Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Inspiration for the 100 Miler!
The days of physical conditioning and training have drawn to a close for those registered for Rocky Raccoon 100 this coming Saturday. The taper is in full swing now. Just a few more days left to go. This week is all about mental preparation. It is about visualizing the goal and thinking about your strategy, conceiving of the obstacles and imaging yourself overcoming them.
I usually spend the week before a race reflecting on all the hard work I have put into training. Inspiration comes in many forms. It comes from our family and friends. It comes from the stories we read and the people we meet. But, the most important inspiration comes from within, from that innermost place of contentedness and peace.
Nonetheless, it can never hurt to have some media inspiration. Below are just a few clips, some video and some audio, that I find really inspiring for different reasons. Enjoy.
1. Al Pacino's speech in "Any Given Sunday"
"Any Given Sunday" is a very strong movie directed by Oliver Stone about a professional football team. If you haven't seen it, check it out. In this clip, Pacino, who plays the head coach, gives his team a rousing speech at half-time in the locker room. The team is losing. The chips are down and the pressure is on. Listen to Pacino's words. They are about more than football. They are about life. See if by the end of this one you aren't pumped.
2. "Defying Gravity" as sung by the cast of "Glee"
Lea Michelle is such a powerful singer. She has the gift of belt. This song highlights that quality. She and Chris Colfer nail this song from Broadway's "Wicked." Listen to the lyrics. They are about dreaming big and doing the impossible.
3. "8 Mile" final rap battle
Anger is a priceless asset. Sometimes it can bring out the best in you. If you can harness your anger and use it correctly, you are capable of so many things. Eminem is a rapper who personifies anger. His lyrics are charged with such raw pain and emotion, that they sometimes even transcend the rap genre. In this final scene from the movie "8 Mile," Eminem's character Rabbit is in a showdown with the most talented rappers from Detroit. As the underdog, he must use all his talents and harness all his aggression to beat his opponents.
4. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
Since we are on the subject of Eminem, we might as well include his song, "Lose Yourself." Now, here is a song to get your blood moving. Just listen to these lyrics: "You better lose yourself in the music, the moment; you own it. You better never let it go. You only get one shot. Do not miss your chance to blow; this opportunity comes once in a lifetime..."
5. Robin Williams' Carpe Diem speech from "Dead Poets' Society"
I was not a fan of this movie. To be sure, "Dead Poets' Society" has some very good acting in it, especially from Williams as the eccentric English literature teacher in a posh all-boys prep school. The acting deserved a better screenplay. But, this particular scene works really well. It is an odd, funny, and ultimately chilling and poignant scene where the teacher urges his students to seize the day and make life extraordinary.
6. The ending of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (Spoiler Warning)
Milos Forman's movie matches Ken Kesey's novel in scope and power. A classic, this film needs to be seen in its entirety to get the full effect of this final scene. If you've seen the movie, you know what a tremendous moment it is when the Chief breaks out of the asylum.
7. "Dream On" by Aerosmith
I've always found this song to be quite inspirational. The sound of it is epic. It makes me feel like I am about to do something big. Life-changing. Just those words, "dream on," capture the simple truth of human existence: we are capable of incredible feats, anything we set our minds to.
8. The violin scene from "The Alamo"
"The Alamo" (2004) got a lot of negative hype surrounding its release. And that's too bad, because it is a very strong movie with some wonderful performances, especially by Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett. There is a scene, about midway through the film, when Crockett plays his violin to show up the surrounding Mexican army, which is bigger and better-stocked than the ragtag group of fighters in the mission. The moment is inspiring. It showcases the beauty of the courage it took for those who remained to fight inside the Alamo walls. They had to have known they were going to die. But, their cause was too important, too noble, to allow fear to get the better of them. They did not retreat.