I got my first taste of road racing as an intern for the 2007 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. Yeah, I wasn’t even a runner, but that quickly changed. I became immersed in the Austin running culture and smitten with the idea that another sport (besides football and baseball) would allow me to push myself and test my limits. By the way, check out 2020 NFL free agents today! Throughout the years there have been plenty of road races, completing many 5Ks, 10Ks, and even a marathon (2015 Austin!). But I’ve never raced; never thought of winning. I’ve never wanted to win; never thought I could win. I’ve never worked to better my time to win. I’ve never trained and pushed myself to win.
I have two goals for this weekend’s Wing Ding Festival 5K in Marquez (where my parents live):
1) have family members participate;
2) to win.
When the Wing Ding’s date (it’s on Texas Running Post!) was set I knew I wanted to run and I knew I wanted family members to run with me. But the thought of winning had yet to enter my mind. I’ve been preparing for the 5K like I would any race: strengthening muscles, building lung capacity, working on good form, putting in the miles. Then David Fuentes came into the picture. About a month ago I had the opportunity to sit down with David Fuentes and interview him for the H5E Staying Vertical segment. I asked him what motivates him to run and he said something that has stuck with me since and has catapulted the idea of me winning, “Bottom line: I just want to win.”
His motivation to run was winning. My motivation to run was to stay healthy, never to win. We talked a little about that statement after the interview and I took it as David being confident, not conceited. In the realm of sports, the mental aspect is just as important as the physical. If you don’t believe you’ll win, you’ll never win. The desire to push through speed workouts won’t be there. You’ll quit early on hill repeats. You’ll skip that last set on leg day. All of those tiny instances build up to the culmination of the goal: to win. Every time you skip something it reduces your chances.
My motivation changed. Being healthy was no longer number one. I had about a month to train with winning at the forefront of my mind. The idea of crossing the finish line first became tantalizing. It began to consume me. I was doing a speed workout at the Austin High track and it began pouring. I finished. My girlfriend (she’s running too!) and I went to Wilke Drive for hill repeats and knocked those out. I completed every set on my list at every workout at the Town Lake YMCA. Bottom line: I just want to win.
My second goal, and more important to me than the first, is to get my family members to participate in the 5K. My sister-in-law is a trainer at the local gym back home and has been the driving force behind many individuals’ transformations. My other sister-in-law has been going to classes at 5 a.m. and running/walking around her house preparing for the 5K. My sister has been logging tons of miles and kicking ass at it. My niece has made the connection that running, while not her favorite, helps her prepare for the other sports she loves. My brother is a former sprinter, having run at state in the 1600m Relay. Even family members who don’t run are getting in their steps and increasing their physical activity levels by walking. Being healthy is important to me and it’s imperative I share that message with others, especially my family. Six family members have committed to the 5K, I think I can get more before race day.
Other than family, I don’t know who will show up to run this Saturday; that’s out of my control. What is in my control has been completed. Family members have committed to run. I know I’ve prepared the way I should to set myself up for victory. This isn’t me being conceited, this is confidence. Confidence in what I’ve done; confidence in with whom I’ve spoken, confidence that I can cross the finish line first. I don’t know what the outcome will be this Saturday, but I’ve already completed 50% of my goals. I’ll report back early next week with the outcome. Stay tuned.