Tuesday, May 28, 2019

When the Stars Don't Align

            A couple months ago, I told my husband that the USATF Masters Outdoor Combined Events National Championship was going to be hosted in Wisconsin of all places this year (last year it was in California). This event has the option of a decathlon for women (women normally just do the heptathlon, which doesn’t include pole vault). Now I will quickly own up to the fact that I was never good at any of the Track & Field events, except for Pole Vault. Over time, I have become more competitive with distance events, but I attribute that to the fact that with distance, you have a shot at out-training some people (hence why I was so competitive with triathlon!). Nevertheless, it did intrigue me, as I have a least a little experience with almost every event in Track & Field, and I’m pretty fit. 
            A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stay late after practice, so I worked on hurdles and disc (the first time this year), and while I felt like it went well, I had in my mind that I probably wouldn’t actually go through with the decathlon. My one multi-event experience was my freshman year in college when I did the pentathlon. I was most likely last, or second to last if I was lucky (not the most positive experience). I did high jump in high school (my best was once making 4-6). I have a little bit of experience with long jump (best was 14-4). I threw disc a little in high school (I think my best was in the 70’s). I learned shot for the college pentathlon (best was around 29’). I did the 60m hurdles just for the pentathlon as well. And I was not a runner in college, so my 800m time was definitely slower than 3 minutes. 
            With a decathlon, pole vault gets added to the mix, so I SHOULD excel in at least one event! The 800m gets bumped up to a 1500m run, which I feel good about. Other running events are the 100m and the 400m, both of which I’m not going to stress about, just do my best and know that it will be quickly over! As Andy said, “This would be too fun to pass up!” So I am going for it because that is exactly the right mentally to have about this! I have since gotten in some practices for every event, and it affirms what I already knew – I am “average” at best in everything except pole vault! Nevertheless, I am having fun with the events, and I know that there is zero pressure, which makes it even more fun, as each event is just a challenge to see what I can do. (Plus, if one event goes poorly, you just move on to another!)
            A week ago, while working on shot with an athlete, I actually sprained my right ankle (oops!). Terrible timing. I remembered my own words that I told my friend who was shooting for a PR in her half marathon recently – “It’s about OVERCOMING, and not about all the starts aligning.”There are so many obstacles and challenges that will jump up in our way, whether it be sickness, injury, time constraints, etc. Does anything in life really just fall into place? Fortunately, the sprain was mild, and I have been able to run and jump on it after a few days, as long as I have it taped. Hurdles have also been challenging, not just because of the technical aspect, but because I am learning to hurdles with my non-dominant leg, which has caused my right hip flexor to flare up as it is getting worked in a new way. Stretching, icing, and knowing my limitations has been key.
            So on June 8-9, I will be competing in my very first decathlon, against women of all ages (and I fully expect to get whooped in some events by ladies twice my age). I will put on my big girl pants and face my fear of failure and embarrassment. I am certain that I would regret it if I didn’t.

No comments:

Post a Comment