Hello to my thousands of followers! (I’m being facetious- I have maybe 70.) I realize I have been away from this blog for quite some time. I apologize for that, and I have a lot to recount.
I’ve had a lot going on for the past three months. With the start of senior year, my (along with my fellow IB diploma candidates’) stress levels went up 300%. College applications, the dreaded Extended Essay (I just handed in my full draft today!!), IAs, IOC&D prep, and a multitude of presentations. I’m not a crier, so I wasn’t having outwardly emotional breakdowns like some of my friends, but I have been constantly anxious, worried, and angry.
As a result of intense schoolwork, a revamped training program, and uncontrollable circumstances, my cross country season was, to put it mildly, slightly disastrous. Saying this will leave a bitter taste in my mouth, but I did not PR. The closest I came was a 19:29 5k at a midseason invitational.
For much of the season, I was down and almost despised running. I came close to having good races, but something always happened that augmented my negativity. At conferences, I was on pace to PR, but right after the two mile mark, I felt abnormally faint and started blacking out, stumbling to 11th place. Regionals was perhaps the most important race, as our team was seeded 7th and top 6 qualify for states. Even if my team wasn’t in contention to qualify (and we were), individually I was in contention to qualify until mile 2.6 of the 2.98 mile race. Going down a gravel-and-root-covered hill, I tripped, face-planted, rolled for awhile, and came to a stop against a tree, scraping up my entire body. The scratches and cuts are finally healing after a month 😉 Anyway, I lost 15-20 spots and did not qualify for states.
I think part of the reason for my crappy season was definitely that my expectations were too high. After my successful track seasons as a junior, I figured, “I’ve run 11:19 in the 3200, so I should be able to run 17:xx in the 3-mile and 18:xx in the 5k! If I don’t do that, I’m fat and slow and hopeless.” When I didn’t immediately start dropping time, I got discouraged and never fully believed in myself. Throughout the fall, I’ve learned that track times do not necessarily correlate with cross country times, and your mentality is just as important as your physical shape.
In other news, senior year is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, which I realize definitely screams “first world problems.” However, I read that the average teenager today has the same stress levels as a 1950s psychiatric patient. I wonder how high an IB senior’s stress levels are? Why did I choose this path??
Cross country ended about four weeks ago for me, but I took a break for one week and then got sick for two weeks. After running a whopping 8 miles in three weeks, I am getting back into it sloowwwly. Pushing too hard too soon could be catastrophic, so I have been telling myself repeatedly that slow and steady wins the long-term race. Today was our first track workout back (10-12 400s), and while the pace was slower than usual and I stopped after 10, it’s a good starting point.
I love indoor season, so I am looking forward to building up from here. My goals this season are not time-related (yet) but more focused on mental strength. Positivity is key. Cross country never happened 😉
I hope to post more often; now that half of my apps are submitted and my extended essay is mostly written, my friends who are all freshmen in college have been telling me that senior year gets much less stressful in the second semester. Here’s hoping!