My wife and I ran our very first 10K yesterday! Neither one of us are very good runners, but we really enjoy the atmosphere for these types of events. This was the inaugural run for the FORTitude 10K race in Fort Collins, CO. It was super fun!! Although we have run several 5K races in the past, this was our first attempt at a 10K. Besides the fact that we have not run this distance before and we did poor job of preparing for it, we came away with great memories! Now, we did suffer from a lot of soreness throughout the rest of the day, but laughing at each other as we walked around like we just rode the worlds most feared Bull for an hour, helped keep our spirits up!
There was over 7500 participants in this event, and I must say, it was the largest one I have ever been a part of. As I was running/walking the course, I was came across many different “fit” types of people. There were runners that were older, younger, shorter, taller, heavier, thinner, and even some with obvious disabilities. Events like this seem to bring people together with one common goal; to have fun and do the best they can do. I was passed up by people that were older and heavier than me. As they passed me by, I could’t help but feel encouraged by them. Here they are, giving everything they have, to accomplish something that can be viewed as “something only athletes can do”. Which prompts the question; “What is an athlete. Really”? In society, we tend to look at athletes as those we see on T.V. No doubt Michael Jordan or Michael Phelps would be considered athletes. I know I used to have that same perception. The Dictionary has an athlete described as: “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise”. Would we consider the 60+ year old person, that by appearance, seems to be at least 50 pounds overweight, yet can run a full 10K without stopping, to be an athlete? I wonder if that person would consider themselves to be an athlete? We in society tend to base our beliefs on the perceptions given to us by outside sources, which includes how we were taught growing up. I too was always persuaded by the societal perceptions. Being in the health and fitness industry, has definitely change my perception of who is an athlete. The 60 year old, overweight person may not fit the “definition” of an athlete. But to me, because they are participating in an athletic event, and because they are as proficient in that event as they possibly can be, at this point in time, that person is indeed an athlete!
I suggest that it is time for us to start changing our preconceived views of what defines an athlete, and start looking at the person, and the all the hard work that person put in to be able to do what they are doing today. The battles they fought within themselves; their doubts and fears; the negative comments and looks that were cast their way; the pain from old or unused muscles. We need to embrace the fact that every one of us has an inner athlete. Some of us may choose to ignore that reality and just go on living our lives with absolutely no changes being made at all. But those of us that want to be more than we are now, I have one thing to say; GO FOR IT!!!! Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being the absolute best YOU can be. Push back the doubts and fears and pain, and push forward! You can do anything you put your mind to. Societal thinking cannot put you in a box. There is an amazing athlete in you, just waiting to be let loose. Let it loose! Be free from excuses and negativity. Live like you have never lived before! Hold nothing back, and do not let anything hold you back. You are an athlete. All you have to do, is believe in yourself.