There is something that athletes 'get'. I'm sure we can all remember the 1996 olympics where Kerry Strug her her ankle on her first vault. It was do or die for the US team, she was our only chance. She pushed through the pain and ran the second vault and blew it out of the water.....on a bum foot. She got it. She wanted something so badly that she pushed through insurmountable odds and who knows how much pain and did it. I remember watching that and thinking, "holy moley, that girl is nuts to push through, seriously, she was hurt!" I didn't understand then.
In December I reached the end of my rope. I didn't like where my life was sitting. There are aspects that I can't change but I decided that I could change my weight and my lifestyle. I vowed to do whatever it took. I started exercising more and those workouts were at a much higher intensity. I don't care that I wake up everyday and at least one part of my body aches. I don't care that I'm out at 6AM running in VERY COLD (some days) weather. It quickly became the norm and I am OK with it, simply because I want it bad enough.
My niece loves gymnastics. She commits to 12 hours minimum in the gym each week and she flips around and stretches and does stuff all the time. In the last few months, I have noticed her wearing an ankle brace here and there. Not all the time but on occasion. A week ago today she was riding in my car with me and she talked about this sore ankle. Her exact words were "My foot is really sore, I'm pushing really hard because State competition is next weekend. After that I will rest it to make it better." I looked at her and I actually understood her drive, isn't that what I'm doing with my exercise pushing hard and working through pain?
This past week her foot started to hurt worse. It went from an occasional pain to a consistent pain. She was given a choice but insisted upon competing (she has a doctors appointment set up to check it out) with her coaches approval. She was 'juiced up' as my brother told me with ibuprofen and they crossed their fingers that the vault would be the last event that she competed in as that was the hardest on her ankle, second only to floor (floor due to the tumbling). We got our wish. Floor was second to last and vault was last. We watched as she competed.
My brother and I were talking about her, the ankle issue and her drive. Not many 10 year old little girls opt to spend 12 hours at the gym each week on a consistent basis, more if there is a meet. Not many young girls would push through an injury. My brother looked at me and said "Our family has never "got it", she does. The typical response of our family is to quit when it starts to hurt. (excuses...hmmm I guess I still am beating this dead horse eh?) My niece however realizes that it is going to hurt but she gets up and keeps doing it. She is driven and accepts the downside which is the occasional injury (yes, she has fallen off the beam...when she was 5 or 6 and broke her arm) and lots of muscle aches. He looks at me and said "She gets it".
And at that is when I realized. I get it....40 years later, but I get it now! I can not succeed easily unless I accept that it's going to hurt. Running WILL hurt some days. Those marathon runners that we've seen on the news so much recently get it. Running hurts! The bikers in the Tour de France get it. Biking hurts too! These athletes get it. And FINALLY, I get it too. I'm not gonna be sadistic and say I want or like the pain.....but BRING IT ON!
I get it? Do you???
And since I have inundated this post with pictures of my niece from her competition yesterday, I feel as if I should add one of each of my nephews. They look chipper in the pictures, but let me tell you...they HATE siting through gymnastics competition. (They may have been chipper due to the promise of a visit to the Lego Store after the meet!)