Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finding Your Inner Strength

(Out enjoying some trails)
          The weather here in the Pacific Northwest seems to be getting nicer and nicer, which means the Meet of Miles is fast approaching.  I don’t know about you but it is so much easier for me to get outside and exercise during these warmer months. The sun is shining, your body feels good, and you can’t help but smile. Right now is the perfect time to start prepping for the Meet of Miles. I’m not talking about putting in an elite level of training (but if that’s your goal then great) I’m simply saying, sign up for one of the races, or two if you are feeling ambitious, and you will have even more motivation to get outside and seize these beautiful days.
          I was at one of the Club Northwest All Comer track meets recently and a lady approached me and began talking to me about the Meet of Miles. Her biggest fear? She said she would never run a mile in front of all those people. This got me thinking why that is a concern for many people. In a road race you feel as if you can blend in and hide amongst the masses but on a track it may appear that all eyes are on you. There is no hiding or blending in. To this I would have to disagree.
          Yes, on a track, there really isn’t anywhere to “hide.” But I can reassure you that the eyes that might be on you (friends, family, maybe even a stranger) will not be that of judgment but more respect for what it is you are doing. Embracing your fears and doing something outside your comfort zone is brave and commendable. You may even inspire someone watching without realizing it. “But I am not fast.”  To this I say it is not just the fast “elite” runners who can serve as inspiration. In fact, I believe to the non-professional runner the times these athletes run can seem impossible. It is fun to watch but a harder sell to the non runner who thinks, “I can never be that fast.” Or, “I will never look like Shalane Flanagan.”
(Running is fun with friends on the track)
           These runners are inspiring but their times can be intimidating. And this is where you can serve as inspiration, not by being “average” as you might think and to which I can assure you, you are not, but for embracing your fears and not letting what other people think stop you. Someone may be sitting in the stands watching and see you out there having a blast. They will see you as strong, independent, and brave and may think, “If she can do that then maybe I can too!”
          You will find the running community to be a very open and encouraging group and you may even make some new friends who will serve to see your potential and offer you encouragement and reassurance when you begin to doubt.
          I will close with this. At the same CNW All Comer’s track meet I saw an elderly man racing in the 200m, 400m and several other events. No he did not win. But watching him race and push himself was very inspiring to me. He didn’t have impeccable form, his breathing was louder than those around him but he was challenging himself. One of my fellow teammates looked at him and said, “I hope I can still be racing when I am his age!” He was very inspiring and I was amazed by his ability.
          Strength is not always found on the winner’s podium but it can be found in the everyday achievements of everyday people setting goals for themselves, conquering their fears, and celebrating their victories. Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner awesomeness. 
(Monkeying around)