Starting at Zero

After taking it easy all winter trying to heal my body with a lot of Yoga and stretching, I am feeling the consequences as I start training for my race April 7th.  Yes, I am WAY behind in my training, but the rough winter with tons of snow being dumped on us presented me with a challenge.  I do not enjoy running on the roads, and add in unsafe conditions….well, here I am.

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3 weeks from the race with very little running on under my belt.  While on my run today, I did a lot of thinking.  My first thought was on perspective.  In September, while Marathon training, the 4 mile run I was doing today would have felt like an “off day”.  I would have done it at a 7 min/mile pace no problem.  I remember doing  a 14 mile run towards the end of my Marathon training and thinking it was a “short run”.  How twisted!! 🙂

While suffering through my 4 miles today, I couldn’t help but think that there were probably so many people at my fitness level today, who would have thought my September shoes were impossible to fill.  BUT, I was thinking the same thing today even KNOWING it can be done.  So, don’t sell yourself short.  Even though some things may seem unattainable, we all started from scratch at one point, and that is where I feel I am today.

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Second thought:  people always say that things are “easy” for me OR I “like running”.  This makes me upset because it diminishes my hard work and suffering.  The reality is, while I am athletic, nothing comes “easy” for me.  I was always slightly overweight, even while playing ball in college.  I constantly struggle with staying fit, and it is just as hard for me to drag my butt to the gym some days.  The difference, when I am working out I am ALL IN.   Every minute of the workout I am giving it 100%.  I do well in races not always because I am the fastest, but because I am willing to give it EVERYTHING I have.  I finish every race knowing I had nothing left to give.

Today I ran 4 miles and it was uncomfortable.  However, I pushed past uncomfortable & didn’t give in to my urge to walk.  Doing that will make next run a little less uncomfortable.  And I will keep progressing until I am back to running 14 miles in the trails.  It won’t be “easy” but it will be worth it!

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Why Competition Makes Me Cry

hard workOne thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is competition, and the emotions that go along with it.  There are a few things that have sparked this in the last week:

1.) Watching a Michael Jordan cry like a baby while clutching the NBA Championship Trophy.

2.) Reading a letter from my Aunt that was written for my High School Basketball Senior Day.

3.) Hearing a friend say she “doesn’t understand why anyone would cry at the end of a race.

I could go on for days on this subject, and I hope I can find the limited amount of words to get my feelings out.  First, I have to say that the emotion that is involved with competition is what I miss most on a daily basis, and what I crave to seek as much as possible in my current life.  What you may not know about me is I was a 3 sport athlete in High School & went on to play collegiate basketball.  I traveled since the age of 12 all over the country to play in AAU Basketball Tournaments, learning at a young age the the price of hard work is worth the reward.

So, here I am at the age of 32, still trying to find my way in an unknown world.  A world without practice, coaches, teammates, and games.  For 20 years, my life revolved around one thing: competition. It was why I slept, why I woke up, why I ate, why I lived.  I had a team around me, working towards the same goal.  I had a family that surrounded me that threw there lives into my sports career.  They traveled all over the country, following my AAU, High School, and Collegiate career.  They saw the “behind the scenes”:  shoveling off the driveway to shoot my 100 free throws. Turning on the spotlight to work on my jumper until 11pm.  Doing my homework via flashlight in the car after softball game followed by AAU basketball practice.  They saw all of this, therefore, when I lost, they lost.  When I cried, they cried.  They saw my hard work, and they knew it was for one reason….to excel at game time.  They felt each loss, and rejoiced in each win, because it wasn’t just the 40 minutes of the game we were feeling, it was the work that came before that game.  THIS is why I felt the tears Michael Jordan shed as he clutched that trophy.

This brings me to present day.  The one way I have found competition is through racing.  It will never be the same as basketball, but it at least gives me the idea of training hard for the end product: race day.  What this means is every training run, every minute spent cross training, this is done to get me ready for GAME TIME: race day.  So, as you cross the finish line of the race, your thoughts are not always on the race itself, but the work you did to get there.  The days you woke up early when you just wanted to sleep in.  The nights you skipped the bar with your friends so you could get up early for a training run.  Only you knew how hard you worked before and DURING the race, and when you cross that finish line the emotions flow.  THIS is why I cry at races.

One of the most emotional, energetic races I have ever attended was IRONMAN Lake Placid.    Why?  Because to compete and finish an event like this EVERY single person there COMMITTED to it.  Every person gave up so much, and gave so much.  To me, THIS is living.  And if you have never crossed a finish line with a lump in your throat, maybe you just aren’t emotional, but MAYBE you didn’t give it your EVERYTHING?!?!