400m runner Natasha Hastings has a long relationship with track. She began running when she was nine, and Eastbay was right there from the very beginning, helping her get the best so she could become the best.
“I know for sure we ordered my very first pair of spikes out of the Eastbay magazine,” Hastings said. “My uniforms for both my club and my high school track teams were ordered from Eastbay. We got the team names printed on, and I thought I was so cool.
“Never in a million years did I ever pick up the magazine and think one day I would be on the cover, so this is pretty exciting.”
We’re excited too, because at Eastbay, our #OneGoal is to help athletes reach theirs. Hastings has a pretty big one in mind, but she’s not daunted by the work it will take to reach it.
“There’s absolutely no question that I want to be on the podium hearing the National Anthem in my honor,” Hastings admitted. “But one of the things that I’m really learning to work on is that everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen, and no matter the outcome, I know I’ll be okay.”
For Hastings, competing against the world’s best isn’t a new goal. She’s done it before, and it’s something she’s had her sights set on since day one.
“Of course, along the way there were moments when I didn’t know if that was going to happen, or if I believed that it could happen,” Hastings said. “But to actually live out the goal that I set at ten — it’s something I can’t even put into words.
“You hear people say, ‘You don’t have to decide what you want to do right away,’ which to some extent is true, because along the way, things do change. But I also believe that you’re never too young to set a goal. I think it’s important that kids dream and work to attain their dreams, whether they’re five, fifteen, twenty — I think dreams are important.”
And that’s the message Hastings hopes to share with future runners everywhere.
Investing In The Future
“I like to give clinics and speak to kids,” Hastings explained. “Because as young as I was when I started running, I don’t have very many experiences of actually being able to touch an Olympian and ask them what it was like to go through high school, go through college.
“That’s something that’s very important to me, because sports kept me out of trouble, kept me busy. I got an education out of it, and so I want kids to understand that all of those things are important, and you can gain all of those things through sports.”
Sports are still keeping Hastings busy, and with summer approaching and her #OneGoal in sight, she’s upping the ante. Her workouts are getting tougher and the competition is getting fiercer every day. So, in the face of all that pressure, how does Hastings stay focused? By remembering that when you run for Under Armour, you Run With Fight.
Run With Fight
“For me, Run With Fight definitely means not giving up on myself even when I want to,” Hastings said. “There comes a time, whether it be in a workout or competition, when any athlete who tells you they’ve never wanted to give up, isn’t telling you the truth.
“It’s about pushing past those moments — knowing you have two or three more reps, but you just want to die, and you’re vomiting all over the place, but still getting on the line and finishing the workout. Or just feeling like you’re not ready for a certain competition, but knowing that this is what you trained for and no matter what, you’re going to show up and give it your best.”
Hastings knows that while training and racing are physically demanding, that’s only half the battle. In order to break through the wall, she had to learn how to master her thoughts.
“The biggest thing I had to learn over my career is that my body will only do what my mind tells it to do,” Hastings said. “That means the second of, ‘I can’t go anymore, I’m done,’ that’s a matter of me changing my language and pushing through. My coach has a saying: Pain is weakness leaving the body. It’s getting past feeling whatever you feel and almost tricking yourself. If you tell yourself you can’t do it, then sure as heck, you can’t do it. It’s all about changing that language and having a positive mindset.”
That positive mindset is most important right before a race, especially when it comes to tough competitions. Across the board, athletes from every sport and country credit music for helping them get in the zone. Hastings is no different.
Runners On Your Mark
“I’ve been obsessed with Future,” Hastings admitted. “Future has a song with Drake right now called Jumpman. If I could walk out to that — strut, do a little routine — that would definitely be my song for 2016.”
But once the music dies down, Hastings is all business.
“When we get on the line, they have us line up, and then they almost always play a little music to get everyone’s attention,” Hastings explained. “From the time that music plays until the gun goes off is the most intense moment before a race. There’s all these emotions, all this adrenaline, nerves, everything. And then the gun goes off.”
To follow Hastings — and our other cover athletes — as they chase down their #OneGoal visit eastbay.com/stopatnothing
For music chosen by our other athletes, head to https://play.spotify.com/user/officialeastbay