Winning …

“How important is winning?”

    We are taught from an early age the importance of winning, the importance of striving to be the best at everything we do. I struggle with this.

When it comes to running, winning a race does not motivate me. Being the fastest or having the ability to run the furthest on a particular day may be important to others, but it has little importance to me. I enter races for the love of running, for the chance to spend time with my friends, and for the chance to challenge myself.

    “With that being said being the best on a particular day does effect me.”

    I love the making people happy, and when I do well at a race it seems to make people around me happy. When I do well at a race it makes sponsors happy. People seem to love a winner. Because of this I struggle.

Sometimes I loose sight of why I run, I get caught up in what is important to other people and forget what matters the most to me. I run for a feeling, a feeling that I have never been fully able to translate into words. A feeling of complete freedom and joy. A feeling that is so simple until I choose to complicate it.

     “Second place is just the first loser.”

    I have won a few races over the years, but the races that I am most proud of are the races that I struggled with. The races that I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. The races where I had to dig deeper than I thought possible. The races that humbled me. These races are the ones that make me proud, these are the races that I look back on on smile. These are the races that I would like people to take notice of, these are the races that define who I am and what I am capable of.

   I love to run and I love to challenge myself. I love the feeling of tired muscles and complete exhaustion after a long run. I love the sounds and the smells of a mountain trail. The feeling of acceptance that I get from being alone in the mountains. The comfort that comes from being completely alone with your thoughts. The rhythm of my heart beating, the feeling of air entering my lungs, and the sound of my feet against the ground.

    I don’t remember the first time I ran or why I started, but I do remember the feeling it gave me. I have run in the deserts and in the mountains, on beaches and roads. I have run barefoot and in boots, in sandals, sneakers, crocs, and sponsor correct shoes. To have run in jeans and shorts, tights, and basketball shorts. I have worn cotton shirts, technical shirts, sleeveless shirts, long sleeve shirts, and no shirt. I have run with hats, gloves, face masks, sun glasses, ipods, water bottles, camel paks, and bandannas. My appearance may have changed over the years, but the feeling and my love of running are still the same.

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