So, for anyone that knows me, you know that I used to be the person who wanted to best, shiniest and top gear there was for working out (or anything I was doing for that matter). In my mind the newer, more complicated or shinier it was, the better it was and I wanted it. But, that was before I realized what this was all about. That was before I realized that, guess what? You still need to train the same and work just as hard in that shiny and badass heltmet/pants/bike/wetsuit/boxing gloves/sneakers/running gear than you do in anything else. There is nothing fancy about sweating your ass off and working hard, there is just working hard and doing your best. That is why I have realized it is all about what is in you and not about what you have on you. I’ve realized that if I show up for a race with old gym shorts, a T-shirt and my gym sneakers and give it everything I got, I’ve got more heart than that person who just walked in with head to toe shiny running gear, brand new kicks and the most elite new running watch because I’m solely caring for the sport and not the gear. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is an incredibly happy medium and I’m not saying I don’t love getting new running gear, new sneakers and a running watch. Shit, I’ll take ALL the running gear, sneakers and have every single running watch out there to play with, if possible. What I’m saying is, you don’t need it to be an athlete, even though that is what we are told more and more. Don’t use not having the top gear or what everyone else has as an excuse to not get out there and 1)work your hardest 2)compete and 3)feel good about yourself. Also, know that you can build over time. What do I mean by that? I mean start running or training in what you got and, when you can, slowly collect/buy the items that you really want. The items that you have realized, through training, that you want and need to bring yourself to the next level. You don’t need everything all at once, quite often, after you do buy something, you realize that the basics were better anyhow. That there are many cheaper (or free!!!) ways to get what you want/need and that, if need be, you can do without it. We constantly come up with excuses or reasons not to start something, when the only solid reason behind not starting is you yourself. For my triathlon, I kept telling myself, I can’t run in these shoes, I can’t use this helmet, I need a better racing watch. Well, guess what? If you remember, I forgot my shoes altogether and had to use someone else’s sneakers TWO sizes too big, my helmet fit my head and kept me secure (so what if it wasn’t aerodynamic, I still crossed the same finish line) and I didn’t look at my watch once. You know why all of this was fine? Because I’m not looking to beat everyone else on the course; at 34 and overweight, I’m not looking to win. I’m looking to beat my personal record every time. That is all I am looking to do.
So, if you have always dreamed of doing that triathon or that 5K, just get out there and start training. I am sure you have a friend with a bike, who cares if it is the heaviest mountain bike out there, start with it. At least you’re doing something, right? Maybe a few years down the road you can save for a mountain bike, but for the race you use that one, or borrow one from a friend. There is NO SHAME in using other people’s gear or not using the top gear. What people notice when you’re out on the course is who is working their hardest and who has the most heart. So, grab your sneakers, baggy gym shorts or sweats (just make sure they don’t fall down!) and beer T-shirt you got for free at the Bud Light party your favorite bar had and get out the door. Because it is getting out the door that gains respect.
See you out there.