The dedicated athlete spends a lifetime putting the pieces together of an elaborate puzzle.  All the little things, the time spent going into putting together an image.  All the analysis, patterns, combinations, logical sequences, all gathering piece by piece to form a masterpiece image.  The longer you work the puzzle, the more familiar you become with all the available pieces, the more familiar you become with the evolving picture.  All the pieces fit perfectly until you get the perfect image and the less pieces that are left, the faster you get to finishing the puzzle.  It is beautiful when an athlete can achieve this.

But also as an athlete, as certain conditions change, whether it be age, unfortunate injury like in a car accident, the pieces are shattered and destroyed into shards with no familiar patter for putting back together.  So here you are, back to square one, having no idea where to even start.  What seemed to be so natural is a complete presentation of indecision, where do you even begin?  Will the picture ever even look the same again?  The rules of the game have changed, and the pieces of the puzzle have all changed, and you have to learn once again how to put them all together…

To the athlete who once was there, and finding yourself starting all over, it can be hard to be patient.   There is no forcing the pieces all back together.  Things have to be methodical and gentle…  Just as you did when you first became an athlete and discovered what worked for you, you have to once again do, and accept that what once worked before won’t necessarily work now.  The challenge has always been and always will be about figuring out what best works for you.  Back to the basics where the priority has to be continuous improvement and progress rather than attaining a previous status.  Just as always before, setbacks are a part of the process, although they may seem much more visible than ever before.

So pick up the pieces, start with the easy ones first, and get to work.


About dutterman

Live and work in Terre Haute. Married to Mariah who I met my sophomore year at Rose-Hulman in 1988. We have two children Kourtney 17 and Austin 13. I've been a competitive runner since 1982.
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