Monday, September 23, 2013

Life lessons well-learned (while running long distance)

My eighth grader is thrilled. I can see it shining in his eyes from 50 yards as he rounds the bend toward the finish line.

I see he has 15 seconds to meet his goal time this week from the digital time-keeper at the finish line and can't help jumping up and down. "GO NIC! RUN IT IN!"

He's grinning, he's gasping, but he digs in deep and sprints for the finish line--and makes it over just one second shy of his goal for this week.  He falls into my arms gasping, grinning and immensely pleased with himself.

After all, he just ran 4K on one of the toughest cross country courses in the country. He know this, and this pleases him, also.

He will not win any speed records, mind you. He stands to come in last for every race. "And doesn't that bother him?" people whisper to me. "Doesn't that bother you?"

No. And no.

Because for us, it was never about winning. For us, it's about finding out what we can do,

And Nic is tickled pink about being able to run a 4K. And he's motivated to run it faster every week.

When he toed the starting line last week, he admitted to being nervous. "I don't know if I can do this," he said in a moment of candor. Despite that, when the starter pistol went off, so did he with the rest of runners.

And he ran it in his first race, too, his eyes bright with pride. Because he proved to himself that he could finish. And every week, he will compete against himself and challenge himself to do better than he did the week before.

Isn't that what life is all about?  Constantly improving our personal best?

It's never about us versus anyone else--but I think we forget that in the bustle of living.

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