I can feel the boiling sweat dripping off my face as I increase my pace. Only a mile left. “Start picking it up!”
“RELAXED IS FAST!” I can hear coach Mulrooney crackling energetic voice from somewhere nearby.
“Here it goes.” I begin to increase my speed. “Stay relaxed, and the race is mine.”
Cross-Country is not an easy sport. It requires running at least thirty five miles a week through rain, hail, ninety five degree heat, and twenty degree cold. I have twisted my ankle, endured shin-splints, been slashed by spikes, lost my shoe, and been hit in the face with a flag. However, there is one guiding principle which helps me work through these setbacks. RELAXED IS FAST. With this principle in mind, shin splints and lost shoes shrink from insurmountable obstacles to insignificant impediments. When you relax mentally, you allow yourself to perform at your best. Although I was first taught this lesson by my Cross-Country coach Mr.
Mulrooney, it is an idea that pertains to many aspects of life.
When I am struggling through a difficult AP Physics exam and I find myself becoming anxious that I will not finish in time, I remember, relaxed is fast. I take a deep breath and unwind. I immediately notice that the test seems easier, and the time limit more spacious. By changing my state of mind, I can enhance my performance and alleviate stress.
I know there will be anxiety during the transition into college and throughout life, but I also understand how to deal with the pressure. When others are allowing the challenges around them to stifle their progress, I will use the wise advice of Coach Mulrooney and relax. Such a small mental change is often the difference between success and failure.
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