Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What I Learned From Doing Something I Dislike

I hate track and field in the same way teenage girls "hate" their mothers.  I constantly complain verbally, sometimes I actually give it the cold shoulder, but I return to it time and time again because I know that it's what's best for me and only is working toward my good.

I signed up for track this year under the impression that "it'd be good to try new things" and "meet new people" and "get some exercise!"

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Typically when you join a high school sport, you go to captains' practice for a couple weeks, to see if you'll like it before you fully commit to going to practice and meets every day of the school week and paying a boatload of money to the district.

But my friends Sarah and Kayla had already been in track for a couple years, so they didn't bother going to the captains' practices.

After rigorously questioning them about track and field, I decided that it might be a good idea to join, and I didn't bother going to captains' practices since they wouldn't be there and I didn't want to be alone.

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The first couple days of track were a honeymoon period for me.  I felt good about myself for getting my endorphins rushing around and I didn't feel like a boring person who rides the bus home from school every afternoon and just blogs (not that blogging is lame or anything).

But after the first couple weeks it began to dawn on me that track, quite simply, is not my thing.

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I'm not an awfully out of shape person, but running for no reason (or for very little reason) is not necessarily something I find particularly fun or attractive.  I need the adrenaline of getting to the soccer ball first or preventing the tennis ball from double-bouncing to get me truly motivated.

It didn't help things that the majority of track practices took place in the bitter cold and freezing rain that is so plentiful in my home state around this time of year.  When we weren't in the smelly weight room or using resistance bands in the gym, we were outside freezing while I asthmatically wheezed on the turf.

Part of the issue was that I literally had undiagnosed asthma which made things doubly awful.  It wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I got my inhaler, and things have been marginally better since.

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I didn't make many friends, either.  Part of this is definitely my fault for not putting myself out there, but part of it is due to the really intimidating atmosphere of the team.  There are the top runners who everyone knows and definitely cares about, and then there are the runners that aren't as good who don't necessarily get much attention from coaches or even other teammates.

I run with the sprinters which secludes me from all the people I knew who were mid-distance runners, and that left me with only Sarah and Kayla as friends basically.  I've only really made one other friend, the girl who runs the second leg on our relay team, and even then we only talk when we need to work on handoffs or something.

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So what objectives have I met and missed since joining tracked?

Have I made lots of friends?  No.
Have I tried something new?  Yes.
Have I developed a new skill?  Not really.
Have I gotten a little exercise and sun?  Yes.

So it's a bit of a mixed bag when it comes down to it.  I'm not in love with actual track activities, though I don't necessarily hate them.  I didn't really look forward to track, but sometimes it was nice.  I would say all in all track is not the best use of my time because I don't see it getting me anywhere significant, and I probably will not join next year.

But I have learned and accomplished just a few unexpected things throughout track, and since the season ends for me on Thursday, I want to look back on the season and see how it has benefited me.


I am More Confident With Myself

When you're forced to make the most intense and hilarious looking face while sprinting because it's the best way to get air in; when you're forced to run little prancing steps to get good form; when you're forced to push your rump as far into the air as possible to stretch out and practice blocks; and when you're forced to wear skimpy little running shorts for your uniform at every meet, you have got to find someway to be confident in yourself.

Normally I am uncomfortable in anything shorter than Bermudas.  But since I've legitimately been forced to wear actual shorts and tank tops for meets, I am more used to letting loose and being confident in who I am.  Not in an overly-revealing way, of course, but I've learned that I don't need to hide out of lack of confidence.

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I Understand More Jargon

If you had told me you ran the 4x1 a couple months ago, I would have little to no idea what you were talking about.  If you used the phrase "PR", I would immediately think "public relations?"  But now I understand all these phrases that people throw out, and I get what they mean by them.

I feel like it'd be really embarrassing as an adult to not even know how long a strait is on a track.

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I am Proud of Myself

Discipline is doing something even when it's not fun and shiny anymore.  Discipline is working even when the goal seems so far away and unachievable.  I don't mean too toot my own horn here, but the shine wore off track a long time ago, and I still pushed myself to do it.

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I don't think there was necessarily anything forcing me to keep going besides a desire to not waste all the money I paid, to please my parents, and not be a quitter in front of my friends.  I could have dropped out most likely with little or no consequence.  The coaches certainly wouldn't have cared if a a lowly JV runner suddenly stopped showing up.

But I kept going not for anyone else, but for myself.  This sounds really melodramatic, but I honestly would be so disappointed with myself if I looked back on my freshman year and saw that I weenied out of track and field.

I'm not usually very challenged academically in my courses, and sometimes I slack off a bit and just do the bare minimum to get the grade I want.  I don't really learn the discipline of doing something you don't want to do in the academic field, mainly because I love studying and it's not hard for me.  The one thing that is actually challenging to me is mentally preparing myself to do something like running, and I'm happy that I disciplined myself enough to get that done.  It may help me when academic things or music things, etc. get harder (*cough cough* AP Bio, APUSH, top orch next year).

I persevered, and yeah, I'm not the best, but I'm glad that I did what I set my mind to.

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I Got Sun and Exercise

I'm not super ripped or anything, but I am more toned than I normally would be at the start of summer vacation, and I am not as desperately pale as usual.  I actually have a bit of a tan!

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Track is a memorable experience.  I look forward to twenty years in the future when I tell my kids "when I ran track in highschool..."

It's not necessarily my favorite, but I am proud and happy that I went for it and actually did it.


  1. Way to stick with it, Nimrodel! It's always an alarming feeling when you realize you've gotten yourself into something you don't necessarily like anymore, but its a good thing you persevered and got through it, learning in the process. :D