Once a Runner

6.21.2013

I've been running for more than half my life and for just about that long, it's how I've identified myself. Ignore that I'm an identical-looking-but-actually-fraternal-twin. Forget that I'm half Bolivian and speak fluent Spanish (thanks to my mother). I won't even mention that I enjoy just about all forms of art: drawing, painting, writing, poetry, photography... Or that I studied business with the hopes of one day having my own. And I'm - for some reason - embarrassed to tell people my hobbies of sewing, scrap booking, card making, cooking, and just about anything handmade (maybe I'm paranoid of the judgement. Maybe they're too trendy/girly/CRAFT-y). But until a couple of years ago, if you asked me what I did, I'd answer "I'm a runner".

True story: when I was in college, my sister, roommate, and I all went out one weekend for late-night pizza by the slice.  It was was a big deal for us - three DI college athletes - to be out past midnight, eating junk food. A couple of guys come sit down at a table next to ours and one asks "Are you guys part of the Bar Crawl?" (our rebellious night out coincided with the annual event when people walk from bar to bar). "No", I replied and then proudly revealed "We're part of the Cross Country team!" Blank stare. "We just got back from Nationals..." I boast. Nothing. I think he pretty much slowly backed away, got up, and left. I got endless years of  crap for that one.

It goes without saying that I was proud of my running. And it was kind of merited. I saw pretty early success in high school which allowed me the opportunity to continue with the sport in college. Then, after graduating I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue training on an semi-elite level. I worked with some really great coaches and earned a few respectable finishes at national competitions. I even made a couple of world teams and got to represent the US at international events. But there's a HUGE disparity between national elite and world class. And in our sport, if you're not world class, what's the point. You can't make a living grabbing cash prizes here and there at local road races. For the record, that is NOT why I ran. But most decorated college athletes graduate with stars in their eyes. Young and ambitious, we think we've got nothing but time and the untapped talent to become the next big Olympian.

I tried at it for a while - three years, actually. In retrospect, I'm not sure I gave it a fair shot. Not in terms of time but ef fort. It's HARD work and admittedly, I was scared. It takes a special kind of focus to put everything into one thing. I didn't acknowledge it at the time, but I wasn't truly willing to do that. Long story short, I finally came to the realization that everything else in my life had been on hold far too long. It was time to move on.

Reluctantly  I let go though, because if I wasn't a runner, then what was I? Would my family and friends be able to separate me from my running after so many years of association? Could I assign myself another characteristic? For a while, when I was in transition, I felt lost. Then one day it occurred to me: there's so much more to me. Challenging Aristotle's synergistic philosophy, I say the sum of our parts makes our whole a lot greater.



I'm not abandoning running. I love it. I'm still very devoted to it. It brought so much to my life - but that's another story for another time. Instead, I embrace everything else that makes me Me. I am a Libra, after all, so it's about time I found balance. Enriching my life with various interests make me a happier and in that way, a more successful person.

2 comments:

Renee Skelly said...

Lu! I love this! Well said!! I feel sooo good after reading it! Keep it up!!! I can't wait to follow this blog! xoxo miss you mama!

Lucinda Smith said...

Had to give a shout out to my Pineland Circle roomies - can you believe I confessed about our sloppy NY pizza night? I've come a long way. Just keeping it real. Now get your hiney down here for a visit already!

 

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