Saturday, January 12, 2008

Athletics and Art

Today I skied in the annual MBSEF Great Nordeen 15k Nordic ski race in Bend, Oregon. The temperature was in the high 20’s F and it snowed the entire way. I don’t know my ending time yet, but I finished behind the elite pack with enough time to get some of the good snacks!

Racing is relatively new to me. My daughter is a young elite athlete. Her life’s direction was so unknown to me that I decided to explore it by competing athletically. I’ve always been athletic but never before embraced competition. During the past 4 years I’ve done quite a bit of Nordic Skate racing, a little multi-sport racing and even a half-marathon.

The first race I competed in (42k Great Nordeen) I came in at 186 out of 190 competitors. As strong as I was, I learned that I knew little about how to best use my energy and effort. Over the years I’ve worked my way to a finish that tends towards the middle of the pack for my age and gender. Occasionally the really good athletes go on vacation and I place in the top tier.

Putting in the hours building aerobic base gives me time to mediate and think. Athletics and art aren’t as far apart as you might think. Sport is art & creation. The Greeks knew that so well they invented the Olympics. Watch an athlete and the strength we witness is often a combination of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual power. Elite athletes are so elegant and economic in their movements that they make their strength look both effortless and formidable. In the service of a person’s best life, strength is a beautiful thing.

Here are a few thoughts about athletics and art that keep me going:
  • My commitment to continue begins before I even see the starting line.
  • Practice doing it right before building speed.
  • Plans are an idea. Count on reality to change them, and be fluid.
  • Expect emotional and physical highs and lows, they’re the rhythm of progress.
  • Believe in my preparation & keep moving. I can do much more than I think I can.

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