Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Ode to the Long Run

In the long run, the fog settles,
And you begin to see things for what they are.

In the long run, doubts clear
And you realize worrying is an unproductive task.

In the long run, your friends and competitors become apparent,
And you wonder how you ever confused the two.

In the long-run, you and your partner do your best
And wait for each other at the crossroads so you don’t lose way.

In the long run, you challenge yourself
To do more than you thought you could do, and try for more than you imagined.

In the long run, you begin to understand
That getting lost helped you find yourself.

In the long run, you detach from
And dissolve your expectations of what should be and what could be.

In the long run, you stop resisting
And accept the strange rhythm of the Universe, uncertain yet beautiful is its melody.

In the long run, you are happy
And realize you always were and always will be.

In the long run, you let go
And just be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The DFL Syndrome

If you don't know what DFL stands for, ask me privately. :) It's basically about coming in last in a race.

Why does it bother us so much when we come in last in our workout or a race? I think it goes back to our high expectations about ourselves, our abilities as well others' perceptions of us (discussed in my previous blog spot on the Beginner's Mile). And although we try to stay focused on the running alone, these negative thoughts enter our mind as we try to give our best. Coming in last can result in harsh self-judgement. After coming in last for many of my training workouts, it prompted me to ask myself, "Why do I do this? Why not just give up or try something else in which I excel?"

The answer is easy when you're running for a good cause - you are running to benefit others from your efforts. When the cause is larger than yourself, you find the drive to keep going.

I also read a really cool blog post by Gary Lerude that lifted my spirit:

Thoughts inspired by watching a middle school cross-country running meet.

The gun goes off, the crowd of stationary runners becomes molten, they disappear into the woods. After endless minutes, one lead runner emerges from the trees to begin the final lap to the finish line. Then a second, a third, then clumps of runners. Well after the lead runners have cooled down and are, perhaps, already thinking of next week's race, the stragglers emerge from the woods. Not lithe, often walking, they are encouraged by parents and team mates to run the remaining distance. Exhausted, nonetheless they muster the will to pick up the pace. Many minutes after the race started, as most runners and their parents have dissipated, as the race organizers prepare for the next age group, they cross the finish line.

Blessed are those who come in last.

They surely are not motivated by winning. Whatever it is -- bettering themselves, perseverance, internal resolve, courage in the face of negative feedback -- is inspirational. May they carry that with them throughout their lives. And may the rest of us, who carefully judge our odds to avoid "losing," reconsider. Character is not borne just from being first.

- Gary Lerude