The Race You Don’t Want to Win

We find ourselves in the midst of the holiday season caught up in everything that comes with it: exchanging gifts, attending parties, sitting in traffic, mounting stress, crazed shopping, and more. However, with each passing year it seems the season is losing its “magic”. I have heard many phrases this holiday season that are almost as common as “Happy Holidays”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Hanukkah”, etc but the phrases I am hearing are of a different nature. I have heard an alarming amount of “can’t wait for this to be over”, “if I can just get through the holidays”, “just make it to the end”, and other similar sayings.

Hearing these sentiments is disheartening and also reminds me of how often I hear similar thoughts about running. I hear things such as “just get to the finish”, “when will this be over?”, and other phrases that imply the act is a chore. Too often we as runners get focused on the end result and forget to enjoy the process of training or a race while it is going on. I have found it is far easier when running to simply enjoy the experience, the crowds, the course, etc as opposed to dredging through telling yourself X amount of miles to the finish. It is important to focus on your goal time and finishing, but it is also just as important to savor the experience.

My solution for the disenchantment in the season and in running is to turn to those who are pure of heart, children. Think back to when you were a kid when everything was magical and exciting. The holiday season was looked forward to all year as it was special and cherished. As a child you lived for moments such as the joy you see on another’s face when you give them a gift, the excitement of seeing Santa for the first time, being unable to sleep the night before Christmas, and family get togethers with loved ones. If you look around, you can still see this same magic in the eyes and actions of children. To the same tune, running was looked forward to every day as a child. It was disguised as chasing friends around at recess on the school playground, TV tag on a summer night, capture the flag in the backyard, and other fun games. However, it was not thought of running, it was just “play”.

My challenge to you this week is simple. Take in your surroundings during the rest of the holiday season and during your runs. Make a concerted effort to enjoy them for everything they are. See all the amazing aspects of both as it is a wondrous time of year and running still is and always will be a great way to just “play”. Remember that in life there are races that you don’t want to win. The race to the “end” of the holiday season offers no reward and can leave one with feelings of regret. Similarly, dredging through races and training plans can leave one with empty, uninspired victories and finishes. I hope this post finds you all well and may you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Always in Stride,

Jack

Song of the Week – Twenty Miles – Spirit of the Marathon

Quote of the Week – “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine

Video of the Week – Salomon Trail Running Video with Amazing Song

2 replies
    • calijackmc
      calijackmc says:

      ChillyWilly, I definitely hear you on that! I was born in Iowa, grew up in Western PA, and went to school in Central PA. I too saw quite a few bitter winters and my hat goes off to you for running through harsh winters of Chi-Town and hitting the treadmills when its too cold. For enjoying that experience, I most looked froward to hitting the snow dusting before anyone else especially on trails if possible. Running in a winter wonderful can be tranquil and beautiful with white all around you. When running indoors on the uber-cold days I would consult some great music, zone out, and be happy to just be running. I also would visualize my runs in awesome rave areas that I wished I was at (think warm!).I know it gets even harder as winter can drag on but just know that you are that much stronger than people running in warmer conditions:) Also, I picked up some really awesome Brooks running gear that really cut the cold if you need some new armor suggestions.

      All the best,

      Jack

      Reply

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