Last year and the year before on the Monday after all of the Last Chance meets, I went about my day as usual, except I was clutching my phone waiting for my coach to call.  Waiting to find out if enough girls who had run faster than me those years chose not to declare in the mile and/or 3k for the NCAA indoor nationals.  Two years. Two big disappointments.  I was so angry and frustrated with myself for not being able to push a little harder to getting an auto-qualifying time.  I let is become a motivational tool in my training over the past year.  The pain my legs would feel in any workout could not compare to the pain of missing this meet by hundredths of a second one more time. 
I worked hard.  I gained confidence.  I did it.  That same Monday night this year I had accomplished and gratifying feelings equal to the agonizing in the years prior.  Before the meet, my coach asked me what had changed.  He said even the way i carried myself was different, more self-assured.  Confidence is key, and it is not something that can be coached or taught.  It has taken me a really long time to get to this point, where I feel like I belong and deserve to be in some of the high caliber races that I have gotten myself to.  I was ready.
Trouble strikes when I have races like last night.  I wish that I had an explanation; not an excuse, but something that I knew I could change for next time.  The truth is it just wasn’t my night.  With two laps to go, all I could think was just finish.  Since the second I crossed the line, all kinds of thoughts have been racing through my mind. 
What just happened?  I feel bad that my dad and boyfriend made the trek out to Arkansas just to see that terrible performance.  That just happened on ESPN, in front of everyone in the country who follows college track.  I sooo thought I was ready!  How long has it been since a five minute mile was that hard or felt so terrible?  I have to run 2k more than that in three weeks??  Why do I do this to myself?
Dangerous thoughts that I cannot suppress.  But I have to suppress them.  It’s a chain reaction and a year ago I let the blow to my ego from not qualifying for NCAA indoor carry over to our outdoor opener.  Another big important meet with a terribly disappointing result.  I won’t let it happen again.  Time to get back to work.  June is a long way away.


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