The Long Run

By Scott Westerman
The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.

Running has been an important meditation practice for much of my adult life. There is no high like a runner’s high. When the endorphins are flowing, new ideas seem to flow with them. And a regular commitment to cardiovascular activity has benefits that extend well beyond the physical body.

Time and circumstance derailed my passion for much of the last seven years. Returning to the place where I first laced up my Adidas inspired me to again attempt an every-other-day regimen.

I had forgotten how many things about running parallel the road to a successful life. Here are just a few:

Stretch yourself – This primary exercise that precedes every run makes it possible for you to put in more miles with less pain. Stretching outside of your comfort zone in life has the same effect.

Get out there and do it – As Woody Allen observed, “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” For me the hardest part of running is getting out of bed and walking out the front door. Once I’m on the road, I’m always glad I did it. Step beyond your self created obstacles and watch the magic happen.

Run with others – The thing that really got me back on track was RunKeeper.com. This nifty site ties in with an app on my GPS enabled iPhone that tracks my mileage and route. The real motivator here is that I share my activities with a selected group of accountability buddies, other Run Keeper members who can see what I’m doing. Character may well be defined as what happens when nobody else is watching, but it’s hard to underestimate the power of having a friend watching over your shoulder.

You learn more from the races you lose than the races you win – Watch and learn from those who run in front of you.

Attack the hills – A great thought from an unknown philosopher: Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.

Enjoy the view – I like to run just before sunrise. In the Fall, Orion keeps me company in the South and the orange skies in the east remind me that every day is a new beginning. My per-mile times always suffer because, at some point, I have to stop and drink in this steadfast miracle.

Keep at it – Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight,” is the true essence of life. There will always be obstacles and setbacks. The road is littered with good people who gave up too early while History celebrates great people who never gave up. Robert Brault had the right idea when he wrote, “Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.”

As the Buddhists might say, “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on running.” If you’ve bracketed your passion and have goals that support it, get in the race and you’ll be surprised how far you can go… In the long run.

Have a great week and I’ll see you on the road!