St. Barnabas 5k, 2001- I spent the 2001 summer trying to break 16 for 5k, in hopes of walking on at Miami. This was one of my many, many failures, and perhaps my most painful. I paced myself well at the beginning, running well behind Mike Diano, and coming through the mile at 5:10. Then, it just got worse. I slowed down when I felt my strength totally sapping, and twice I stopped and stood there, unable to see straight. People passed me left and right, and I struggled in and saw my dad, who had come to see me run. It was emotionally throttling for me to know he saw such a dramatic collapse. This wasn't a race where I took it out too hard and burned out- My approach was reasonable! I was prudent! I was a failure.
I finished 13th, in 17:32. I had worse races that year, but after I acknowledged that I was struggling with anxiety problems and lowered my athletic expectations. Had I recognized my anxiety issues that summer, I would have taken a full semester away from college and skipped the Miami fiasco, or gone right to Richmond instead.