Defeating Self-Doubt

I just ran my first cross country race the other day. 

It was a two-mile race at Branch Brook Park in Newark. I was told earlier in the season by my coach that I would be running it with some of my friends that are managers as well. To be frank, I did not want to run this race at all. Deep down, I didn’t think that I wouldn’t be able to do it. For weeks I stressed out about it, putting out so much negativity that would keep me from wanting to run. I was counting down the days until the race came. 

At last, here it was: the day of the race. The whole day I was freaking out. I was talking about it the entire day to friends, family and teammates.  As the hours before the race slipped away, my fear and stress intensified. I was so entirely negative about the entire experience. My heart was racing as I stepped on the line, crowded by other towns, just waiting for the gun to blow so that I could just get the race over with. The official started to raise his pistol. The echo of laughter fell away, and everyone got into position. In those moments of hesitation, the sound of the pistol cracked into the sky as the stampede of runners began the first stretch of the race. I focused on my pace, and stayed by my group. 

While running, I got lost in the scenery, not even paying attention to the race half of the time. I kept my pace, and focused on my breathing.   Groups of boys and girls from other towns cheered us on in the crevices of the paths as we ran along. I actually had a lot of fun, and I finished my race with a pretty good time. 

What I learned from this was that I could do the things that I stress out about, the things that I think I can’t handle – that with determination, I can get through anything. I impressed myself that day, and I have learned that I need to be more optimistic in those stressful times, because they may end up being the best parts of my life. That was my first cross country race, and I ended up defeating my own doubts of myself.