Test yourself from time to time, for you might surprise yourself with growth that you didn’t even know had happened within you. My personal greatest athletic challenges are mental ones, stemming back from a childhood athletic career with just as many roller-coaster highs as pit bottom lows. In short, my current coach works proactively with me on sports psychology so that slowly, race after race, I can learn to erase the pain of my past failures, replacing pre-race anxiety with unwavering confidence.
Earlier this season, my coach Debi and I decided that I would no longer race. Instead, every race would be a considered a “test.” Call me a nerd, but I have always loved tests of any type, loving any opportunity I am given to improve myself and rate my personal progress. There is something freeing about testing myself against myself rather than racing against others, and this morning I got to experience this freedom first hand during the John Robbins 8K Organ Donor Race.
Not feeling much up to a test this morning, it wasn’t an option anyone once I got to the race starting line. Much like many of lifes’ tests, we don’t always have a choice in the matter, but once we can engage in it with the right attitude, there is always much purpose to be gained. Once the gun went off, I ran until my body found a comfortable sticking point of a 6:31 pace, a pace that I didn’t know whether or not I could hold for 4.97 miles or not. For me, the real test I need is the test of turning off my mind. Today, I passed the test and it’s hard to believe even though this was the fourth consecutive race in which I “passed”…I have finally mastered the test.
If you are in the middle of a test in life, take heart, for it is the testing of ourselves that teaches us the most about ourselves and about our limitless potential.
Today’s test results: 8k in 32:25, 6:31 minute/mile pace.
Today’s lesson: Tests, with the right attitude, change the way we see ourselves.