Track season ended recently for me and I fell short of my goal PR, personal record, but along with that unreached goal I gained friendships, strengthened character, and a better understanding of myself.
Before track season had even begun this year I asked my track coach, who was also my cross country coach, what time he thought I could get in the mile this upcoming season. The answer was a confident and happy "5:40". From then on I mentally told myself repetitively that I was going to get 5:40s this track season. I trained hard every day, doing everything my coach would ask. I took my vitamins, drank my water, and ate good food. At the West Coast Relays I got close, getting a 5:51 in the mile. A 5:51 mile is two seconds from a 5:49 mile; my coach and I were so excited.
Finally league had arrived, the race my coach had me at the peak of my training for. We we talking, my coaches and I, before the beginning of the meet about the mile; I said with good humor but all seriousness "Hey it's 5:40s or die trying". I almost died trying. Just after the race, I was panting hard laying on the grass when voices floated above me saying I got another 5:51. I was crushed.
I qualified for all three events at area, but of course I chose to focus on the mile, on getting that PR. At area I raced a 5:55 mile, and the frustration continued to grow inside me. Why couldn't I break into the 5:40s? My coach said I could, what was I doing wrong? A week after area I had a time trial. Time trials are unofficial races, usually only done to earn a better PR; the person racing in the trial is paced by a faster runner so they'll stay on pace for their goal. During the last lap, 200 meters away from the finish line and the end of my race, it was shouted out that I was at 5:00 flat, and if I just ran a 48 second 200, I would finally be in the 5:40s. At that same moment, I tried so hard, I gave everything I had to go faster, but my body wouldn't do it. My legs felt like they were stuck in molasses, my body felt as if I was a snail trailing along the sidewalk at a painfully slow pace. As I crossed the finish line the timer read 5:54. I failed.
After the race I became sick, reflecting back I think it was caused by the immense guilt and regret I felt. I stayed home the next day due to my nausea and weakness; the whole day I couldn't get it out of my head that my season was over and I never reached my goals. I broke down crying that night to my parents, I couldn't stop saying that I was so close, I could've done it.
What my parents told my was something I was desperately needing to hear. They said that just because I didn't break 5:50 doesn't mean that I'm a failure. They said that there was so much more to my track season than just merely the times I received for my races. I had coaches who cared for me and wanted to help me in anyway they could, as well as friends gained who pushed me to the limit in workouts and always had my back, and a team who loved me, and I loved them, like a family. The sport itself, running, taught me that if you want something, you have to work for it, and hard work is essentially the key to success
Maybe I didn't get 5:49, or 5:45 this season, but I wouldn't trade what did get this season, friends, character, love, and wonderful memories, for the world, not even for a PR:).