Calgary, Alberta, the site of this years national championships, the place where I was gonna show everyone what I was made of. Eight months of training have been leading up to this event, finally my time to shine.
Everything doesn’t always go the way you plan, things happen. I was suppose to come in an under dog and come out a contender. It was suppose to be my time to put it all out there.
The practices before my heat felt good, my knee was bothering me, but I told myself it would be fine by race day. Race day came and the pain had not gone away. Throughout my warm up I felt the pain which had been plaguing me for the past two weeks. I tried to put it behind me and not let it get in my way. Clouds filled the sky as I warmed up, rain began to fall and the temperature dropped. I continued to warm up and tried to not let anything, or anyone phase me. As I see my competitors warm up the ever so famous butterflies show up in my stomach. My head begins to fill with doubt, I know these girls are faster, and I get scared. I try to keep my head up but the nerves are taking over. As much as I try to stay positive, bouts of negative stream through my head.
The sky begins to clear, its time to check in to the warm up tent. As I sit there I try to put on my brave face, but my nerves are obvious to everyone around me.
It doesn’t go as planned, I didn’t put it all out there, I had not come out a contender. When my heat was all said and done, I had run my slowest time of the year. Nothing clicked, it had all gone wrong. My nerves had gotten the best of me. My blocks weren’t right, my race plan wasn’t right, my mind wasn’t right. I wasn’t the confident strong Ese who had been training for this moment for the last eight months. When it was all over, I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sore, nothing hurt…physically. As the second heat finished it was clear, I wasn’t in the final. 9th place.
At no point did I ever think I wasn’t going to make the final, that thought had never crossed my mind. 9th place. It hurt so much, it made me numb. I was in such disbelief, it almost felt like it didn’t really happen.
Old me would have cried. Old me would have hid. Old me would have wanted to quit right there and then. New me is better than that.
This wasn’t the end, this wasn’t a failure, it was a life lesson. My performance at nationals left the most bitter taste in my mouth, a taste I will never forget.