It’s just running … Yes, I said it! It’s just running. This coming from someone who is nearing 500 days of a running streak, someone who runs 34 miles on a Monday morning just because, a person who wakes up to get out and run the track, someone who drives for hours just to run with friends that are often times longer than the time actually running. At the end of the day it’s just running, a motor skill that shouldn’t be taken fore granted, an enjoyable sport, and a fantastic way to stay fit and enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s just running.
Running is not who I am, it doesn’t define me (or hope it doesn’t). Running is what I do. It does teach us lessons about who we are and those around us, but still it’s just running. I see too many people feel the “pressure” on race day, the nerves building up, the overly serious looks and attitudes for that matter. Chill out people it’s just running!
Remember it’s something we do! Not who we are! Things we do should be beautiful enjoyable, non-stressful. This isn’t a job for 99% of the people who do it. I mean if you are a pro and it is what puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your families head, I get it I understand results can determine your income (prize money) and your sponsorship deals, etc. However, for the rest of the runners, we pay to run, we commit our time to training, and have supportive family members (spouse and children) that allow us to do this. With that being sad, why make it stressful for them too.
People ask me how I deal with the race day stress. My response … what race day stress? It’s just running. I don’t feel pressure, in fact often times I might be a little too casual when it comes to race day, but why add the pressure? It’s just running. You want real pressure or stress, think about the doctors and public service workers who have the jobs to save lives, that is pressure and potential stress. Running cannot be anywhere close to what they have to deal with.
Yes, I use the term “I am a runner”, only because I run. If you run (fast, slow or middle of the pack, racing or training), you are a runner. That is something I identify with because that is what I do, not who I am. This is not my job, but it is my hobby. Even when it comes to my job, as an assistant soccer coach at the professional level, it is what I do, not who I am.
When everything is all said and done, I hope that people won’t just understand me as someone who ran the Boston Marathon or finished 50 marathons, or ran a fast half-marathon time. Because at the end of the day or at the end of our lifetimes IT’S JUST RUNNING! I want people to know me as an awesome friend who they met at a race, but I couldn’t care less if they remember my pace. I want them to remember that I am a husband and father when they see my family at the finish line, not always remembering what place I finished in.
When you get those race day jitters and feel pressure, hopefully you will remember it’s just running. Enjoy each unique step, stride, mile and race it has to offer. Like me, for many of you it is a just another form of exercise or a hobby that we enjoy. So enjoy it, smile at the cameras during a race, give out high fives, thank the people along the course, say hello to other runners, because at the end of the day IT’S JUST RUNNING!