Thursday, April 14, 2011

You CAN’T Win If You Don’t ENTER!

Written February 07, 2008

I am not qualified. I have never participated in that kind of event. The other contestants are more worthy of winning. I will never win. Why bother and waste my time?
Ever said any of that? I have . . . so many times. Not being a pessimist, but a realist. The cliché: “Many will enter, few will win,” rings in my ears.
I have never felt a part of the elite winning group of the world. The world only contains so many winners. If all were winners, that title would not be so special.
I am a winner in my view point regarding the person I am and how I live my life . . . but there are no grand prizes for that. Not that I would trade who I am and what my life is all about for a trophy, medal, prize or title. I do not have to be the best overall, but I need to be the best I can be.
I remember having the thought of attempting to host a 5k race to raise money for a charity. It dawned on me that I would be more successful if I were a little more familiar with the entire picture. My father had run MANY 5ks, marathons, and triathlons; but, I had never attempted anything like that. In fact, I had never even been in a sport. The only time I had ever broken a sweat was when I was sick.
Back to the 5k; I began training.
Initially, I had a positive attitude of success and thought, “I think I am going to run a marathon after this 5k.
I met with my running friend about 3 times per week and began training 5 months before the race I had entered. It was fun and I was a natural, just like Forrest Gump. I had no idea I could do such a thing.
I was silently bragging on and to myself, “Look at me! I am right up there with the big dogs.
My runner friend had a scheduled suggestion plan on how to successfully train for a 5k. (That is a little over 3 miles, but saying the word “five” sounds so much more impressive.)
30 minutes a day, just 3 times per week. It begins with walking and gradually increases to 30 minutes of running; putting the runner at a pace of about 10 minutes per mile. It basically starts by walking for 9 minutes and a slow paced run for 1 minute, then repeat 2 more times; totaling 30 minutes. We kept that pattern for a week to introduce our bodies slowly. The next week we advanced to walking 8 minutes and running for 2 of the minutes, then repeating 2 more times.
Oh yeah, I am SO doing a marathon . . . maybe even the Boston one . . .
Week 3 approached. It was time to walk for 7 minutes and run for 3 . . . doing that rotation 3 times as well. That meant running for 9 whole minutes of the 30. Yes, spread out, but still.
What happened?!
I am dying. There is no freaking way. I can’t breathe. My legs are shaking and BURNING really bad. This hill is WAY steeper than it has been for the last 2 weeks. I think your stop watch has a weak battery. It has already been OVER 3 minutes. Whose idea was this anyway?
This was not funny. I found myself stuck on this 7/3 schedule for approximately 3 weeks. Running 4 minutes straight was NOT going to happen. Finally, my body was ready and out of nowhere, I ran for 12 minutes straight.
Now we’re talking. I definitely do NOT want to run a marathon, but I think I will be able to make it through a 5k.

The day of the race arrived.
You want me to be there at what time??
The scheduled start time was before I was accustomed to rolling out of bed. In addition, finding a way to time eating and running is an art within itself. I cannot run if I have no energy from food. It will cause weakness, dizziness and give me the shakes. On the flip side, eating THEN running . . . NOT a good idea unless I want to see my food for a second time. Somehow, I made it and arrived on time . . . and did not hurl.
There were runners present who were definitely there to win; Maybe not the entire race, but 1st in their age group. They were serious runners, wearing shirts that absorb sweat, a stopwatch on their wrist and shoes that cost more than I would pay for an outfit.
That did NOT describe me. I had on blue Capri exercise pants, a matching hooded shirt as well as a light weight jacket . . . that also coordinated. My hair was in cute little pigtail braids and I was wearing my first pair of real running shoes . . . I fell into the category of those who were there outside of competitive reasons. I saw a few more than me who were not there to win. There were many of us who did not have our eyes on the prize of 1st place; we just wanted to finish the race . . . alive.
The gun fired and the race was on! I was smiling and waving at my fans who were cheering me on from the sidelines.
My father, who is 27 years my senior AND was fighting a cold, had completed the race many minutes before I neared the finish line. He backtracked until he found me and proudly crossed the finish line with me hand in hand . . . his champion little daughter, who placed 464th!
I remember going to the ranking list and seeing my name right there with everyone else’s. I was SO excited that my name was included in an event and that I placed anywhere. I yelled, “Four hundred and sixty-fourth!!”
There should be prizes for the people who are most excited that they came to the race at all AND actually finished it when they are really not the athletic type.
In this case, I did not enter to win, I entered to enter and participate. My role was important to everyone. I made the ranking number for those ahead of me one higher. I also showed myself that if I wanted to take the time and energy it requires to train, I really do have a very good chance of winning my age division, if not the entire race.


About 3 years ago,
I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine who lives in New York. We have known each other for about 5 years. I suppose one could possibly find our friendship and relationship a bit perplexing. For example, he lives in the middle of the world’s fastest pace, biggest cities. I live in a small town complete with a yard, a house and I have a car. He does not have or need a license.
I have 2 daughters and he has 3 Chihuahuas. I am a relatively reserved heterosexual southern girl and he is a very self-proclaimed homosexual man, complete with a husband. We see things differently and have many different beliefs; but we agree to disagree and give each other unconditional love, no matter what.
Our relationship is like no other. There is NO physical attraction (obviously.) I would not say we are like family. We are close, but more reserved than one becomes with family members, maybe not that comfortable. We are a different kind of best friend because best friends tell each other their deepest secrets and fantasies . . . That would gross both of us out to hear those things from the other, so we do not go there.
I am not sure what we are really. We are two people with big hearts and our souls connect on many lovely levels for some reason. Its weird, but we love it.
We met through a business venture and have never parted hearts since. It is as though we have always known each other and truly REALLY understand one another. (Well, minus the ability to empathize in the “significant other” area. I just can’t understand being attracted to my same gender, and he cannot understand being attracted to his opposite gender. Then again, we ARE both taking notice of the same gender . . . ??? So, maybe we DO understand one another. It’s confusing.)
Anyway, we are like peanut butter and jelly or an RC Cola and a Moon Pie . . . made up of totally different ingredients, but we when we get together, it’s fabulous! I just love him.
When I was married, I would tell him, “If I weren’t married and you weren’t gay . . . I would date you!
He would laugh and say, “Sweetie pie, if you weren’t married and I weren’t gay . . . we’d BE married!
That still makes me laugh. We love the comfort of saying such a thing because it is so safe and it would NEVER happen.
The truth is we both know that we connect so well because we are the way we are.
Changing all of that would make us different people and it would never work as it does now.
During our phone conversation, (3 years ago) I was telling him I have entered a few of my writings in a creative writing contest. I told him there was a grand prize of $1000 and your work gets published if you win, but I had read the past winning writings as well as information about the writers. They pretty much all held some sort of title like, “Literary Arts Professor,” “Psychologist” . . . Something that puts them out of my league, and puts me as a an underdog as far as being a writer.
So why did I even bother entering? My perspective: There a many “regular people” who understand what I am talking about and surely the professors can get it too, so we all win. I have a chance here!

As I validated to him why it was that I just entered to participate with no expectation of winning, he simply said with assurance, “Well honey, one thing is for sure; you definitely CAN’T win . . . if you don’t enter!!
What a valid point to us all. A victory will certainly never be claimed if an effort is not put forth. The win must be sought, it will not seek us. Seldom does the winner claim that title on his or her 1st try. Sometimes it actually does happen, but part of winning comes from having to watch others enjoy winning many times before experiencing it personally. It makes us appreciate the accomplishment more. Who knows when it will indeed be our moment to “Enter AND Win!?!?!” We will never know if we never enter.
Much love to you my sweet friend. You always make me smile from the inside out! J

Giving it a good effort,
© 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment