Sunday, January 19, 2014

Secrets

This girl did some Oly and Half Iron Tris.
OK, so I totally outed myself this week. If you have had a secret, you probably know what it feels like to
finally let it off your chest. At first it is almost exhilarating and then you go into that whole 'What the heck did I just do' mode; and then back to relief. You see, you feel relief because once you tell that secret, you notice nothing really changes. Sure, people may look at you differently, but they look at you differently after you run your first half or full marathon too. Who cares, right?

Well just to clarify, I'm in relief mode. You likely won't see me post about MS on my blog because it is such a personal disease, and I can't offer any medical or health advice because I am not a health professional. Plus, I have those poor friends who 'love'?, ok so they get to hear my stories, in some cases daily. Trust me, you don't want me to take all that to my blog, plus I don't want to.

Instead, I'll go back to the topic at hand. My metaphorical meanderings of my athletic journey and how this journey has changed my life for the better...

With that being said, I was thinking about all the secrets I have had as an athlete. For instance, when I was training for my marathon, I didn't like to tell people I was going to run a marathon because I certainly didn't look like the typical marathoner, let alone a runner. What I say to that now? Well, what does a typical marathoner or even runner truly look like?

Similarly, I didn't tell people about the half ironman for the same reason... Again, what I would now say is can you show me a picture of the 'typical' half ironman athlete? I bet most people would say no. Similarly, I'd be interested in seeing a picture of the typical gamer, lobsterman, cyclist, librarian, volunteer, etc. My guess is that none of us would come close to the typical. Why? Because there isn't one.

So why do we keep secrets?

Well, let's take this a step further. A couple of years ago I was doing this mile a day challenge. It was seriously fun. I made it seventy some odd days running a mile a day. I didn't necessarily keep the challenge a secret, but I did keep the pain I felt in my shin a secret. Why did I keep it a secret? Well, for starters I thought I was nuts because it was something that Ibuprofen made feel better for about 15 minutes every four hours. I also didn't want to be hurt, I didn't want people to turn down an opportunity to run with me because they thought I was hurt. Turns out, I was hurt and had to quit running for 8 weeks. Where did keeping the pain secret get me? SIDELINED.

This is not to say that everything in my athletic life and otherwise needs to be shared. That is not the case, after all, some of the secrets are meant to be secrets between me and my friends, that is why they are friends, right? But, what I am getting at here is that I have had some irrational secrets in the past in regards to my athleticism that have limited my ability to fully appreciate what I was doing. These secrets didn't do me any good (sidelined with a stress fracture anyone?), and they certainly didn't help break down any of the world's misconceptions on what a true athlete looks like... I now try to live my life out there and proud. Yeah, I am a runner and triathlete and cyclist. I may not look like what you thought an athlete should look like, but maybe you will now see an athlete differently.
And this girl ran a marathon!!!

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