Today I stood curbside at Floden Park to cheer on runners for the Canadian Derby Marathon in Edmonton. All I can say is, unbelievable!
In 2001, I sat curbside to watch the marathon for the World Track and Field Games in Edmonton. That was surreal. My kids were small, and I brought noise makers and face tattoos and fun things to play with that would support the athletes as they ran by.We were very excited! Suddenly, we could see the elite runners in the distance! Then…. zooooooooooom… they ran past us at light speed. We saw them run by for maybe 45 seconds. HUGELY anticlimactic! But today was different. We stood curbside at the wall. From my understanding, the wall is where the runner reaches complete fatigue.
Wikipedia explains is like this:
Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to “hit the wall“.
We cheered and yelled! You could see the looks of determination on some faces and appreciation on others. Some runners thanked us as said they really appreciated our support and that it made a difference. We arrived after the elite runners had finished the race ( Brendan Lunty of Camrose, AB 2:33:17). We figured it was the middle of the pack and the back of the packers who needed our support the most. I saw people who could barely walk keep moving, people older than my father keep moving, (not that you are old DAD!) and people who just thought they would give it a “go” keep moving. What drives someone to run/walk or crawl 42km?
My dad is amazing. Everyday he runs 10km because:
A) he likes to
B) it keeps him fit
C) it feels good.
What the?!?!?! It feels good? My mom, is a walker/cycler. She will walk everywhere for HOURS because:
A) she likes to
B) it keeps her fit
C) it feels good.
I hear that a lot. It feels so good. I have NEVER experienced athletic euphoria. I use to cycle great long distances. I like the feeling of speed and wind in my face. But that was pretty much it. I takes major drive and commitment to be an athlete.
Drive and Commitment. I don’t think I have those. My sister does. Well, maybe it is more ambition then drive, or maybe you need one to achieve the other.
I am a huge hockey fan. During the 80’s the Edmonton Oiler’s were THE TEAM TO BEAT. The league even made a new rule to help the other teams try to beat the Edmonton Oiler’s. Together they won 5 Stanley Cups. A Dynasty to be reckoned with. There was a core group on that team that really had drive and commitment. Others came and went. Mark Messier really lead team in spite of all you Wayne fans, it was always Messier’s leadership on and off the ice that led the team. This was evident when Wayne left, cried because he would never see another team so amazing in his career, and Mark led the team to yet another cup. The man had a focus that you could see in his eyes. He willed the impossible to happen. I suspect, Mark Messier believed that you wanted something bad enough, you made it happen. Anything less was inadequate. I can just imagine what it was like to be Steve Smith. He scored on his own net during the playoffs and the Oil lost. Mess likely didn’t say a thing. Just let Smith wallow in it for the rest of the very long summer. He brought his “A” game the next season. I am sure Mess had a lot to do with that.
How do I get that kind of drive? I want that kind of focus. I want to see the brass ring and not just reach for it but grab on to it and hold it in my hands. I want to know what that feels like. I chose what I do for a living because it was easy. It is something I am good at and it comes easy to me. I was too afraid to reach for what I wanted so I chose the easy path. Thursday I register for University. This is not the easy path. The easy one is to stay in a position where I can assert myself and do more, but I am not able to move forward. I am held back by the constraints of my education even though I know I am capable of so much more. It frustrates me that I am capable of doing what is required of others, yet unable to step into that role. I refuse to be held back any longer. When I spoke to my adviser in regards to my class load, she suggested I start with one class. It will have 4 major projects, and 60 hours or so of class work/studying etc. My first thought was “I can handle a full class load easily!” But then I thought, well – hmm, It has been years since I have done this, I still need to be a parent and help out with homework etc ( although this angers me a woman, maybe a great topic for another blog) plus, my family still needs me to bring in a paycheck so I will need to continue my full-time job. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not independently wealthy! I still want to volunteer on the Parent Advisory Council at my children’s school. Then there is family stuff!! Wow, I am tired just looking at this. But I am digging deep. If Messier could guarantee a win for the Rangers so they could go on to win the Cup, then I can do this. Who are we kidding, my goal is harder than Messier’s. He just had to win a game.
I guess I do have drive and focus.
Here we go, the next travel stop on my journey as a tourist and I promised Mess I wouldn’t cry.