I’m a lot of things in life but a fast runner isn’t one of them. So you can bet the one time I took first place (in my age division—mind you!), I was sure to savor the moment…plus, of course, I got a few pictures.
That was back in April. We’re now nearing the end of November, and that pretty, bright blue ribbon has decorated my dresser ever since…still gets a smile out of me every time I walk by it. Not for vanity’s sake, per se, but because of what it symbolizes…that life is full of possibilities—a constant stream of opportunities to improve, to succeed, to be victorious.
To be fast is one thing. An amazing thing, no doubt. But it isn’t the only thing…at least not for those of us who enjoy the luxury of being able to run for pleasure rather than a paycheck. Partly because speed is relative. No matter my pace, there’s always someone behind me who makes me feel, if not fast, at least ‘faster than.’ And, likewise, it seems there’s always someone (usually a lot of someone-s) either way out in front of me or about to whiz past me who makes me feel ‘slower than.’ But mostly because of the wondrous array of un-awardable victories running has to offer that have nothing to do with stopwatches or medals; but the kind that, over time, just may come to mean the difference between simply getting by and truly living life to its fullest. Like the way running enables me to maintain a healthy weight and keep depression at bay; how it helped me quit smoking; how it shifted my focus from striving for skinny and perfect to striving for strong and energetic; how it’s expanded my horizons, grown my confidence, and helped me to feel good about the example I’m setting for my daughters. What better prize could there be, really?!
Not that you’d ever catch me turning down a ribbon or a medal (or even a sticker or a pin for that matter!)…because, seriously, who doesn’t appreciate a little recognition for their efforts? But the truth of it is, even when our best efforts don’t land us spot in the top 3 or 5 or the top half or even on the list at all (you get the point!)…it’s the fact that we’re out there, putting in the effort and continually pressing on in the direction of a healthier lifestyle that really makes us winners.