Some things were no brainers. Like, “don’t put sunscreen on your forehead,” or, “tape the toes whose nails you want to keep whenever you run long,” and “don’t leave your used running clothes in the laundry basket with your other dirty clothes overnight.” Yeah, real “duh” kinds of moments, but I’ve never claimed to be quick on my feet.
Other lessons took longer to sink in, but when they did, I knew they offered insight into how to live my life, not just on how to run for life. Some carry deep, insightful lessons, others offer simple common sense.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along my journey so far:
Toenails will grow back, but they’re never really the same.
I learned: We will heal after heartache, whether it’s death, illness, broken relationships, or financial woes. But, it will, and should, change us forever.
Wear sunscreen on any exposed skin below your eyes when you run unless you want to look 70 when you’re 30.
I learned: Take care of the body you have, you’re not getting another one this side of heaven.
Perseverance and discipline trump talent.
I learned: You may not come in first, but you’ll always finish if you stick it out through the hard times. And, sometimes finishing is the bigger victory.
A hard run cleanses and heals, ridding your body of toxins and clearing your mind.
I learned: Hurt, heal, and move forward. Healing almost always means feeling the pain that comes with the hurt before it will begin to get better.
Winning doesn’t always mean coming in first.
I learned: Sometimes, the victory is just getting to the starting line, in running, and in life. If you only feel victorious when you succeed, you’re never going to learn or grow.
Embrace discomfort. Breakthroughs come in training when you learn to push through the pain and tough it out.
I learned: We grow the most, learn the most, and mature the most during times of hardship. We learn to call on our faith, depend on our reserves, and endure the tough times of life. Most valleys are surrounded by mountains, or, at least, hills. It’s just a matter of pushing forward to the other side.
You can’t control the conditions on race day. A normally mild race may have a heat wave, or a snow storm. Be prepared to alter your race plan accordingly.
I learned: You can’t control life. Sometimes, it really throws you a curve ball. Be flexible and learn to make the best of bad situations.
Injuries are inevitable, but just because you’re down, it doesn’t mean you’re out.
I learned: Life may not turn out exactly as you planned, but staying focused on finding the right path and being open to change will lead you to the best life you can live.
When you’re injured, take time to heal.
I learned: After any major life event, slow down and take the time to lick your wounds before trying to move into the next phase of your life. We mere mortals want to get back to “normal” as quickly as possible following a life trauma. Sometimes, we need to just be still, listen for God’s voice, and let Him heal us with the balm of time.
Don’t try to go too far or too fast too soon.
I learned: In life especially, slow and steady really does win the race.
Know when to push it and when to reign it in.
I learned: There are moments in life that we have to seize quickly lest they slip away, and there are times when we have to sit back and let them come to us.
And, one last, but VERY important lesson:
Always carry toilet paper.
You know, because stuff happens. 🙂
What are some of the lessons running has taught you?