We all know who said the quote I used as my title. That is, most of us know. Even though said by a fictional character, those words are pretty powerful. I've thought about them a lot as I get closer to running my fourth marathon. I think about them as I try and take a second crack at that 50 mile race this summer. Sure I've got plenty of goals, but even still I look at myself and think, "how can I do this? How in the world am I able to do this?" The answer is a simple one: I'm an athlete.
|OMG! I'm shirtless!|
How am I not athletic or an athlete? Is it because I don't get paid to do this? Is it because I don't have the typical body associated with being an athlete? Honestly, I'm not sure what the reason is. When I think about that statement, I think about all the sports I watch and regularly enjoy. I think about all the athletes I admire. I see the things that they do that I maybe cannot. Perhaps they would look at me and think the same thing. But, would they look at me and try to tell me I'm not an athlete? Would they take one look at my physique and laugh saying, "dude you're just determined, not athletic." I don't think so. I may not look the part, but I be darned if I don't play the part, and play the part well.
One thing that I was told was correct, however. Running and finishing a marathon is determination. Why wouldn't it be? I set out to start, and I set out to finish. The minute I cross the starting line I'm determined to finish. So are other athletes. A football player is determined to get to the Super Bowl. A hockey player is determined to get to the Stanley Cup Final. They are all determined to step onto the field or out on the ice, and they are determined to finish a champion. (Bob Nutting, however, is determined to tick off Pirate fans on a continued basis.) Now I realize I may never actually win a marathon, but that doesn't change my determination and it certainly doesn't make me less of an athlete. I focus on the task at hand, my goals, my race, and my improvement. It's what you do, too. It's what any athlete does.
|Totally need to eat more spinach|
When I see myself in the mirror, I remember what I used to look like just a few short years ago. I would look at myself and never once think that I was an athlete. I was heavier then, but I have lost 65-75 pounds since. I'm still a little overweight, contrary to the popular belief of my being "skinny." I'm still working on what I want myself to look like, but I'm no longer ashamed of what I actually look like. It takes a lot to admit that. But you know what, I am who I am and I should have never have been ashamed in the first place. I'm certainly not ashamed now. I may not appear to be what someone would picture and athlete to look like, but does a 350 pound lineman? I'm sorry but perceptions can be pretty ridiculous when you stop and think about them. No matter my size one thing is for certain: I was and am still running, and running quite well.
Now, a 350 pound line man does the same thing that we do. He gives it his all. He plays the game until the clock hits zero at the end of the fourth quarter. Would I look at his size and think, "wow, he's pretty big. He's not really an athlete or a football player." Good lord, no. Realistically, he would probably kill me for saying that! But again, that thought would never once cross my mind anyway. You know why? Judge him by his size, I do not. Just because he's 350 pounds does not make him any less an athlete than my size makes me. I dare anyone to look that gentleman in the eye and try to tell him he's not an athlete and that he's just determined to finish the game. I'm not going to do that, and neither are you.
|These rolls used to be bigger. I cut back on the butter|
|Eh, what can you do? Well, maybe some|
Just about every athlete out there has to run at some point. It helps to make them stronger and helps with their endurance. It helps them to maintain focus and helps them to reach their end game. It helps with their determination. Running does the same thing for me, and it may do the same thing for you. Right now I can look at myself and still think I do not look like your typical athlete. But, I won't let anyone tell me I'm not. You shouldn't either. That's because we are runners, and more importantly because we...are athletes. (I just also happen to be a Jedi.)
The bottom line is I don't let my image deter me from doing what I like to do, from what I love to do. For far too long I had this image in my head of what I should look like as a runner and as an athlete. I just happened to forget what I truly look like when I run.
I look happy.
Until next time Pittsburgh, keep on running.
The Running Jedi
Please do consider donating to the Mario Lemieux foundation. My goal is to raise $2500, and we are at $375. I've love to get there as quickly as possible so I can raffle of some mad prizes! If we raise $1000 by Superbowl Sunday, I'll root for the Cheatriots and sport a Tom Brady jersey. (Blah!)
To see what kind of prizes we are raffling off, click this link:
Interested in running the Pittsburgh Marathon, The Half Marathon, Kids Race, Marathon Realy? Use this code to receive $10.00 of your registration: HULLDSGPM18
Register Here: https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Pittsburgh/DICKSSportingGoodsPittsburghMarathon?remMeAttempt=
This Friday it's 100 days 'til race day! Check for information here:
Join myself and SCRR for the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon kick off run on Saturday, February 3rd! Register here:
Don't forget to fuel up with Honey Stinger products! They are not only a great source of fuel on your long runs, but also pretty tasty! (Gluten free products available, too!)
(Sometimes I like mine chilled and on ice.... aka...dropped in the snow on accident.)