To run strongly, you must think strongly

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Photo provided by Nicole Burkowski

Emily Francis('19) and Nicole Burkowski ('18) push each other to finish the race. The cross country team won counties this year.

Nicole Burkoski, Reporter

I have had plenty of experience not only with athletics but with challenges of mental health.

Last year was one of the hardest times I have faced throughout my life. I attempted to continue my regular life by attending school and continuing my running but I realized not being in the right state of mind makes everything a challenge.

I needed to take time off to truly allow me to reflect on myself and recover so I could return to my daily life.

My running career is a big part of how I define myself and what I am capable of and when I was not able to do that I felt like something was missing in my life.

Although I still struggle with my mental well-being, I now truly understand the affect mental has on activities that may seem purely physical.

The common phrase “if you say you can’t, you won’t” is not a clear representation of how the mind effects performance.

The determination of one’s success is not based off of a feeling of discouragement because mental strength cannot be measured in just a moment but how strong they are as a person.

If someone is going into a race, game, or match and they have the mind-set that they will fail, that does not mean they will.

I begin almost every race terrified of failing and telling myself I am not good enough but once the race begins, my mental strength is measured by how I keep running and keep pushing myself.

Whether or not I was positive going in to the race does not determine my mentality, your mental state is something that stays with you.

It can be improved over a period of time with medication and support but for those with disorders such as anxiety and depression, it is important to remember that your way of thinking does not determine how strong you are.