Race day was here and I got there plenty early. I had a great warm-up and was feeling quite quick and powerful. No question about it, I was ready; ready to win.
At the start line, I was committed. I was committed to doing what I knew that I shouldn’t. Pacing? What’s that? I knew that if I truly wanted to see what I could do, and push myself as hard as I could, then I would have to come out of the gate as fast as I could and hold on for dear life the rest of the way. What’s that expression…PR or ER? That was me, as I stood in front.
The starter’s gun went off and so did I. I tore out as fast as I could go. The only thing in front of me was blue sky. Breathing so heavy right away, the only thing I could hear was my own breath. I had no idea where everyone else was, other than BEHIND me…HA, Losers!
Today was my day and no one was going to take this away from me. The only thing that could stop me was the finish line or a heart attack. Arms pumping, knees driving, sweat flowing, I kept driving my feet and spirit. Somewhere just around ½ mile into the race, I heard some footsteps! A ha, finally some competition. I was happy to share the effort with someone else. After all, triumph is so much sweeter the harder you have to work for it. The steps got closer and closer, until I saw this man next to me. This man was pushing the pace for sure. He was pushing me. But holy crap, seriously, what’s that? NO! He’s also pushing a stroller! With a kid in it! To compound the embarrassment, he wasn’t even pushing with one hand and pumping his arm with the other, no; he was pushing with both hands…and kicking my ass. As fast as he was next to me, he was even faster to pass me up and take the lead. Ultimately, he got so far ahead that I could not even see him anymore.
Undeterred, I kept my pace. If anything, I pushed even harder. A few more racers passed me by, and then a few more. I kept grinding. I extended myself to the final turn with the finish line in sight. I could hear my kids yelling in the distance “Go Daddy!” I could see the timer at the finish line. My all-time, hands down, fastest race ever was in the bag. I still found a bit more speed in me for a sprint the last 100 meters, just for good measure. About 45-60 seconds later, my training partner raced to the finish line, approached me, put his hands on his knees and threw up at my feet. Could this get any better?
Of course I did not win, but I was over the moon, and not for why you might think. Yes, I had run my fastest race ever, beaten my friend, finished in top 3 of my age group and top 10 overall, but I was really happy for another reason. So many times in my life, when my BHAG (big hairy audacious goal a.k.a winning the race), was no longer in reach, I would have pulled back my intensity and essentially given up. Not this time, in the face of certain defeat I kept charging. I was so proud of myself that I just about burst into tears.
Too many times, where in spite of our strength, effort and maybe that sense or feeling of “I deserve this”, that we lose our spirit. We sacrifice what we really want because of the fear that someone else out there may be more talented. Maybe we don’t think we are good enough. We all have our demons that manifest themselves in different ways, but keep pushing for what you want. Perhaps you thought the “race” you signed up for was supposed to be short, but it has turned into an ultra-marathon. Stay the course, you will get there. An important lesson that I have learned is that the most successful people are not the most talented, but rather the ones who simply get back up after they’ve been knocked down.
I don’t know how many strollers are out there, but I do know that there have been more and they will NEVER stop. If you have a dream, I can assure you, that some strollers will pass you up along the way. Keep running, you’ll never know the good, heck great, that will come from just stubbornly pushing forward, refusing to give up. Come on, we’ve been there before; we know what quitting gets us…NOTHING. You are worth the fight. Keep running. Go forward. Keep running. Make progress. Keep running and above all…F.T.Stroller.