Picture anxiety

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Photo by @notafraid2fail 

I hate this picture. Or, my stomach knots a little when I see it. It’s me, losing. And because this was at Millrose last year, and perfectly captures two athletes straining for the finish, and Colleen in victory, and we’re both running Millrose again, I will continue to see similar photos between now and February 9.
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But why is my reaction so adverse? I’m working hard to get to the finish, to win. And I’m milliseconds behind a competitor, my training partner and friend, whom I respect. Nothing in that to be ashamed of.
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I think it’s the embarrassment of being caught really wanting something, and visibly failing to achieve it. Failure is noble in theory, in private, in retrospect. But when I’m faced with evidence of my own public failings, I just think it looks pathetic.
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A picture fractures my pretend world, in which these pathetic parts of me are a secret. As if my friends and loved ones don’t know. As if my coaches and mentors don’t know. As if they care. That your failings are unknown or not worth knowing (or worth hiding) is the greatest lie propagated by anyone who would profit from your insecurity.
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I make that face all the time in practice. I’ve lost a lot of races with that face. But I’ve also won many with the exact same ugly determination. I believe in that face. You struggle, again and again. And one day, you triumph.

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