Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inspiration n'at

This is the most difficult time of the year. The air is hot and humid and thick and hot; research plans for next year are being written and reviewed; and keeping inspired to train for the snow when it seems both so close and far away becomes challenging with the lure of summertime pool time. One thing about inspiration -- it shows up when you least expect it, which also is when you need it the most. 

During May and June I entered the Under Armour What's Beautiful competition with the hopes of winning some UA gear. Even though the competition ended in June, what surprised me the most about it is how much I learned about my own goals and approach to being an athlete, and how fortunate I am to have such an amazing support network. Sure, the other women in the competition inspired me with their stories, but I'm talking about the response and support and love that my friends and family put forward to help me complete my challenges. Now I have a set of video and photo reminders of the team that's there for me, that I can watch during the times when I need reminders of the support.

Also around the same time Jb published a few blog articles about what it takes to be an athlete and remain focused. Those articles, plus tweets from some of the other boardercross racers I follow on Twitter, reminded me: racing is something I've chosen. Knowing that I made that choice, plus the raw passion for racing that consumes me, keeps me focused.

It's the same thing with the research: we're figuring out how to develop energy resources in safe and environmentally-responsible ways. Asking the right questions, designing the right experiments to test those questions, making sure we have the right measurements, and making sure our models work -- all parts are difficult. But underneath it all is a raw passion for the science and a drive to make sure we have the best information for making important decisions about energy and our environment.

People are inspired by all sorts of different things in different ways. Most of my inspiration comes from pursuit of my passions, and from the team members that support me along the way. Keeping focus on my passions and remembering why I'm making the effort, especially when everything hurts and nothing makes sense, is what pushes me forward to reach the next level. And always remembering my way "home," to all of the people who stick around through all of the good and the bad, keeps me in balance. 

Speaking of "home"...last week I caught myself thinking about how much I love living in Pittsburgh, so that's the "n'at" part of it all. 

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