When “Selfish” Is Awesome

Latour leads Pikus-Pace to Olympic silver

Latour leads Pikus-Pace to Olympic silver (Photo credit: U.S. Army IMCOM)

Update 2/15/14 8:10 am:  I really didn’t mean to publish this last night.  So, in case you read it last night, it’s different because I went in an added the picture, related articles, and fixed a bunch, like a boatload, of grammatical and spelling errors.  Don’t blog when you’re sleepy, kids.

There have been a couple of days in my life (two to be exact) where I have managed to do a 1/2 hour Jillian Michaels workout video, ran 3 miles, took the big kid to school on time, picked her up on time and still managed to get to my part-time job WEARING MAKEUP.

On both of these occasions, I thought that the folks at my part-time job would greet me with a standing ovation. Because that is exactly what I felt I deserved.

Of course, maybe because I work at a car dealership, no such ovation ever transpires. Sure I get big smiles when I walk in. But that’s because I arrive late in the day, and my very presence means their day is almost over.

I experience an overwhelming desire to grab salesmen by their shirt collar and pull their eyes up to my face and say, “that’s eyeliner, my friend. Before I arrived here, I literally stuck a pencil in my eye while small children swarmed my feet to get this look. Is a small round of applause too much to ask?”  I haven’t done it yet.

So, when I see the AT&T commercial where some mom starts her day with a run, then lifts some ridiculous weights, then does the mommy thing all day, then FaceTimes the fam from Olympic skeleton practice, you can imagine how I feel. (If you’re thinking pride in the American spirit, you’re wrong.)

I think she’s a plant. Put there to make sure I know I’m a slacker.

My only consolation is the wood paneling behind her family in the FaceTime scene. “Aha! At least I have no wood panelling in my house!” I tell myself.

I research the lady to find her deep, dark secrets; to find out who her secret benefactor is and expose how she really only mommies one day a week.

Alas, she is Noelle Pikus-Pace and she’s more than legit. She’s had her leg destroyed by an errant bobsled in a freak accident and couldn’t compete in Torino. She came in a close 4th at the Vancouver Olympics and decided to retire without a medal.

In 2012, her heart was broken from a miscarriage. With the support of her husband she decided to return to the sport with the goal of a medal in the Olympics.

When I say support, I mean support. He even quit his job last year to bring their two young children around the world with her to qualifying events. He knew the guilt of being away from the kids so long wouldn’t let her be her best.

She won the silver at the Sochi Olympics Friday, and was so stinking happy she jumped a barrier to head into the crowd to hug her husband and kids.

Now I feel bad about the wood panelling. Maybe she likes it. I’m sure her silver medal will look fantastic hanging from it. (I personally would never remove the medal from my neck.)

She’s a perfect example of what happens when women set a “selfish” goal. I mean, what a horrible mother. All that time practicing and what do her children have to show for it? Travels around the world? Watching a woman inspire a host of people to try to realize their dreams? Seeing the woman they love most in the world realize her lifelong dream?

I bet those poor kids haven’t done one activity from Pinterest this year. It’s sad, really.

Sarcasm aside, my point is that women who set goals for themselves do it for a lot of crazy reasons. In Pikus-Pace’s case, she wanted to heal. But the benefits of achieving the goal spread far past that.

Her family sacrificed for her. In exchange they get a WHOLE Noelle Pikus-Pace for a mom; an Olympic medal-winner. And all the perks that go with it. Like when Mom tells the world “We came, we conquered, we did it;” and you know you’re part of the “we.”

I’ve set some pretty selfish goals this year.  No, I’m not going to be an Olympic star or even win any prizes. Just having registered for these events demonstrates a courage I didn’t realize I had. Completing them will feel ridiculously good, I’m sure.

So I’m going to forgive Noelle Picus-Pace for making me feel like a slacker. Instead, when I start my 15-week half-marathon training next week and want to bail on a run or slack a little, I’ll think twice about it. Because I deserve better than that.

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