“If I didn’t win – if I didn’t perform in a race the way I felt capable – I was miserable. Actually, “miserable” isn’t strong enough a word. After a bad race, I questioned who I was. I didn’t want to see anybody. I didn’t want to eat, and I couldn’t sleep. I would go into black funks that would last for days. All I could think about, when I wasn’t hating myself, was getting back on the track so I could redeem myself – shed this awful weight that defeat had placed on my shoulders.
This may sound extreme, perhaps even a little deranged, but I don’t think you can make it to the very top rank in any sport if you don’t have a similar aversion to losing – a visceral, physical loathing.” – That is one of my favourite excerpts from the book ’14 Minutes – A Running Legend’s Life and Death and Life’ by Alberto Salazar.
Saturday was a mud bath. Mud puddles climbed halfway up my shin, the rain was coming down in buckets, and there was more mud. It wasn’t the best of conditions, and I won’t leave a puddle of excuses on the course based on performance. 27th in at 34:03 is a pitiful result. Even though it may sound “good” considering it is a national race, it’s downright junk. I may sound harsh, but you have to be tough on yourself if you want to be the best. This doesn’t only apply to athletics, it applies for everyday life. Any time you don’t exceed your own expectations, the only person you let down is yourself. Don’t worry about what others say, good or bad; worry about what you want, where you want to be, and what sacrifices you’ll make to get there. Sure, take in the good that others have to say to you, but always believe you can do better.
Here’s the truth. You’re only good as your last race/performance/paper/assignment/etc., but what defines you is how you respond to defeat. A champion will go out there and bust their butt to be better, to prove others wrong, and to exceed all expectations. The average person will use excuses and whine and say “it’s okay, maybe next time”, and change nothing.
Over the next month, I’m going back to the dungeon, probably won’t pop my head out until January, and won’t talk much to anybody. The drive, the motivation, and the determination is back. 2014 is going to be a huge year. Nothing anybody can say will put me down, and I won’t let anybody get in my way. People can run their mouth all they want, and I could do the same, but actions speak louder than words, and how you respond to adversity will define your character.