After a particularly tough day at Mt. SAC, Polina Carlson opened up to her family, friends, fans, and followers on Facebook. Below, she gives a deeper look into the event with some introspection and forward sight.
I’ve realized that an important part of being an elite athlete is to develop the ability to make peace with setbacks, and to not let a bad race or a workout define you. When everything seems to go perfect before a race, and the mind is ready to do whatever it takes to win or run a PR, sometimes, the body may just refuse to cooperate. This past weekend I competed at the Mt. Sac Relays in the 5K. I had a clear race strategy and anticipated a huge PR based on my workouts leading up to the meet. After a slow first mile, my body shut down for no apparent reason and the more I pushed the worse it got. I started blacking out and struggled to take in oxygen. My prayer was just to be able to keep moving and cross the finish line. Never before had this happened to me and I was surprised and shocked afterwards as the emergency medical team evaluated me. Disappointment tried to swamp me, until I was finally able to accept the unexpected and find peace.
I now know that experiences like this are a part of being an elite athlete, and I’m so extremely thankful for a wonderful husband and medical team who were there taking care of me afterwards. So many things to be grateful for: I have no serious injuries, and I believe that I will come back stronger and hungrier. I’ve realized that running setbacks can really help keep things in perspective. Now I will truly cherish every PR and victory, knowing that they do not happen every race. I’ve been a runner for only a few years, so I haven’t experienced many ups and downs in my career. But, now I won’t fear “running slumps” or “setbacks” for I am certain they will give me chances to become more resilient and wiser as they become an integral part of the process of success. As for now, I’m going to take a break from running and get healthy, so I can come back stronger than ever before and continue using my God given talent while doing something that I really love!