There is nothing that holds you back more from achieving your goals than your own limiting beliefs.
I do believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. This year I've set my mind to improving my running.
There is however something I noticed in that last 5 km run, and I've noticed myself doing before and tried to change. I didn't expect to run that fast in the 5 km race, and there was someone else I knew in the race that I didn't expect to even be close to. During the last couple of kilometres of the race, I could see this person ahead of me, and I was surprised but my first thought was that I couldn't catch them but I would try to keep them in my sights. In the end they only beat me by less than 20 seconds. Also at the end of the race, when I could see the clock and realised that I might go under 23 minutes, I managed to sprint to achieve this even though I believed at that point that I was going as fast as I could go.
Looking back at this, it makes me wonder if I could have beaten this person had I had a different attitude in my mind. If I'd had the belief in myself that I could do it. Honestly, I think I could.
Running is more than just who can go the fastest. A lot of a race is in your head. The more I run in various races, the more I'm starting to see this. I think to improve my time further, I need to do some more races to get used to running with and against other people. And try to never limit my beliefs.
Last year before my daughter took part in her first school athletics carnival I told her the story of 'raising your hand'
A teacher asks their students to raise their hands as high as they can in the air.
The students do this. Then the teacher asks them to raise their hands just a little bit further. Again the students do this - pushing their hands just a little higher.
The teacher then asks, "So what happened the first time I asked you to raise your hands as high as you could? If you had, you wouldn't have been able to raise them any further."
The point of this story is to show that even when you think you've given all you've got - there's always a little more left in the tank to give!
My daughter took this to heart, and in her first race, the 80m sprint, she was in 4th place with 20m to go, then she put on an extra burst and managed to win the race. Afterwards she said she told me she remembered what I'd told her about raising her hand further, and she did just that.
I need to remember this story myself, and next time I see someone ahead of me in a race - don't think, "I'll never catch them", instead I need to think, "I can catch them - let's go!" and push just that little bit harder. I might even surprise myself!