Dreaming Big Doesn’t Only Mean a Gold Medal

Guest Blog: Susan Loken

Are you glued to your television every two years when the Olympics roll around?

Are you inspired by the commitment, camaraderie, and skill?

Realistically, most of us are never going to compete in the Olympic Games, and most Olympic athletes will never win the gold medal.

The odds of winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics are kind of like the odds of winning the lottery, expect you have to work a whole lot harder!

When the chance of winning is so slim, why do so many athletes devote their lives to competing in the Olympics?

Why do so many average runners, swimmers, and gymnasts spend their lives waking up for 4 a.m. workouts, juggling busy schedules, suffering through injury, and training day after day? Why do so many average athletes face and overcome many roadblocks JUST to run in a marathon, a marathon that they have no chance of winning?

Why?

Average athletes strive to compete in the “Big Game” because the reward lies in the journey–setting goals, overcoming challenges, seeing results, and celebrating the victories, both small and large. Dreaming BIG helps many discover their purpose. The path of personal growth and its tiny, everyday successes are what make life RICH and WORTHWHILE.

Big goals are broken down into daily goals and, with these clear intentions, you can wake up each day feeling inspired and full of life!

When you achieve your personal goals, you may even experience the same joy as an Olympic gold medalist, knowing that YOU did your personal best!

When you hit one milestone, you will gain the confidence to aim even higher, to push yourself to new limits. When you work hard to make your own dreams come true, you will inspire those around you to reach for their dreams, some of which may have been labeled “impossible”.

I took up running 16 years ago, at the age of 35. I learned all of these lessons and so many more because I was willing to risk trying something new; because I wanted to challenge my body and mind in new ways; because I had the courage to pursue my dream.

I would like to share a piece of my journey with you, in hopes that you will become motivated to achieve new highs (or lows, if we’re talking running time). When you achieve new highs pass along your story to inspire others.

In high school, I was that girl who always skipped gym class. God forbid the exercise and sweat ruin my fabulous Farah Fawcett hair!

I was picked last for every sport in PE and my baseball team always had runners fill in for me. I was continually told how sweet I was, but never how good I was.

Fast forward a few years… I became a stay at home Mom and, after my third son, I needed to get out of the house and have some “ME” time. I was new to Phoenix, ready to get back in shape, and eager to meet some new people.

I began walking each day, gradually adding on more and more running. Next thing you know, I could run 3 miles without stopping! And I kept getting better.

I signed up to run a 5k and placed 4th. When a woman approached me and asked if I was a runner, I said “Yes”. In that moment, I realized: Yes, I AM a runner! My new friend invited me on a 7 mile run, and though anxiety hindered sleep, I did it! I ran my first 7 miles.

Within those first few months of running, I met many new friends, one of which encouraged me to train for a marathon. I agreed. I had no idea how much training for and competing in a marathon would change my life forever.

My first Marathon was San Francisco in 1998 at the age of 35–16 years ago. Because an explanation can’t do my story justice, allow me to share a note from my running log after finishing my first marathon in 3:56:56

 July 12th, 1998

WOW! I did it! It wasn’t easy, actually it was hard as hell, but it was the most personally fulfilling thing I have ever accomplished. The hills were very hard and my knee hurt until mile 14. I had doubts of finishing. I started to get discouraged, but Mike said “Just hang in there, we are going to finish this thing together”. By mile 25, I started feeling better and started believing I might do this. I started crying when I entered the track and saw the finish line, but it was really hard to run and cry, so I stopped crying and finished with a little sprint to the end. This must be what an Olympic Gold Medalist feels like. I can’t believe I finished. If I can do this, I BELIEVE I can do anything! Next, I want to qualify for Boston!

It is true that 90% of doing anything is believing that you can.

Think about that for a minute. 90% of accomplishing anything is simply believing that you can.

Is there something you want to do, something you’ve always dreamt of, but haven’t done yet? Are you fearful of defeat, success, and letting down those you love? Are there dreams you’ve tucked away because you don’t believe in yourself?

I challenge you to write down your deepest hope. Think of a small goal that you can do today to help you reach your dreams. If you want to eat more healthfully, research a delicious new recipe. If you want to write a book, start by writing down why your message is worth sharing with the world.

 The first step in accomplishing anything is believing that you can.

Susan Loken’s Bio and Website Info

This blog post brought to you by:

Athlinks New 2015

Athlinks Staffhttp://blog.athlinks.com
Posts by the Athlinks Staff are authored by our in-house group of athletes and subject matter experts in the fields of performance sports, nutrition, race organization, and training.

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