The funny thing about being an athlete…ok…side trip for a minute…I feel funny even calling myself an athlete. When I think about an athlete, I think of these studly men and women who are out their killing it, performing at crazy levels. But really, think about the
population. Comparing myself to other people who I see as athletes isn’t really a fair comparison. I love my sports. I love swimming, I love walking/running, I love my bike. I devote a good chunk of time to those sports. I study how to improve, I talk to people I can learn more from – who can help me get better, I talk to other people about it – I hope I can encourage other people to find a sport they love as much as I love mine. I think part of accepting myself, of being the person God called me to be is to accept these different parts of me, and I think part of me is an athlete. Still feel funny saying that, but I’m going to own it, at least work on owning it.
Ok, side trip over back to the funny thing. Sort of relates to my side trip. Being an athlete is different things to different people. For me, could be walking a marathon but for someone else, it could be a 5k or around the block. It’s all a matter of perspective. Yesterday I listened to a Skirt Sports podcast, Run this World, hosted by Nicole DeBoom – founder. She was talking with Erin Carson, owner of RallySport and pro-triathlete. There were a few things she said that really got me thinking about this idea. First, she talked about racing as a triathlete and how at the end of each leg of the triathlon she tells herself “I did the best I can.” It resonated for me because it’s such a healthy approach to competing. Last year when I started walking half marathons – I actually polled my friends on Facebook to see if it would be lame to walk these racings. Resounding no. I tried to shift my thought process to “completing” vs. “competing.” Perspective. I will admit it helped. Isn’t what any of us want, whether at play, at work, in relationships, is to do the best we can? I’m certainly not showing up to a race thinking “how can I suck at this today?” Completing/competing at any level is largely a mental game. Yeah there is the physical conditioning part – don’t get me wrong, that’s a big part of it – but the mental part is a big ta-do. Being filled with doubt does not make an event easier. When I start any open water event, I have the 5 minute panic attack. Why did I sign up? Why did I spend $100+ to do this? Can I really do this? But then, I settle in and remember that I’ll be ok and it’s my race, no one else’s. I do the best I can just like anyone else does.
I also liked a side comment Erin made at the end which was that it’s ok to set crazy ambitious goals. I do that all the time. I’m wired for it. But in reality, even though the goals seem crazy, I’m not sure I set out to do anything that I don’t actually think I can do. When I signed up to walk a marathon last year my Dad said, “Do you really think you can’t walk 26 miles?” My answer was that I could, but I wanted to prove it to myself. I think that’s part of the crazy goal is proving to myself I can. Maybe this year – and especially for my Year 49 Bucket List currently in the making – I’ll look at goals that are likely achievable, but that are a stretch. Things that will stretch my experience – bigger goals, bigger dreams. Part of this for me is making sure that I’m not stuck on the “should” stuff. I should do this or that. Though I cave to that fairly regularly, my goal this year is to put an end to it, which for me in and of itself is a crazy goal. That goes back to what I wrote about a few weeks ago though.
For today though I want to dream big, do the best I can, and think about those crazy goals. I’d say that’s enough for one day.