Starting new chapter of my sports career in elite category with failure followed by success

I have no idea, why it takes me so long to reflect on my performance, conclusions and thoughts here, but I am determined to continue and even become more regular with blog posts. Anyways, I do it first of all for myself.

This year is kind of special for me, since I officially begin my elite sports life. I have been running in this category many times before, actually, and have even been in the main national team since 2019, but always as "still a junior", which left some space and gave an excuse for possible mistakes and losses. Performing good in elite last years, therefore, has been considered even better by me and others, as I was "still a junior", whereas performing so-so has been admitted as fine, since I was again "still a junior". Convenient, isn't it?

From this year on, fortunately or not, but for sure unusually, it doesn't work any more. No excuses. Maybe I am again too hard on myself, but that was exactly the pushing factor, which I took too serious and have been thinking about way too much, instead of doing what I perfectly know how to do.

But let's go over the facts. I have lived for 4 months on the south of Russia, running, and mainly orienteering, in the mountains, becoming stronger physically and having best winter preparation ever. In the middle of April I came to EOC selection race aiming high and wanting everything at once from myself. 3 sprint days presented the easiest orienteering and the highest speeds. I have obviously been still stuck in my "hilly" running and not prepared at all to show some crazy pace on a flat surface. Consequently, I was literally shocked by the results after the first race, disappointed, angry and feeling all 50 shades of negative emotions. It is always hard to admit your weaknesses and the truth - which was me being in a great shape, but for totally another thing (and it proved itself a month later).

Still, even rationally explaining to myself reasons fur such a place in finish protocol, I couldn't not be patient and stressed out every day, which resulted in a pain in the periosteum during the last race. I strongly believe, that all such pains come just and only from your head.

That is what happened. To be serious, nothing that important has happened. I have done everything with my own hands - put that super big meaning to something I should have used as passing start. Made something valuable, which was not, as for me, got upset over nothing and required a week to recover then, firstly mentally. What for? I have no idea now and sincerely smile at my adolescent maximalism, desire to prove something to others, when the only person I should report to is myself. The only person, who knows my shape, my condition and objectives at the moment is me or my coach.

Why prove something to someone, if I shall just enjoy? Orienteering is a perfect activity - the more you enjoy, the better you are at it, the smoother will be the flow and the better your performance. And finally: in sports you have to strain, but the result comes only when you relax and let go of your expectations. No expectations about the result, only the goal to show perfect orienteering and enjoy it - that is a perfect starting mindset for me.

I have done conclusions, discussed them with my coach, parent, friends, myself for thousand times. Calmed down, went to some bears' forests for a week training camp and came to another Russian champs - WOC selections - just looking forward to some real and difficult orienteering, being ready to enjoy and run without mistakes. What I did, feeling that it turned out quite simple and I realised my current potential. The result was not long in coming - 3 days later I knew I am officially selected to run WOC long distance in Czech Republic.

I suppose each ambitious athlete goes through exactly the same struggle when changing juniors to elite. And everyone should learn by himself, others' mistakes don't help, when you shall feel something through. I am now only thankful to this experience and the lessons it gave me. That is, eventually, how we learn and how we grow.

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