This Is Where I Start.

Yesterday I had a breakthrough. And I actually owe it to my “Personal Best Book Club

I named it that because I liked the sound of TB’s PB Book Club.

Don’t judge me.

But the reality is, the whole experience- the monthly book pick, the constant communication with other members, writing a book summary for each pick, and putting myself out there for our video book club meetings has made me better.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about WFO Wednesday.


Where WFO means WIDE F**kin’ OPEN. Which means, the workout requires everything you’ve got plus a little more- because that’s what it will require.

Yesterday, I had two sets of 120,90,60 meter sprints. I run them in that order, I do the hardest one first, which turns an already taxing workout into a mental one.

Anyway, I had finished the first set, and was in one of my half fetal positions when I had this thought...

“I think that’s all I can handle today”

And I began to produce a list of seemingly acceptable reasons to walk away from the second half of the workout...

I rolled to my back and looked up at the sky.

A disembodied voice was yelling the splits of my last rep to me from the FreeLap app.

I mentally registered the times and decided they were unimpressive, and I added “unimpressive times” to the list of acceptable reasons to quit.

But then...

My inner voice said, so what, this is where you start.

Which is a phrase from my book club’s current read “How to be Here” by Rob Bell.

This is where you start.

I rolled back to my stomach, pushed up to all fours and said, “ok”

The first 120 of the second set is brutal.

It stares at me like, “what you gonna do? You gonna deal with me? Or are you going to punk out.”

That’s why I put the longest distance first.

I’m asking myself those same questions:

What you gonna do?

You gonna deal with it?

Or are you going to punk out?

That 120 is representative of all the “hard things” I’m dealing with in my life.

And the act of walking to the line, staring all the way down to the finish (I run my 120s all straightaway this time of year), is almost an act of bravery.

I have to forget the discomfort of the last time I faced it. And decide in this moment if I’m going into the fray. 

And when I do decide, it’s such a freeing feeling. Because I know that I’m in complete control of what is about to happen. 

Because I decided.

And of course for a fleeting moment I wondered if the time would be shit (I ended up running the EXACT same time as the first 120 btw). But I told myself this:

It doesn’t actually matter what the time is, because this is where I start.

And so I start.

And it hurts as much as I remember.

And because I did the hardest thing first the rest of the workout SEEMED easier to finish.

And when I finished I felt the strangest thing...

I felt released from my perfectionism.

Released from all the expectations I put on performances based on past data.

I felt satisfaction with the effort.

And a charged optimism.

One that takes into account all I’m trying to accomplish, by acknowledging the importance of doing what’s often the hardest thing of all:


Blogger’s Note: I often experience existential crises in my life as a professional athlete. This whole system I’m in is based on outcomes. Based on the results. As if an entire body of work is truly represented by the results page at one competition. But my spiritual life is only about the work, and surrendering the “fruits of my labor”. My contract says if I’m not X then Y happens. My spirit says what I am is already enough. My career requires an insatiable appetite for victory, a perpetual discontent. My spirit is good with what is. So how do I balance the two? Good question. I’m still working at this but what I try to do is: I make my plan, I do all that is required to execute my plan, and then I basically shrug. Because after that there really is nothing else I can do right? I want more medals. So I write the program that will best prepare me to do that. I show up every day, and we’ll see what happens. It can’t work in the reverse. I can’t only be willing to show up if I know it’s going to work. I can’t decide to be all in after I’m assured that my income is safe. It would be so much easier to dare greatly if that were the case. But we can only control the controllables. And in these type of situations the only thing under our control is ourselves. And so we start. Who knows where we’ll end up, if we make our respective “podiums”, if we “succeed” or not, but one thing is absolutely for sure: failure is guaranteed if we never start. So start.

Tianna BartolettaComment