There are some people that are natural born athletes. Those that start running and within a matter of weeks or months, their bodies morph into the ultimate speed machine and we gawk at their feats and stare in awe. But then…there are the normal folks. Us.
We work hard, we mess up, we pick ourselves back up, and we move forward to achieve new goals and PRs. But new goals aren’t achieved without learning a few good lessons along the way – one in particular that I want to share with you. So let’s kick it old school and head back to freshman year in high school.
In an earlier post, I hinted at my high school track days as the start of my running passion. But what I did as a high school girl gallivanting around the track is something not only high schoolers do, but a majority of runners I know. Not knowing anything about running (other than they will take everyone on the track team), I found myself on the sprinting team as that’s where all of my friends were. Maybe it was the blocks, maybe it was the hurdles, or maybe it was simply that my sprinting wasn’t my bag baby, but I was awful. I never placed in any races, the coaches barely noticed me and I was always stuck mid-pack during relays.
One day, I wised up and realized that I enjoyed the sporadic mid-distance training runs more than any speed work, so in a random move, I hopped on over to the distance team and started to dabble in the 1600 and 2400. Much to my surprise, I had much better “luck” and began to significantly enjoy myself. But the fact of the matter still remained: I wasn’t placing, the other team members (i.e. the fast ones) never spoke to me and I ended up just half-assing everything. Don’t get me wrong, I showed up at practice, completed the workouts and got a good sweat on. But when race day came, I found myself giggling throughout the race, looking into the stands and knowing that I could have pushed harder.
If I’ve held on to you this long, you’re probably asking: ya, so…what’s your point? You were a half-ass high school track kid – normal. My point is that I think most of us jump into training without the mentality of a freshman. We become complacent and forfeit giving it our all and working towards our full potential. During my track years, I lacked the confidence to realize that I could become whatever it is that I wanted to be on the track. I convinced myself that the speed I was at was just “who I was” and was complacent with it. If I had only known how wrong I was.
So allow me to lay down the gauntlet: I challenge you to never commit the mistake that I did. You may not be the fastest, or have the best form, or win your age group – but that NEVER justifies not pushing yourself to the limit to truly realize your potential.
Come on now…look at us! We were given the amazing gift of legs that somehow work with our hearts and minds to create this physical symphony that carries us mile after mile. Do you want to waste that on feeling tired, lazy or thinking that’s “your pace?” Hell no! Every single one of us is capable of pushing ourselves to a place that we thought we couldn’t go and when we do so, we end up surprising ourselves and in turn, realize new potential
So my advice to everyone just starting out or on your fourth marathon is simple really…
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Working hard for it at Surf City 2011.