Recently I had the opportunity to get an in-depth look into how one of my running friends and role models lives. I wanted to know how she manages to live through her running without being the idealized “sponsored athlete.”
In short: it ain’t glamorous. She works hard, she runs hard and lives passionately. She does not have a contract with some brand like Galen Rupp or Kara Goucher. She is sponsored by a few companies, but that does not bring income. I provides for some entry fees, food and gear.
If that sounds amazing, it is, but I mean, the girl’s gotta keep roof over her head, pay for travel and other things that pop up. (Who always runs out of toilet paper? How about things like toothbrushes? A car? It adds up!)
She was open and honest and solidified her position in my mind as someone I can look to for guidance when I am feeling lost or unfulfilled.
Some days, training for me is hard. It is hard physically. It is hard when I am supposed to have an easy day and feel tired and sore. That makes it hard mentally.
I worry I will get injured. I worry I will run out of money for things like living expenses, school, car payment and insurance which obviously means running races is not on the table. I have not raced many times in the past simply because I don’t know where that $50-70 race fee will come from.
I needed food that week. Or is was time to pay loans.
Granted, I am fortunate, as is this other athlete, that I get reimbursed for races by my team Red Newt Racing, but I have to pay for them myself first (hence my apprehension).
I also have relatively low cost for food if I am not choosy.
I guess what helped in our conversation was that most of the best runners are doing what I am doing. We live day-to-day. We try to take advantages where they are given. We work full-time or have a bunch of add jobs. We worry about insurance as we get older. We try our best to take care of our bodies. We have a lot of unknowns, but somehow we make it work.
I encourage you to reach out to your role models, whomever they are. Each professional I have spoke to was a wealth of knowledge and so helpful in easing my mind or giving tips to get me at my best.
The best or most successful people are just that, people. Just like us.