Last Friday night I was invited by my good twitter buddy, Dan, to join him and some of our mutual friends (Ryan & Kristi) at a local college to hear Olympic Gold Medalist, Billy Mills speak. I was CRAZY excited to hear Billy tell his story. I was in need of a little inspiration due to a rather nasty attitude towards running that I’ve been struggling with.
Billy is the ONLY American to ever win the gold medal in the 10,000 meters (10K) at the Olympics and his feat there is considered one of the greatest Olympic upsets of all-time. His run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics was nothing short of extraordinary. It’s a fuzzy clip, but you HAVE to watch his race below. Keep your eye on his bib #722.
He opened his talk with this video clip and I was already tearing up before any words even came out of his mouth. He has had quite the long road in his life with losing both his father and mother and growing up in less than ideal conditions. He is only the 2nd Native American to ever win a gold medal.
In Billy’s talk, he emphasized that it’s not about the final destination we visualize or desperately try to get to in our training/running. What really matters most is our journey in how we get there. This hit me up the side of the head like a ton of bricks. I have been so focused (after 2 failed attempts last year) at getting to this 1/2 marathon in May. I’ve been stressing about times, stressing about injuries, stressing about how every single day of my life could possibly get in the way of this 1/2 marathon. I’m going to get there, and I’m going to cross the finish line, but I sure had better respect and pay attention to the journey in what will get me there. It’s not about that finish line. It’s not about YOUR finish line. It’s all about how you handle the road there. That’s what you’re going to remember in the long run (pun intended). The medal, the t-shirt, the crowd. That’s a gift we all get to share in and receive at the end of our journey, but it’s the time spent getting there that really matters.
So while I have had my fair share of struggles in this journey, I am learning to appreciate them and have gleaned so much as a person from this. THAT is what matters.
I was so thankful to Billy for sharing his story after all these years. Dude does NOT look 74 years old. Running and being active has treated him well!