THE “BYE” WEEK…
This past weekend I experienced a pair of “byes” and it gave me a strong moment of clarity to reaffirm why I love distance running and races.
Let me ‘splain.
My main college team, the Wisconsin Badgers (Go Bucky) were on a bye this past Saturday and while I did keep tabs on my other alma mater Florida State (Go ‘Noles), I kind of felt disinterested in college football for a weekend. It was similar to how I didn’t really care so much about pro football last weekend when my Green Bay Packers were off. A little bit of out of sight, out of mind.
Now also this past weekend I didn’t run a race. I’ve got a half marathon in two weeks, the Lexus LaceUp Ventura Half Marathon, so I was just doing a long run in preparation. Believe it or not, most weekends I don’t run races (only about 12 out of 52 weekends annually am I actually on a bling hunt).
What made it a little different than normal was this was a big race weekend for many of my friends.
The Long Beach Marathon was going on in town (which I’ve run several times) and I had over a dozen friends running. The Chicago Marathon (another race I love) was also going with several friends pounding pavement in Chi-Town. I also had friends running races in Portland, Munich, Louisville (Ironman) and other cities. I kinda felt a little like I was the only person not racing this weekend. Poor poor Scott.
But rather than tuning out to what was going on simply because I wasn’t involved, I was actually more excited about racing than usual. I was excited for all of my friends. Thanks to social media and race tracking, I was able to follow everyone’s preparations and share in their enthusiasm. I saw a whole slew of selfies/videos and plenty of “my outfit is laid out and I’m ready to run” photos.
It was great.
And when I awoke on Sunday morning (a little later because it is my one day to sleep in) I quickly checked to see how everyone fared.
I took great joy in seeing how several of my friends PR’d in their races. A few others struggled, but still finished. And I anxiously read their stories and sent out congratulatory texts and posts to everyone.
I was utterly happy seeing my friends succeed. And there was that strong moment of clarity I mentioned.
One of the things that makes me enjoy distance running and racing is the strong camaraderie. It’s not about competition or beating someone else (or some team). It’s about pursuing a goal, determination in the face of adversity and individual achievement. Finisher times and places don’t have to matter unless you want them to.
We can cheer for everyone.
We can all win because we’re only really competing against ourselves. And that’s why every finisher deserves a medal when they cross the line.
So to my friends who ran their best races this past weekend, I am thrilled for you and impressed by your achievements. And to those who didn’t log their best time, but still gave it their all… my hat is off to you as well. I consider myself lucky to have you all as friends and to share in both your struggles and triumphs.
Maybe bye weeks aren’t such a bad thing after all.
Support each other… and Run on!