05 Jul Running goals, life goals
A blue Penn State cap covered in cobwebs hung on a hook in Lee’s closet, so I repurposed it as my running hat. Being the extreme sports fans that we are (I’m kidding. We barely even know what sport is in season. Last year, I went to a Super Bowl party without knowing who was playing), it is surprising we had a hat in our house, let alone a collegiate, sporty one.
I wanted the baseball cap to keep the sun off my face while running. I’ve done enough damage to my skin in my forty-seven years, it’s time to keep my face shielded from the rays as much as possible.
I don’t run to be in nature. I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t run to get faster. I don’t run because I think I should. I just honest-to-goodness enjoy running. My husband doesn’t believe that I like it, but I do. The best runs happen on sweltering days where sweat begins to drip the second I step out of my front door (sweat feels so productive) with my music pulsing and pounding, pushing me onward.
Before I started wearing the hat with its bill obstructing a good part of my peripheral vision, my eyes wandered. Trees, houses, flowers, bugs, cars, people, squirrels, and just about everything distracted me. I also looked ahead and concentrated too much on how far I still had to travel. Now with my trusty cap blocking most of my view, it’s easier to avoid interferences.
I run to think or maybe to avoid thinking. When I’m in the groove of a good song, looking at the path in front of me, my mind can zero in on one thought at a time, whereas every other waking minute, my mind is a like a pinball machine with ideas, plans, prayers, guilt, and good intentions bouncing and bonging and flashing and clacking and dinging, my quarter play never expiring.
On the neighborhood roads, I am attentive to my surroundings so I won’t get hit by a car! But, once I hit the mulch-covered path bordered by a creek and trees, I relax and lose myself in the rhythm of my stride. Mulch mulch mulch. Eyes on path. Mulch is all I see (except for that one time I saw a snake sprawled across the footpath sunning himself like he owned the place).
My goals when I run are simple:
Don’t fall. (I recently tripped on the asphalt and spent about two hours picking gravel out of my palms and knees. Ouch.)
My goal is not to win a race. My goal is not to be better than anyone else.
All I want is to finish without falling.
Slow and steady. We’ve heard from The Tortoise and the Hare that slow and steady wins the race. But does it? Let’s not kid ourselves here – usually, the fastest/best/brightest people win. But slow and steady will indeed finish the race.
However, before one finishes, one must begin. Beginning is sometimes the hardest part – making that decision to put on the shoes, insert the earbuds, walk outside. Then it’s just a matter of taking the next step, again and again, until the finish line is crossed.
A lot of my goals these days have the same components:
- Don’t fall
Sometimes in life, I’ve discovered it’s okay to be slow and mediocre. The act of moving forward is noble. When I’m able to shield myself from distractions – to stop looking around at others, at obstacles, at pretty things, at scary things, at the finish – my strength and stamina increases.
Show up. Do the thing. Put the next foot down and I’m one step closer to my goal.
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