Sharing experiences

December 29, 2012

The snow was crunchy beneath my feet and the air was cold. The kind of cold that was warm inside your lungs, not the kind that took your breath away. The kind that reminded you that you are alive. I love runs like this, on those perfect winter days. The snow is 3 feet deep all around you but the streets are relatively clear. The sun is shining and it’s just the perfect mix of winter. Warm enough to run and not cold enough to freeze.

You look out over the world once you reach that light post at the top of the hill and for once….. for just this moment…. in a world that these last two weeks especially has seemed so dark…. it’s light. It’s bright. That makes me feel hope.

After all these years of authoring this blog, I never get tired of writing about training. It’s not the paces though, not the watts, not the execution that I like to write about. That’s the easy stuff. Training is easy. Day in day out it’s what I choose and love to do. I write about the experiences that happen during. The lessons. The feelings. Even on the treadmill, even on the trainer when all I do is stare at the floor. I don’t need to be outside to have the experiences, but sometimes I am lucky enough to.

I hope that the experience never gets boring. Or that I never get complacent with it. Or that it’s never important to write about or share. Sharing those experiences is important to me…. because I know that you have them too. I know you feel them too and I know you can relate. Being an athlete is such an incredible gift…. as well as a choice.

I struggle when I hear athletes tell me about the sacrifices they make to be at the level they are at. I really struggle.

By definition sacrifice means:

  • an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially : the killing of a victim on an altar
  • destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else

Sacrifice to me….. is when someone donates a kidney to someone else. Sacrifice to me… is when a woman donates an egg to another woman, who can’t have a baby on her own. Sacrifice to me…. is when a soldier leaves his (0r her family to fight a war halfway around the world…. because he (or she) loves his country that much.

Sacrifice to me…. is when a police officer or firefighter runs into danger to help someone else. We learned that lesson all too clearly this week in Rochester.

Athletes don’t make sacrifices. Athletes make commitments and we make choices. As athletes we are doing nothing heroic. Those I just mentioned…. those people are heroic. Being an athlete is a choice and a privilege. Winning races is the privilege of the privilege. Regardless of whether I have won or lost in this sport, it’s a lesson my father taught me and one I have never forgotten nor taken for granted.

By  definition  commitment means:

  • an act of committing,  an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.

And by definition privilege means:

  • A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

I will never take for granted the experiences I get to have being an athlete. My sport has literally taken me around the world. My sport is where I met my husband. My sport is where I have become family  with thousands of people who I get to share this with. My sport has allowed me the fortune of working for and with an incredible group of coaches. Like it or not, they are family to me as well. That is more than a privilege, it’s a blessing.

When I announce races I look around and feel incredible privileged to do what I do. Again sport allows me the opportunity to watch their day unfold and watch sometimes 1,000 finishes in just a few hours.

Ever watch that many people finish a race? It’s amazing. Sit with me one day at the announcer’s tent and watch. You will watch 1,000 stories unfold. No matter how the race went…. there is always the look of accomplishment and achievement. Not because the sacrifices they made to get there….. but the commitment they made to themselves to get there.

There is a difference. A big one. Once you start realizing that, realizing what all of this is….. it takes on an even deeper meaning. Give it a try…. change the word sacrifice when it relates to sport…. to commitment and privilege. See what happens.

Being an athlete has nothing to do with sacrifice. It has everything to do with privilege and commitment. The soldier who lost his legs…. or life fighting a war is the one who makes a sacrifice.

The fortune of the experiences I get to have as an athlete is something… as I said…. I hope I will always share. The experiences have nothing to do with winning or losing. They have nothing to do with how fast I did not didn’t go. They have everything to do with living, breathing, being. They have nothing to do with how long or how much. When I train I don’t think about anything but the simple act of what I am doing. To be able to turn off like that… another privilege. Another gift. If I can do that… you can do that. If you struggle with that… here I share what that feels like and maybe that in turn…. can help you.

As I ran through the streets yesterday I couldn’t help but smile. I couldn’t help but feel good. I couldn’t help but have some hope during a period of time around here where hope feels so lost. This year there have been too many funerals. Too many tragedies. Too many lives snuffed out because of senselessness.

Bring out there brings me back to what is important to me. The basics. The abilities that I have and the experiences I have been so fortunate to live. The good and the bad, it’s all a privilege.

As you move forward don’t forget that. Don’t lose that. Use it as motivation to not waste what you have. Use it as motivation to continue the circle of sharing that experience. The more we share and build that circle….. the more we grow and the closer we get.

For me, that’s as good a reason as any.










  1. Beautifully written,

  2. You know how you read something that just HITS you? That is just what you need at that moment? This was it for me today. You are an incredible writer and your words are inspiring. Thank you.

  3. I don’t always comment, but I really enjoy your blog. I can sense how “real” you are because you’re not trying; you’re clearly you writing about stuff that matters.

    Happy and hopeful New Year!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words!!!!

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