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Out of the Quicksand
April 16, 2012Posted by on
I’m the type of athlete who draws confidence from the long hours spent training. There’s the rub. Since I train part-time in light of my day job, I do not have the luxury of time. Gone are the days when the hurdles are a mere 10-minute walk away. Now, hurdles training means an hour-long commute or a 45-minute drive. Hence, my confidence has suffered the past few years. The less time I spent hurdling, the more fearful I’ve become of the barriers.
Once fear of the hurdles sets in, a sprint hurdler is in a serious quagmire.
I’ve suffered just that the past few months, especially the last couple of weeks after my ill-fated morning training session. Negative thoughts kept swirling inside my head. Instead of picturing myself clearing the barriers flawlessly, the dreaded images of stopping mid-way into the race haunted me.
I stumbled upon an IAAF article on Liu Xiang’s experience with German masters athletes. The 2004 Olympic Champion was awestruck at their dedication, despite their advanced age: “Watching them train, I was moved. I admired their enthusiasm in Athletics.”
Then it hit me. I’ve been pressuring myself to much by comparing my performance with my contemporaries from abroad. I decided to take a cue from my idol Liu and those hardy German athlete: Athletics is fun. The main reason why I’m still hurdling is that I love the hurdles. I loaded songs like the “Hajime No Ippo” soundtrack and Rivermaya’s “Alab ng Puso” into my iPod. I watched Liu Xiang’s bad ass warm-up routine (I’ve forgotten how many times Liu has bailed me out of a bad rut!) to put myself into the right mindset.
I’m an eleven-year hurdling veteran, I told myself. Despite the flaws in my form and my mediocre flat out speed, the fundamental hurdling motions have been deeply ingrained. Hell, I’ve been through a lot. Hurdling is second nature.
Gradually, I pulled myself out of the quicksand.