Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Letting go Lessons from the Monster Dash Race

Okay, so this post is only 2 months past due. I ran my 5K race on Halloween, and we've now had several other holidays pass between now and then. But I want to list some of the important lessons in "Letting go" that I learned from my 5K experience.

The was a 5K and a 5K-9 race (The 5K-9 being a play on canine, meaning people ran with their dogs). The 5K-9 race started 10 minutes after the regular 5K -to try to space out the runners I guess.

Well, I was only a few minutes into the 'race' before I had to deal with issues of letting go. The original bulk of the runners had spread out and already passed me by. Soon I was surrounded again (only temporarily) by a new pack of people AND their dogs. I reminded myself "I let it go" and let go of my ego. I had to allow myself to be ok with being passed by people running with their dogs who started 10 minutes after I did. That was a testament to how slow I am. But I let it go.

I tried to enjoy seeing the dogs all dressed up in hilarious costumes, often matching their owners. I thought that perhaps people who have dogs run more often, or are more used to running and it makes sense that they run faster than me. Either way, I was going to finish the race, at my own pace.

Throughout the entire race I had to keep reminding myself "What matters is that I am DOING it" as I kept getting passed by hundreds and hundreds of people-literally. Maybe even thousands. This can be a serious blow to the ego if you don't let it go. I don't think I passed many people. I kept my mind focused that speed wasn't necessary, the accomplishment came from actually doing it.

When I did finally make it to the finish line--there was no one there cheering for me. Everyone at the finish line seemed to be looking for their particular friend/spouse/whatever. Throughout the race there were people along the sidelines, cheering us runners on. My lesson was to take any cheering and feel as if it were for me. While I knew that none of them were there for me personally, I used the anonymous cheer-us-on'ers and mentally thought of them as cheering for me. I took any form of encouragement and acted as if it were specifically for me. Crossing the finish line was not super climatic, because there was no one searching for me there. But as I crossed it, I felt my accomplishment--I did it! I quickly moved away from the throng still searching for loved ones who would finish behind me (yay! I wasn't last!) and I bumped into my running teacher. She had a sticker for me!

She had little stickers for us each week during our 6 week running class. There were times during the class that the thought of sticker at the end kept me motivated:) and my own personal "I'm DOING it, that's what matters" mentality.

The sticker at the end of my 5K was an awesome little reminder of the BIG accomplishment--that I DID it. And I didn't let the ego get in my way. Yay me!

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