Lesson learned: bad things happen that won’t affect anything but your brain. You can’t let them.
It has taken me a while to think of what to write about this weekend. Not much can ease the feeling of disappointment in a bad race. I’m fortunate enough to have my Oiselle and NJNYTC families’ support, which made it a little easier. I was often reminded that everyone has bad races, something I’ve certainly always known, but the USA Championships are never a good time for it to happen. I had high expectations for myself. I’ve improved so much this season and felt great in preparations.
Unfortunately, I let a little bad luck with some poison oak get in my head and I just didn’t have it on race day. A rash first showed up Thursday morning and I spent most of my time for the next 24 hours trying to figure out what it was and how to get rid of it without taking something that would make me fall asleep or be on the banned substance list. Poison oak is irritating and itchy, but it doesn’t affect your ability to run, and therefore it is absolutely no excuse for my poor performance. No matter how many times I told myself I was fine, I wasn’t very convincing and I let myself stress out about it instead. By race time, I put myself in a decent position at the mile, but by 2k I felt spent. As I felt myself falling farther and farther back, it took some mental strength to remember that I never want to drop out of a race. It was far from the USA Championship race I imagined, but it happened. Now it’s time to pick myself up and learn from it.
On a happier note, it was a pretty great weekend for many of my NJNY teammates. With so many finals qualifiers and podium finishes for Ashley Higginson and Donn Cabral, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a group. It was also very exciting to see so many Oiselle birds competing. Only big things ahead on both fronts.