This post is a continuation of the Lessons from Running – Part 1.
A brief recap with some additional information as to what happened thus far: I started running a seniors’ 1500m race, where I was representing my team simply because no one could run it at that moment in time. My competitors were some of the best long distance runners in the entire school, one of them being a Kenyan long distance runner and other being the school champion for long distance running for the last couple of years in a row. As you can imagine, I had absolutely no chance since I had never run a 1500m race in my life. I ran the 2nd last lap in full flight thinking that it was the last lap, having being duped by a rival team member. And now continuing the story…
I have an awesome habit of sprinting/ running as fast as possible nearing the end of any races I partake in. Needless to say, I started sprinting the second last lap. When I completed what I thought was the final round of the race, I was told that I had one more lap to go. At this point, I was for one, completely exhausted and going one more lap of 400m seemed utterly impossible but on the bright side, since I ran ahead of my competition, I had a good 250m head start on the final lap. I started running the last lap for the 2nd time but for real this time. At this point I want you all to visualize tying a bag of onions on each leg and holding your breath for 20 to 30 seconds. Now start running! That was the feeling I had and yet I still had 350m to go. I was convinced I would drop down any second of the last lap if not worse.
An amazing thing happened afterward. My team captain, someone who had a legendary status in school and whom I had always admired from afar but had never gotten the chance to talk to had been watching the whole race and did something amazing and daring. The race was run around the outer segment of the field; the inner segment is usually filled with people gearing up for the next race. My team captain came inside the inner segment and started running with me from the inner segment and started cheering me at the top of his lungs. I could barely hear him but every sentence he said was like boost of energy to me. After seeing him do this, my entire team who had initially opposed and made fun of me before the race started cheering me at the top of their lungs. The feeling at that moment was beyond words. I ran the last 300m only due to their cheers. I not only finished the race but came first. I was told later that I was literally a couple of meters ahead of the second place runner, the school champion for the past few years when I had finished the race.
That was the third and one of the most important lessons I learned that day. Sometimes in life you just need to believe in someone against all odds and when they know that you truly believe in them, they start believing in themselves. I was by no means very fast or talented at running but I had someone who believed in me and that made all the difference. I believe determination, hard work and having belief in your own self can exceed talent. That day was one heck of a roller coaster but that one feeling that I got made all of it very much worth it!
By the end of the season, I had participated in 11 races, I won 10 gold medals.