Running through life!

I used to do a lot of running, and established some very good race times in road races from 5Km to Marathon (42Km) distances. All that was a long time ago now, but I wanted to get back into running and, as we still have a treadmill in our basement, I re-acquainted myself with it!

I have always said that I have solved more problems, and had more creative ideas, during a run than at any other time. The rationale which supports that as not unusual, is that the first place the blood goes to when leaving the heart … is the brain!ย  A vigorous activity will demand more oxygen, which will signal the heart to pick up the pace a little, which will produce a steady and increased flow of blood to stimulate the brain!

But this Post is not about running … or increased blood flow!

While I was running on our treadmill, I started thinking about the possibility of running in a 5Km road race next spring, and then my thoughts drifted to the race pack just prior to the start. Because of my projected finishing time, I would position myself around the middle of the starting pack.

Then my thoughts drifted away from racing, and towards perspectives, and how we see others. Blogging friend (and co-author of The Odessa Chronicles) Carolyn, posted some great comments which addressed similar concepts (link below)

It occurred to me that when I am in the race pack and waiting for the starting gun, nobody around me will know that my personal best over that distance is quite impressive. How could they know? Why do they need to know? Well of course they don’t need to know as it does not impact them in any way. It may well be possible that the person behind me has posted faster times than me, but do I care? No … because it is not relevant to me. All that matters when the starting gun is fired, is that we all run a trouble free and rewarding race.

In running, as in life, appearance is can be a great deceiver.

Who trained? Who didn’t? Who is excited? Who is on a training run? Who is in their first race?

There is a great analogy to life here. That person living on the street may be inviting a response from us, but we don’t know why that person is there. Until we know that person’s history, we really should not offer an opinion as to their character.

We have all seen people who flaunt their affluence but again, do we understand their history? Were they born into affluence or was it achieved through hard work. Are they really that affluent, or just heavily into debt?

Running is a great equalizer in that the only common denominator in a race pack, is that everybody is expecting to cross the Finish Line. Everybody has put some degree of training into the challenge, and everybody is dressed for the job at hand. The only predictable factor is that the runners “up front” will include a few who are expecting to win the race, everybody else is running for personal satisfaction reasons.

You cannot, and should not, judge a runner based on their appearance in a race pack because it tells you very little. You would have no idea of their background and, while some will dress to represent their running club, others will simply dress for comfort … probably shorts and old tshirt! The dress code tells you nothing of their ability.

Likewise, judging a person on the street or in the shopping mall etc. makes no sense whatsoever.ย  So what if they are casually dressed? So what if they are fashionably dressed? So what if …… (just fill in the blank)?ย  It is all irrelevant, unless you understand the details of what made them who they are today, and if you have all that information, I would hope that you would be using it in a positive way! Just thinking!

25 thoughts on “Running through life!

  1. This resonated with me. Your analogy is spot on. I’ve personally noticed that the less information we have about someone, the more likely we are to jump to conclusions. The more we learn about someone, the more we realise how little we actually know about them.

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    • You are of course absolutely right. What so many people seem to have trouble grasping, is that one really should get to know somebody before vocalizing any opinions.
      As I noted in a Post a long time ago … if you are driving on a major highway and a car races passed you on the soft shoulder of the road, are they a complete idiot … or an on-call emergency professional responding to a call?


  2. Forgot to add – props to you and anyone / everyone that can run such distances. Good grief I can barely run a tap!

    That beach gallop was just something else especially when you consider I was just a 10yr old kid. Don’t know if you’ve ever seen or recall the scene from “Spaceballs” where the commander gets ahead of himself and orders the ship to go at Ludicrous Speed then immediately regrets his decision. That’s how it felt when 10yr old me was “Yeah yeah no worries I know I won’t hit the – WWWARRRGGHH!!!!!” ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. A great post that gives one more things to think about. Glad I could help some in inspiring your thoughts. Thanks for the mention. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think setting a goal to perhaps run in another marathon is a wonderful idea, go for it!

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  4. A very long time ago I worked with a young woman (early 20s) who would always say what she would do in a specific situation. It was always critical of the person who was in that situation at the time. Then some bad luck happened to her — divorce, job loss — surprise! she did not act as sanctimonious as she had predicted. I was older than her at the time but she was so over the top that I couldn’t help seeing the obvious lesson. Nobody really knows what’s going on with other people.

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  5. Used to have something similar as a rider back when I first started, we had no money and my whole style and way of riding and generally working with and around horses was rough round the edges to say the least.

    It got me ripped on to no end by the posh pony crew who had taken riding lessons from being just toddlers and were all decked out in the expensive gear on expensive horses I couldn’t even dream of being able to afford to ride but it didn’t matter because what I lacked in formal lessons I made up for in spades with ability.

    As a kid it was hard because I loved horses and loved riding but was bullied and ridiculed and looked down on almost constantly but one of the best moments of my life followed the worst. I’d been allowed a week’s riding holiday at 10yrs old which was spent on a large livery yard owned and run by top trainers and owners of several very successful eventers and racehorses.

    Each morning we had to get up at 5am, walk well over a mile up to the fields, catch and bring approx 10 horses from the field back down the main yard. The girls who ripped on me for not knowing all the formal stuff and what they considered the basis would have done the journey several times to bring the horses down but I โ€“ in my innocence and through having done the same for a few years already couldn’t understand the faffing, fussing and time-wasting so just said I’d jump on one horse and ride up front if someone else stayed at the back to catch any stragglers and we’d walk the rest down the lane to the yard. Just needed a third person to have the main yard gate open so they followed me straight through and after some โ€œPfft!! As if she thinks you can do thatโ€

    I clipped on two lead ropes to the halter, hopped on bareback and started trotting down the lane and sure as โ€“ the rest followed. That wasn’t any incredible horse-whispering skills on my part it was purely through understanding horses and how the herd behaviour works. They gave me the silent treatment all day.

    The last morning when I was due to be picked up and taken home a young groom woke me earlier, tacked up her ex-racehorse (a former steeplechaser) and took me to the beach for a ride. As we rode she talked me through and briefed me on what would happen cos I’d never ridden a racehorse in my life or taken any horse to the beach before.

    Will never forget this 17.2hh Thoroughbred horse dancing and itching to get going and the groom saying โ€œDon’t hit the brakes โ€“ no matter what do not hit the brakes just let him go OK?โ€

    He set off so quick it literally took my breath away and we galloped I don’t know how long but it was the most incredible experience of my life.

    When we got back to the yard I was met by a wall of angry glances by the girls who demanded to know why I’d been taken for a beach gallop and not them.

    โ€œCos I knew she’d be able to handle him that’s why. If I had confidence you were as able I’d have taken you too but unfortunately I don’t think you would have managed himโ€

    They were infuriated and the last words before I got in Mum’s car from one particularly nasty piece of work was โ€œShe felt sorry for you because you’re so poor and will never get to ride anything decent againโ€

    That stung like hell and I spent nearly all the car journey home with tears in my eyes wishing I wasn’t so hated.

    About 8yrs later I rocked up to enter a cross country event riding the same racehorse I’d taken out to the beach having kept in touch with his owner and eventually started competing with him.

    As I was fiddling with my competitor number I heard someone say my name and looked up to see the same horrible cow who had left me brimming with tears. Still had the same attitude and was looking down her nose but a little worried at the same time.

    When we cleared that last fence and galloped for the finish I saw her stamp her foot and walk off in a huff and it made me so chuffed to have maybe taught her a lesson I hope she didn’t forget which was never to judge another person again based on what they may or may not have.

    Nobody else on that course knew my history and how I started out riding and the judges that awarded me first place and clocked my time as the quickest with fewest penalties and wrote me up as leading the rounds didn’t either.

    One of my favourite event riders is Mary King who started off by riding a donkey for someone when she was a little girl. She was one of the most successful riders in the world and also one of the most terrifying to watch because she was fast, took risks and nearly wiped out so often it was untrue but when I met her once at Badminton she remarked on her humble beginnings being what gave her the edge in many ways and said โ€œVery few truly great sportsmen and women have had it made. When you’ve had to work that bit harder to get where you want to be you have to be much better as wellโ€

    The equestrian world is full of snobbery but it’s great to see riders like Mary King who started off on a donkey getting all the way to the top ๐Ÿ™‚

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