Friday, April 20, 2007

I heard a quote today

"80% of achievement is desire"!
I heard this said on a radio program I frequently listen to. The timing of quote couldn't have been better as my mind was wondering all over the Western States 100M course. I had just finished a great easy run in Forest Park and was on my way home thinking about training and the goals I hope to accomplish at WS this year. It also made me reminisce about how influential "desire" is in achieving goals and how it has played a great part in almost all the big ideas I have ever had for myself. As I was reminiscing it brought me back to ultra running and how the mental part of ultras is so huge. I even recall an article in a recent copy of Ultrarunning Magazine that went into depth on this very subject. As I looked back on my life I picked a few things that have stuck in my mind with regards to achievements reached mostly due to my "desire" to achieve them.
Starting back as far as 11 years old I remember a dance-a-thon being held in my hometown to raise money for some charity. I can't remember the charity but I remember being quite taken by the possibility of staying up for 24 hours dancing and raising the most money to win a record player. My family was supportive in the fact that they didn't say no but they really thought I would poop out by 9:00 p.m. and wouldn't do the leg work to raise the money. But, somewhere in me was the "desire" to participate. I combed the neighborhood and collected donations for days after school and would be out until almost dark (those were the days you could ride your bike all over and not worry about anything). I raised pledges like you wouldn't believe. The dance-a-thon came and I stayed up all night much to mom's disliking. I refused to go home no matter how tired I was. Afterwards I spent days collecting my pledges and won the record player that ended up not working but I was proud none the less.
Being 5'1" tall was not the best prerequisite for being on the school volleyball team. However I loved the game and wanted to play so bad! No one stopped me from going out for the team but I have say it was sort of the school joke as we had a very good volleyball team and no short girls participated. Of course I had my sights set on the Varsity team but with no prior playing experience and my height disadvantage that was going to take some doing. I was horrible during the first practices and really hated the outfits but I loved the game and wanted play soooooooo bad. I begged my mom to buy a net and set it up in the yard but money was very tight when I was growing up so I made a deal with my mom to work on weekends at her shop cleaning. She agreed and bought the net. I was out there everyday practicing serving the ball over the net because I could not seem to get the ball to clear the net during practice. The neighbor lady begged my grandmother to make me stop hitting that ball! I had the "desire" to play in an official game so bad I could taste it. When the games started I was always sitting out but one day the team server got hurt and they had to let me in for last half of the game and I served that ball so hard it hurt some of the opponents. My team was shocked almost as much as I was! I made that Varsity team and became one the best servers in our division in the state. All because of "desire" to play, surely not any given talent.
When I was a Sophomore all the kids began to talk and plan for college and I just assumed I would be doing the same but when I brought all the brochures home to my family they were excited to see the brochures but notified me that we had no money for college and I would need to get scholarships, grants, loans, or whatever to go. I was going no matter what! I looked into every possibility and the "desire" to go to college was so profound it drove my actions for the next two years. I thought about it all the time, picked a sport I could do well (skiing....I grew up in Bend), looked for jobs where I could make the most money in the summer and tried to pull some descent grades (obviously English was not my strong suit). I did get a couple of scholarships options but they weren't enough. To really earn the money I got a license to drive a big rig so I could work on road crews in the summer. Probably the only girl on a rubber tire pavement roller back then. I would work double shifts if the night crew didn't show, I saved every penny I could, applied for every grant I was eligible for. I graduated from college in 1990.
Those are some examples of how "desire" was 80% of achievement" in my life so far. As I thought about these and other examples some instances where there was of lack of "desire" came up and in each of those instances since I didn't have the "desire" I did not achieve much. I realize that as we get older and pile on more responsibilities it's more difficult but if we truly have the deep aching "desire" we make things happen. I can think a bunch of "desires" I have had as a fully loaded responsible adult and the achievements are no less great than the unbounded ones as a child. Being focused and hungry for the goal is the only way I will achieve it. I won't put my best foot forward if the "desire" is not there. This brings me to my goal for WS100M this year......."I want a solid 24 hour finish on this course and I want breathing room"! I want this so bad I can see it like I am right there on the course. The "desire" factor will come into play at about mile 80. How hard can I push when things are uncomfortable and I am tired, how fast can I move to get my goal? That all comes down to, "how bad do I want it"? I think the quote I heard this morning will make me ponder this for 64 more days and I suspect at mile 80 one of my crew members will ask me, "Ronda, how bad do you want it"?


olga said...

That's an awesome observation, Ronda. I do believe so myself. What important to point out - and you do it by living it if didn't mention here - the desire has to drive and propell you not only on a race day, but )and I'd say even more so) during your training. I mean, only because we desire do we get up day after day and put miles in, go to "beloved" track, push the T pace on hills (although luckily for trail runners, the hills are the beauty in and of themselves), run insane long runs (what again is darn good "suffer" for trail lovers!)...Desire is soemthing that I believe draws a line between competitor and a participant (no matter the pace and finishing time/place). I often wish I had more desire, but I do know how it feels - and when I apply it, it pays dividents. Why can't I have it more often and what goes into equasion is uknown to me.
WS is such a sweet goal...I am living it through your blog this year. We went there last 3 years "together", and now I am out:) so I can picture every turn and twist of the trails in Sierra Nevada by following your and other friends' webcast. This race means so darn much to me (and I bet to you), I was scared to even apply for it. So now I am sitting and "watching" you get excited. No other race had ever gotten me as hyped up as WS100.
Ronda, you've got it. Desire to train and desire to push it those last 20. I think even your crew won't push you as hard as you will yourself:)

Rooster said...

Thanks Olga I'll try to keep in entertaining at the very least :).

Your getting in some great training and a ton of miles so even though the desire is not bubbling up inside of you right now there will be that time in amongst all your hard work when the desire starts to churn. Then everyone watch out because when driven people are on a mission it gets very exciting.

Anonymous said...

As pacer and crew I promise to ask, "Ronda, how bad do you want it?"
~ Counselor