I’ve recently spent time off my feet, having been injured. I also then spent time at home looking after poorly girlfriend and two young sons. More time away from running.
Add to this, car trouble, overtime, social calendar, anniversaries and so on….
Life just gets in the way at times.
Which leads me to thinking about the elite runners of this world and the chances that to properly maintain a successful training regime, they have to be supremely selfish in order to reach their potential.
And before you take that wrong, think about it….
There’s the individual, who perhaps feels motivated enough to dedicate him/herself to the task of conditioning their body until truly world class.
There’s the people in the background, without whom training would be scuppered in an instant. For example:
Coach & clinicians – assessing and tailoring the workload to suit the talent on offer, developing the skills (proper application of said talent) and experience to gain maximum benefit out of the training, while minimising injury.
Family & friends, dedicated to driving (literally) and supporting, but almost more importantly, freeing the athlete from obligation at key events, anniversaries, get togethers, parties and celebrations.
The discipline with which an athlete focusses on the priorities, resisting all ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities or occasions that stand in the way of their objective.
It’s a tightrope.
So not selfish in a mean spirited, mailcious sense, but realistically, one which sees them pausing to consider each and every move that the rest of us might take for granted.
It can mean the difference. Refusing and resisting, expecting others to compromise and sacrifice in order for your progress to continue. It’s heavy toll for all involved at limes.
So while I’ve certainly lost form and fitness for all the time spent babysitting and nursing those around me, I’ve satisfaction in providing the ones I love with the help they need. And a relatively minimal loss when all is said and done. I’ve been there/done that with each of my children being born, but have bounced back with PBs in all of my events, making better progress into my 40s than I did in my younger days. It’s a minor set back for somebody who expects to finish outside the top ten and enjoys the activity for its own sake.
For the Elite Athlete, or Olympian – there can be no compromise.
It makes so much sense that they would burst into tears, win or lose, after say – 4 years (at least) of abstinence from frivolity and ‘fun’ and having negotiated their way through a minefield of social/political agenda, with an entire network of people affected either way. The sum total of all that hard work and sweat, now redundant as an interviewer thrusts a microphone in their face and yells “how does it feel?”.
I’m surprised there haven’t been more murders.
I just get back to my running as soon as I can, happy to be back. For the elite, that small delay might well be what cost them the prize.
And there’s an even greater question springs to mind…
What if, the most gifted athlete of all time was out there, but never had the support, opportunity or inclination to even begin training? Maybe unaware of their natural genetic advantage or potential, simply because their life was in the way from day one. For every hopeful who fell to corruption, ill health or tragedy, there might be somebody who at a young age, discovers a nack or passion for sport. Then crosses paths with the right people at the right time, free from constraint and willing to go the distance.
We might yet still see records being smashed and human achievements surpassed, so long as life affords people a window of opportunity and the world around them doesn’t slam it shut.
In the meantime, I’m back to it and raring to go.