Exercise What’s in a Race?

A few weekends ago, I participated in a half-marathon running event. Just before the race started, I watched runners warming up, each performing their own methods of focus and preparation, and it occurred to me that running means something different to every runner. We were all there with different stories to tell, different relationships to running, and for different reasons. It sparked the question: What’s in a race?

What's in a race?

For some, it’s a solution.

Many weight loss and health improvement journeys starts with a pair of running shoes. I tell my clients who want to start running: everyone knows how to run! Start with a block at a time. Then add a few, and walk one. Repeat. It’s about motivation and pushing yourself a bit more every time.

Before you know it, you’ll find yourself at a starting line for a half-marathon.

For others, it’s a lifestyle.

Personally, running provides perspective and helps to smooth out life’s wrinkles. While I run, I take problems apart and rearrange them differently in my head. I fill my lungs with oxygen, and let my mind and body engage with the elements around me.

Not every run is my best run. But I am my best self when I run.

Most people will describe a “Runner’s High” that occurs during long runs. These moments of euphoria have to do with neurotransmitters that are released and produced in higher concentrations. The rush and release during these moments keep many runners coming back for more.

And for others still, maybe the goal is to challenge oneself…

Once we break through our own perceived limitations, we are capable of great things. The day after I’d completed the half-marathon, someone said to me: “Oh, I couldn’t run that far!”

That is person is absolutely right. Until he decides that he can.

Becoming a runner is about recognizing the value in every step along the way. The dark mornings you’d rather just sleep, fighting through fatigue, fighting through illness, making yourself a priority. The challenge is not just in conditioning your body, but in developing your mental strength. You can’t just want it; you have to know you can do it.

So, what’s in a race? The race is all the moving parts coming together; the culmination of months of work and commitment. There are good race days, and there are bad race days. But ours is a community of dreamers and believers and go-getters. We show up, prepared as we can be, each of us with our own reason for being there.

And there’s always room for one more.

Run hard, be strong, think big! ~ Percy Cerutty

What do you think?