We Are All Athletes

2008 Summer Olympics - Opening Ceremony - Beijing, China 同一个世界 同一个梦想 - U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program - FMWRC

If you recall, high schools across North America tend to easily divide students into categories. As the 2004 smash hit and Lindsay Lohan vehicle, Mean Girls, tells us, “You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks…varsity jocks…” In other words, students can be athletes – in which case, they are probably signed up for multiple sports and teams – or they can be, well, not. 

(Side note: this is not to hate on student athletes, who are their own brand of awesome, just as we all are.)

But I was firmly in the not  category when it came to student athletics. I mean, I was okay-ish. I wasn’t picked dead last in gym, but I sure as hell didn’t get picked first.

Let’s just leave it by saying that I actually used study period to study. In the library. By choice. 

So when my older, significantly-more-accomplished-athletically-than-I-or-most-of-society-could-hope-to-be sister tried to tell me I could be runner I laughed and gave it exactly one shot. I went for a 20 minute run with her and hated it for 19.59 minutes. I liked the bit where we stopped. I could not imagine why people do this for fun. Honestly, what was the point of getting outside to sweat profusely in front of your neighbours as you shuffled along the gravel shoulder of a road for 20 minutes? Needless to say, I was excruciatingly sore the next day and didn’t lace up again for years (if you want to read about that, go here and here).

It wasn’t until I did that I realized we can all be athletes. You don’t need to own anything spandex, you don’t need to have a musculature that can be seen through several layers of bulky sweaters, and you certainly don’t need to be elite-anything.

My point is that athletes are not confined to specialty teams, high schools nor is it a label that should be reserved for the select few. Do you play in an intramural sport in your community? Athlete. Take in a game of squash with a co-worker occasionally? Athlete. Or, like me, lace up a few times a week and give it your best shot? Athlete.

Of course, if labels like “athlete” don’t mean anything to you, that is perfectly fine too.

But for many, myself included, reminding myself that “I. Am. An. Athlete” at the 2nd to last km on a long run can be a motivator all on its own. And that is definitely worth something.

Go run. Be awesome. Happy Running!

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Why Run?

Dusk Run . . .

Why go for a run? Why start with a sport that inherently involves sweating it out, usually in front of complete strangers, while you huff and puff down the side walk? It hurts, it’s too hot out, it’s too cold out, it’s late, it’s too early, I don’t really need to go….I’ve been there. I’ve had all the excuses. I still let them get the best of me on occasion, meaning this post is just as much for you as it is for me.

So here it is. This is why you should go for a run.

It’s awesome.

….you were expecting something more? Some sort of sage wisdom? Perhaps an introspective on how we, as a species, were built for chasing down our prey on the savanna and now you are honouring that tradition? Sorry to disappoint.

Seriously though – Running. Is. Awesome.

Think about it this way: when was the last time you regretted heading out for a run? Personally, I can honestly say I’ve never regretted it. Maybe I didn’t have the best run, maybe I just couldn’t seem to find my stride, maybe I had a bird attack my head (true story, but one for another post), but despite that I’ve never come back from a run feeling worse than when I started out.

For that reason alone – get going. Step out the door, and it will all fall into place after that.

If you’re finding it hard despite this, may I offer a lesson from John Stanton, the founder of the Running Room? I read somewhere** John says that when he is having a very hard time lacing up and getting out there, he tells himself he only has to do it for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes he doesn’t like it, he can return home. He claims that by the time 10 minutes is up, he usually doesn’t mind sticking it out. If it works for him – the man who was overweight and smoked 2 packs a day before running himself into the head of a running empire – then maybe it can work for us mere mortals.

Finally, if none of that is working and you need something else, I’ll give you my fail safe mantra. This one gets me out the door no matter what:

I’ve you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.

Happy Running!

 

(Photo Credit: David Robert Bliwas)

 

**If you know where, leave a message in the comments so I can supply the link for those who want it!