I’ve always been the type of person who gives my best. That is…unless it was time to practice. In years past, I was not what you would call a “practice person.” In my mind, I didn’t quite see the correlation. When it came time to be competitive in competition, then I’m your (wo)man. But putting yourself through pain and torture when it didn’t count for the W just wasn’t really my thing. Believe me, I was complaining about practice far before Allen Iverson ever did.
In fact, this was how I became a jumper in the first place. Back in high school I thought the sprinters workouts were a little too hard. I realized that if I said I wanted to do both long and triple jump, I could do a little more bounding and a little less repeat 200’s. Done. I tried this same strategy in college early on in my career when I tried telling my coach I didn’t think I was really a 200 meter runner, that maybe I was more cut out for the shorter distances. I’d try anything to try and cut down on those speed endurance workouts. Unfortunately being a Pac-10 and National Champion in the 200 meters blew that theory out of the water and I had to find a way to deal with the pain of the workouts I dreaded most. But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t whine about them. Tie my shoes to buy more time in between intervals. Hide in the bathroom and pretend I was sick.
So imagine my own surprise when this Saturday, when I had the day OFF, I find myself out at the track running repeat 200’s when I didn’t have to. I just decided I’d help a friend get through a workout that is much easier doing with another person and in the process I could help my own fitness. Who am I???
Granted, I know doing extra workouts isn’t always the smart answer or the best way to improve, but it is indicative of how I’ve grown over the years. I started out in this sport relying solely on my athletic talents and my ability to out compete anyone I came across. And while I still believe that there is absolutely no substitute for having the “eye of the tiger”, I also know that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I have the talent but I’m also going to work hard. Harder than I ever have.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a long jumper and short sprinter for a reason. I’m smart about the events I decided to be talented in. ?