On my About Me page, I talk a lot about my running journey, and what I have accomplished so far. While training for a marathon and I thought it may be interesting for people to read about what I am doing to prepare. I am considering writing a weekly post about my training, and my progress. I know most people will not have the time (nor patience) to be able to run as many miles as I do, but I hope this will show readers that it is not just talent that gets me to my goals. I have good days, and bad days, like everyone else. I also have my meltdowns, like I did during this run, proving that I am only human.
Firstly, I wanted to reach out to all those people, who believe that running is easy for athletes in my position. I wanted to tell you that unfortunately it is not. Running never gets easier, you are never content with where you are, and you always have that sneaking after thought that wonders if you could have pushed just a little bit harder.
If you are an age group winner of a local race, you want to be the overall winner. If you are the overall winner, you want to be a big race winner. If you are a big race winner, you want to be a national champion. If you are a national champion, you want to be an Olympic champion. If you are an Olympic champion, you want to be a world record holder….and once you are a world record holder, you want to make your world record even faster/higher/longer! See my point?
That is part of what makes us so special as athletes; that drive to keep striving to be better, keep pushing yourself to new goals as soon as you achieve the old ones. It gives us our greatest satisfactions in life, but at the same time can take you to a deflated low when you do not reach your goals.
I push myself REALLY hard: Anyone who has seen me race, knows that I do not make it look easy, nor am I a pretty runner…..especially at the finish; mouth WIDE open, arms flailing, chin pointed to the sky!! Running isn’t about being glamorous, or who looks the best at the end, it is about who wants it most.
After my move to Michigan in 2007, I ran 21:21 in my first 5k cross country race. Yes, I had run slightly faster times in school, but a long time before, and not as fast as you would think. However, I decided to commit myself to running, lose the extra weight that I had accumulated from partying and waaaaay too much Panda Express when I lived in California. I committed to get myself back on track to achieving my goals.It took over a year before my fitness began to show, and finally in decent shape. That outdoor track season I ran 18:24, and I was very happy.
In the summer of 2008 I worked extremely hard, and did everything I needed to do (even with a coaching change). I came back to Ferris in great shape; finishing 12th at nationals; absolutely over the moon. Let me just say, I probably would not have finished anywhere near there had it not been 20 degrees (F), and a hilly, muddy, snowy course. I am a tough runner, and that played to my advantage.
The next few years I continued to commit; doing everything I could to be the best I could be, including cutting out my beloved sweets for a season….which actually ended up being a bad thing as I became moody, unhappy, and constantly overate to try and “fill the void”. Life must always be a balance, and that year I went a little too far towards obsessed, but most importantly I learned from it!
In my final season at Ferris, I ran 16:10 in the 5k, and 33:47 in the 10k. I had come a long way.
So what is the point of this long explanation?
I just wanted to show that getting to where I am now was no easy task. Yes, I do have talent, but I am a strong believer in the quote “given time, hard work beats talent, when talent does not work hard”. It took me a long five years to get to that level. Day in, day out commitment, and giving up many social opportunities to get there.
I am not saying that everyone should make the same choices I did, but I wanted to make it clear that my journey was not all sunshine and rainbows. There were a lot of moments where I did not enjoy, even despised running. I spent a lot of hours spent pool running staring at the same four walls, and cried a lot of tears. My good friend/athletic trainer Tim, loves telling the story of when I had a meltdown and hid under his desk, wailing at the top of my lungs after being told I could not get a bone scan till the following week! Even now, some days I just want to make it through, want it to be over, but those are the days that make me stronger. Did you read my recent post about how to stay motivated when you stop running PBs/PRs?
The days champions are made, are those days when nothing is going right, the days when you wonder if it will ever be worthwhile. If you fight through those days, when things do begin to click together, you will appreciate them SO MUCH MORE, and it will give you a fire, a grit, an extra level you can dig down into on the day when it matters. Do not limit yourself, you can always get better, and if you truly want a goal, with every piece of your heart, and believe you deserve it, then you can do it, you will do it. Now go get your dreams 🙂 #BelieveToAchieve
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This was an excellent read. I really enjoyed learning about your progression as an athlete. It goes to show that nothing is ever handed to you, sure running becomes “easier” in the layman's term because the routine itself is easier and we are capable of completing our routine on a daily basis whereas people who do not train will not find it so easy.
This also read reminds me of a time when I gave my 2 cents in a talk about “1% runners” at the Connecticut Running Camp. I mentioned that the biggest characteristic of a “1% runner” is someone who can tolerate pain. A person attempting to break the 4 minute barrier in the mile for the first time will experience the same pain as someone attempting to break 5 minutes for the first time. Personal Records will always hurt, if they don't then you weren't running hard enough to begin with.
Running doesn't get easier in the sense that if you run enough then any pace will seem effortless. Such a notion would be silly and make the sport hardly worth participating in. Instead running, like any other sport, requires time and dedication. The more you put into the sport, the more it will give back to you. Focus is always key in our sport because it is without a doubt the most difficult mental-physical sport. Runners do not have time outs during races. Once the gun goes off you either finish the race or step off the track/course. Runners don't feel well for 100% of the race, at times we face the mental challenge of following a surge because it hurts us physically. Likewise we have mental highs because we are ones delivering the pain to others and they have to face the physical and mental punishment we give them.
What makes everything all worth it…well, when you are capable of doing something that no one else was able to, you experience a high. You are on cloud nine, unbeatable, you feel more than just accomplished, it's weeks, months, years of work that suddenly came through.
What a thoughtful, and appropriate response Nico! You hit on all the major areas that I did not include and I have no doubt that you will continue to be successful on levels that in the past you would have never deemed possible. You have exactly the right mindset with things, and I hope people read your comment to take in what you have said. Thank you for reading, and commenting 🙂
To be honest, I think you look adorable in that photo of you with your “mouth WIDE open, arms flailing, chin pointed to the sky.” x1000 more attractive than my finish line photos! haha.
I like the way you explained the levels of winning. I find that there's never an end when it comes to running and every time we achieve a PR, we're back on that horse trying to get another one.