Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting There.

Sometimes I think I’m invincible. Well not really immortal, but I have this “thing” where when it comes to something physical, I see no reason why I can’t learn to defeat it. I always tell people that I became a long distance runner partly because I once tried to jog around the park and failed miserably. It gave me something to focus on and conquer. But truthfully my desire to destroy goes back further than that.
I auditioned to be on the pom squad in 7th grade and didn’t make it. I was crushed. However, I was so determined to make it on the team that over the next year I taped every cheerleading and and dance team championship on ESPN I could find. I spent countless hours studying moves and choreographing routines in my basement and in 8th grade not only did I make the squad but I also choreographed the routine that won us first place in a regional competition.

I decided to study dance in college despite never having taken a ballet class. Sure I was a cheerleader. I also went to an arts-based school and participated in musical theatre, but I didn’t TRAIN at a studio for years the way many of my college classmates did. Even so I wanted to transform myself into a modern dancer in the likes of the great Martha Graham. Because I started training much later than others I struggled with technique. However I was natural performer so I used this to my advantage. I soaked up every performance I could attend, read every book on modern dance I could find in the library and stayed late in the studio at night to practice. (I know, cue the Flashdance music!) On an open stage night my freshman year, I choreographed and performed a solo in an attempt to draw attention to myself. It worked. After that I clawed my way from a very beginner class to being asked to perform in concert after concert by my junior and senior years.

I do not give up.

So when I find myself faced with a daunting task like running 26, 31, or even 50 miles, I don’t see any reason why I can’t do it. Maybe it’s crazy to think like that or maybe, just maybe, it’s something amazing. Part of it is just being stubborn but really, barring major injury I never see any reason why I can’t at least finish a race. I’m not talking about winning or even setting personal records- there have been many races where I’ve tried to beat a certain time and fallen short. But I never once thought I couldn’t finish. When I ran Dances with Dirt this past weekend on a treacherous, hilly course, it took us nearly seven hours. The night before? I was excited but not nervous. “We’ll get there when we get there,” was our attitude.

So as I dive into 50 mile training and I stare at training runs of 28, 30 and 32 on my calendar am I scared? That’s not the right word for it. I am ecstatic. I cannot wait to focus, tackle and defeat this latest distance. I know that if I train right and am smart about it, that 50 is just another number. It may take me all darn day but I’ll get there when I get there.

What about you? Do you have a story of determination?

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post Tracey!

    Like you, I do have determination. All this year I have been training for two 50Ks that I will be running in the fall. These distances have given me the will to do more. I haven't even run this distance in a race, I have a couple of times on daily runs, and I already want to run 50 mile races, which I will in 2012. I know what I am capable of doing. I just can wait to get on the starting line and prove to myself I can do it.