I was going to post a blog yesterday about loving yourself, about accepting your perfect imperfections, about not giving up if you haven’t found that one person who balances you yet or being comfortable in being on your own.
Then I ventured out into the big wide world and I watched what was really going on. I took the time to observe the depth to what is known as Valentine’s Day. That was when something dawned on me.
Preparing for and surviving Valentine’s Day is exactly like taking part in an Obstacle Course Race. Yes, you heard right!
Valentine’s Day = Tough Mudder
Now you might be shaking your head and wondering what the heck I’m going on about but take it from someone who has had experience with both. This is fact.
For several days, weeks, months or even years there are workouts, sweat equity put in and time is invested. Special equipment, clothing, supplements and gadgets are purchased. Help is usually enlisted to reach OCR goals often in the form of coaching.
For a day, week, month or even a year there are shopping trips, scheduling secret vacations, planning surprise proposals and time is invested. Gifts or special items are purchased. Help is usually enlisted to pull things together often in the form of family and friends. Sometimes strangers or professionals are also utilized for this.
In the days leading up to the Tough Mudder, Mud Mulisha Run or Spartan Race participants encounter nerves, they question their ability, they visualize their race over and over in the hopes that the outcome will be what they have worked hard for and what they desire. Many times tears are shed.
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day participants encounter nerves, they question their ability to plan the perfect surprise, they feel pressure to find a partner in time or they visualize over and over how they think the day will go. Many times tears are shed.
The night before the race sleep is often difficult. The morning of the OCR is when the excited nerves kick in. There is an eagerness to get started. There are rituals that many athletes undertake out of superstition.
At the event there is a buzz in the air that is felt by all. Long lineups of people registering, signing in, checking bags. The energy is hard to contain.
When the race begins there are all levels and abilities displayed. There are the elite who breeze through the course, the determined who work hard to make it through and the beginners who have a dazed, deer caught in the headlights look in their eyes and a huge grin on their faces. They are having fun doing what they’re doing. They’re not sure why that is yet but they are.
There are those that fall and others that help them up and stay with them to the end. There is a brotherhood, sisterhood, a community and an understanding.
The night before Valentine’s Day sleep is often difficult. The morning is when most people will feel the sweaty palms, the heart racing, the nervous excitement.
At the stores, in the malls, on the streets there is a buzz felt by all. There are long lineups of people waiting until the last-minute because they thought they had more time, they may have forgotten or it might be a new relationship.
From the first moment Valentine’s Day arrives the levels of achievement are widely broadcast on social media. There are the people who are pros, who always seem to know the perfect gift that their significant other desires, the perfect thing to say or the ideal experience to provide. There are the individuals who have annual celebrations that their partner has come to love and cherish. Then there are the newbies. These are the ones that are scouring the ravaged aisles in the stores looking for the “perfect” present but not really knowing what they’re looking for.
There are those that fall to their knees weeping and store clerks and fellow shoppers that pick them up and offer advice and help them back out into the daylight again.
At the end there is a feeling of accomplishment and pride. There are hugs shared, tears shed and often an almost immediate desire to want to do it all over again.
At the end there is a feeling of accomplishment and pride. There are kisses shared, tears of joy and often an almost immediate relief that there’s another year before having to do it all over again.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I hope that you are basking in the glow of yesterday no matter what you did, no matter if you celebrated with someone else, by yourself or not at all. I hope that all of you know that love is not something that is meant to be limited to one day a year but rather given and received in special ways all year-long and valued always ~ just like my love of OCR!
Photo Credit: Fox Selwyn Wylde