The Vulnerability of Racing

“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got,
being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”                        Christopher MacDougall

This struck me today as I was wanting to write about vulnerability, racing, comparing, competing…

These words have been swirling in my head since the half marathon yesterday.

The quote really says it all to me.  What works for loving someone really does work for training and racing.  Yesterday was putting it into practice.  Being willing to do the best with what I had in each moment, each hill, each step, while letting go of the need to control it and keep it the way I “wanted”.  To let go of caring what my final time ultimately said, and find joy amidst the struggle to figure out what I even wanted out of this race.

There were moments I truly felt free to just run, to be with the people.  Not to get on the podium. Not to have a success story. But to be able to say I tried pretty hard and this was what I could do. No shame, no judging and comparing and would’ves, could’ves.  To be just a runner.  I think doing that actually made it possible to have a really solid race.  I opened up, I didn’t wimper and scold myself when people passed me, it was ok! Today I’m just a runner- you’re just a runner, I trust that you are doing what you can and I appreciate you so much for it.  I don’t want you to slow down to make me feel more worthy.  I don’t want you to speed up to feel more worthy yourself.

Yesterday I found freedom through showing up at the start line.  And crossing the finish line. Competing is a slippery slope.  Expectations go with territory of putting in work and being “competitive” meaning wanting to compete with yourself or others to compare results, ideally good results.  But I’m learning to find a balance between being vulnerable enough to try, have goals, yes even come out near the top, and freedom to let the process be what it is regardless of outcomes along the way or at the final line.  Putting away the post game analysis after a brief review. Smiling because even a bad day running is a good day.  Seriously.  A good day running is a perfect day running when you can find fascination and curiosity and love for the community pounding along beside you on a race morning.  A perfect day running is brought to that close place of memories when a friend is waiting,  already finished, knowing the thing that just happened, those miles covered, the random thoughts, the struggle, the determination and familiarity of a good hard run well done.  The hug can capture all of that.

I hope I am getting better at loving my people, the way I feel like I’m getting better at ‘running’. Starting to get it now.

Piece by piece.

So this is day 10 actually, written about day 9.  Maybe I’ll try 2 short posts tomorrow.

A song for you “love don’t die” by The Fray, why? Because it’s a phenomenal tempo running song and is ready to play next time I run thats why.

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