It’s funny how some of the best things sneak up on you in life. My desire to “do something” with my running brought me to Al. I knew him from attending a trail running camp he had hosted. The first thing I learned was that my entire way of thinking needed to change. Al always starts at YOUR beginning, and he knew before I could do something with my running, I needed to buy into a much more important idea for myself. I needed to make myself a priority.
I had no idea of the transformative path I had begun with Al.
Foundation and progression. Two words that form the basis of Al’s programs. If you’re like me, you’re in for a journey that will take you far, far away from what you want right now. Building a foundation (because you have none!) and “progressing on” were two inconvenient truths that I had to reconcile before I was ready to run well. I needed to be honest with myself about what my limiters were with regard to taking care of my overall health and well-being.
Yes, these are excuses wrapped in good intentions, but the truth is, I can’t perform well in anything I do in my life until I make myself a priority. Putting that idea into practice EVERY DAY is way harder than it sounds, especially when it’s all wrapped up in guilt. I am the parent of a child with a lifelong disability. Every day I must step up and provide him with a high level of care and support. We also have my Mom living with us now. Some days, all that caregiving sucks the life right out of me. We all have our story, right?
Over the past 5 years since attending that camp and working with Al, I have experienced many periods of “I can’t commit to this right now.” All have been real “it’s out of my control” genuine excuses. I have learned to ignore that self-defeating noise in my head. I immediately recommit and come right back to ground zero. I do the work I know I need to do. I train smarter, work harder at putting into practice all the things that Al has taught me (and continues to) teach me.
Each time, I have learned a bit more, the foundation has become stronger and the progression is greater. I don’t ever “lose” time. I learn, so as a result, I grow as an athlete.
With Al’s guidance, I have been able to build a rock-solid foundation (which in my mind simply means a strong, healthy and durable body), progress in my running, set racing goals, and feel great about my performance. It took me awhile, mostly because of things outside of my control, but I was finally confident enough to commit to a racing goal. With the support of my husband I knew could follow through.
I no longer need an excuse to take something for myself anymore. I don’t feel guilty and I continue to fiercely protect that space. I am always grateful for Al’s influence in my life. With his guidance, coaching, and the friendship that evolved from our time working closely together, Al gifted me a lifelong foundation that I know is truth; about priorities, training, running and other important things in life.
Whenever I feel things start to unravel with my running, I stop what I am doing and go back to the basics. I come back to the philosophy that Al taught me. I trust it. Why? Because it’s never failed me, and I don’t think it ever will. Once I made the commitment, I was on a journey that would change everything. I know now things will never be the same as they used to be, thanks to the work Al and I have done together.