Running The Good Race

fitwalk

Two men stand next to each other at the starting line of a race.

One has been rigidly training everyday at dawn following a set plan of action to achieve a certain time for this race. Each practice run was meticulously timed and outlined. That final number is set in his head, anything less is unacceptable. He jumps up and down anxiously warming up, checking his watch to make sure his technology is ready to track his progress. This is it, he has to do this in a certain amount of time. That finish line is everything to him right now.

The other man stands with his hands on his hips looking up at the beautiful blue sky and takes a deep breath thinking about how nice this run will be on this bright sunny day. Feeling proud of the training he has done in preparation for this race, he thinks about all those other nice, long runs he took on other days similar to this. What a pleasure it has been to set this goal and get outside and run. He’s feeling good about getting back in shape and spending his time doing something positive for himself. The finish line will appear when he is ready.

The race begins. The first man explodes down the path in anticipation. The second man begins to run and smiles at how good it feels to get moving. The race continues on and on while both men have two very different experiences. The first man didn’t notice the beautiful scenery and the quiet calm of listening to your feet create a soothing rhythm as you run. The second man noticed this and more.

The first man crossed the finish line in a hurried frenzy breaking his own record and pumping his fist in the air with pride. His goal was reached and exceeded and this high will last him a while. He gathers his data and heads home.

The second man forgets to notice the clock as he glides past the finish line feeling grateful for the time spent running that day. He takes a few moments to enjoy his accomplishments and shake a few hands of other proud runners around him also basking in the glory of seeing through their intention.

Both men enjoyed the benefits of setting a goal, carrying out a plan and feeling the accomplishment of a job well done and both finished in the same amount of time. But even though they ran the exact same race, they each ran down very different paths. Neither path is right or wrong. Neither path should be judged. But which way would you rather run through life?

Life takes planning, preparation, commitment and discipline. Life is a marathon. You can choose to run that marathon any way you want.

It’s all about perspective.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

The Zen of Running

“I only run when chased”.  That used to be my response whenever the subject of running for sport ever came up in conversation.  I have always been secretly jealous of people that can tie up their gym shoes and run out their front door and enjoy it.  I’ve never enjoyed running.  I tried track in high school and quit immediately.  But my curiosity is peaked with so many people in my life lately talking about running and the happiness and sense of accomplishment it brings.  The hulabaloo over running a 5k or a marathon always peaks my interest as well.  It’s time for me to consider why I have always discounted running as a sport for someone else.

So I gave it a try.  I mapped out a 2 mile route in my car and decided to try it out.  At first there was a lot more walking than running and my times were far from impressive.  But, even after only a few runs and some seriously sore legs, I’m starting to understand what all the talk is about.  I’m happily surprised at how rewarding it feels to set a goal and run out my front door!

I’m starting to see all the benefits of running compared to some of the other types of exercise I’ve been doing.  I come home exhausted with a huge sense of accomplishment 20-30 minutes later instead of two hours later after a one hour class.  The roads are always open, and free, so no fitting in a class or driving anywhere and paying a fortune.  I just tie my shoes and go!  I can go in any direction, stop and start as I please and challenge myself any way I want.  There is no one out there looking at me or keeping track of what I can or cannot do.  It’s completely my own.  I benefit directly when I make the effort and I don’t benefit when I decide to slack.  No fake turning the resistance button on a spinning bike.

I have not started to focus on my breathing or form too much.  Right now I’m just working on not falling down.  I know that my body knows how to reward itself for this hard work, so now I am searching for the key to unlock the endorphins and let my brain chemistry work for me.  I’m hoping to go from running on empty to discovering the zen of running.

myhappypromise

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