me, I have to choose to be grateful in the present moment. I’m not sure if I’ll financially be able to run in another meet this season but at least my university has an awesome gym that I can lift at and get better at week by week. I could have a season ending injury right now, but I don’t. I could have no gym to train at period, but I do.

I might be in the wilderness right now not knowing when I’ll be able to compete again or when I can get to an outdoor track consistently to do block work or if I’ll be able to juggle grad school, training, and whatever else I have going on after I graduate next year or a million other scenarios I can think of, but I have to continue to roll with the punches and validate my own self.

Most people still wouldn’t be here– still attempting to chase a dream like this– but I am.

And that makes me strong.

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