From Teammate to a Loss of Identity

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I have talked a lot about being a track athlete in the past and that even though I am an athlete now, I (and I’m sure like many others) went through an identity crisis. How do you go from having a team that could count on you, a community that knew you better than you knew yourself, and people to push and guide you through life everyday to — nothing.

Being a high school and college athlete was awesome and I am grateful every day for the experiences I had racing, challenging myself, and being apart of a team. There was nothing cooler than giving your all on the track, and winning. I yearn for those moments even today. After the race, hugging your teammates and getting ready for a relay race with three others. They were automatically your family — they knew everything from what you ate throughout the day, to your bathroom habits, to the exact way you get into the blocks before the start. And people say that track isn’t a team sport. ;) Spring was the best time of the year, it was the months we had been training for all year, and they came and went quicker than you can blink your eye. [Which is kind of how I feel right now being an adult with my own business right.]

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After high school, I got a full ride scholarship (which was my very first offer) to Drake University. I soon learned that the freedom of being in another state with added peer pressure of drinking wasn’t great for my track career. A few factors went into me leaving Drake before my four years were up, but I knew in my heart it was time. After six years of competing with my team(s), it was over. Like, completely over. I didn’t have a chance to run at another school and just wanted to finish up my Marketing degree at the University of Colorado at Denver back home. So, who was I? Six years plus all the other years of being on a team in elementary and middle school. Where was my team? How would I push myself? I didn’t even know how or why I was working out anymore without being a teammate and athlete. It was a sort of depression I never even knew I was going through until after the fact. No longer having a team, plus the added pressure of going to school, having several jobs to now pay for said school and life, and getting internships for school kept digging me into a hole that was deeper than I thought it was.

I worked out every day, some days twice a day, for over six years, and I didn’t know whether to just go to the track and do a random workout I once knew, or get confused in the gym. So honestly, I really didn’t do either for a while. I thought because I was a sprinter that I should just start running longer distances. So without much training, I ran my first marathon in LA a year after I left Drake. I hated it. Like HATED it. Ran through pouring rain, threw up, wanted to die, but I did it and then I felt like that’s what I had to do. So I signed up for two more. After the second one, I knew I needed something else. It was then that I found a really great community at a workout at the park. They were moves I once did, with high fives and fist bumps during, and hugs leaving the workouts after. It was then I had found my new “team” and the rest is history. Or in another blog post. ;)

So for those of you that are in the middle of this transition, I PROMISE you will get through it. And yes, it is hard. It’s weird. It’s uncomfortable. It’s downright depressing. So I will leave you with a couple pieces of advice: Go into a gym with classes that feels like something you once did, join an online community (like the #TLMethod —> shameless plug), or reach out to a personal trainer to figure out what you actually like. We’ll help, promise.