Monday, 6 April 2009

What makes an athlete?

I keep asking myself - what makes an athlete? 

I have always considered myself an athlete - from my early teenage years, when I first tasted the sweet obsession that is sport, to these last couple of years through struggling with rehabilitation. In my mind that is what I am. But for others?

Physically my body still looks like an athlete's body. It's a big joke, because it looks exactly the same when I could swim, bike and run 70.3 miles in a day and then do it again next week! 

My brain is also the same. I still think about training, I plan my training as I did, I look forward to it (possibly more now than before) and I talk as I did when I was training 18 hour weeks, not 8. 

Does the race make the athlete? With the exception of a sprint I managed to sneak in last September, I have largely been in the sidelines for the last 2 years. No racing. Plans to race, but all of them foiled. Pulling out of IMDE officially this week too. 

Maybe it's the psyche that makes the athlete. And my psyche has been feeding off this time off. It has been making me stronger, though (I won't lie) I have also had dark spots when I thought I will never be the same again, I will never get to a startline in my life. I crave the training. I desire the pain of muscles straining to accomplish. I miss the mental game of pushing myself through to the next clear spot in my race. 

Because as in life so in a race you go through dark spots and you go through clear spots. What matters is that in the dark spots you remember that things are bound to change. Sooner or later.

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