Motivation Monday (on a Wednesday)

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Abbie Hlas

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Winning isn’t easy. Everyone knows that. But does everyone know just how hard winning is? How much it takes to get there? Nate Mueller, a junior on ADM’s cross country team does. He is considered to be one of Iowa’s top runners and is preparing for his third appearance at the Iowa HS state meet. Here is his story.

Nate has experienced what it feels like to lose… to come up short. He has watched others step in front of him and take the victory he has always wanted. When Nate was a sophomore, he set out to run in the Iowa high school cross country state meet. He was considered to be one of the top runners in Iowa and was looking for nothing other than a victory. Nate ran a very good race, leading the pack with 300 meters to go.  It looked like he was going to do what most only dream of. It looked as if he was going to take the gold. Somewhere in the last 300 meters, one runner passed Nate, and then another. As he crossed the finish line in third place, Nate was crushed, and shocked. He had come up short of his goals. He had lost the race that had seemed like a victory a mere 60 seconds ago. When asked about this moment, Nate responded, “I just didn’t have enough left to finish strong.” Fans and teammates came and congratulated him on a great race, after all there is much to be proud of with a third place finish at the state meet, however Nate felt like he had failed. How could this happen? How could someone go from victorious to failure so quickly? “I felt like I had missed an opportunity to win state” says Nate.  He was filled with devastation. Watching someone else wear that medal, his medal; he hated how someone else got to go home victorious, experiencing the success he had dreamed of.

Nate couldn’t bring himself to leave. So he stayed. Fans and parents left, teams packed up camp and left, the course was cleaned up and before long everyone had left. Except Nate. He sat still… in disappointment… in anger. He thought about what he might’ve done wrong and realized that he did not put himself in a position to succeed. He put in very few miles during the summer; he didn’t make a conscious effort to watch what he ate. Although he wanted to win with everything inside of him, Nate now understood that it took more than that. Merely wanting success wasn’t going to get the job done. He was going to have to put in some work, change his habits. Some things needed to change. He couldn’t let luck decide who won and who lost. So Nate made a decision. Right there in the very place he had come up short, he made a commitment. Never again was he going to let another summer go by without putting in miles. Never again was he going to start his season unprepared. He decided to give himself the best chance possible to succeed. And this time, nothing was going to stop him.

During summer 2019, Nate trained HARD. He ran around 500 miles compared to the 100 miles the previous summer, he ate and slept like an athlete, he made time to recover after long runs. “That race in 2018 has been in my head every single day;” says Nate, “it’s what drives me to train harder.”  On top of all his training, Nate has had to give up many of the things he used to enjoy on a daily basis. Instead of going out on friday nights, he stays home and gets at least 9 hours of sleep (every night). Nate makes recovery a priority over hanging out with friends after practice. He put into his body only the foods that will benefit his performance “Sacrifices have been huge, they give me the edge to all the other people that are just like me” Nate says. The key to his sacrifices is discipline. If he isn’t disciplined about his goals, then he simply will not meet them.  “Only the disciplined are free in life, If you are undisciplined you are a slave to your moods.” Nate comments.

On Thursday, October 24, Nate gets the opportunity to qualify for state. Assuming he qualifies to run at the state meet, he will once again go for the gold on Nov. 2nd in Fort Dodge. His mindset is to give it his all and to be happy with whatever the results are because he has prepared himself. He has put himself in a position to win. If it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen. According to Nate, “Ultimately, God’s will happens no matter what. He gave me these talents. I have not done anything to earn them, so I just use these talents as a platform.” Good luck Nate. Your entire ADM family will be cheering you on.

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