If you could choose one word to describe yourself, something to power your running or your life, what would it be?
And if you’re willing, please share your word in my comments section and keep reading to learn what mine is. 🙂
I was thinking about this today because my life and training often mirror each other and I’ve got a lot on my plate. I just finished my application for grad school and I’m probably going back to school in the fall, and I’m also training for Mount Evans Ascent in June. All of that feels outside of my comfort zone, and that’s why I’ve been playing with words and mantras. I can use all the help that I can get.
I LOVE words — I always have. Back when I was a newspaper editor one of my favorite things was writing headlines. It always gave me great satisfaction when I came up with a good one. I love how words can paint pictures in your head. This also happens to me when I pick a good mantra. I think mantras can help you stack the odds in your favor during training. Obviously, nothing is a guarantee but when you’re training hard, you want to draw strength and inspiration from wherever you can. For instance, both of my kids did something cool recently that made me think of power words to describe them.
My son just tested for his next belt in karate. That, by itself, wasn’t a big deal, but he was the only one testing at his level, which meant he had to do it alone with everyone in the room watching him. Keep in mind he’s 8 years. I’m not sure I could have done that when I was 8. I was shy and probably would have cracked under the pressure, but he didn’t. He passed and I was proud of him, but most of all, I was floored by his courage. That leads me to my power word for him: “Courageous.” He’s always had a courageous heart and I admire that about him.
Last week my daughter gave a speech in front of her entire fifth grade class at school. Like many people I know, public speaking scares her. Later she confided in me, after her presentation was over, that the first time she ever spoke in front of a large crowd, about a year ago, she cried afterward. This time, however, she practiced in front of me and she was better prepared. When it came time for her to do it she came off confident and happy — just the way she is when you’re with her in a small group or one-on-one. She blossomed like a sunflower, which brings me to the word that makes me think of her: “Ebullient.” She’s always had a joyous spirit about her no matter what.
Last weekend I ran the Greenland 25K Trail Race in Larkspur, Colorado. Here’s proof:
Going to the dirt side: No, that’s not five o’clock shadow — just the dusty remnants of my efforts.
Baked runner: This was the path to the start of the race and that was about as shady as it got it.
Greenland was balls to the wall for me and the longest run (15.5 miles) I’ve done since the Tucson Marathon in December. I knew I was under-trained going in but I went for it anyway. It was exposed the whole time and my Garmin (timer) crashed at the first aid station, but I finished. It was good training for Mount Evans in that it had some climbing and some less-than-ideal conditions, although I expect it will be windy and cold and miserable in a different way at high altitude rather than being baked. Still, Greenland was challenging and while it wasn’t a spectacular finish, it was a finish nonetheless and indicative of the power word I choose for myself: “Tenacious.”
I’ve always been a tenacious person and I’m a plucky runner. That’s my strength. I’m not an elite athlete, but I’m willing to work hard and train smart and see where it takes me. Sometimes that’s all you need. Next month I will run up Mount Evans, which is a 14er. I’ve never hiked a 14er but I’ll succeed because I’ve made up my mind to do so.
“Tenacious” — that’s me.
What’s your power word? Can you go outside your comfort zone? I bet you can if you try.
“Aging is inevitable but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes and let’s go!”
Mileage today: 3; Mileage for 2014: 293