Sometimes I really don’t know how to begin writing these summaries. Talking about the day’s events can be boring. Because after so many races, they all seem the same and become more of a race review. With me, I want to share more of my inner feelings.
So here I go… 2 summers ago, I ran a marathon in Washington called “Light at the End of the Tunnel”, which was very fittingly named. At the start of the race, we had to run 2 miles through this pitch black, old train tunnel. I could see absolutely nothing, and so was limited to only hearing runners’ voices and footsteps surrounding me. Although each runner was equipped with a headlamp, we still had to rely our own instincts that we were moving forward without running into walls, or falling or tripping in between the cracks of the cobblestone tracks. It was eerie; I could feel the dampness of the tunnel, the dripping water from above…yet I continued trusting that I would eventually make it out of the darkness.
This is analogous to running races. When we line up at the start, we’re either filled with excitement or doubt, or both. But my assurance to new runners out there – the more you run, the more confident and experienced you become, and you learn to rely on yourself to get you to the finish line.
Like my reference to the above mentioned marathon, the closer I got to the end of the tunnel, I felt joyful to see daylight again. So in life, it’s the same: we will never be in bad situations permanently. Life is a roller coaster. Be courageous to embrace all of life’s challenges. If you do, you will realize life is beautiful!
My decision to run these back-to-back races are inevitably the same; I start my races with doubts. Although others have run these courses, that doesn’t mean I can do them. But the more I test my limits, the braver I become. And it seems the more I want to test myself.
There is so much joy to running. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I feel so free, away from any mundane daily routine. Recently, there have been discussions about runners running too much. I think it’s good to be cautious, but at the same time, every athlete should decide for themselves what works and what doesn’t.
Each individual’s running journey is bound by a lot of things. Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes it’s easy to make excuses. But my philosophy is, if you are healthy and truly passionate about the sport, run as much as possible. There is no time to worry about running too much. Do not worry about your time or how others view you. Believe wholeheartedly in yourself, because ultimately, you are racing against yourself.
With runners who stay away from racing, I notice that they commonly think: I am not ready, I might underperform, I am afraid of the weather; too hot, too cold, too windy, too stormy, I don’t like the hills, the flats, the downhills. If you factor in too many of these things, you will never race. Believe me. Because just as life is NOT a constant, it is the same with running. You have to face these challenges.
Running is like gathering a snowball – it starts out small, but as you run more and race more, you start adding more to your mini snowball. Soon enough, you have enough to build a mini snowman, and then a bigger snowman.
As for me, I have a long way to go before I build my “big snowman”. But bit by bit, race by race, I am gaining momentum to build my “snowman”.
The race I did this weekend was in Redmond, Washington. It was called The Beats Half Marathon. The route was similar to another one of the races I’ve done. It started in Marymoor park and looped back into the park. There were lots of active people in the park, little kids participating in soccer tournaments, older people taking their walks, families biking, runners going for a jog. The lifestyle is similar to that in Vancouver, B.C. People are very healthy and active, and it’s a good thing to see.
I ran this race harder than all my previous halfs for the year (my 15th for the year). I got a better time but just missed the podium by one place. To me, I was just as happy because I got to race. Plus, there is always the next race to make the podium!
To close, I offer you this quote: “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to better than yourself.” –William Faulkner