The Third Lap

I love racing the mile. It takes endurance and speed, and it requires mental toughness and grit with four laps of hard running. It’s fast enough that lactic acid builds up — physically strangling your muscles of oxygen — and it’s long enough that you need to put mind over matter.

The third lap of the mile is always the hardest. It doesn’t matter how great your first two laps were. This lap is the one that makes or breaks your race. It’s where you start feeling the fatigue. It’s when your mind starts going over your race plan — and you start worrying that you won’t be able to hold on for the final lap and kick. Your goal on the third lap is not to give up. To hold on and fight your body and your doubt.

You have to dig in. Yes, you may slow down. Yes, someone may see your pain and take advantage of your weakness, but this is when heroes are made. It’s when you decide that you can do it and will do it. You make the decision and will your body to hang on.

Sport teaches you about overcoming challenges and achieving goals. It shows you both the joy and pain of working toward something important. The “third lap” analogy showcases the power of resiliency. Getting started can be hard, but it’s overcoming obstacles that makes victory that much sweeter. Sometimes you have to push yourself to the limit without feeling like you’re going to cross the finish line. Only here can you understand what you’re capable of and enjoy what you do.

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