Monday, November 22, 2010

giving thanks for sport

Sport is special to me. It was a big part of my life as a child. As an adolescent. As a young adult, and even today. Over 40 years, I have loved it and hated it. I have been inspired by it. I have been disappointed by it. But its always been there. And it always will be here.

I am thankful for the life lessons sport taught me. Talent may get you so far, but hard work and discipline will take you farther. Sport can lead you to dream big. It can bring you great success and reward. It can also bring you great failures. But learning from the failures is even more reward than the success. Because if you learn from failure, is it really failure?

Sport is a selfish endeavor. To have people in your life who support that selfish endeavor is special. And I am thankful for the people along the way who have supported me. They supported me when I did well. When I did poorly. When I was frustrated and tired. When I was happy. Even when my dreams seem a little outrageous to them, the support is still there.

Sport inspires me. I am inspired by the best in the world, excelling beyond our wildest imagination. I am inspired by the everyday person. The people who live everyday busy lives, but still manage to excel amongst their peers. And of course, I am inspired by the athlete who has overcome great physical or emotional adversity to excel in their endeavors.

Sport has given me a life of health and fitness. Granted there are many more important things in the world than sport, but a healthy life can help give back more to the world.

Sport has given me so many amazing friends. I have so many amazing memories of the years with my friends from my swimming years. And now great friends who I train with today, and those who I only see occasionally at a race or through facebook and email. I love you all and the fun times we have had together!

Even at 44 years of age, I still have athletic dreams and goals. I don’t know if I will reach them, but I will have fun trying.

I hope you all have a wonderful thankful week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overcoming Fear

On September 2, I crashed on my mountain bike. Now, I’ve crashed a lot of times on my mountain bike. Plenty of bruises, blood, lumps and bumps. But this one was different. Going down a hill, around a right hand corner (that I’ve ridden hundreds of times), the sun and the moon lined up, and the bike slid and flipped me onto my head and shoulder, and I ended up with a grade 2 AC separation (tore the ligament connecting the clavicle and scapula). A few weeks of no exercise to let it heal up a little just left me with even less fitness than I had this summer (which was very little). It has put another undetermined delay to my return to swimming (so far I have not been able to swim since April because of a different shoulder injury – to the same shoulder!). Most of all though, it left me with fear. Not shock and horror fear. But the kind of fear that sits in the back of your mind and keeps you from putting yourself out there. Keeps you from taking risks. Keeps you from having fun. Keeps you from doing what you had grown to love.

Five weeks after the crash I got back on the mountain bike. It was a slow ride. Cautious, tentative, filled with anxiety. Then I went out again. And again. And again. The improvement in my fear was not noticeable to myself. I still felt anxious. I still rode slow and cautiously. This past Sunday I was out again on the trails. I keep forcing myself to go out. Hoping that one day it will click and I’ll feel like my old self. Part of the ride I was with Meredith, who is a superb technical rider. So my goal was to stick to her like glue. I followed her choice of lines. I shut off my brain and just hung with her. And what do you know, I did it! She did not drop me, even on the long semi-technical, off camber descent. Now I know she was not riding hard, but her skills are so good that she can still haul ass down hill and on the corners, and as we neared the bottom of the hill, me just a few feet behind her, I had a smile a mile wide. I am back! Well, I am coming back. And it feels good.