'Where one person sees a crisis, another can see opportunity'
"The things which hurt, instruct" - Benjamin Franklin
'What stands in the way becomes the way'
'Nothing makes us feel a certain way, we choose to give in to such feelings, or choose not to.'
'Ignore what disturbs or limits others'
These are tough times for many in terms of health, finance and emotionally as well. It's times like this to practice selflessness and reach out to others whether it be a phone call or a letter. Many elderly are currently being quarantined and we are unable to see them so it's important to stay in contact, and call often. Others are struggling in different ways, so think beyond yourself and reach out. Just being there to listen and talk to can be extremely helpful in times like these.
Some Thoughts on Growth-
- The extra material stuff is just stuff. When we get caught up in material items like video games, phones, cars or other items, life slaps us in the face and reminds us of what really matters. Life is about the relationships we build.
- Can we commit without a coach watching? I've said from the start, if our team wants to be our best it has to come from each of you. Holding yourself accountable to loving the journey, and holding each other accountable to high standards and expectations. Here's time for you to take charge and really love the process.
- This gives us a reminder that our journey isn't linear. When we have a great finish to a season or a great race, don't forget the struggles necessary to bring you to that elevated performance. In the midst of struggle, recognize it and know that with it will come growth.
- Running is important because of the connection it brings and the lifestyle it promotes. We strive to be great and do the work necessary, but understand that our efforts toward being our collective best are what matter. The togetherness and family of the sport along with the health benefits are not to be taken for granted or forgotten. When moments are tough, look around at the teammates that are there for you.
- Family and friends are everything. This situation is a reminder to reach out and think of others. Can you help someone close to you or in your community? A simple phone call and listening can open that opportunity.
- Avoid social media and the news as often as possible. While social media is great for connecting and can be used wisely to learn, in times like this there is a lot of junk and uneducated posts that will only create anxiety. Stay away for a while and instead go outdoors or pick up a good book.
What does this time give us?
- Time to be creative! I know guys who were creating a comic book, set time each day to work on that. Write or diary daily, become a better person. Read a book. I can suggest many, one of my favorites for high school runners is 'The Animal Keepers'. Play an instrument, learn something new from YouTube, help out around the house. This is a time to do those things that linger in the back of your mind and build a lasting commitment to them when life resumes as normal.
- Build accountability. When we can appreciate the excitement of daily training on our own merit, we will have an unstoppable team. We are definitely building toward that, and now is a great time to exercise your love for running and each other.
- Time outdoors. Trees, nature and fresh air are all known to promote a healthy mind and body. I plan to take time to go hiking as there are plenty of amazing trails and Ice Age Trail segments nearby within 30-40 minute drive! A run or hike on a new trail can greatly boost your mood and energy. For any recommendations on trails, feel free to ask but a few of my nearby favorites are,
- Lapham Peak (run or hike) - My favorite place in Wisconsin.
- Scuppernong (run or hike)
- Scuppernong Ice Age Trail segment (hiking)
- Bugline Trail (Run)
- Northern and Southern Kettle Moraine units are amazing for a hike or run, with many trails and park options. Northern Kettle Moraine is a bit longer drive but offers awesome hikes.
- Milwaukee lakefront - hop on the island by Summerfest and run along the lake shore
Feel free to share how you will spend time or what you are learning from this experience!
This distance squad has been incredible. Heck, it's not just the distance squad, it's this entire roster of track and field. You are all pursuing no limits and the counterculture. With the veterans picking up where cross country ended, all while bringing brand new athletes to their high standards right away. The young men and women on this team are staying after to add strength work, adding miles, adding reps and building each other up. Even athletes that have been on the team for just two days are stepping into lead and share! The power of this group is insane, I just want to be at practice with you all 24/7. You teach me so much.
With any successful group comes moments of adversity, and we are all now faced with real life adversity. You see the cancellations and changes being made around the state and country. There may be disruptions ahead for us, and it's up to each of us to control what we can. We can control our emotions and response to any situation. For many of us, this event may be the biggest adversity we have yet faced in our young lives. Our lifestyles will be affected, but with any obstacle, we can be better from it.
Honestly, my first reaction to recent events was frustration. I thought, ‘why does this have to happen to us?’ We have trained hard and built so much, things are going so well. But, I have come to realize that I was letting my emotions go, and didn’t realize that this group doesn’t change at all. Nothing is at an end. It just is what it is, and we are going to experience adversity together. Nothing changes, and you’re still the amazing young men and women I have gotten to know so well. Good will come from whatever happens. Everything that happens to us is in our best interest. If there are any disruptions, it's in our best interest and we will overcome them together. Will I be crushed if there is a disruption in the season? Absolutely. This will be extremely hard taking out the best part of the day.
On December 10th, 1914, a massive explosion erupted at the site of Thomas Edison’s factory. The fire totally destroyed his factory. As his son Charles was watching his dad’s work be destroyed, what was his dad’s reaction? He excitedly told his son. “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.” His son didn’t get how he could be so relaxed, and Thomas said, “It’s all right. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.” The next day, Thomas Edison began rebuilding immediately.
Edison chose his response. He could have chosen pity and asked “Why me?” but instead, moved forward with a smile, and kept a positive outlook. By controlling his emotion and response, he was able to build back what he lost. There will be good and bad in everything, including the things we enjoy the most. How we respond matters. Does it get us anywhere to sulk and give up? Never. We grow from adversity, but we have to recognize the opportunity that the adversity creates for us to get better. The obstacles, although undesired, are always what make us better.
Our sport is beautiful in so many ways, with one of those ways being our ability to do it anywhere at any time. Events may be cancelled, that’s out of your control. But you have control over your running and life. Moving daily is essential to our health, and no matter what, we must continue to do this in the beautiful space provided by being outdoors in nature. Whatever disruption may occur, know that you still control your ability to move and stay active and healthy.
Running is therapeutic. It can alleviate any stress that could arise from the possibility of not being able to be together as a group. Running calms, soothes and cures. Ignore the things you can’t control, and focus on what you can! Don't let fear take over. It's not real, it's emotions being let loose. Take control of them. Adjust to any changes in life and be willing to learn, whether it's with running, school or other normal activities. It will be short term, make it worthwhile.
As Coach Dewitt said at practice, you cherish every day, and cherish time together. While I hope to have no disruptions, much of that will be out of our control. I’m going to do what I always do no matter what transpires. I will keep loving this team with everything I have. That is in my control, always.
I hope you all can see the control you have in situations like this. It isn’t unfair, it just is. Being in the moment means facing reality and ignoring that which you have no control over. Take ownership of your emotion and actions, and turn this situation into something that helps build you as a person and builds us as a team.
Let's keep things rolling. See you all at practice!