In His Own Words: Will Shaughnessy

Smile more

Hello there!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Will, and I'm very happy to be blogging for MileSplit this fall! I figure since you'll be reading a bunch of stuff I'm writing, I may as well tell you a little bit about myself. First and foremost, I love to run! I know, quite the shock. I also have a dog named Ozzie who is one of the greatest creatures to walk this Earth, I love to be doing all things outdoors, and am also an avid tuba player.

My blogs this fall will cover a wide variety of topics, with varying themes, and I hope you find them interesting!

Now that the XC season is just starting to get underway, I wanted to start off on a topic that I feel is very important to being successful in this sport, and that is quite simply, having a positive attitude. In past races as I'm toeing the line, I noticed that everyone around me always just looks really anxious or overly serious, sort of like they're attending a funeral, or watching a DC superhero movie. After all, we do this crazy sport because it's what we love to do, and I feel like we tend to forget that and let the competitive atmosphere make us fear something that we should be super pumped up to do. The races are why we train so hard, and we've spent the week leading up to the race feeling excited to get back on the course and reap the benefits of that training, but as we approach the line, all of sudden we start to feel more nervous than excited. I think most of us have been there, and it's not the best feeling. So I have a little trick I like to do before races. Just smile. You see, smiling is a bit of a 2 way street. You smile when you're happy, therefore if you smile you will become happy. I find it works especially well if you make a high pitched "eeeeeeeeeeee" sound when you do it. It may not seem like a promising method, but I find that it works quite well. You become so focused on making that noise and how crazy you must seem to other people that it takes the edge off the nerves. Even if you don't make the sound, the fact that you're smiling will just make you feel happy and make you enjoy yourself a little bit more. Try smiling during the race too. Give a wave to the fans, compliment your competitors as you're racing. You then associate happiness with racing and being on the starting line instead of putting yourself through pain and misery. Yes, it always hurts, but that's what makes the sport so rewarding, that feeling of finally reaching the finish line after giving it all you have. Whatever your ability level is, whether you're an elite runner or just someone doing it to stay in shape, you can achieve that feeling of satisfaction that comes with finishing a race.

That being said, I also tend to see people who look really bummed after races, and I'll admit, I've been that person on many occasions. Perhaps you've set a goal for yourself that you haven't met, and you're feeling frustrated. Maybe that goal was asking a little too much of yourself and since you haven't hit a certain time yet you feel like you're failing, when you're actually doing very well. It's important to look on the bright side of things, and focus on what went right instead of what went wrong. Think hey, I scored some good points for my team. Or just think how just by doing that race you'll physically improve and run better next time. Always be looking forward, don't dwell in the past. Having a positive attitude and always running happy can give you a totally different outlook on the sport and make it much more enjoyable for you.

Good luck to everyone this season!


P.S shoutout to Riley O'Connell for teaching me the ways of the "eeeee" smile.