Finish (and Start) Lines
Ed Kornoelje DO, Metro Health Sports Medicine
If you are reading this you are likely contemplating start and finish lines—maybe while running a 5, 10 or 25 K. You have been putting in some miles, and the goals of starting and finishing a race are coming into focus. One thing that should accompany goal setting is a means to assess success—are we achieving what we set out to do? Sometimes our inability to come up with goals or a way to assess them paralyzes our thought process and keeps us from even getting started. Or goals may be set, but for a variety of reasons are not met, and we feel as if we are a failure. I was recently reminded, however, that while having a goal is an ideal way to embark on the process, it is better to get started without one, than sit around waiting and planning, and that even if goals are not met, there is still success to be found.
Here are a couple of thoughts that help me when I have trouble setting or meeting goals:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. -Teddy Roosevelt
…a finish line will always appear…
Many of you may have heard the first quote (or perhaps a paraphrase of it) by Teddy Roosevelt before. I like to recall it when I set out to do something and it does not turn out the way I wanted it to. While achieving what you set out to do is important (after all that’s why we set goals in the first place), if you reach all of the targets you set, you may be selling yourself short. The successes are that much sweeter when there is some work involved, and when the bar is set high there will be some misses—use them as motivation the next time.
The second thought I have heard a few different ways (most recently in a movie preview, although for the life of me I don’t remember which one). There are a couple of ways to interpret it—for some it speaks to starting something even though the goal or finish line may not be readily apparent, and for others it means that when you set your goal there will always be an end, even if it is a long way off. Taking the second point first, many of us are familiar with finish lines, the goal at the end of a race. Whether it is 100 meters or a marathon (or something in between), when a runner stands at the starting line the reality is most will end up at the finish line. There will be trials along the way—aches, pains and who knows what else—but most of the time the finish line will be crossed. Even though it seems like a long way away, you know the finish line is there. But what if it is not a race, there is no (obvious) finish line, or there is a detour on the course? Back to Teddy—as long as you are out there working hard bettering yourself does it really matter if there is a finish line? In my experience goals are useful targets and a way to measure oneself, but the process is the important part. And many times once the process has been started a goal will present itself.
So whether or not you have a goal and are not meeting it, or you are having trouble setting a goal in the first place, don’t give up. The finish line is an important place to go, but there is no way to get there without first starting out.
If you find yourself injured (or wondering whether you are or what you should do next), we have locations with sports med docs and physical therapists all over town—check us out metrohealth.net for more information. We are also seeing patients at the Metro Health Sports Medicine Center inside the Spartan Stores YMCA at the Metro Health Village. Call 252-SPRT (7778) for more information or to schedule an appointment. And don’t forget about Injury Wise at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids every Wednesday night from 6-8 PM. These are brief one on one sessions open to active individuals of all ages and sports. Contact Gazelle for more information.