Monday, November 4, 2013

Anything but Average

 In the last week we have had Halloween, another birthday, an exciting high school playoff game win, and a special baptism. Life is very blessed and lots of fun.

But this morning instead of writing about that stuff, I am going to share an email that I sent to one of the runners I coach. She sent me an email after a race in which she didn't finish in the time she had hoped for (she is coming back from injury) and one of the things she said was, "in my darker moments I feel like I work really hard to be really average at this sport I love." Here is my response to her.

"Being completely honest - I have had the same thoughts. In moments of weakness and frustration (after disappointing races or workouts), I have wondered why I try so hard, put in so many miles and hours, give up so much sleep, and care so much, to just be an average marathoner. It feels unfair sometimes to put in all the work, do everything "right", to want it so bad, and to still have so many others be (in my eyes) so much more successful, so much faster, so much "better".

But the last time I had those thoughts I really stopped and thought about it, and I know in my heart that even if someone told me today that I would never set another PR, that I would keep on running. It's who I am. It's what I do.

The thing is, we are never going to be professional runners. We are never going to set world records, win Olympic medals, or be at the top of this sport that we love. That isn't why we lace up our shoes every day. That isn't why we run.

We run because we want to be healthy, strong, and fit. We run because we have goals and dreams. We run because we love the feeling of our bodies working hard. We run because we love the sound of our own rhythmic breathing and the soft pat-pat of our feet on the ground. We run because we like to challenge ourselves, push our limits, and see what we can accomplish. We run because nothing beats the feeling of finishing a good run. We run because even a bad run is better than no run. We run because the confidence we get from doing something we didn't think we could ever do permeates into every area of our lives. We run because we love it. We run because we are runners.

Just because we aren't professional runners doesn't mean that we are average though. All too often us runners define ourselves by the number on the clock at the end of a race. PR's are amazing, but they do not define us. What defines us is getting up every day and running, even when we are tired, or when the weather is awful. What defines us is the fact that we have more running shoes in our closet than dress shoes. What defines us is our dedication and commitment through good days and bad. What defines us is the courage to constantly challenge ourselves. What defines us is our ugly feet and funky tan lines. What defines us is that thrill we get when we register for a race or look over a new training plan.

We may never set world records or win huge races, BUT, each one of us has the ability to train, push, work, and become the very best that we can possibly be, and THAT is not average. Putting your heart and soul into something you are passionate about, pushing your limits, and working hard to accomplish goals is exciting, inspiring, and LIVING life. Runners are anything but average. They are awesome. :)"

Wouldn't you agree?
"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible." - Cadet Maxim
"Don't be ashamed or embarrased to dream BIG. You're living your life with HOPE- that's a powerful thing. -Kara Goucher


Raina said...

I can appreciate your philosophy! Those were some inspiring words you shared with your athlete.. and it is HARD to know what to say when someone is disappointed. God gave you some real insights there.
Hope you have a great week, Erin. Sounds like you are as busy as we are!

Kris Tina said...

This is just what I needed to read today.

Kathryn said...

Thank you. This was beautiful.

Cheryl said...

Amen! Well put. I am going to have to save that one!

Kate said...

Thanks Coach!

KimPossible said...

Thanks for always inspiring me Erin!

coach dion said...

I race to do well, I race to win, I race for money, But the truth is there are very few races in a year when I get to mix with the 'Big Boys' or in my case the 'Old Men'!!!

But I run because walking is to slow, I run because I can, I train hard because I love it, The road ahead is calling my Name, the Mountain needs to be explored. I love to push my body to see what happens, I want to do the big sessions... My friends run!

Carrie said...

I completely agree! I love reading your posts right before I head out the door to run. They inspire me so much. That said, the road is calling my name. :)

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

I have felt the same way, that I've worked harder than ever this past year and the number on the clock does not reflect that. But, just as you said, I still simply love to run and will keep doing it as long as I can, and if I never set a PR again, so be it, at least I'll be doing what I love!

Healthy Ambitions said...

Thank you! Great post & I needed to remind myself of that perspective. Thanks!

Christina Williams said...

You always know what I need to hear, and I needed to hear this NOW. Thank you :)

Diana Martinez said...

Love this!