Overcoming Adversity Like a True Athlete

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Marathon Training forces you to face adversity. You must overcome fear, fatigue, and frustration. The journey is tough but also life changing!

Even the best runners stay engaged in this conflict:

As a runner, I deal with fear almost daily. To prevent fear from defeating me, I have to fight back against it in my mind. Reminding myself that I am doing what I was born to do—that, win or lose, embracing the challenge is still worthwhile. Kara Goucher, Olympic Runner

Here are three simple ways to overcome adversity . . .

1. Get Up When You Fall!
After my first marathon I struggled with a knee injury and had to take a few weeks off from running. During this time I let exercise and healthy eating fall by the wayside. I felt awful. I let life get in the way of my goals.

It would have been easy to stay in my self-imposed pit of depression and not get back up again. But even though it was hard to regain my fitness and rehab my knee, I still chose to get up again. I started doing yoga regularly and running again when I could. I didn’t let my circumstances and choices keep me down. Now I can look back at that period of life and value many of the lessons I learned.

2. Fight On When It Hurts!
The simple truth is that training for a marathon will hurt. Pushing your body to run long distance will be uncomfortable. There will be moments when you want to give up. In those moments I draw inspiration from other runners . . .

Glenn Cunningham: Both legs were severely burned in a schoolhouse fire at age 8. But he didn’t let that stop him from becoming an athlete. He went on to become the NCAA and AAU champion in the mile and won the Sullivan Trophy for athletic achievements and sportsmanship. Despite a toeless left foot, he set a world record in the mile in 1934 with 4:06.7 and took the silver medal in the 1,500 meters in the 1936 Olympics.

Ray Ewry: He was stricken with a form of paralysis in childhood and confined to bed and then a wheelchair. Due to his determination he gained use of his legs through daily exercises. He won Olympic gold medals in various standing jumps in the early 1900’s and held the record for the most medals won in Olympic competition (10) for many years.

Wilma Rudolph: Stricken with scarlet fever and double pneumonia at age 4 she lost use of her left leg. She learned to walk with the help of a leg brace at age 7. Through therapy she continued to gain strength in her legs and by the age of twelve she was able to run. And run she did! Rudolph won three gold medals in the sprints in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. So legendary was her performance that she was known throughout the world as the, “Fastest Woman in History”.

3. Keep Your Eyes On Your Goal!
In many races that I’ve run I’ve seen people in shirts that say, “Team 4:13.” This refers to the Bible verse in Philipians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Really it’s all about finding your inner source of strength and pressing on to your goals.

Focus and taking action will bring you to the results you want. Success is not necessarily about getting big results or big achievements, it is about the process of taking one small step at a time. When you look at your marathon training plan remember that you just need to take one run at a time. Keep going in the right direction each day and you’ll reach your goal.

Also Mentioned In This Episode

Don’t let temporary setbacks discourage you. Choose to believe that every day is a good day. You can get past any roadblock if you simply stay focused.

1. Get up when you fall
2. Fight on- even when it hurts
3. Keep your eyes on the goal

9 Responses to Overcoming Adversity Like a True Athlete

  1. Trevor April 29, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    What I admire the most about athletes (from any sport) is their self-discipline.

    I think self-discipline is at the core of success.

  2. Michael April 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I am a great starter, working on being a better finisher. I set my Marathon goal this year to train and be ready for The Flying Pig this Sun. I made the deal with myself that if my tendons and knees were giving me the same degree of trouble they were last year that I would rest, rehab and run the half-marathon. Mo matter what I was going to figure out a way to participate and in general be healthy.

    I am great at getting started on goals but sometimes I allow myself to become distracted, discouraged, or disinterested. What I want more than anything is endurance and focus to see projects and goals through to the end. This Marathon that I am about to run is both tangible and symbolic of my quest for these two principles.

    • Trevor April 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Right on Michael.

      This marathon will give you a huge psychological boost.

      Go out and kill the Flying Pig!

  3. Michael May 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    OK, I finished: 5 hours 8 minutes. An amazing experience. I have to say that I am floating about 3 inches off of the ground right now. This is good as sore as my feet are right now. I used much of the info from your podcast. I did not feel like I struggled with this run. It was more about pain management than anything else. I had the cardio down. At no time did I feel like I was loosing my breath. After the first half I was grateful for all the hill training I put myself through. My knees did hurt but at no time did at feel at risk of injury. At about mile 18 I had a burst of energy come from somewhere and I realized that my pain was staying the same whether I ran slow or fast so I picked the pass up and ended up running the second half of my Marathon faster than the first half. One thing that really helped out was saying an encouraging, “We got this.” to my fellow runners. This helped me take my attention off of my pain. I ran the last 5 miles with no stops or walking, no water or sports drink. I just didn’t want to stop until the finish line. It really is an amazing experience. Thanks for all the info.



    • Angie May 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Congratulations Michael! I’m so proud of you. I’m glad that you were able to push past your physical discomfort and finish strong. It sounds like you were able to encourage others out there on the marathon course too. Enjoy the feeling of your wonderful accomplishment.

  4. Amy May 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    I definitely admire the self-discipline of runners, but what has impressed me even more is the athletes that are in tune with God and their spirituality, like Ryan Hall. I was glad to see you mentioned Philippians 4:13, Angie 🙂 My favorite run-inspiring verse is: Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1-2 (it was on the back of the 2010 Fargo marathon medals, too).

    I love running, but I try to keep myself in check – I want to make sure I am helping and inspiring others. God’s given us a wonderful gift to be able to run and I don’t ever want to take that ability for granted!

    P.S. I love your podcasts 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    • Angie May 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Amy. Thank you for sharing the source of your inspiration. I love the verses in Heb. 12:1-2 too and am impressed that it was on the back of the Fargo medals last year. Running truly is a gift and some of my best communication with God comes on my runs. Blessings!

  5. Sarah May 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    I imagine my negative thoughts popping up in front of my like Whack-A-Moles and as I run along I fake punch them back down. I bet I look pretty funny boxing imaginary moles as I run but it gets me through it!

    • Angie May 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      Hi Sarah. I love your method of getting rid of negative thoughts. What a funny visual too 🙂 Keep up the great work!

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