The Olympics Are Over: Refocus, Reassess and Keep Perspective in Your Own Running

The 2012 Olympics are officially over; though hopefully you were able to cram in as much track and running excitement to last you awhile. (Cut to some runner-squirrel hoarding nuts.) Upon the opening ceremonies I did a post on how the Olympics are a time many people are wrought with inspiration, motivation and the desire to get out and get after it…lighting that torch under their own butts and all.
olympic runners
Though the Olympics can also be a time of depression or feelings of inferiority and blaring mediocrity. I got a message from one of the cutest little running bloggers remarking that she was feeling really defeated about her own running. Her line of reasoning: I wish I were as fast as them. I’ll never be. My goal of breaking XX for a 10k isn’t only minutes off of the times these Olympians are running, it’s tens of minutes. I think she ended with, “Running is so hard, why even try?”

Before all us runner addicts start judging, I would like to point out that at some point EVERY runner thinks that to themselves. It’s the truth, running is hard, it hurts. There are always times you don’t reach a certain goal on a given day, get stuck with an injury lasting an eternity…it sucks, and it doesn’t feel good.

The Olympics only exemplify those feelings and magnify them. There are moments of pure and utter ecstasy and others of heartbreaking lows. There seems to be no middle ground. You were probably jumping out of your seat seeing Leo Manzano earn a Silver in the 1500 and your hearts nearly stopped when Morgan Uceny fell to the track during her 1500. No middle ground.


Don’t let a running ‘low’ get in your way from still moving forward with your own running.

* There are athletes competing at the Olympics that are feeling defeated because they didn’t run where they ‘should’ have or they didn’t advance to the final rounds. Runners let down because an injury kept them from even competing.

* There are runners who were at the Olympic Trials but failed to move on. There are harriers who, again, were too injured to compete.

* We’ve got runners who have plenty of other credits to their names but have never made it to the Olympics. We have mortal runners who have won NCAA titles, won the local 10k race, just PR’ed and finished mid-pack and the ones who don’t even race at all.

Because they are not Gold Medalists or at the Olympics, does that make them all failures? Should they all just give up and stop running?

If the answer is yes than you should stop because if the bottom line is that you don’t have a passion for the sport, for the act of running, then you should move on to something you do love doing just for the joy it brings to your life.

That said, it by NO means means you shouldn’t have goals. That you shouldn’t aim high. That you DO need to set goals for yourself that at times feel bigger than you are capable of…because that stretches you. Makes you reach.

It’s a balance of pushing yourself, but then being mature enough to keep perspective if you DON’T hit that goal.

runner and tree

Be curious of your own best.

FACT: Not everyone is going to the Olympics.

FACT: Don’t use that as an excuse to not set your own goals. And then don’t use that to rob yourself of enjoying the times when you reach those goals. Stay in your own running. Keep it your’s. Of course be competitive and line up against those better than you…but do it because in the end it makes YOU run better.

FACT: There is always someone better than you. World records are broken, case in point. Don’t warp that into a line of reasoning that you then suck. And remember that running hard hurts for everyone.

As the Olympic torches dim, rather than get stuck in a kind of defeatist of wallowing attitude…cheer for the amazing athletes who did make it and let that spur in you the motivation to continue striving for the best in yourself, wherever that may wind up being.

Those still harboring Olympic dreams, remember that unless you’re dead you can keep dreaming and training. Also remember there are World Championships on non-Olympic years and other big races. There are always road races, USA Championships, Club Champs, NCAA Titles and High School National and State races. There are the 5k races that have a dozen people and there are a slew of others where PR’s are achieved. Then there are ample amounts of roads, tracks, trails, treadmills and the lot where miles are to be had regardless of if you choose to race.

Run because you love it. Run for YOU.

1) What was a moment of utter ecstasy that resonated with you throughout the Olympics? A moment of where your heart broke for that runner?

2) What’s a moment of ecstasy from your own running? And then an example of a crushing blow and a time you questioned why you did this crazy thing?

3) How do you get yourself through the tough times and stay focused on your own goals, the love of running, and if you race, still pushing for the best in yourself?

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5 thoughts on “The Olympics Are Over: Refocus, Reassess and Keep Perspective in Your Own Running

  1. Oh Cait, so wise!

    Uceny’s fall was heart-breaking. That image will stick with me for a long time. On the other hand, one of my country-women, Sally Pearson (a little embarrassingly for the Aussies!) was beside herself when she won gold in the hurdles – and that determination will be with me forever too.

    By the way – our Get Chicking shirts arrived! I missed the arrival by an hour (driving to Sydney) so I have to wait until Sunday to collect it – but they’re here! I am so, so excited. I’ll team it up with some running perspective in my next 10km. Cool? Done.

    • WHAT!!! i’m sooo peeved at ur postal worker…alas, alas, don’t they say something about waiting making the eventual reward even sweeter?? can’t WAIT for u to bring them to the group…and pics please!! 🙂

  2. Cait, this was such a wonderful post! The most important thing to remember when I toe up to the starting line, or even just get on the treadmill, is that I am only racing against myself. The only time, the only other runner, the only ‘best’ that I am trying to better is my own.
    I was elated when Sally Pearson won the hurdles, but also cried with national pride when Tom Slingsby won gold in the laser sailing class. There are so many moments where someone’s Olympic dreams are shattered, but as some wise man stated in the closing ceremony ‘you have been gracious in triumph and defeat, and truly deserve to call yourself Olympians.’
    My own elation comes every time I set my feet on the pavement (or TM) because it is one place I am truly alone, and know exactly what I need to do, what I am asking of myself, and there is no one to judge.

    • okay, that last sentence there needs to be published somewhere. all in good time, soon i’ll be buying the works of the sweetest chickpea i know! PS- do i need to come up with a new nickname for u, i’m sorry i’m stuck on the chickpea one, but if an update is in order… 🙂

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