In many ways, running for me revolves around numbers; mph, treadmill angle, and of course 3:20:59, the time I need in a marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. While I continue to enjoy running, and to use it as a time for relaxation and reflection, all the worrying and measuring can sometimes detract from the enjoyment. Which brings me to the half-marathon I ran with Team Lifeline this past weekend in Miami.
While Team Lifeline is made up of some veteran, serious runners (running addicts?), most of the runners are newcomers, running their first race, or for some, their only race. Many of the runners are painfully unaware of how much training goes into running a half marathon and despite the training schedule showed up somewhat undertrained. What makes these people so wonderful is that they still head out there to do their best, with only one goal; to finish. Finish they did, running, jogging, or limping, they made it. With smiles on their face, pride in their heart and hands raised in triumph, they crossed the finish line. They didn’t have to worry about pushing the button on their Garmin as they crossed the line or whether they set a PR; every one of them set a PR. Many came out with the desire to run another race to help Chai Lifeline’s kids.
I hope I can learn a lesson from these runners for my own running. Yes, I still want to run Boston, and plan to work my hardest to do so. Still, if in getting there, if I lose the enjoyment that running provides for all of us from the fastest Kenyan to the 7 hour jogger, what will I have gained? My teammates on Team Lifeline helped remind me that at its core running is fun and relaxing, not a chore. Some of them might have been impressed with my time. I was impressed with them.