May 19, 2020
A Perspective Shift | by Lucy Bartholomew
NO RACES, NOW WHAT!?
I don't think it needs to be said again but I find myself typing the same words in articles, Q and A, and messages. "It has been a very unique start to the year. The future looks to be filled with new challenges that are without a bib and we are all living in a life that forces you to take each day as it comes."
As a full-time athlete or an athlete of any level, it can be challenging to find motivation. Why should I get up early to train if there is nothing to train for? Why should I do speed work when there is no clock ticking me towards a finish line shoot and a possible ribbon to break? This is where knowing and understanding your 'why' in this sport is super important.
I heard a quote on a podcast recently that said: "Since we can't explore mountains, let us use this time to explore our minds." I have spent a lot of time thinking, writing, arguing and consoling thoughts in my mind that tells the narrative that I am not good enough, that I am not ready for a race, that I am fit or unfit, or that a certain race suits me better or is a bigger deal. It can be exhausting, and I know there are a lot of us with this conversation happening in our minds. Without the pressure of race dates looming in my mind and the stress of looking at a date on a calendar that will reveal my strengths and weaknesses as a human - I have never felt better.
I feel no pull to complete every session perfectly, but I feel the want to get out the door and do what I love. Why? Because I love it.
I would run every day and for however long even if I never put a bib on again. If I never received another medal or race t-shirt, and there was no ranking, sponsorship, or fanfare - I'd still rise, run, rinse, repeat.
We don't NEED races.
Races are of course fun - they give us inspiration, motivation, something to speculate on and something to tier our sport into the fastest and the slowest. However, at the end of the day with the whole world being rattled in every direction, don't let this add to your stress and take you away from your pure love of running.
I can safely say that the first ten minutes of every run doesn't feel amazing. I plod down my street and sometimes that's as far as I go, but more often than not - once I am out there things become clearer. I feel the wind on my skin, get immersed in the sun or rain, the sounds of the animals, neighbors out and about, and cars and I realise how lucky we are to even have this freedom and this opportunity. Now more than ever we know how much this means to us.
Bib or no bib. Take a step, make that your goal and celebrate the effort of getting out there, rather than what happens out there. Don't worry about the numbers that your watch shows, in fact now is a great time to run watch-less, run a loop you have never run from your home (if you can) or run a loop in reverse to feel the downs become ups and the backyards become front yards- a new perspective. If you see someone else from 1.5m away you can still share a smile, share a word of motivation- be that person on the sideline of a race that cheers everyone on and makes your day.
We live in a race called life, the world moves so fast and we are always fighting to keep up and stay ahead. However, right now it is more like the second day of racing an ultra, and instead of racing we are surviving, and instead of surging, consistency becomes our key to finding a rhythm.
It is in all of us. We have seen it shining as the world deals with this chaos, and for that everyone is a winner of a race that will never end.
Keep safe, healthy, and happy. Don't forget to breathe.
by Lucy Bartholomew
Follow Lucy's journey here: @lucy_bartholomew