Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Running Has Taught Me ~ Success and The Jingle Bell Run 2013

Long overdue, but finally: The Jingle Bell Run 2013.
What Running Has Taught Me ~ Finding Success in Every Effort

The Jingle Bell Run 2013.
People have fun dressing up for this race.

photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige

I trained and planned for this race, with huge expectations. Huge for me that is. I wanted to better my time from last year, and not walk at all if I could help it. Mainly, I didn't want to throw up when I was done.
I had high hopes for the race - see my big smile?
I am in the baseball hat in the middle.

photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
I succeeded in that last thing, I didn't want to throw up and fall over when I was done. That was it. But at least I felt good at the end.

Perhaps not the best race, I was slower than last year. I did have to walk, but really just a little, and yes, it was on those confounded hills. I still couldn't drink the water at the water station, just couldn't catch my breath. (The station is at the top of a huge, long hill!!)

At the end of it all, I felt good when I was done. I even smiled a lot and made silly faces to my daughter, who captured them a little too well. 
That was me #93 and my 'Great! Another hill!!' face. 
photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
I felt like I just got home from one of my normal runs, and that was a great reward. I ran the race like I run my workouts. Same pace, almost exactly, as my normal runs.

Is this the best way to race? Probably not. The hills really got me this time. I felt like I should be used to them by now, but during the race they got me. I kept thinking, as I was having trouble breathing going up the hill, I am not training enough for these hills! But I did run up most of them.

I was disappointed in my time, but when I saw the results that changed. I was 6th in my age group! Not too shabby!! And my time was not too bad. At least I didn't do worse than my normal workouts.
photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige and

That doesn't sound like a good race, but you know what? It was good enough for me!

There will be other races, there will be other hills. I ran this one, finished it well. I didn't want to throw up, like I did with the last 2 races I ran. Plus, only 3 away from placing in my age group! That was a nice surprise.
My trophy, from my daughter,
for still smiling at the end.

photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
I went out there, I ran, I finished, I learned something from it.

Overall - A SUCCESS!

Success isn't always winning, and it isn't always what you thought it would be. But as long as you can find successes in your efforts, it is well worth it, and a huge success.

Most importantly, your success is very different than everyone else. I know there were runners who were there to beat times and win. 
A young, thin, and fast Santa.
photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
I know there were runners who wanted the best costume award. There were even some going for both I think. 
A speedy elf
photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
For me, those things weren't as important as finishing feeling good and walking less. 

I know what I will do different next time for sure. This is probably the most important thing a race can teach us about life. We can look at our performance, and see where we can improve. And next time, we improve.

For one, I will definitely wear a longer shirt next time. Maybe even a little Christmas-y dress up too. At least what I did last year.
I actually meant that smile!
I was feeling pretty good!

photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
Second, I will pick up speed more sooner at the end of the race. That alone may have helped me match last year's time.

And third, I will add more hills to my training. I think that is still the weakest part for me, even though I did improve a bit from last race.

Learning how to improve is probably the most important thing a race can teach us about life. We can look at our performance, and see where we can improve. And next time, we improve.

In life, looking at performances in situations, specifically where we were strong and where we need improvement, only helps us succeed each and every step of the way. In my life, I looked at some dealings I had over the past several months, and saw some negative people taking advantage of me. So I changed, I stood firm and did not give in, and I made changes to get those people out of my life. SUCCESS!

Success in getting back to living a happy life, doing things that make me feel good. 

This series, What Running Has Taught Me, is just some of what running has taught me.

{See previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.}

Why did it take running to teach me? When running, I am not distracted. I am focused on me. 

Even if I am tired, I am so focused on running, these thoughts have the time to manifest on their own. As I run, or even walk on those tough days, I do find my mind working as hard as my body. My mind realizes what it takes to keep me running, and these same lessons can also be brought into daily life. 

Even though I took a little break from running, the valuable life lessons stuck with me, and I used them to get me to a better place now. 

I am getting back to running this week. Who knows what other lessons are ahead? Who knows what else I can learn by focusing on me? I am open to being surprised. 
photo courtesy of Thoughts of Raige
What life lesson can you share from an experience that didn't turn out like you wanted, but could still call a success?

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