“The Fall” | March 19, 2010

     In hurdles(in track), there is nothing more poetic than this race. After doing hurdles for some time, I’ve realized how poetic this race is. Especially since I run it myself. As any track athlete would know. You have to push your body to its limits in a race, to move your body more gracefully and flawlessly, while exerting more energy that you would in anything else, in a matter of a couple seconds(if you do 110s) or less than a minute(if you do 400s). Well, the 400 hurdles has to be the hardest race there. 400s takes such a toll that you literally sprint as fast as you can for 400 meters, but then, it’s also, 400 meters. Thats a long distance to sprint. And you have to be smart too, how to approach the hurdle, how to attack, to keep up momentum going through a hurdle. All this precision and technique, all the grace and rhythm, to run this race. Each hurdle, if not approached right, kills momentum, and then you have to regain it, but by then you already have to approach the next hurdle. And the physical toll it takes to run a 400, then add hurdles which has its own difficulty in itself and takes a lot of energy to run in itself.

     Hurdles is its own thing entirely, but it goes into the race smoothly, not as a nuisance, but as what it is: a hurdle. The extra something that could make or break you, the extra thing that how you come through the hurdle determines your momentum, your speed, and then your lead. If you don’t approach it with the right mindset, the right attack, you can lose so much because of how you handled that hurdle. Hurdles are the thing that shows you how you work under pressure, under stress. They are the gateway to the next part of the race, to finish the race, you must get past the hurdles. My friend, Pat, his first ever hurdle race, he was so excited and so ready to run the race, but when he approached his first hurdle, he juked out of the way of it, avoiding it, he got disqualified. And that’s what happens in life, we will face hurdles, but if we try to avoid it, because we’re scared, or unsure, or maybe just because something’s not right, we won’t achieve anything. Hurdles in life are a natural part of it, and we need to face them with the right mindset.

Obstacles or Opportunites?

     The approach to a hurdle, that is what determines how rest of the race in front is. If you float over a hurdle, you play it cautious but lose so much momentum and time too. If you don’t act smart and go too low, the hurdle hits you or you just run into it. If you have bad form, all of the above happens; for the most part. But if you attack it aggressively and skim it with good form, you will keep your momentum and stay milliseconds in the air. I really don’t like it when people interchange “hurdle” with “jump”, because they are two completely different concepts, in hurdles, it’s about form over the hurdles. I bounce with my claves and toes at the most four to five inches off the ground. I jump barely at all, if you consider that a jump. All the rest is form. I’m around 6’1, the high hurdles go up to my belly button, but I still only get a few inches off the ground with that little hop. It’s all about approaching the hurdles and having a good attack with your form.

     When people find out I do hurdles, they always tell me, “I could never do them”, main reason is because would be scare to fall. This is the main reason why we can’t confront hurdles in our own lives. We are scared to fail, scared to be hurt or get hurt. But falling is a natural part of hurdles. Once you accept that, the fear of it goes away and you can run without hesitation. The reason why we do not fully invest in anything, is because if we put everything into something, and we fail, then we lose it. Just the same in hurdles, if we ever are scared of falling, we will try that much less so we can make sure we don’t fall. If you’re ever scared of falling, then you will never be a good hurdler. Accept that you fall, and will fall, and you can go 100% without worry or fear. That fear holds us back from what we can truly accomplish.

     That’s why I wrote this article. The fall, it’s very poetic. because when you do fall, it is simple, as life really is. There are two choices in life when you fall, to either get back up and finish the race, or to lay there and feel bad. To feel sorry for yourself or to think about how much you hurt and how tired you are. This happens a lot in life. In hurdles, if you ever ran them, it is a very tiring race that takes all your energy away. And when you fall, how you think about it determines to a small degree how you feel. If you think about how much your body hurts, how tired you are, how you have to get back, how you have to start from being stopped on the ground. If you think this, it focuses on this and magnifies the feeling even more. But if you have determination and the will to go on, that fire, and for me, it’s almost like an anger, that determination, that mindset will get you up and have you finish the race.

     One race, my freshman year, I was running against our school rival, and I was the only one from our school running against four of theirs. I was winning, and I fell, on the very last hurdle, and with such a little distance to go, I just wanted to lay there and almost go to sleep. Both palms and both knees were bleeding, and my body hurt. Time seemed to slow down during the fall, and it felt like a really long time on the ground, but it was really only a second. I got up and crossed the finish line, I surprisingly, still won. Because I was determined, that pain I tried not to think about made it better. It’s all about the mindset you approach it with that will make you a better in what you do.

In the blocks staring at a sea of hurdles.... No feeling like it

     The fall is simple, straightforward, like a race, one track, one lane that you run, and how you approach and prepare for the race; and each hurdle. And when you do fall, it’s the will to keep going, and to be determined in it that will set you up to win. In everything you do, you need to be patience and have the mindset to tackle it. The fall relates to life in so many ways, and is such a simple concept, to either get back up or to lay down when faced with problems, you can pity yourself and get nothing done and the race is over before you know it, or you can get up with a fire and finish the race. “The fall” really shows you what kind of athlete you are, and in life, it shows you who you really are. Life is a hurdle race, and its done based on how you handle it. A phrase I have at the start of track season is: “It’s not track season ’til I fall”.

But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.                                                     Job 23:10


1 Comment »

  1. cool article.


    Comment by robes — March 30, 2010 @ 11:10 PM

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