Fitmark Ambassador Amanda Tamburello shares the ‘ah-ha’ moment about keeping a positive attitude and mental strength through accomplishing goals
The documentary, Fast Women, 2010 winner Best Documentary at Mammoth Film Festival, shadows four female runners aspiring to reach their goals. We are carried through the ladies specific training plans, injuries, nutrition and mental attitude as they attempt to achieve a PR (Personal Record). I began to realize that for these marathoners, setting and training for goals can be a relatively straightforward task. As a jockey, while it may not be hard to set goals, the number of outside circumstances muddle the pursuit of set goals.
Jockeys have the least control in the series of events that go into a horse running a race. We rely on the owners, trainers, veterinarians, stable help and exercise riders to get the horse ready to run. Then, once we are legged up on the horse’s back on race day, it is up to us to make the best decisions while factoring handlers in the starting gates, the other jockeys, other horses, development of the race in action and track surfaces.
This is a profession that will work you relentlessly, carrying with it physical, mental and business stresses with extreme highs and devastating lows. As a jockey if you are winning at a 20% rate all year, you are considered extremely successful. That is an 80% rate of failure. So, if you are a pessimist, you should probably consider another career path…. lol! How do I keep the mental attitude positive day in and day out?
There are light bulb moments, I had one watching Fast Women. I realized we all can be amazed by ourselves, we all can test ourselves, and we all can fail. No matter what muddled circumstances surround an unreached goal, the real question is, did I fail with the pursuit to continue, to try harder, adapt to a limitation? Or did I fail with a defeat? I only get smarter and sharper with each failure, striving harder or polishing a finer point. I tweak another side and improve another element of the game. On the racetrack, it could be as simple as focusing on keeping my elbows loose or more weight in my right foot. It can be my control of a non-emotional reaction when a horse runs disappointingly.
My love of being outside hiking, biking and running, exerting myself in ways that are not shared with a horse, gives me the pure satisfaction of a black and white goal; run two miles, bike 25 miles, trail jog a hilly path. You do or you don’t, a simple victory can put your self respect back in place.
Therein lies the answer of maintaining a positive attitude despite the mental wear and tear on the roller coaster ride as a jockey. Having faith in yourself, training to strengthen not only muscles and endurance, but to established positive reinforcement of accomplishment.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013