By Dr. Michael Cerami

As I was riding up Big Cottonwood Canyon last week, I was wondering why I put myself through this pain on a regular basis. Why can’t I just get used to hanging out on the sofa and rubbing my dogs belly for hours at a time? What’s the matter with me?

Then it hit me. Sport defines us. Yes, I’ve heard other people way smarter than me say that before and it kind of made sense. Then I thought about it a little more with the right mindset. You know, like on that killer hill where you are huffing and puffing and your brain won’t work but good ideas and thoughts connect anyway on a subconscious level?

We are all in a competition; it’s called life. And it’s a test to not only see if we survive but how well we do. Every living thing on the planet is taking the same test every day or a nanosecond at a time. Evolution defines us as we are constantly being tested through our adaptation to our environment. That’s what we as humans do; we need a purpose biologically and socially. It’s normal to continue that process as a conscious choice through sport.

It’s interesting that we, as humans, are the only species who get to use sport as a fun test because it’s an open book test and we are the ones doing the grading! Just finished your first mile without resting? Excellent, you get an A! Broke 8 minutes per mile on your trail run last week? Awesome! Rode 100 miles last week? Yahoo!

In life, it might take 80-90 years to get your final test score. In sport, you can grade with any style, and you can get that grade any time.

When I was in my thirties, I was a tough grader with no bonus points EVER given. I had high expectations and dang it, they needed to be met. In my forties, I had to prove I was still young and did as much as possible to hold on to my past.  Now, in my fifties, I grade on a curve and there are all kinds of extra points available to up my score. Points for King of the Mountain (err…getting up the mountain),  20 mile run weeks, completing 5 races in a year, keeping my weight down and still having fun, not taking things too seriously, and more.

When you have finished all the personal testing you could come up with, maybe it’s time to go to the next level, see what you are made of: Competition through racing. Try it. Sign up and see what you can do. Feel the energy of group focus on a goal. Feel the extra power you can generate from within.

Sport is so great because it allows us to see what we’re made of anytime and anywhere. It’s so easy and so rewarding and we can take it as easy or as hard as we want to. What else can you say that about?!

I hope to see you out there breathing hard and smiling. That’s what my dog and I will be doing. (She can wait a few years for the extended belly rubsJ)

Special thanks to Dr. Jeff Spencer for the kernel idea for this blog. Dr. Michael Cerami is an avid runner, cyclist and triathlete. He is available for a no charge consultation one Saturday per month at The Salt Lake Running Company (Salt Lake store) by appointment. He can be reached at 801-486-1818 or online at www.utahsportsandwellness.com


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