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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

When it comes to hills, I'm not particularly fond of them.  One of the best races I've run was at one of the worst courses.  I believe it was my junior year when I was one of the top runners at our school.  We had a dual meet with one other school, and in this race, we started at the bottom of the mountain and raced up to a trail (which had it's ups and downs, but was on average, a flat surface) where we went out and back.  At this race, I planned on doing well, but knew that the mountain part of the race would totally own me.  So I just jogged up the mountain.  I was probably around 6th place when I came to the top and everyone was kind of surprised that I wasn't up with the top runners, and that's when I suddenly picked up the pace to play a game of catch up.  I wasn't the fastest climber, but my strength was in the flats.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to compete with the other runners on the uphill, but if I saved my energy and used it on the trail part of the race, I would be able to do well.  As I ran, I passed a couple runners, and with about a mile left, I passed the first place runner and lengthened my lead to win that race.  It was a small race, but it was one of my best.  This race taught me about the importance of pacing and working on your strengths.

Some of the runners went too hard on the uphill because it was the beginning of the race and they had that strength that allowed them to push hard.  Due to the extreme amounts of energy they put upon themselves in the beginning of the race, they didn't have enough 'gas' to finish strong.  Even the ones who were strong with hills probably pushed themselves a little too much on the hill because of the competition.  I on the other hand did the total opposite and enjoyed the run, taking it easy so that the distance I would be racing would be shorter and more to my liking.  When you do anything, utilize your strengths and understand your weaknesses.  It's important to keep your strengths strong, but it's just as important to improve your weaknesses.  Just because I'm good at flats doesn't mean that I don't practice it, it means that I work just as hard as I did before so as to keep that strength.  However, because I'm weak with hills, it's even more important for me to work on getting better at running them.

Because of my weakness on the hills, I decided that today, I would focus on my weakness.  As there weren't any mountains nearby to run up and down, I went to a hill nearby, and ran up and down that hill continuously.  Including the run to and from the hill, I ran 6.73 miles in 1:00:34, an average of 8:59 min/mile.  It wasn't the fastest of averages, but looking at the number of times I went up and down that hill (approximately 17 times), it looked as if I ran about 3 miles uphill and 3 miles downhill.  It wasn't one of the most interesting of runs, but it really helped me work on my weaknesses, allowing me to grow and become a better runner.

Whenever you work on your weaknesses and keep up your strength, you improve yourself.  Know yourself first, and then work to better yourself, and because of that, you'll be able to reach your goals.

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