My son is a runner. I’d like to say “just like his mom,” but it’s more accurately just like his (former triathlete) dad. It makes me happy that he loves to run because it’s not only a great way to exercise but a great way to get a clear head when life is cloudy.
While I have a few 5ks to my credit, my running is more a challenge (or torture) than a passion. It often involves some colorful inner voice commentary that reflects my love-hate relationship with the activity. My competitive running days were brief and way back in junior high…My son’s talent will easily trounce my paltry past.
As he and Mike (the hubby) were talking about his track practice the other day, Mike wound up his advice with something that struck me as rather profound. He said, “Just remember: run your race. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Focus on your race alone.”
Wisdom like that often leads me to think in life analogies, and this one is certainly apropos.
Run your race. Don’t let the person in the next lane deter you from your focus of being the best that you can be. Don’t let anything sway that focus. Just run your race.
Good sense like that is valuable in so many aspects of life. How often do we let things outside our “lane” affect our choices or our performance? Or even our values? With one side glance, we can miss a beat, lose our rhythm, and maybe even stumble.
When goals are clouded by comparison, doubt can creep in and slow us down. It’s so simple, yet it is something that can thwart us time and again. When we run our race by keeping tabs on the competition, we lose some of our energy in the process.
And in a funny (not so funny) irony of life, if you are like me, sometimes the very person you are being sidetracked by is…yourself. Instead of concentrating solely on my goal, I listen to the doubt or fear that speaks to me from the inside. It is my most formidable challenger.
There I am, running my race, when that inner doubt matches my pace and dissuades me enough to break my stride. “Are you sure you can do it? Have you seen you? You’re not fast enough…strong enough…capable enough. I don’t think you can.”
On days that I listen to that asshat of a voice, I falter and DQ myself right out of the race.
Instead, what I need to do is shut out that negative noise and concentrate only on my next step, and the next, and the next, and…well, you get the idea. And if I can’t shut it out entirely, then I need to respond with a, “Oh, yeah, well just watch me…” and then find the strength to kick it like crazy to the finish line.
Maybe you don’t deal with that kind of a challenger as you run your life race. Maybe every day is your personal best, which is absolutely awesome. More power to you.
But for those of us who face that competitor in our lane time and again, we’ve got to remember:
Run your race.
Whatever is going on around you is out of your control. All you can do is run the best way you know how and make it to the finish line. Then, no matter what the outcome, once you cross that line, you can gasp for breath knowing there was nothing more you could do.
And that’s an amazing victory.
“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1