Not too long ago I was less than the picture of health (see above). I had a desk job, smoked two packs a day, drank two liters of Mountain Dew a day, and drank like it was going out of style. In 2005, after a flight to Illinois, I decided I was tired of smoking ruling my life, so I set off on the path to quitting. When I finally quit once and for all, I was inspired by a neighbor to start running, so I ran around the lake near my house... 1 mile... and it nearly killed me. I kept with it, however, and kept plugging away, death further off in the distance each time, and decided that I needed a goal to motivate me to keep running, so I signed up for my first Bolder Boulder... it seemed impossible, I didn't think that I would actually be able to run 6.2 miles but I had signed up and was at least going to try. I kept running and adding a little more time each week and finally, the week before the race, I ran my first 6 miles. It hurt and I was miserable the entire time, but now I new I could do it. I ran my first Bolder Boulder in 51:29, not a remarkable time, but definitely a remarkable experience. Every year since then I signed up hoping to improve on my previous years time... and I did. At the 2009 Bolder Boulder I had a lofty goal of running it in 48 minutes... again, another goal that I thought was impossible. I ran it in 45:34, I was beside myself. I never imagined in a million years that I would be able to do it in 48 minutes let alone under 46. It was that single race that made me realize that NOTHING is impossible and that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It is that realization that I hope to pass on to everyone I coach or train, as it is the most empowering feeling in the world.
So, why do I do this? Because sport and competition are metaphors for life. Some days are good and some days are bad, but in the end we have to play the hand we are dealt. In sport and life there are things that will be out of our control, it is how we respond to that adversity that will ultimately determine our outcome. I train and compete in multisport because it reminds me of how low I have been and that I was strong enough to overcome it through hard work, the support of my family, and perseverance. The races I remember most are not the ones where I came out on top, but rather the ones where I had to overcome insurmountable odds. The ones where I learned something new about myself on a deeper level and, at the end of the day, I feel like I come out a stronger person than I went in, not just in sport, but in life.
Competition is my school of hard knocks and school is in.
Best of luck on your season and may the odds be ever in your favor!