My running life seems to have been punctuated by defining moments where my attitude and approach shifts dramatically. Sometimes these shifts have been caused by some realization I have made on my own, such as the first time I ran 12 miles and realized that a marathon may be possible. Other times these shifts are brought about by something someone else says that strikes a chord, like the time my running buddy helped me realize how much hard work factors into running success.
The other day I was at the Boulder Running Company at the Denver Tech Center. Recently I have been participating in their group runs on Saturday mornings, which have been a great way for me to meet new runners and have a little company for weekly long runs. Two of the guys who work at the store, Mike Aish and Scott Schrader, have offered great training tips and workouts as well as inspiring me to work harder. While I was there I was looking at a picture on the wall of Mike winning the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon. I made the comment that I would likely never get to experience "breaking the tape", and Scott responded with "Well, with that attitude you certainly won't!"
That remark really sunk in over the next few days. It got me thinking "What if..." A few years ago I would have never thought I would be racing the times I'm running now, what if a couple of years from now I am not only competitive in my age group, but competitive for the podium! Is there a limit to the goals I can achieve with consistent and directed effort over the next few years? What if the only thing holding me back is my bad attitude about what I think my body can accomplish!
I dwell too much on the opportunities I've missed along the way. The fact that I never realized my enjoyment of running in high school, that I never really had any physical activities through college, that I never had a coach encouraging me to do more, that I'm too old now to be competitive. I can focus on the positives: that I never got burned out on running, that I have never been seriously injured, that in developing my own training plans I can tailor them to my own strengths and weaknesses, and that at 33 years old I have a good 7 years before I even start to experience the effects of aging on my running. I can dare to dream the big dreams, and maybe soon it will be me in that picture breaking the tape!