2012 has been a very tough year for me in regards to running. 2011 was one of my best - if not the best - running years for me, so needless to say, I've really struggled a lot with my running. With many things actually. Mostly where I was running then, compared to with my running is now. I know my fault comes with putting my all eggs into running - letting it define who I am - but I don't know any other way. I understand the fault in this, but if I'm honest, it's affected me.
I recently read a book that has helped me deal with my *shortcomings*. And I put shortcomings in quotes, because I know my supposed problems are really not problems at all in the big picture - but, in my world, they are.
I think it is amazing that in our
society, we all struggle with feeling adequate and able to receive love, no matter who we are.
Unlike Beard, my story isn’t one of prodigy, recreational drugs, depression,
and Olympic medals. My recent tears are probably something most of us go
through: feelings of doubt and frustration as we battle injury.
I try to keep it together as much as possible but the truth is I get sad and frustrated and have a hard time dealing with the reality that is my injury.
Amanda Beard is a seven-time Olympic medalist. I am not in any way comparing myself to her, or saying I can relate in any way to the struggles of an Olympic athlete. Not at all. But, I can relate to her struggle in my own way as an injured athlete who wishes they could be better and feels like they are letting people down.
There are portions of the book that I have dog eared and read and re-read. The one that sticks to mind is after her first Olympics at age 14, her body's changes made her slower in the
water and she lost races, generating whispers on the pool deck and the
horrible feeling that she was letting people down. Her one-time safety zone was falling apart.
During this period she was at a meet in Long Beach. A girl came up to her and told her how great she was. Her response was: "I'm not that awesome anymore." To which the girl replied, "Oh please. You're going to win this easy."
Amanda wrote: "Even though the girl was trying to be nice, I wanted to tell her to shut up. While I struggled with most basic elements of my sport, everyone continued to assume I would always win the race. Swim meet after swim meet, I would always let everyone down. I was nowhere close to my normal times, easily adding 4-5 seconds to my 100-meter breaststroke, and by no means any longer a winner."
I've struggled with this in my own way. I live in a small town, and at the local 10k (week prior to Boston), I got asked the same question more than once:, "Are you going to win this thing?" And, while I appreciate their support and vote of confidence, it made me put a lot of pressure on myself.
Conversely, I've dealt with the same thing post-Boston. The question: "What HAPPENED to you?" A 3:55 marathon? Something must have gone wrong. While I would love to blame it on the heat, the truth is: It was the best I could do. If that makes you think less of me, then so be it.
Anyway, this post has been quite rambling. Bottom line: I recommend this book. I was not asked to review this book, nor was I provided or ever contacted regarding this book. This is just my simple and humble recommendation. What an inspiring story for women of all ages that have experienced the
battles of pressure in order to be "perfect". In our society it is
inevitable that a female will face at least one of these issues. This
book shows the courage Amanda had to share her story and exhibit so
overcame these issues and transformed into the individual that she is
today. Truly a positive influence that change is possible.