I am extremely competitive. In high school and college, I competed in taekwondo and figure skating. I would travel a lot for events; Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Arkansas, and all around Pennsylvania for tournaments and competitions.
In my senior year of HS, I decided to try to make top ten in taekwondo. I had just earned my first degree black belt the year before, and had placed in all of my tournaments prior. My parents took my brother and I out of school to compete at fall nationals; we were excited. Once we got there, I found out I had two judging assignments before my ring. I was not happy, but part of being a leader is stepping up to the challenges that are laid out in front of you. Things didn't go according to ATA's plan, and I was late to my ring. It had me rattled. I had never felt that before; normally, I am pretty calm under pressure. But here I was in unfamiliar territory, with competitors I had never met, and I felt completely out of sorts. I didn't have time to warm up or anything. I went out and competed. But it wasn't my best performance. I felt awful-my parents took me out of school to Disney World just so I could make the top ten.
That tournament sealed my fate. There would be no top ten for me.
That adventure showed me that I need to give 110% in everything I do. Because I took the pressure off of my skating to focus on taekwondo, my skating improved. I started doing better at competitions in skating. I started placing in events and trying out new ones. I struggled with a jump for a year, and I finally started landing it consistently in competitions. It was a turning point. Skating brought my confidence back.
I transfered all that I learned from my disappointment to make my running better. Every time I run a race, I know I have to give it every ounce of energy I have. I have to constantly train to improve my time. I compete against myself when I run. I have to beat my last time, wether it's my 5K or a half marathon. Just like in skating or taekwondo, each time I pushed to make my program better. I can't control all of the situations, like the weather, the judges' moods, my competitors' performances. I can only control what I do. The rest is out of my hands.
(Just so everyone knows, I still skate. Not as much as I wish I could. I really hope to get back on the ice ASAP.)