“It’s not about the shoes”…or the bike for that matter

I remember being a little kid totally obsessed with sneakers. I would wear them out, holes and all, and then “force” (pout) my mom to “fix” them for me. She would sweetly put tape on them and tell me they were “fixed” and I would be as happy as could be and run out to play for hours on end. I remember “play” as a kid was mainly about racing as fast as the boys or trying to run faster (not much has changed there), racing them on bikes, or trying jump higher then them off of the trails, ramps, curbs, whatever.  It wasn’t until adolescence where I became aware that hanging out with the boys was not kosher anymore. Ahhhhh but before those times, energy was raw, fear was absent, and it didn’t matter if I had a hole in my shoes or that my bike was purple with a bent wheel frame I was going to go as fast as my little body could take me. For the most part, in my memory, I can remember beating a lot of the boys or giving them a run for their money.  Fast forward many years, and as I approach race weekend, Wildflower Long-Course the hardest 70.3 I have ever faced, for the second time, I am reminded of these memories and many others, inspired by the MJ commercial “Become Legendary #1”…

“It’s not about the shoes…It about knowing where you are going. Not forgetting where you started. It’s about having the courage to fail. Not breaking, when you are broken. Taking everything you’ve been given and making something better. It’s about work, before glory, and what is inside of you. Is doing what they say you can’t. It’s not about the shoes its about what you do in them. It’s about being who you were born to be…”

Anyone that knows me knows that my approach and philosophy to sport psychology and peak performance is that it must be connected to a deep passion and meaning in your life. Changing your life to get the most of every moment must be connected from within, a deep and constant desire, passion, purpose.

And so it is with me, with each race I recollect on my past memories in life that I use as “fuel” to prepare me mentally for that day. Most of often what I end up thinking about is “Not forgetting where you (I) started” or remembering where I came from. For me this means being raised in a single-parent household with my mother working in the factories which taught me sacrifice, dedication, and hard work, I think about being the first college educated in my family and attaining a doctorate degree was something that many thought I could never do, I think about all the times I had to do it on my own and all the times God put someone on my path to help me, I remember at times scrapping by just to make ends meet, I think about how hard it was to move thousands of miles away from my family for the sacrifice of education so that I could make something better for our lives, I remember taking the risk to move across the country to create my own path because I believe something better was ahead. I remember that since the time I choose to take a different path, than the one that life had already shown me, I have been out of my comfort zone, enduring the unknown, and taking the risk because many times I did not know any different. I remember that all these things and more have made me to whom I am today- someone that knows what to do when the going gets tough, especially come race day…

So there it is…when I meet my challenge this weekend I will remember what it was like to run like a kid and ride with the sun on my back. I will know that it’s not the fanciest race kit, pimped out bike, sleekest aero helmet, or lightest race shoes that will get me through the rough moments in the race, it will be the sacrifices in life and training, facing adversity and making it out on top, dedication that I have made with my mind and body, it will be knowing that I have done this before, I have been here before, and I have what it takes to get me through…I will remember that “it’s about being who I was born to be…” and all that I already am.

Keep reaching for your peak….

“Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far they can go.” T. S. Elliot

“Some people dream of success while others wake up and achieve it” – Unknown

Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and traveling.

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