In 2006, during my sophomore year as a long distance runner, I raced in a local track meet at Berkeley High School. I was 16 at the time and excited about the opportunities to shatter my personal records (PRs) from my freshman year. This event was seemingly normal save for a few key differences near the end.
Sidetrack for a moment… My mom worked 2 jobs as a single parent. This track meet was one of the few times when she was able to watch me race albeit later in the afternoon with my older sister tagging along.
Back to the story… out of all the events, my favorite one was the 1600 meter race. However, I always felt the pressing need to race the 3200 meter event as well. Part of this was my hard-working nature and urge to leave everything out on the track. Just to put things in perspective… I was only a sophomore yet I was already taking AP Chemistry and academically challenging myself with stoichiometry, percent mass composition, P-V (pressure-volume) diagrams, molality, and redox reactions. Despite the burning sensation in my lungs or heavy legs after racing, I felt that the recovery period from the 1600 (one of the earliest events) to the 3200 (one of the latest events) was just enough time for me to recollect myself mentally and physically. I could not allow myself to race one event and sit around the rest of the meet, though I did not mind cheering on my teammates.
Although my teammates would return the favor by cheering me on, people made fun of me. They were always strangers but the attitude and insults were something I… unfortunately grew accustomed to. Overall, it did not have a huge impact because I was doing something that I enjoyed… to the fullest. In this instance, the rowdy crowd was a group of individuals who were hanging out on the bleachers closer to the parking lot (where my mom and sister were sitting) as opposed to the bleachers closer to the street (where my teammates and coaches were sitting). What made matters worse was the fact that my mom reacted by cheering even louder for me. I inevitably lost focus on my race, lap counts, tactics for positioning, and split times. Mind you, 3200 meters (roughly 2 miles) is not an easy event to race, especially after racing other events earlier in the day. The ride home was awkward but at least I left everything out on the track.
Moral of the story: Do not pay attention to people who absolutely do not deserve your time. Also, do not give them the benefit of being entertained by any reactions that they are attempting to incite. That is toxic and has no place anywhere, especially in the healthcare profession.
Thank you for reading! Take care and see you next time!