Sunday, May 25, 2008

Winning is Fun, However,
Taking Part is Everything!

The thrill of competition is comparable to nothing else. The decision to participate, hard determined preparation, then the strategic options process in the lead up to the event, the final count down to the start, weighing up your peer group as opposition and the fight with yourself to banish thoughts of doubt and insecurities.

As you line up at the start, ready to do battle with others in the race, your mind darts around the subject of physical limitations and self imposed boundaries.

With heart pumping, muscles taught, you are ready for the rush of adrenalin that the start will spark. The process of competition becomes a drug in itself, motivating you to go forward and do your best.

Fresh from my final race in a five race series, I feel satisfied that I did myself justice and most importantly, I experienced the thrill, the excitement and the challenge of ‘taking part’. There is nothing like taking part. I can example this by sharing with you that for most of the 3K road race last Wednesday I was running shoulder to shoulder with Ben, a young man who had some advantages over me; years, an elegant free flowing stride and smoother breathing. All of this served to propel Ben past me in the final 600 metres and finish in front of me. I was not distraught at Ben striding off in front of me, I was focused on finishing in my target time of 12:00. This would be an improvement on last week’s per mile time and that would secure my improved performance every week since the first 10K event 5 weeks ago!

I dug deep and pumped my arms in a relaxed manor as possible, whilst gasping for every possible drop of oxygen with each inhalation, focusing on keeping my tempo and forcing one foot in front of the other, over the last 50 meters I raised my effort and increased the pace in the knowledge that the pain would soon stop!

Finishing in 12:01 and achieving my goal, I was pleased, I took part, I savored the experience, and over the 5 weeks of racing each Wednesday I finished 4th in my age category, I even received a trophy for my efforts, not too bad for an old man who only started to run again seven months ago, all of this after an absence of physical activity for over 30 years!!

Oh I nearly forgot to say Congratulations to Ben, he was magnificent in the race, humble in triumph and at the ripe old age of 12 he has demonstrated strength, and character many adults never achieve. Well done Ben and thank you for taking part, I know you agree “taking part is everything”

David Carruthers May 25, 2008

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