For me personally, running is an exercise in life lessons that I continually learn from. When I consider the problems I deal with in everyday life, I use the lessons of a long run, and try to pass on the skills or personal habits of mind which are necessary for improving as a runner into strengthening as a researcher, writer, buddy and person.
As I run more and more, I discover more and more people to run with. Some people push me to run even harder, other people I enjoy basically falling into a comfortable pace and decompressing the week with. There is a single partner with whom I run, who presses me both in running and in life. It really is a companionship of love, respect and admiration. But, dare I say I have to confess, it is also tinged with some jealousy. I will never ever tell her this of course, and I always try to keep that feeling properly in check, but silly emotions of self pity seem occasionally unavoidable around this amazing young lady.
In most stuff, my friend appears to be ahead of me. She is younger than me and is married. Her spouse adores her and is very successful. They want to have children before long. She journeys liberally around the world. She is thinner than me, prettier than me, more upscale than me and has a much better education than me. And also right now, is beginning a career in writing, which I had often dreamed of accomplishing. You may already hear the pitiful self loathing I sometimes project being released in this brief reflection.
Experience Running A Half Marathon
However, one field where I have always felt I had been a stride in front of her, was in running. But she started running only a short twelve months back, and now breeches on the verge of out pacing me. As I reflect on my jealousy towards my buddy that is a budding runner, I feel that running, once again, has a life lesson in store for me personally. The lesson for this particular day was one of compassion and grace.
Recently, I have been attempting to boost my speed. I must state that I have already been running for quite a long time at this point. Six-and-a-half years to be exact. My first six years as a runner were pretty uneventful. I was basically amazed with the fact that I could very easily run half marathons, and appreciated the fast weight reduction that running afforded. But I plodded along for six-and-a-half years at unimpressive speeds, putting in quite unimpressive miles each week. I don’t discredit those miles or those times. I had spent my whole lifetime as a rather inactive person; therefore, the emotions of success a half marathon provided, sometimes at sluggish paces, were essential to me as a runner. One half marathon, I decided to press myself- just to understand what I could do. After six years of running, I was able to run much quicker than I had previously believed. After that, my approach to goal setting has taken a turn for the good.
Experience Running A Full Marathon
In the last couple of years, I have been setting up new objectives. I decided to run a full marathon. I actually did it. In reality, I was so impressed by myself personally and the indisputable fact that I ran it in under four hours, that for the first time in my life, I permitted myself to think I had been fairly amazing! There have not been many times in my life when I permitted myself such a show of pride, but on that day, I was feeling like a champ. Then, in an 8k, I ran third place for my age group. Both of these successes came with very little working out or energy expenditure, so this season, I decided that I would try for a Boston eligible effort. A little audacious- I know. However, I had thought to exercise a little more thoughtfully, and plan to see the results pay off.
With my brand new exercise objectives at heart, and my buddy Jen, who was quickly catching up to my mileage and speed, I just set out on a summer time evening run. We stretched out, set our pacing watches, and readied our iPods for a brief and fast pace. Despite Jen’s recent good results as a runner, I still felt I could be the speed setter. I suppose you can point out I was a little cocky from my recent marathon performance- not breathtaking, but not too shabby for a girl’s very first try.
The Running Race Begins
As we jetted off of my street, and completed our warm up mile, we began our interval exercise. I shouted out a landmark for us to achieve, she gave a kind nod, and we were off. As I sprang ahead, I felt her presence right at my heels; therefore, I picked up the pace a bit more. However it demanded that I widen my stride- a no no for injury prevention. However, I simply had to be in the front! When we reached the chosen lighting post and slowed our speed back and normalized our respiration, I realized I would need to push a little harder on the next sprint if I was planning to keep the lead. It seems that I forgot that this was supposed to be a friendly, non-competitive run. I tried to loosen up my legs while I planned out the next sprint marker. I shouted it out, and received one more understanding nod along with a smile- then we were off.
This time, she was right beside me. When I increased my speed yet again for an all the way sprint, she dropped behind, yet only to my heels. I couldn’t shake her. All of a sudden, I was gripped with a powerful desire to lose her, and crush her dreams of ever attaining my speed! I quickly understood the cruelty of this feeling, but did not know how to make it disappear! I marked out the subsequent sprint destination, called it out, and she gave the same sign of comprehension. Then I bolted- for real this time. I wasn’t simply going quicker, I was working with every ounce of strength I had. My arms pushed back and forward propelling me forward. My back was arched- poised for speed. I actually did it; I widened the space between us. This made me feel happy when we finished the final leg of the run at a steady and pleasant speed. All of the aggressive energy dissipated into the summer evening sunshine.
The Running Intensifies
As we rounded the bend back again onto my road, I felt a tinge of remorse for my strange aggressive mental status in the run. What had gotten into me? Exactly why in the world did I consider it wise to compete with her? I had never really felt like that before- like I truly needed to substantiate myself to another person on a run. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps I felt a necessity to outshine my buddy in SOMETHING- anything! Running continues to be the single task with which I really could ever seem to do that with her, and now she was showing that even during running, I was losing the fight of the Who Has A Much Better Life competition.
Of course, after even just a moment’s contemplation, I understood the foolishness of this stream of consciousness. I thought for a moment more about my friend. She is among the kindest, gentlest more big hearted people I know. She does everything in her ability to make me feel good about myself whenever I see her! I like her because, she would never ever try to outshine me in an attempt to prove something to me! She, in fact, is one of my biggest cheerleaders in life. I wallowed again in my guilt at truly being less of an individual than my beloved dear friend.
My Motivation To Keep Running
It hit me. Indeed, it is very probable that the next time we run with each other, she is going to be quicker than me. Or else, she may be expecting and on her way to beginning a family. Or she may be a published author, stopping in for a visit between book signing parties. But with running, just like life, we can’t contrast ourselves to other people. We are going to each end the race at our personal pace, so the only thing that contrasting ourselves to others will do is render the run miserable.
My strange desire to keep up with her, and in the case with running, just a step ahead of her, was triggering me to forget about why I run, and exactly why I want to make improvements in it, which often was causing me to run for motives that caused me worry and guilt. I run because I really like it. I run because it reminds me of exactly what I am good at. The reason I run is, because it brings me joy and comfort. I run for companionship, and for comfort. I run to celebrate me, as well as to enjoy other people. For this I actually do not run to make others feel less fulfilled than me. I actually do not run to match others. The actual indisputable fact that I feel such self-confidence in my ability is reaction to the pleasures and advantages running gives my existence.
Support and Some Good Competition Can Work Wonders
So, I look on our evening run with a little remorse, but also a renewed sense of pleasure simply because running has taught me yet another lesson in everyday life; certainly one of compassion and grace- for myself and my family members. I may not be the fastest runner, the ideal article writer, or the most well traveled lady. However I actually do all those important things. And the lesson running continues to inspire is this: when I labor for enough time and with enough concentration at attaining my hopes and dreams I am going to achieve them.
Maybe I will cross the finish line of life at a different time than my friend; however, I know one thing for sure: I am going to go across it. And I know with confidence that my friend will be the very first individual waiting at the end for me personally, with a hug, and words of praise for my achievement. I will take reassurance in knowing I have a friend that can help to highlight the lessons of running within my daily life that make me a much better runner and a better individual.