Like millions of other Americans and citizens of the world, I have been watching the Olympics. I love the Olympics! For as long as I can remember, I have watched the 'best of the best' compete for the prized Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals that represent supreme effort and performance. They represent the 'winners', the people we see on the Wheaties cereal boxes, the athletes we admire and strive to emulate.
As a child, I played sports: football, basketball, and track. I was a good swimmer also. But while I loved the games, I was comfortable with the fact that I was not a superstar like my high school buddies Paul Boken, Andy Henderson, and Darrell Stewart. Those guys were a joy to watch, and Loyola High School in Los Angeles was a sports powerhouse in the 70s and that has continued to this day (said with enormous pride). But the Olympic Dream was always alluring.
Swimming, Gymnastics, Diving, Volleyball, and Basketball have been the sports I tend to follow during the Summer Olympics. I have played all of those sports (except Gymnastics) so I understand the game -- the rules, the strategies, and the skills and effort involved. While I also watched Track and Field, I mostly focused on the Long & Triple Jump, High Jump, and the sprint races. Endurance races (5000M and longer like the Marathon) were not high on my list. I mean, how long can you watch a bunch of guys running?
This year, that was not the case. In fact, I set my alarm for a 5AM wake up on two Sunday mornings so I could watch the Women's and Men's Marathon races. I found myself glued to the television so I wouldn't miss any of the races (regardless of their distance).
Why? Because since April 2011, I have run for more than 1000 miles -- both in training runs and the 26 races I have finished to-date. And it is likely that I will run 1000 miles in 2012. I have already run for 644 miles in 88 total hours of 'foot time'. While that does not even come close to the dedication and commitment of our Olympic athletes, it does give me a sense of shared kinship with them. While I will never be an Olympic runner, I can appreciate their skills, training, and drive to be the best they can be at their event/distance. Just like the quote from the movie "Cool Runnings", "I see Pride. I see Power."
Watching the two marathons, the relays, and the sprint races filled me with excitement and energy. They were both encouraging and motivating. I would think of those races when going out for my training runs. I wanted to 'channel' the Olympians. I wanted to make each run matter. Even the non-running sports filled me with the desire to somehow make those athletes proud of my effort. Yeah, I know. I am strange. But hey, there it is.
Maybe you aren't into the Olympics. Maybe there are other things in life that 'float your boat' and fill you with excitement and a sense of wonderment. Well whatever that is, I say go for it. Do the things that bring you joy and meaning. And watch your life be transformed.