When it comes to running, there is nothing that brings out the twinkle in my eye more than signing up for a new race.

I get on the computer and look at upcoming races.

I picture each location, the amount of participants, potential weather.

I think about the race distance, I think about the course, I think about the time of day of the race.

When I have debated all the options, I select the race best for me.  And I smile.

I get excited to run.

My workout, my runs at home then begin to focus on my new race ahead.  I picture myself in my workouts running my upcoming race.  I feel the burn I will feel.  I picture myself succeeding.

There is something about racing that makes me run faster.  It may hurt like hell, but when I am done and I turn around and see what I was able to accomplish, I am so happy.  The race may go awful, and has.  But then I have learned something – about the time of day, what I ate, time of month, something!  The race is also so much more than my time on the course.  It is all the time I put into my training, dedicated to my love of running.

I am never running against anyone else.  I am running for myself.  One of my favorite books is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” By Haruki Murakami.  In a never-ending rotation of books to read, reading, books read, his book always stays on my night stand.  It is the only book I have bent pages and underlined passages.  Murakami seems to identify with all of my feelings as a long distance runner and put my feelings so clearly in word.

I am not running against anyone else.  I am running for myself.  Murakami states:

“For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

I love race day.  I love the moment I sit down at my computer, go through my options and take step #1: Sign up.

I love the training I put it.  The sweat, the time.  I love the excitement of getting to the start line after all my careful planning and practice.  I love to complete list item #2: Show up.

No matter if it is a bad race day or a good race day, I give it my all.  If I come across the line and feel like I could have gone faster, that I am not tired enough, then I didn’t give it my all.  That has never happened.  I give it my all.  I cross the line and complete #3: Finish.

 

I love the racing process.  Signing up for a race is like opening a new gift.  I stare at the box and imagine all the possibilities that lie within.  I work so hard, and love all the hard work I put in to opening my new gift.  I am so excited at the present that lies within when I have finished opening my new gift.

And the gift is wonderful, each and every time.

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/34701044@N06/3704684544″>A Twinkle in Her Eye</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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