Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Quest for Water

The quest for water...

Nope, not the cattle tank water Super Bee likes to play in on our runs, but the water you find upon going to the well.  This next statement is a coaches nightmare, but to me it's also a motivator to keep pushing toward the next goal.  I am confident I can count on both hands the number of times I've truly crossed that line during a race and discovered the success that lies on the other side.  Typically, I'm the one playing it safe, not tempting that line.  If you're competitive in any aspect of sports or life, you know that line I speak of.  Or to some, they refer to it as going to the well, seeing how far they can push beyond their "limits."

Super Bee enjoying the muddy water at Pipeline Tank.

Many argue running is more a mental act than a physical one.  I believe running is greatly physical and there is such a thing as talent, however I do argue that racing is more mental than physical.  Ironically, I have been known to say "I wish I could just turn off my brain during a race."  Turning off your brain is still a mental act though.  Banishing those demons and negative thoughts takes just as much practice as going out and logging mile after mile, day after day.

It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.     ~Muhammad Ali

During those handful of times I went to the well,  I have experienced first-hand the exhilaration and confidence that occurs.  And also the rewards that followed.  Because along with the decision to dig just a little deeper, came a break-through race, a championship title, or an opportunity to advance in my running career.

What's interesting is that upon looking back on these races, I remember exactly what was going through my head.  I distinctly remember making a decision, deciding that I had not gone to the well and that there was a lot of fight left in me.  So, I ask myself constantly why do I not do this more often?

A perk of living at 7,000 feet is feeling like you can reach up and touch the clouds.
A scene like this will quickly lift your spirits.

There's a delicate balance between racing smart and racing recklessly, between being too conservative and taking that risk that could lead you to greatness.  Why are we so afraid to cross over into the unknown in a race?  Is it fear of failure?  Or a fear of being great?

My high school athletic director sent this to me about a year ago, and I can't help but think this has merit. At the time, I was struggling to find the runner I once was.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.       ~Marianne Williamson

Second run with Bee paralleling Wing Mountain.

And now I'm more than the runner I once was.   Enough philosophy!  Training is dialed in and going very well.  I did a 5 x mile workout starting at 5:43 and ending at 5:24 (road loop averaging 7300').  Last year at this time, I couldn't finish the workout and the times were slower.

Mistakenly named A1, this is where many a long run
happen.  Last weekend saw a Fast Finish 18 miler.

Part of the above run, you can do what is called the Lollipop
around Wing Mountain.  The loop is 7 miles for a total of 21 miles.
This is marathon training at its best.  As I say, sugar is a silent killer.

So I ask, is the over-used, cliche quote "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" really cliche?  The search for water continues at Twin Cities...


Anonymous said...

That was a great read! Best of luck in the upcoming Marathon

M said...

Another great post to your blog.

Anonymous said...

Nice writing, great photos!