The running community and the Diz Runs family lost one of the good ones this week when Stephen Lee passed away unexpectedly.
Stephen was a friend to me and to many in the online running community, and he will certainly be missed.
You Never Know When It’s Your Time
The fact about life is that at some point there is going to be death.
It’s not a fun and uplifting topic, which is probably why it doesn’t often get talked about, but it is something that is going to happen to all of us at some point.
One thing that I struggle with is living for the future.
I’m a bit of a work-a-holic, as Beks would probably confirm, and I’m honestly trying to work hard today so that I can better provide for my family tomorrow, next year, and into the next decade.
Problem is, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
You May Never Race Again
What would it be like if we treated every race like it was the last one we would ever complete? What, if anything, would we do differently?
What, if anything, would we do differently?
Would be time on the watch when you cross the finish line even matter?
I’m not advocating that we stop racing hard. If that is your thing and something you like to do, then keep doing it!
If that is your thing and something you like to do, then keep doing it!
Lord knows I’m still going to keep digging for PRs and an eventual BQ.
But maybe we can still race hard while also treating each race like it could be our last.
Make It Fun:
You can run a serious race without taking yourself too seriously.
Try running with a smile on your face and see what a difference it can make for you. Studies have shown that our tolerance for pain actually increases while we are smiling. So if you’re pushing hard and starting to hurt, start smiling and you’ll literally feel better.
Studies have shown that our tolerance for pain actually increases while we are smiling. So if you’re pushing hard and starting to hurt, start smiling and you’ll literally feel better.
But smiling isn’t the only way to have fun at a race.
Thank the volunteers. Talk to other runners in the starting corral or on the course. Stop for a few photo ops. Give spectators, especially the kids, a high five.
If you want to race hard, race hard.
But just in case you never get to toe the line again, you might as well have fun while you’re racing hard.
Stick Around the Finish Line
If you’re able to stick around the finish line and cheer in the runners behind you, do it.
I mean, if this is your last race ever, you might as well take in as much of the experience as possible, right?
Ultras are notorious for having some type of cookout after the race near the finish line, and many of the runners will hang out for hours drinking beers, eating burgers, and shooting the shit.
Why can’t this be a thing at every race?
Why are we, and I’m VERY guilty of this as well, always in such a rush to finish our race and get back home and on with our lives?
However your race goes, why not stick around the finish line for as long as you can after your race?
Just in case.
Make a New Friend
For many of us, races are our chance to get around some new runners.
So what do we do?
We put in our ear buds, turn our music up, and ignore everyone around us.
Why not introduce yourself to another runner?
If I’ve learned one thing from doing the podcast for the past 3+ years, it’s that each runner has a really interesting story and it doesn’t take much to get them to start sharing.
Shoot, half the time all it takes is asking them what their favorite distance to race is and why!
Go ahead and steal my question.
The next time you’re at a race, say hi to a stranger and ask them the intro question to the podcast and see what happens.
You might just find yourself talking to someone for an hour about running, life, and everything in between.
And by the time you’re finished chatting, you might have a new friend for the rest of your life.
Never Take Tomorrow for Granted
Having long-term goals in our running is a good thing.
It keeps us on track and gives us something to work towards when the weather sucks or we don’t feel like getting out of bed at 3:30 AM on a Saturday.
But don’t lose sight of today thinking about tomorrow.
Last weekend, Stephen was celebrating his birthday after taking part in a 200+ mile relay event.
This weekend, Stephen’s sons are planning his funeral.
Have your big goals and keep working toward them. I’m not going to stop working towards mine, and I’d encourage you to keep working towards yours as well.
But while you’re working on those bigger goals, make sure you take time to appreciate the present.
Live each day to the fullest. Run each race like it’s going to be your last.
Because eventually, all of us will run our last race.
And there’s no better way to finish than with a smile on your face after doing what you love.
What Would You Do Differently if You Knew Your Next Race was Going to Be Your Last Race?
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