I ran five years of cross country before coming to Luther. I adored running, practicing, and being a part of a team, but I absolutely loathed racing. It was never fun to me, and I always dreaded meet days. I would try to remind myself that meets really weren't that bad - a 4k is much shorter than a typical run in practice, after all - but something about racing never clicked with me.
I think the main reason for this was that I was always frustrated with my performance during the "middle mile". The first mile of my race always went by quickly and effortlessly, and I was often surprised to find myself at the mile marker so quickly, and was pleased to hear my split time yelled out to me as I passed by. However, the next mile always proved to be the worst part of my race. The adrenaline from the beginning was wearing out, I was starting to feel tired, I knew I had a long ways to go before finishing, and I mentally started to check out of the race. The middle mile always seemed so much longer than the first, and it often took me much longer to run this mile than the first mile of the race, setting me further away from my goal time.
By the time I hit the two mile marker, I would be frustrated with myself for letting this happen yet again, and would push myself through the last 800 meters, finishing with a last burst of motivation and speed.
This week is the middle week of J-term, and I am feeling it. My course is not new and exciting anymore, and I am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed with the papers and projects I have to finish in the next eight days. In my typical middle mile attitude, I am mentally checked out from my classes, and I find myself more and more distracted as I try to complete my homework. I find myself constantly looking for a change of pace, a different perspective, something different to focus on.
Luckily, this middle week is almost over: in a few days, I will be into the home stretch. I will be able to see the clock, ticking by the seconds, as I sprint towards the finish line. I will find the motivation, determination, and speed that I need to finish the projects and papers that I haven't had a chance to even look at yet. I just have to get through the middle mile...