Ever since I can remember, I have always felt that I have planned for success. When I was younger, I would sit at the kitchen table working at math problems until I got them right or I would practice free throws until I was sinking them all in the basket so that I would do well on my math tests and be the best basketball player I could be. Even during my senior year of high school, when a majority of my class has a large case of senioritis, I am still working hard in all my classes so that I will be able to keep my skills sharp for college. One aspect of my life where planning for success has played a large role is in running.
When I was a junior in high school, I decided to run cross country in the fall. I was one of the best sprinters on the track team, but I figured that distance running would help me build stamina for the longer sprinting runs I ran as well as keep me in shape for track. I knew I had a lot of work to do to be prepared before the season, since I wasn’t used to running the longer distances that the cross country girls ran.
As the summer started, I quickly got a running schedule all planned out. I knew that I would have to start building mileage in order to be able to do well during the season. Each day in my running log, I would write down my splits, the total amount of time it took me to run, and the length of the run in miles. During a majority of my runs I felt terrible and tired running them. Most of the time during the runs I thought to myself, “Why on earth am I putting myself through this?” I still kept running, because I knew that it would benefit me in the end.
Once school started, and we started having actual practices, I found myself becoming more exhausted. The workouts, the mileage, and the races were taking a toll on my life. During every practice when I had to do a workout or during a race when things got hard and I just wanted to stop I thought about how I had worked all summer and all season. I couldn’t just give up. Each race I constantly got better and when I finished I was able to cross the line knowing that I had given it all that I had.
That season of cross-country changed my whole mindset on running. I went from being a runner who wasn’t very confident in myself or my ability to being a runner who had confidence and a drive to win every race no matter what else was going on with my life. I believe that planning ahead is the key to success and that by working hard and always looking ahead I can always achieve my goals.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.