Some of you already know this because I’ve talked about it with you or because you’ve picked up on hints you’ve seen on here or twitter, but I’m seriously debating the decision to run cross country. Currently, I’m still undecided for a number of reasons but I’m carrying on as if I am running in the fall. Or I should say, running for my school, because let’s be honest- I’m not going to stop running anytime soon. I have a lot more to say on this subject but I’m still figuring it out for myself so I’ll talk about it in more depth once I have it sorted out in my own head.
I met with my coach last week to talk about my summer mileage plan and we were discussing the dynamics of the distance girls in terms of how it affects me when I’m at practice and racing with everyone. We’re really working on this mental block I have when it comes to the second half of a race, regardless of distance and we began coming up with some plans that I’m going to be working on this summer when I’m training. He doesn’t know how unsure I am about next season, but I think he may be sensing some of my hesitation and has been so helpful in working me through it. Out of the blue he said it’s hard for me because I’m an extrovert on a team of introverts.
I kind of stopped and stared at him because never in my life have I never been considered an extroverted person. I’ve always considered myself the opposite, actually. I like my time alone, I’m generally pretty quiet, and I am better off in a small group of people I’m comfortable with. Throw me into a crowd or make me feel dependent on others (or that others are dependent on me) and I fall apart.
The fact that my coach thought that I was an extrovert made me laugh, but then I realized in many ways he’s right. When I’m on a team, I’m extremely loud and outgoing. I’m confident in my ability as an athlete whether I’m in the pool or on the track. It doesn’t mean I’m confident in myself right now with my times, but I know I’m good at what I do even if it’s not the best that I personally think I can be. I’m not shy around my teammates; it would be impossible after spending so much time with them. I get overly excited every day at practice and usually sprint out of the building to the front of the pack and do a few skips because I literally cannot contain myself. I love running. Swimming was the same way, where I was the loudest, most obnoxious person on the team. In Rhode Island, I’m this bubbly, bright personality that doesn’t come through when I’m at home at all where I tend to be much more serious. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about those places that just feel comfortable that the more extroverted side of me comes out.
This week, I remembered why I consider myself an introvert. I had a great time after my last final on monday with my friends- we swam, went on walks, ate ice cream, had brunch, caught up, and went out to the bars.
The going out part was where I saw the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every moment of my girl-time. I missed spending so much time with my closest friends, gossiping over brunch or painting our nails, walking along the reservoir and sharing our feelings. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. We stayed up way later than I’m used to all three nights and I was literally surrounded by people for the entire last 3 days at school this semester, something I haven’t really dealt with all year.
By the time we were heading out to the bars on Tuesday night, I was wiped. The night before we had gone to bed late and I naturally wake up pretty early. My friend who was staying with us was out for dinner and I had a little bit of time to lay on the couch and mindlessly watch a TV show. I knew I was overwhelmed when the only thing I wanted to watch was “The OC.” That’s my go-to show when I need some comfort and I can literally recite every line. When I found myself glued to the television, I knew something wasn’t right.
I had planned on trying another drink when we were out. I told my friend I would. She’s one of my best friends and I’m comfortable with her. I was ready to branch out and try something different. But by the time we left to go at midnight, my energy was fading fast and I didn’t feel comfortable in the environment. It was my first time at a bar and it was an overwhelming experience in and of itself; adding a drink to that was pushing my comfort zone too much for one week. Then, I started feeling pressured to drink and I immediately shut down, ultimately deciding that it was not the night to drink. I didn’t want to upset anyone, but it wasn’t right for me.
I need my “me time.” When I have people staying with me, I lose that. That night, I know I would have been more open to trying something different had I had more time to myself throughout the week. I like to be around people, but there are times where I need to just shut my door and be by myself, even if it’s just for a few hours. This is something for me to work on. I just need to separate myself before I reach this level so that I’m able to enjoy myself without getting upset. I have gotten better about it with time and on Wednesday I did go upstairs for a few minutes to pack up my room and just breathe, but I know I have a long way to go.
I can be outgoing, but I can only do that for so long before I start to lose steam. That’s why I enjoy my summers so much, I think. Living alone, I’m able to have all the me-time I want and then I get to seek people out when I have recharged. I have the best of both worlds. A built in group of “friends” (I say “friends” because they work there so I just hang out while they work…) to spend time with in the dockhouse at the marina every time I get off of my boat is at my fingertips but I can go right back into the serene environment I have created for myself these past four years when I’ve had enough of people. It sounds terrible, but I use the summer to humor my introverted self that enjoys my solo runs, book reading, and falling asleep up on deck so that when I come back to school, I’m excited to be surrounded by my best friends again, ready to go out and try new things, push my comfort zone just a little bit further, and work through that mental block that is preventing me from achieving all of the goals I have for myself.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert or a hybrid?