Options, Options

by Bridget Franek from Steepling Barriers, Chasing Dreams

Thank you very much for all the support and encouragement over the past few weeks! In addition to continuing to do my own research and contemplating the situation internally, I have been inundated with emails, messages, and phone calls offering suggestions, training options and just words of encouragement! I feel so lucky and thankful for all the amazing conversations I have had and the network of people routing for me! It really, seriously has made a difference!

I have been talking about really wanting to nail these next two years and especially now after all the encouragement, I feel very strongly about recommitting to it at the highest level again.

There is no reason not to believe that I can……

School will be over in December and I will be able to fully focus on training again (funding dependent, of course…).

I have learned a ton and really feel like I have a better idea of what it’s going to take for me to maximize my abilities.

All the work and time I have put into my career will have had time to accumulate and really pay off at the perfect time in my life (late 20’s being the prime age for female distance runners).

And I have gotten my first Olympic experience out of the way. At any stage in running, the first time you experience that ‘pinnacle’ event, you are going to be bit shell-shocked (State Championships in high school, NCAA’s in college, etc.). Nothing can truly prepare you for a moment like that aside from the moment itself. I am confident that if, and when, I get back on that track again on the Olympic Stage, I will not be the deer-in-the-headlights that I was that first time. Knowing the degree of emotional and mental energy that will be necessary will also help me pace things and allow me to maximize my physical performance.

All that being said, I am choosing to take this seemingly unfortunate event and turn it into a golden opportunity….a chance to be honest about what I think I really need to be successful and how I can get it. A chance to ‘pick my corner’, as they might say in boxing.

I am trying to consider everything because I think that, in order for me to step it up from where I’ve been, it’s going to take everything I’ve got. Not only the training basics like coaching, training partners/environment, facilities, trail systems, yearly climate, medical support, etc, but also a sense of purpose, a way to give back to the sport and my community, and a connection to those around me.

Even if I don’t end up leaving Eugene, I have been impressed to learn about the quality and variety of training groups and options out there right now! It’s refreshing to see how many more there are even from just a few years ago when I was leaving college. Check out some of these websites to see what I mean….

TFAA Training Groups

RunPro

This is going to make this decision much tougher than I imagined.

I realize I may never find the ‘perfect’ situation and no matter what I do there will always be doubters and critics but it gives me confidence and courage to know I have supporters too. Right now I want to listen to them, to everyone, to get a sense of the situation from all angles. For the past few weeks, I have been networking (as they say in Business School) hard- talking, tossing around thoughts and ideas, having as many conversations with people I know and trust as I can, as well as experts in the sport and business landscape. I figure that as long as I am open and honest about what I need and what I am hoping for, somehow it will materialize. I will take all this information that I gather and make the best decision for me. One of my big rules for myself in racing is to never look back while in the heat of the moment….no matter much I would like to turn and see how badly my competitors are hurting or how fast they are gaining, it won’t help me get to the line faster. I can be grateful and appreciate of where I’ve come when the time is right but when after making a decision like this I will not look back. Where ever I end up, I will HAVE to jump all in and focus forward if I want to be successful on the track. Soon, I am going to have to prioritize all these factors for myself, make a decision, and then tune all of this chatter out. Even those that I love and trust, not everyone will understand. This is definitely going to be the hardest part for me.

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