It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was sitting in the upper deck of a sold out Nationals Stadium watching Obama throw out the first pitch. It was the home opener and spirits were high. Sure, I don’t think a fan in the park thought the Nationals would win the pennant, but we all hoped to see an improvement from last year. Last Wednesday night I hit the park one last time for the season. KFB, Kareem and I grabbed some beers, loaded up on nachos, and took our seats right behind 3rd base. The stadium was pretty empty, with more Phillies fans than Nationals. We all knew the Nationals didn’t amount to anything, yet again, but we were still there, waving our hats and happy to watch some baseball. After watching the Washington Natioanls throughout the season, I can’t help but draw connections to training. Might seem a bit funny (I do love odd analogies, after all), but let me break it down for you.
Baseball and Training can be a lot of fun. There is nothing better than watching a game on a warm summer evening. Even with one of the worst teams in the league, you can always have something to get excited about. In the same way, there is nothing better than the high of knowing you just ran a solid 15 miles at a good pace. Plus there are those times when your legs just take off, and you don’t even know that you’re running. Yeah, that’s fun.
Baseball and Training can really be horrible. There are always going to be games when it is a little cold, rainy, and your team is getting a 9-0 beatdown. No one is making hits, the crowd just isn’t there, and you wish you weren’t either. And it was just last weekend my long run was the worst of the season, hating ever step I took. It took all week for me to get out of that rut, with last night’s run being the first back to normal.
Sometimes they both bring out the support. Sold out baseball games, fans waving hats and towels, organs blasting, what a great experience. Street’s lined with race supporters, waving signs and high fives, cowbells clanking, what a great experience. When the energy is there, both running and baseball can seem like heaven.
Sometimes you’re on your own. When you are a Nationals player, you often find yourself away in your home stadium. No one is there to support you, but rather the other team. When you are training for a distance race, it can get just as lonely. Waking up before the roosters, running on a quiet trail, you often find yourself wondering if anyone knows you are there.
But there is one shining difference between the Nationals’ 2010 season and all of us training for a marathon. At the end of the day, after all of the fun, misery, support, and loneliness, we can finish the race accomplishing our goals. We will not end our season just because that’s what we are paid to do, but rather because we know that’s exactly what we have fought so hard to do.