THE POWER OF ONE
Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.
And thus begins a new series. FT HPNZ will now be “by the numbers”. If there is any kind of rhyme or reason to this, it’s that having a schedule or direction holds my feet to the fire; some sort of format makes meeting deadlines more wieldy. So since we have finished the “Alphabet of Fitness”, we will begin “Fitness by the Numbers”. It’ll be interesting to see where this takes us. I’ve enjoyed our journey together so far…I think we can ‘count’ on this as well.
It was just one mile. One short mile on the indoor track at Black Hills State University… a scholarship fund raiser for the cross country team, and a great opportunity to reconnect former runners from BH history. (Cross country was my launching experience into the coaching world and a positive life changing experience.) One mile is eight laps in the crowded confines of the field house at the Donald E. Young Fitness Center. Do you know what it’s like to run EIGHT times around that decimated oval with young college men and women passing you at the speed of light, and older gentlemen lapping you after two loops, and bleachers full of people cheering, “Way to go, Tim!” And, “Hang in there, Elaine!” (Tim finished in 4:36, I was 8:45. And I’m not all that sure I completed eight laps, the finish line folk might have just felt sorry for me.)
It was exhilarating and humbling, but mostly wonderful. Three of the great women I coached in my first years at BH came back to run it, and chose to run much of it with me. (Thanks girls!) And in fairness, getting lapped is really just a visual representation of the beauty and talent of youth partnering with the endurance and courage of age. We were all one. We were the Black Hills State University Track and Cross Country people, and we were proud of it.
The whole event was started by one Dr. Jim Glanzer. A standout in cross country in the 80’s, and assistant coach for me with the girl’s team, he knew the dearth of money available for all-important recruiting, so he organized and implemented the first Alumni Mile in 1993. It was a shoe string operation; powered by the inimitable energy, enthusiasm and vision of Jim. The yearly written reminder from him was so much fun to read you kind of forgot about the pain of the run and just showed up!
From a humble beginning of fewer than ten runners, it has grown to some thirty participants and a sizeable fund in the Cross-Country coffers. One guy, one dream, one growing fund.
This is just an example of what can happen when one person steps up to the plate. And that person is you in your fitness…think about it. You got started by that one step out the door, that one trip to the fitness center, that one cruise through the neat clothes in the workout section of your favorite store, that one decision to ‘eat less, move more’, and look at you now. We full well know the power of one in other areas…one Oreo? I think not. One potato chip? Hardly, and one day off from your chosen exercise regimen? Well, we can take an occasional day off, but they can stack up on you too. It’s good to be aware that life is a series of ‘starts’, and it’s up to us to make them ‘continues’. Any potential commitment looms gargantuan when you look at the big picture, but one step at a time, one day at a time, one mile at a time, and one day you’re hooked on feeling better, looking better, functioning better. One heck of a deal.
As we gathered at the Stadium later, and reminisced about people and workouts and Dave Little-isms…it was the celebration of a single minded group. We were one, and we had power. The fact that we shared a history of running and competing for our university and for the joy of the sport, exemplified that unity. One sport, one goal, one purpose, and one people. Each a contributor to the total significance of a legendary sport and its continued tradition of excellence in the annals of BH history.
It was fun, it was productive, and it was powerful. As Dave reminded us, if by our example and by actively recruiting we each bring just one new runner to the program, cross country will remain healthy and strong. In any venue we are but one…and that’s all it takes. The Power of One.