Running, Spandex & Life

Friends together
Originally uploaded by hanninski.
Every once in awhile I run with a friend of mine whom I refer to as Math Genius Nate – he is working on a PhD in theoretical Math & I really don’t know what that means because math hurts my head. So Math Genius Nate told me about a run he did at Wash Park when a complete stranger passed him wearing spandex shorts. His competitive edge and the spandex provoked him to pass this guy and beat him the next few miles until he peeled off for home exhausted before the finish line. He told me that as he limped back home he thought to himself: “you can’t judge another runner by how they look when you meet them in the middle of a run; you don’t know how long they’ve been running before they got to you, how many miles they’ve got to go, or even their ability.”

As he told me this I half-joked, “Yeah, I think that’s how it is in life, too.”
Then it really sunk under water for me as I thought of all the people I know, the ones I’ve known for decades, and the ones I met in the past few weeks. When our paths crossed we had various miles behind us. Some had more, some had less until the finish line; some had sweated through many of those miles and others hadn’t even seen real exhaustion; some were new to the journey, some were veterans with the scars to boot. And if I were to live competitively, I would be working myself into a mess comparing how I was doing next to any of them, thus, missing out on the fun of getting to know them for the short while we live/run the Race together….even if they are wearing spandex.

There is a song called “Finish Line,” that somewhat speaks to both sides of the race metaphor and reminds to let lie the ways I beat myself up comparing to others:

”Last year was a good year, I beat myself to a bloody mess

But blue is the colour of the days I’m hoping for

What have you done to the mind you had
Out there somewhere is the finish line
- Fanfarlo
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