Thursday, March 17, 2011

What makes an athlete?

Have I always been the sort of person who accepts challenges? I'll let those of you who have known me the longest weigh in, but lately I've accepted quite a few.

Kris sent me an email with a link to this Triathlon, and I immediately signed up. Never mind that I have no demonstrable ability to swim well -- I thought I could figure it out in time. A few days later my boss called and asked if I'd like to throw out the first pitch at a UT Baseball game. I'm running the Austin-American Statesman Capital 10k next week because I read about it on Twitter and wondered if I could run over 6 miles, and oh yeah, I accepted a new position at work this year which has proved engrossing, challenging, a lot of work and a ton of fun. So whether it's a new trait or old, this year seems to be my year for trying new things.

The latest gauntlet thrown down was to write here about athleticism. A group of us were out enjoying some Friday evening cocktails recently, the day before the baseball game. One friend was providing reassurances that I would be just fine, I was athletic and I wouldn't make a fool of myself, when another chimed in to say, "She's in shape, but she is NOT athletic." I promptly tweeted her comment, and while we laughed about it (this is the same friend who told me, after I'd lost a few pounds last year, "We didn't realize how bad it had gotten!!" -- thanks, Dawn), her comment made me wonder - what makes a person athletic?

We were talking about it again at dinner the other night (I should say for the record that she's a very good friend), and we looked for the definition of athlete:

I don't know if my traits are natural - but I have certainly acquired them - strength, endurance, and some degree of agility. I've been training in exercises for the past year, and while I may not be gifted, I am certainly a participant. Since I started keeping track in Dailymile in August 2010, I logged 374 miles (running or cycling), an average of 22 miles per week. I've logged close to 200 miles so far this year. I did get that pitch across the plate - albeit a little high and wide - and as it turns out, I can swim 300 meters and run 6 miles and bike for at least 25.

I've been a professional slacker for so long - excellent at lounging about, reading, napping, sitting and talking, reading some more - that thinking of myself as an athlete is as foreign to me as it is to, well, to Dawn. Nonetheless, while I won't be breaking any records anytime soon, I think I just might qualify. What do you think?


Jesse said...

You're Definitely a training athlete! Keep it up and enjoy your upcoming events!

How do you feel about athletic competition?

While I find it difficult to call myself an athlete, I do thrive on athletic competition. I find it helps me push myself to further develop my skills and stamina, and it's just so fun!

yogurt said...

Yes to the athletic. I think she is thinking about the limited definition, i.e., one who is good at team sports. I don't know how you fare at sports, but you certainly qualify as an athlete with so many races and running going on. Good luck with the tri-ath. I like to swim but I'm scared of the group swim events. Specifically, the kicks in the head.

Vetmommy said...

Interesting question, because growing up I never thought of myself as athletic, and had bad experiences with team sports in Jr High. Then I few years ago I heard someone describe Moi as "athletic" and I thought, "WHO? Me?!?" But it is nice to think as an adult I became stronger and fitter than I ever was in my teens and 20s, and most of all because I did it for me.

Krispy said...

definitely an athlete. with all the different stuff you are trying, how could you not be?! AND you are game for anything! (like that baseball pitch and doing the swim.)

Sometimes it takes me a minute to remember this "new athletic you." I've had the image of the less athletic version of you in my mind for awhile. Following you on the bike on Monday though -- I think I've got the fit Sinda firmly planted in my brain.