Second at Best

Sometimes all it takes is a word and we feel out of place.

It casts such a long shadow of doubt over our plans that we decide to rearrange them completely.

We abandon our race.

But there’s a difference between listening to a coach’s advice and running someone else’s race. And the best coaches will tell you to always run your own race no matter what.

Even Usain Bolt can’t tell you how to run your race.

So what if someone thinks you’re going too slow or even in the wrong direction.

The best we’ll ever do when we run someone else’s race is silver.

We might not always win when we run our own race.

But we always have a chance.

 

Second Best

Scrapping the participation medal is a great idea. Losing is a prize.

The greatest thing about playing sports is winning, and the same goes for any competition. After all, that’s the point.

And the next best thing to winning?

Losing.

Losing is the next best thing to winning because it means you were in the race.

People who have been forced to the sidelines are often delighted to lose because they finally got a chance to win.

And if you have been in with a chance for a while, losing usually means you’re a step closer to winning. 

Another lesson learned. Another hurdle crossed.

Losing sucks. But it’s a lot more fun than spectating.

 

 

Rhythm of the Feet

It’s funny how things we hate often become part of our personality.

For better or worse.

Running, or anything faster than a brisk walk, was never very appealing; the last resort to catch a train.

It didn’t seem very dignified, especially how I was doing it. I didn’t go very far or fast and did get very sweaty, which was embarrassing. But over the last six years, running has become part of my life.

Starting a run is never easy. But something magical happens about a mile in, when your body has finally accepted that you’re not going to stop.

Rhythm.

The rhythm of your heart pounding gently and the sigh of your lungs sucking long, deep bagfuls of air; arms swinging almost of their own accord, all to the gentle metronome of your feet hitting the ground.

Everything becomes part of that movement, that directed dance.

Head up, putting one foot in front of the other again and again and again just to go where we want a little faster. And by sheer force of will, doing it longer than any other animal on the planet.

Nothing could be more human than that.

 

Recovery run

Training for a marathon is very different from what people expect.

The biggest surprise for most people is that you only run a marathon once — on race day.

The next surprise is how little running you do. 15 minutes one day.  Thirty minutes a few days later. Some days are short bodyweight workouts. And some days are dedicated to lying on the floor and stretching.

We don’t have to run a marathon every day to get where we want to go. We shouldn’t even run every day.

Time spent rolling around on the floor and stretching is as crucial to running a race as putting one foot in front of the other.

Recovery allows us to keep working towards our goal, even on days we can’t think straight, let alone move fast. And that little bit of extra time we spend quickly adds up. 

Allow yourself a little recovery time now and then, and you’ll go much further in the long run.

 

 

Pain to Gain

If you’ve never heard of David Goggins, whip out your dictionary and look up the word “indomitable,” and you’ll find a picture of him.

David is the guy that gets back up.

He completed the infamous SEAL “Hell Week” training twice. Then he completed Ranger and Air Force training, too, literally for the hell of it.

He’s run over 60 ultra-marathons and triathlons and broke a world record with 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

My record is eight pull-ups in 3 minutes.

He once finished a 150-mile relay race designed for four BY HIMSELF on a broken ankle.

What keeps David going beyond limits and then much, much further?

David runs on pain.

The story of his childhood is heartbreaking. But he crushed that hurt into a fuel cell that drove him to greatness.

In his words, “When we transcend what we once thought possible, your light enables people to see the contours of their own prison; their self-limitations.”

David runs 100 miles because he can.

But he can run 100-miles because he turned his pain to gain.

 

 

 

 

There is no finish line

A few years back, I surprised myself by getting into running and discovered something strange.

There’s a race for masochists down in Tennessee called ‘Big Dog’s Outdoor Ultra.’ It’s a four-mile loop that you run until everyone else drops out. This year , Courtney Dauwalter, ran 283 miles in just under 72 hours, non-stop.

Running an eternal loop seems crazy, but many competitors say it’s easier than running a ‘standard ultra.’ 2018’s winner said, “Because there’s no predetermined finish, you can’t think in terms of ‘how many miles do I have left? It’s always just the next loop, the next loop, the next loop. You’re never overwhelmed by what you have left to run because you simply don’t know.”

Strangely, setting a ‘finish line’ can be detrimental to growth, especially when you’re just getting started.

The best thing you can do is choose a direction and focus on putting one foot in front of the other; running today’s race as best you can.

Worry about tomorrow when you cross that starting line.