Running Is Not About Racing, Speed or Perfection

running is You all know how much I love running. And you know I enter several races a year. You might wonder why just running around my area isn’t enough for me – why do I have to enter a race when I know I’m never going to win. That’s a very valid question. To me, running is about life and living. I thrive on it. I found out recently how much it does matter to me because I went through a period where I didn’t really care if I ran or not. I had some reason (aka excuse) every morning not to go out there. And I have never been an afternoon runner so that was out too. I’d lost my motivation – completely. I don’t know what happened but I was having other problems at the time too and I think I was afraid to run.

But I had signed up for the 72 hour event I did last weekend and wanted to go even though I was pitifully trained (or not trained at all actually since I came back from Tennessee in July and had to recover from my back injury) and then I was experiencing a great deal of life and work stress so all components were out of whack. But I started to pay attention to my nutrition (more about that on another blog/page – but it’s essential that we pay attention to our nutrition) and as a result I started to feel some better. Amazingly during and after last weekend, I felt better than I have in about 3 months. I don’t know why but what I do know is that I realized how much running was life for me and how much the family and love that I have experienced in my ultra running is what it’s all about. I won’t win any races ever but I win every time I go to one because I meet new people (even shy little me meets others) and I rekindle relationships with those I’ve met before. And I am always welcomed with open arms and I feel so much a part of one big family when I’m there. That provides more nutrition for the soul and spirit than you can imagine.

What do you have in your life that can provide you this much sustenance? I hope you have some activity that provides you the same degree of love, family and joy that running and ‘racing’ does for me.

I have to tell this one amazing story. It was the middle of the night on night two and it was raining but along came this young man passing me but he knew who I was and told me he had read my post on “life is like an ultramarathon” and he enjoyed it. That meant so much to me. It kind of made the whole weekend in one way. But what really made the weekend was seeing the folks I met last year and having them take care of me the whole time. It’s brought me back to real life and happiness.

Find something that represents love and life for you and do it, no matter what!


Seasons Change, Caterpillars Change – So Can You

Fall in a park Happy Fall! Yesterday really did feel like Autumn had arrived. It felt cold when I took Jackie out for a walk.  And then when I went out for my long run, it was absolutely gorgeous. The change really started on Saturday though but we all thought it was cool because we had finally gotten some rain. But it was the subtle beginning of a change.

Things frequently creep up on us and maybe we eventually will notice that there has been a change. Often, the change is so gradual, though, that we don’t pay much attention and just morph into this new aspect of our life similar to the life cycle of the butterfly.

The butterfly starts out as an egg.  That’s not so unusual, right? So do we. But when the egg hatches we’d expect to see a butterfly but we don’t – we get a caterpillar, whose primary function in life is to eat (sometimes I wish I was a caterpillar) and grow. That’s similar to us as an infant and child – we are constantly eating (absorbing tons of information about the world and growing with that knowledge but often absorbing faster than we can grow). The caterpillar also has to shed its skin since the skin doesn’t grow with it. We shed our skin too as we move from one stage of our life and “knowing” to another. As the caterpillar eats it gets bigger. We get bigger and hopefully we grow in proportion to the knowledge we are accruing.

The excitement then begins. The caterpillar goes into a stage called a “pupa” – it looks as if it is resting but inside is where all things are changing. How much does this parallel our development. There are times when it appears nothing is happening with us. We often think monarch-emergingwe should be “doing” more – we think we appear lazy. Our creativity seems to be stopping, we feel as if we aren’t going anywhere. Fatigue might set in and we just want to lounge around, “chill out” as it were. What the heck is happening?

With the caterpillar there is a complete metamorphosis. Caterpillars don’t have wings. During this “pupa” stage of change, organs are completely transformed and new limbs and wings develop where there were none before.  If you give yourself a chance and stop criticizing yourself for doing “nothing”, stop stomping on what’s going on and changing inside, the transformation in you will be remarkable. We often call it a spiritual journey but it’s so much more than that. Your thoughts, ideas, philosophies and even beliefs can change dramatically if we just allow ourselves the time and let the process happen deep within.

Then it’s time to emerge as a butterfly, rest and then spread the wings and fly.  This is an amazing process but it’s a tiny, although miraculous, representation of what happens within ourselves – if we let it.

How can you take the caterpillar within you and transform yourself into what you have always wanted to become? Stop moving in a million directions and stop trying to accomplish dozens of things at one time. Sit back, go within, step away from the activity, relax, take time for yourself. Now that fall is here, spend some time on the porch or patio and enjoy life – it’s very short you know. It’s time that we take each moment and revel in it!

Let the butterfly within you emerge with the new you! Let me know what it’s like.