Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's Not a Race - It's An Event

My facebook status at 9 pm last night was, going to bed early for a 6 am wake up call for a training run. Hope that I will wake up to the Red Sox going to the World Series! And they are. Back when they played the Yankees in a nail biter of a series, a superstition was born in our household. Whenever I went to bed before the end of the game, the Sox won but if I stayed up, they lost. So it only makes sense for me to go to sleep if it is going to be a late night game! Boston can really use a World Series right now as we stand Boston Strong a little more than 6 months after the Boston Marathon bombings.

I'm glad I went to bed early so that I felt rested and refreshed as Tom and I headed to Andover where members of the Merrimack Valley Striders running club were meeting us to help us train for the Feaster Five Road Race happening on Thanksgiving morning.

We watched the sunrise as we drove along the highway. We saw a day dawn with a beautiful blue sky. It was chilly as we gathered in front of Starbucks on Main Street in Andover exchanging hellos while groups were organized into runners, runners/walkers, walkers and 2.5 miles and 5K route. Tom and I decided to go for the 5K route since we knew we probably wouldn't have a chance to return to Andover to train on the route before Thanksgiving.

Two members of the club, Bob and Melissa led us for the first portion of our training. We were the only two walkers. Bob had heard me speak at the Club and asked me how I am doing now. I gave him an update on how well I am doing. As we came to a fork in the road, Bob and Melissa went on to do the 2.5 mile route and told us to not worry about finding our way back. It was a triangle and we couldn't get lost. Lisa who organizes the Feaster Five training run group had assured us before we began that she would sweep the route and come back in with us.

As Tom and I walked through the picturesque neighborhood streets, we felt the warm sun on our faces, the splendor of the changing leaves and the solitude of the neighborhood. We kept a fairly brisk pace for me. I had total trust that we would not get lost if we just followed the directions they gave us even though we were in a totally unfamiliar place. We hadn't exchanged cell phone numbers and I did not have my usual panic of "Am I holding them up? Will they wait for us? Am I going fast enough?" I thoroughly enjoyed the day and moving in my body.

I reflected on the words that Bob said as we were walking together, "The Feaster Five is more of an event that it is a race".

Isn't that so true about life? We are always so busy with our goals and racing from here to there or feeling our insides race believing there is not enough time, feeling pressure to get things done.

When I ran the Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run & Walk, I could feel myself racing and wanting to race since it was my first event after a 2 year running hiatus. I am delighted I did and thrilled my body met the challenge of a 14 minute mile for mile 2 with an overall pace of about a 15 minute/mile.

But the Feaster Five feels different for me and my life now feels different for me. As I turn the corner into my 60th birthday in just about two months, there is nothing to race toward. I want to embrace my life as a sacred event. I want to breathe deeply and slow down while at the same time relishing being able to challenge myself on the roads and in the pool at Spaulding as I, to quote Gil Hedley, enliven what I have.

I was reflecting on how fortunate I am to be able to be outside on a glorious Fall day training for the Feaster Five without any pressure, goals or expectations. I felt a sense of total delight and had faith that we were going the right way. My body embraced the change in scenery from our usual training run route and the hilly terrain. We were so excited when we saw Lisa running toward us to bring us back to Starbucks where we began our 5K training route.

We sat with Lisa, Bob and Melissa enjoying a cup of tea and I a blueberry yogurt honey muffin. We talked about the Striders, the Feaster Five, and touched upon Marathon Monday. We shared health and fitness journeys. We got insider tips for race day.

Sometimes when we get caught up in racing, we forget to put away the technology, pause to stop and share a cup of tea with new friends enjoying the change of seasons because after all life is not a race - it is an event to be cherished.

Presence from the very soon to be released "A Celebration of Life". My books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon

gifts of awakening and awareness
come in the oddest of boxes
old age
presence always presenting
for transformation
the physical body
an illusion really
yet necessary
if we are to experience the fullness of life
the journey is the destination
being present
receiving all the gifts that presence presents.

No comments: