My friend, Lauren, instilled in me many of life’s lessons. One lesson that resonates most is to remain dedicated to a task – even when all seems lost. Lauren epitomized this; while going through three years of treatment for stage 4 colon cancer she ran, did yoga, lifted weights or swam almost every day. I’ll never forget her pushing the women swimmers on training trip to do 10 push-ups while she managed two for every one they could muster.
I often think of Lauren and what she taught me. Perhaps most recently was while getting into a bike accident during an Olympic distance triathlon three weeks ago. It was a hot day. There was a water stop during the bike. And, I needed it. So, I slowed down to grab a bottle. But, I ran into the guy ahead of me. Next thing I knew, the left side of my body slammed on the asphalt and my bike was being dragged, attached to his rear wheel. I got up and assessed the damage- road rash and a bruised tailbone.
I didn’t feel like anything was broken or pulled so I got back on my bike. I was in pain; I channeled Lauren. What would she do? Lauren would kick it into high gear and make up time lost. So, I did. I finished the race and ended up with a personal best time.
I could have easily stopped after the crash, accepted defeat and limped home. But, I realized persisting despite the accident would make me a stronger triathlete and person. Now, when I start World Championships in London this September I can say I’ve prevailed through pain and raced hard despite it. And, no matter the outcome, I can say I’ve laid everything on the line even when my dedication was tested.
Dedication. To me, it means getting up before 5 am to train while going through an intense, 11-month dietetic internship. It means staying committed to my goals despite the possibility of failure, physical and mental pain and sometimes, even embarrassment crashing in front of the only spectator section at a triathlon. It means asking others for support when I need it. It means even if I “fail” I know I’ll gain more than I expected.
If you’re aiming for a goal like losing weight, getting a job, running your first marathon or making it big in the music industry dedicate yourself to it. Commit. Take risks (calculated ones, that is). Be accountable. Roll with setbacks and view them positively. Don’t expect perfection. If you never try, you will never know what you could achieve. The pay off is always worth it. And, remember that people, like Lauren, are cheering you on even if they aren’t here.
What does dedication mean to you?
By Kate Sweeney, guest blogger and soon-to-be registered dietitian.