At the end of a coffee meeting with one of my CAC athletes (Carrboro Athletics Club), after the usual talk about training [its a good thing that your legs aren’t dead; don’t worry, you are working hard enough] and race schedules [I like the idea of opening your track season with a race over and under your chosen distance … i.e. run an early 5,000m, then an 800m before racing the 1,500m], I tossed this out: “What are your terms, Jason?”
“I don’t understand the question.”
“Your terms for success,” I said. What must be in place in your life, in your relationships, in your training, in your racing, etc. for you to succeed? State those terms and don’t settle for anything less.”
“Give me some examples.”
Hmmm … I thought. “For instance, after the 1988 Olympic Trials 10k, I decided to run only what I enjoyed – the 1,500m and the 3k. People thought I was crazy for moving down in distance instead of up to the marathon. Also, I decided I was NEVER going to be a high-mileage advocate, despite what the going theory argued. My terms were low mileage quality/intensity over LSD quantity. Also, I swore I’d never rabbit a race.
This last term gave me pause; it sounded so selfish and, well, UN-Christian. You know how the Bible says you can’t serve two masters? Everything in my life served my running. My terms were strict and necessary … back then.
But now, at age 45, my terms have changed. I don’t think I fully realized this until I lined up for the CAC 5k road race time trial back in March. When the gun went off, I instinctively bolted out to position myself in the front pack … but not for myself, not for my own race. I wanted to hit the mile marker in 5:40 not so I could win the prize, but so they would hit the time. Sub-18:00 was required and I was the rabbit for the job.
Here I am, below, as two future CAC athletes, run away from me toward their finish line. “Go, Caroline! Go, Sarah!”