Lessons I’ve Learned from Running

Throughout this past year, possibly for even longer than that, I’ve come to realize that our every day lives are just a race that we are running. I can’t find a better analogy for life than running. I think this is because no matter how many people are around you, positive or negative, running (and life) is ultimately a solitary act.

It doesn’t matter if you go for a run on your own or if you are part of a 12-person relay team (Shout out to my Dirty Dozen SoCal Ragnar team!!!). It doesn’t matter if you are going for a run in the morning as the light is just starting to break, if you are going for a run at lunch because it’s the only time you can find in your schedule, or if you’re going for a run at night because you just need to escape the day (or that’s when the running group meets). At any of these points, in running or in life, the world doesn’t stop around us.

As I’ve gone through my divorce, there have been many times I wanted the clock to stop or I wanted to hit the reset button. In life it doesn’t work that way. In my recent Ragnar race, I had a leg that was run in the middle of the night with just the streetlights and my headlamp to guide me. In the past year I have encountered moments, days, that seemed just as dark. But no matter what you think is or isn’t in front of you, no matter if you are familiar with the road you’re on or not, you have to keep going. There are people depending on you to make it to the end. There are people rooting for you even though you might not see them or be able to hear them. Sometimes all you have to guide you is that faint light that’s straight out in front of you, and you have to put your trust in that glow no matter how faint or bright it might seem.

Just like in a race, once you’ve started there’s no stopping. It’s up to you, and you alone, to continue to put one foot in front of the next until you reach that finish line. It’s up to you to continue to reach for those personal bests – to set a new record, to go a longer distance, to try a new course, to learn from the runners around you.

Just as in life, it doesn’t matter how many people you have around you cheering you on – it’s up to you to continue moving. It’s up to you and your own willpower to get from Point A to Point B. It doesn’t matter how many great runners are around you, they’re not pushing you along or pulling you up that next hill. It all comes down to you and the fortitude you have within yourself. Are you able to keep going? Are you going to keep pushing? Or are you going to give up and quit? You can do either one, but if you quit…the only person you’re ultimately hurting is yourself. The only person to blame is yourself. Everyone else is going to keep on going, they’re going to keep on fighting mile after mile.

Each day we have is just another training day. We face new challenges; we have to get over the next hurdle. We have false starts. But each day, you should always work to get better. To get faster at climbing those hills. To keep from faltering when there’s a dip in the road. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first one across the finish line or the last one across – the most important thing is that you finish.

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