It was a cold December morning in Dallas yet one we had been anticipating for months. Downtown streets were filled with cars, inching their way, hoping to find a parking spot. The 2015 Dallas Marathon was less than an hour from starting time and my wife Cindy along with thousands of other runners were making their way to various staging areas, many wearing garbage bags as makeshift rain coats to keep dry before the race started.
Along with the runners were endless spectators, most here to cheer on friends and loved ones along the racecourse. A chain-link fence separated spectators and anxious runners ready to get the race started and shake of the pre-race jitters. We eventually found Cindy, meeting up at the chain-link fence. As we talked and encouraged her, another runner, someone I had never met before, approached us. “Are you running?” were the words he directed towards me. I wondered if I had somehow over stepped an imaginary boundary, maybe I was busted for trying to give my wife a kiss through the squares of the chain-link fence? “No, I’m not running, my wife is running” were my words back to him. “I’ll give you five dollars for one of your socks” were his next words. What a strange thing to ask, why would anyone want to buy a single sock I thought. “I lost one of my socks this morning, on the way to the race, can spare a sock?” said the man.
As I looked down, a plain as day was one foot with a sock and shoe on it and the other with no sock and a shoe. I thought, how is this guy going to run a marathon like this? “Of course you can have one of my socks, maybe you want both of them” I told him but he insisted he only needed one. So I took off my shoe and gave him a single sock, no charge of course. As I passed it through the chain-link fence he thanked me and put it on his sockless foot and headed back to get ready for the race to begin.
We met Cindy along the Half Marathon course at various locations. By the time she had crossed the finish line, I had developed a blister on my sockless foot and realized how we often go through life like that runner who might have tried to run the race with only one sock. While he likely could have completed that twenty-six mile journey handicapped with only one foot equipped for the job ahead, he instead humbled himself enough to recognize a weakness that could be overcome by simply asking someone for a bit of assistance, in this case, a simple sock.
My professional career has spanned over thirty years with many more to come I hope. I’ve come to realize that no single person really has everything together; we each have areas where we lack expertise or skills to be exceptional. Many of us hide these deficiencies for fear of being seen as weak yet real strength comes by knowing what our natural talents are and where we have deficiencies. A wise person, knowing these intricacies of their life will consider how to overcome challenges and be willing to ask others for assistance. For that one-sock runner, he decided not to try to run the race with a deficiency but asked for a little help to allow him to run the race well.
As you approach the week ahead, ask yourself, “What areas could I use some help?” Could there be co-workers, family, friends or even a spectator that could help you to go from good to great?
See you at the starting line, I’ll be the one wearing socks.
Run from, run to, run with, run for, run against, run because, run, run run.
I was speaking with a good friend the other day about our morning run. We both had decent runs that day; mine coving seven miles and his coving twenty-two. We soon got onto the topic of why we run and that got me pondering this topic the rest of the day.
When I consider why I initially started running I realize that reason has changed over time. I initially started as a form of weight loss. Soon I was preparing for my first 5k and learned that there was much more to running than simply burning calories, I loved it for the mental part of exercise. My mind just felt clearer after a run and I really enjoyed the people I was getting to meet along the way. As my runs increased and my distances got longer, I found running provided goals for me to accomplish such as completing my first half-marathon in 2013. Then there was the adventurous side of running. Anyone who knows me knows I love adventure. Over the many decades of my life, my adventurous spirit has lead me to backpacking, BMX racing, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and running. I love the adventure of running, seeing new places, exploring all sorts of things while moving along at a steady pace. I was recently introduced to trail running and found my first trail run leading me through thirteen miles of beautiful Northern California wilderness.
So why do you run?
Are you driven to beat your previous time, always pushing the boundaries of personal records? Maybe you’re trying to see just how far your body will take you under it’s own power. I’m still amazed at the distances people are capable of running. Many run for a cause, turning their running ability into a challenge to raise awareness for those afflicted with life threatening illnesses. Some run from something in their life, stress, a hectic home life or the realities of a dead end job. There are those that run to something; to fitness, to a better body, to a personal goal. Many run with something; with a group, with a program, with a spouse.
As runners, it’s important to come to an understanding that people run for may reasons yet we are still runners. Runners have a way of cheering on the guy completing his first full mile in the same way they celebrate the individual who just completed their first full-marathon. I love this about the running community, it seems to breakdown many barriers in our culture because we all started the same way, we began to run.
So what’s your story, why do you run?
Why do I run?
- I run to train for races
- I run for the challenge
- I run to be part of a team
- I run to get medals
- I run to collect t-shirts
- I run for the fashionable clothing
- I run for fun
- I run to drink beer
- I run so I can eat more
- I run to be out in nature
- I run to experience the seasons
- I run because I can do it anywhere
- I run to experience theme parks differently
- I run to stay fit
- I run to live longer
- I run to lose weigh
- I run to sleep better
- I run to feel young again
- I run to for a healthy heart
- I run to improve my mind
- I run to improve my memory
- I run because my doctor told me to
- I run to exercise the dog
- I run to keep a clear mind
- I run to commune with God
- I run to for perspective in life
- I run to forget the cares of the day
- I run to for personal space and time
- I run to listen to music
- I run to blow off steam
- I run to listen to audio books
- I run to ponder the day ahead
- I run to escape troubles in life
- I run for my family
- I run to find romance
- I run to bring sexy back
- I run for the social aspects
- I run to meet my significant other
- I run for the adventure
- I run for the runners high
- I run to travel to new places
- I run to improve my self-esteem
- I run to prove to others I am all that
- I run because someone said I couldn’t
Have you shared this with your fellow runners, why you show up week after week putting in the miles? Maybe it’s a good thing to be able to share that story? You may find you’re not alone in your unique perspective as a runner.
I’d love to hear your story.
See you on the trail,
Take the RunFinder Survey and tell us why you run.
Months of training with just weeks to go, you’ve been pushing hard. Through cold winter days, getting up at the crack of dawn, you strive to get that mileage in. Then the moment every runner fears, at first you’re in denial, “I just need to stretch” you think, but stretching doesn’t help. That feeling is more than a sore muscle; you know you’ve injured something and just weeks before the big race. No amount of denial or running through it is going to make any difference, this injury threatens months of preparation. Frustrated, you reach out to your running buddies, many of which have been in this exact place themselves, wondering if its going to heal soon enough for race day.
Disappointment is part of life but it doesn’t need to take you to the point of despair if you start to consider things from a broader perspective. Times of trial can actually be some of the greatest growing opportunities in our lives. Here’s a few things to consider when disappointment comes knocking.
- Refine Your Discipline – A wise person takes into account the information at hand and the advice of those they trust and applies that to actions. A foolish one, on the other hand, knows the right thing to do yet ignores that altogether and does the opposite or and pays dearly for it in the long run. Discipline as we run our race gives us a tactical advantage often overlooked by our competition. Be smart enough, even brave enough to do what you know to be the right thing.
- Others Centered – One reoccurring area I greatly enjoy about the running community is their ability to encourage one another. Coming to a point of realizing you’ll miss a race you’ve been training for gives you a chance to model exceptional sportsmanship. How rare in today’s sporting community to see this characteristic come out yet once you see it, you’ll never forget it. Take a moment of injury and turn it on its head as an opportunity to encourage and support others in your running community. These actions will speak louder than any words from the winner’s podium.
- Press On – The ability to pick up the pieces and continue moving forward is a great attribute of ones character. Moments like these tend to be times you’ll reflect on later in life and use as examples to help others down the road. Life is always about more than a single race; it’s about the ability to press on through trials towards the greater things of life.
Consider this moment in time, you may be overcoming an injury, some type of disappointment or setback so what will you make of this time? Consider turning it into an incredible opportunity to grow and model maturity to others in your sphere of influence. Nothing is by chance and making the most of what could be considered a misfortune might just yield the greatest moment of satisfaction in your life and be a point of inspiration for others.
Run the Race…
An amazing story about a teen with MS who becomes a running star.
A father with a brain tumor takes up running with his six-year-old daughter. It’s a tale of triumph. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.