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    BOILHAM   24,050
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The World's Greatest Athlete - Not


Monday, September 02, 2013

I have a big secret. I almost don't want my SparkFriends to know it, but it's what I intend to write about today.

My secret is: I am an average athlete. Not a super senior citizen athlete. Just average. Look up my stats. Average.

I so appreciate the support I get here, and I love my family, too, whose support is unbounded. They, and maybe you, love to brag about about Dad, Grandpa, "my brother-in-law", whatever relation I bear to them, did today or yesterday. They tell everyone who will listen what a great athlete I am for my age.

I received so much attention during my last trail run - that I had done the strength challenge immediately following a gruesome, water laden, muddy rutted, slip and slide course. On Spark People and on the course, wonderful comments. And that's one reason I race. I love the attention.

But, in honesty, despite all the nice things that have been said, I am not great, just fair. And that is good enough for me. Because I've found out it isn't necessary to be great. Fair or average is fine. It's wonderful, even. Being a fair or average athlete is so much better than being, as we love to say, the guy sitting on the couch.

So, I am not a great athlete. But, what I am is, a great trier. I try hard. I have tenacity. I just refuse to quit on myself. I'm not even saying I am a top-notch trier. I am just tenacious enough that I finish my exercises, races or whatever I've promised myself that I will do.

That's my secret weapon. Try, just try, and once you do, do not give up. It would take a pretty serious injury to make me quit. But, you don't have to be as extreme as I am on not quitting. You will still excel and do greater things than you ever imagined if you take that first step by 'trying'. Don't feel self conscious, just do it. When you fail, and you will think you have, try again. Every day, every minute, every second can be a new beginning for you. You just have to dust yourself off, and try again. You will feel like an athlete, every time you start anew, because you know you're not a quitter. You are much stronger than you believe you are. You won't know that until you try, however.

Maybe you don't want to sweat in public. Or look so exhausted, revealing your perceived weakness. The goofy, to some, looking shoes, shorts and water belts. I know how bad I sometimes look - sometimes limping, losing form, stopping to massage cramps, and walking while others run right past me. I felt this way during my last race. It was hot and humid and it got to me. I started to have negative thoughts, but I refused to let them take hold. I ran faster, even though it hurt to do so. Perhaps that was not a wise thing to do, but it worked for me. I don't recommend this kind of thinking to you, but I do recommend you don't give up. Find a way to continue, whatever works for you.

Well, this is what I've been thinking about this morning. Just thought I'd share my thoughts with you. Thanks, Spark Friends, for your constant support.


Have a great day.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
BLUENOSE63 9/14/2013 7:53AM

  Great blog. Your attitude is a great example to not only your grandkids but all who are involved in your life. It isn't about the finish, it is about how you got there that counts in my book.

Great attitudes such as yours make great athletes -- fast, slow, short, tall, big, small -- all shapes and sizes.

Keep going for the brass ring!

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IRONMOM39 9/10/2013 6:53AM

    Wow, phenomenal blog and what a fantastic attitude you have! The fact that you put yourself out there and never quit makes you an extraordinary athlete in my books. Too bad there are so many people out there who have yet to discover their inner athlete because they are so afraid to try. You rock!

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SHIRAZSOLLY 9/9/2013 1:56PM

    Being an athlete is:
taking the body you were given and doing the best you can with it on that day...
on many days, week after week, month after month, for years.
You have become an athlete.
There is no point in comparing your times to someone who was lucky to be born to parents who gave him more fast twitch fibers in his legs!
You are an athlete because you have the same heart, the same drive, the same intention, the same efforts, the same work. Who cares if you have different times? In my mind, you are the bigger hero because you are not the one earning the big bucks, but you do it ANYWAY. For your health and friendship!

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CHANGINGHORSES 9/3/2013 9:16PM

    Another reason to love you! But I have to disagree as the others have, you are not average in anyway! But that was a nice try. It is a wonderful blog by a wonderful guy!
Average folks do not do what you have done and do not try to do what you will do. Just saying is all.
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PMRUNNER 9/3/2013 8:11PM

    You have guts and heart, and that goes a long way, my friend! I know a lot of natural above average athletes who don't have have the heart you do.

I know a bit how you feel, I will never be at the front of the pack. But I will run/bike/swim/ski my butt off to get to the finish. I love to compete, even if I am just trying to catch one more runner on that long up hill or trying to shave a few moments off of my best time on a course from home.

A couple years ago, I passed the Hoyts on the last up hill before the finish line in a race in Andover, MA. I didn't think of them as average, I didn't think of them as slower than me. I was inspired to dig a little deeper and push a little harder. If they can do it, I can to. What can hold us back?

Keep pushing! Keep up the spark!

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BIGPAWSUP 9/3/2013 7:53PM

    I think you left average behind you long ago. You are wonderful and amazing - why? Because you do it and share it and inspire other to get going!!!



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LEWILL1982 9/3/2013 11:07AM

    You may feel average, but you are far above that! Great blog, thanks for sharing!

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FUNFROG79 9/3/2013 11:01AM

    I don't think you are average at all! I think people like you are amazing and strong. I look up to you and so do others....in my book, you are an amazing athlete! emoticon

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OWL_20 9/3/2013 10:39AM

    I always said that they would put 'average' on my tombstone. But the good thing about being average is the amount of company you have with you at any given time. Being average, I've always looked for something to set me a part, but not lately. For some reason, I'm quite happy where I'm at--still a bit overweight, but still working on it, too. That's the name of the game: keep on trying. Good blog!

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WILEE323 9/3/2013 9:46AM

    Average can be awesome!! Thanks for setting such a great example!

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GREGGWEISBROD 9/3/2013 9:40AM

    Amazing. Simply amazing. Our perceptions of greatness seem to follow a curve relative to other people, or heights that we haven't been able to reach. In all honesty, your tenacity, your will power, and your love for running... those are the things that make you great in my mind. Really touching post, brother. As a side note, I had the best run yesterday since starting to be fit a couple months ago, but as I was running, I was smoked by this fit young girl who just blew past me! :-D It made me appreciate the same concept you've explored with this post, that there will always be better athletes than us, but also that it doesn't make our stories any less great. I love hearing your adventures. You're a great inspiration. :-)

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MASRITE 9/3/2013 12:14AM

    I hope when I'm 66, I'm kicking it like you! You are my inspiration and I believe, others as well!!

And average? Not in my book, you aren't. You're way above it!!

Comment edited on: 9/3/2013 12:14:47 AM

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JACKIE542 9/2/2013 4:52PM

    If I could do what you do, I would be so proud of myself. Go ahead be proud you work hard. You are amazing, and by the way I love your blogs, hope they keep on coming. emoticon

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HDHAWK 9/2/2013 4:20PM

    The fact that you are consistent makes you a success! That's always been my struggle. I'm either on or off. I haven't been as consistent as I should be, but I do keep trying!

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DALID414 9/2/2013 2:07PM

    I wish to be an average athlete when I reach your age; it means I'll have all my limbs, some form of stamina, some sort of cardio, a bit of sight, and everything else it takes to function as an athelete! Being an average athlete at 66 is an awesome thing to be!

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NATPLUMMER 9/2/2013 1:40PM

    emoticon

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BOOPSTER69 9/2/2013 12:34PM

    you said it! Your blog was just what I needed today as I was lamenting not doing "all" that I had wanted over this weekend - in reality, I sometimes need a time out! Thanks for sharing!

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JACKSGRAN 9/2/2013 12:14PM

    Thanks for being honest about the way you feel, and thanks, too, for showing us that it's possible.

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RUN4FOOD 9/2/2013 11:57AM

    A humble athlete. That has become a rarity. Personally I would have a hard time putting you in the average category. You have more strength and determination than almost anyone our age. You have been given quite a gift and I'm glad you are using your gift to it fullest.
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MSSHERRY10 9/2/2013 11:16AM

  You remind me of an officer when I was in the military. He was a great inspiration for others. His motto was "Try hard every day."

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SEABREEZE65 9/2/2013 11:11AM

    Thanks for these thoughts.
Trying is very important.
But you are better than average and I have to add "for your age." But then you are probably better than average for many, many men younger than you are. So in all honesty - you are not an average athlete.... you are more than average.

On the other hand - what difference does the place on a list from worst to average to best matter - when - as you say - you just have to do something and finish it.

On the list of people "my" age... I fall close to the middle and sometimes below.
But honestly, other than Spark acquaintances, I am the only person my age that I know that is as active as I am.

So is comparison to others the key to a healthy life.........
Or is just trying to do whatever your body will healthily allow you to do.....?... and end up on the list somewhere rather than nowhere!!!!

Good blog!!!

Comment edited on: 9/2/2013 11:13:20 AM

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/2/2013 11:05AM

    So why are you limiting the definition of "greatness" to race times? Being an athlete is a lot of things, pure performance being only a small part of it. It is a way of living and it sounds to me like you are pretty great at it.

Your genetic makeup may determine the bounds of performance, but not all the rest of it, which is what really counts in my book.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/2/2013 10:36AM

    You just described me (average athlete)!
We are awesome, and you know it.

Comment edited on: 9/2/2013 10:36:30 AM

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DARLY55 9/2/2013 10:10AM

    Now that was a good, honest blog! I appreciate the importance you place on "trying". It is how we learn and grow in all areas, exercise included.
I also appreciate your honesty about being average - (which most of us strive to achieve), as we "almost reformed" coach potatoes are far from it.
And as for loving the attention - it keeps you going - not a bad thing!
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SUNNYSIDEUPMARY 9/2/2013 10:05AM

    Thank you for sharing! I love this line - "Being a fair or average athlete is so much better than being, as we love to say, the guy sitting on the couch." I needed to read this after my second dead last finish in a race this year and my near dead-last finish in my first 20-mile training run with a group. Thank you for the reminder to run my own race and that just being out there moving is a great accomplishment!

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Comment edited on: 9/2/2013 10:06:20 AM

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JOYCRN 9/2/2013 10:04AM

    As an older "athlete" who has determined to try "tri" again, I am so with you! It would unrealistic to say I am competitive but at least I can say I participate! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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