Showing Up

They say you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, but as someone who gave up taking shots after her 27th birthday, I can assure you that this aging body isn’t missing them one little bit.

Oh, it’s a sports idiom? I see. Carry on then.

When it comes to athletic feats, Wayne Gretzky had it right: there’s no way you’ll thrive on the rink or field or track or pool if you don’t at least show up and try. It’s not rocket science:

  • Unless you consistently go to yoga class, you aren’t going to be able to touch your toes. (Oh, you can already touch your toes? Show off.)
  • Unless you go to Sochi, you aren’t going to win gold.
  • Unless you lift weights, you aren’t going to build muscle, tone down and eat a delicious lunch to boot.
photo (99)
… and one … and two ….

It’s with that idea in mind that I chose to sign up for the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon next month. After a sedentary winter and the imminent loss of my best pacer to his homeland, I knew the odds of my PRing at the March 22 event were slim indeed, but the chance of PRing while sleeping late that Saturday morning were far worse.

I pegged my PRing odds at 5%, my placing odds at 10% and my drinking Bloody Marys odds with my boyfriend and his mama post-race at an optimistic 98%. I learned the race course, did my speed work, resumed my double digit long runs and prepared to at least give it the old college try when it came time to compete in my first long race of the new year.

I was ready. … And then I learned I’ll be traveling for work that weekend, and my odds of absolutely everything plummeted to a disappointing zero. They say eighty percent of success is showing up, but I don’t think I can count this absent performance as a 20 percent win.

Luckily, easing the pain is the fact that I’m not missing this race for Pittsburg. Work travel destination? Hong Kong, which is boasting a high of 77 degrees this fine February afternoon. Don’t mind if I do, you subtropical climate, you.

And heck, if I really want to aim for a PR in March, I could always try my luck in an athletic event on another continent. This one, in particular, has caught my eye. Odds of beating my speedy 10K PR? Low. Odds of completing my first ever Asian road race? 100%. That is, if I show up.

Would you do it?


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