Mind Article : The Psychology and Heart of Running
According to Christopher Mc Dougall, the author of the best selling book “Born to Run“, he mentioned that people set targets – a marathon to run and that they were running in a performance arena. In a race, there is only one winner.
So many people run with this kind of attitude – that if you don’t win, you lose. Then began the metaphor that life was a race, a rat race and that we have limited resources in. Life becomes a competition, and in a competition there are only other competitors and no friends.
We often take the competitive spirit and use this psychology to push us far, really far. And sometimes this makes us stronger but then we end up strung out and on our toes. Life is a race, but in the end this race is only with ourselves. We do not need to make up enemies to charge at in our pain and discomfort , to hardwire ourselves for a struggle when that is not the case.
Running your own Race – The Secret of the Tarahumara
One thing i found very interesting is that the Trauhumara tribe who were actually insanely good runners (super athletes to be exact), do not run to win – they run as a way of life. They run in groups not to race but to work (hunt) and play together, maybe life is not so much about seeing people as competition but rather working with each other to put our best foot forward.
Maybe that’s what makes them such great runners because they have a sense of joy and from that sense of joy there comes greatness, and when we stop screaming and start listening we become kinder and gentler to people and kinder and gentler to ourselves. They run not for victory or a list of accomplishments to boast of but for camaraderie and the sheer joy of using their bodies for a basic, essential purpose. And therein lies the secret power of the super athletes.
Run not to win but to be happy
I see some people run casually in the streets, they have this grim mask, that says “I must do this I must compete and beat myself, I must win” or “Not again, not another run”. They run with a certain kind of intoxication that’s dangerous (an intoxication with themselves), they usually are focused on the results so much so that the reason and joy of running is lost to them , they run not with a clear headed purpose and playfulness but drop dead seriousness as though this is a life and death run. That its part and parcel of their “discipline”, “must-do” and checklist of achievements.
In this kind of running there could be either two outcomes, that you fail to achieve or that you finally conquered yourself and you feel disappointed because the next guy beside you ran a 3 hour 59 minute marathon while you ran a 4.5 hour marathon.
There are no “must-dos” in life, but rather a choose to do. When you resign yourself to must-dos you resign yourself to giving up the self awareness and the joys of making choices that matter, instead you assign yourself a hard script which you have to follow.
In the end the race is only with yourself, are you going to enjoy the process of running are you there just for the results ? Do you approach your health and fitness (and life in general) with reverence and awe or as something that has to be accomplished and crushed under the sheer force of your indomitable will ?
Running with Heart
There is strength in compassion and a greater strength in ourselves than we believe in. Chris MacDougall recounts this story about, an Ethiopian woman named Derartu Tulu who turns up at the starting line in a race she would unlikely be able to win.
She kept up with the lead runners and was pitted against Paula Raddcliffe who won the New York Marathon four times. Paula had a hamstring injury crop up but Derartu encouraged and waited for her, while the lead pack blazed forward. While Derartu finally ran, she won the marathon, with alot of heart and compassion. The true epitome of victory.
The video above is that of Derek Redmond, an Olympic runner. He posted the fastest time of the first round in the Olympics, and went on to win his quarter-final. In the semi-final, his hamstring snapped. He hobbled and stopped and fell to the ground in pain. Medics rushed to help him, but he wanted to finish the race. He began to hobble along the track and was joined on the track by his father. When they crossed the finish line, the crowd of 65,000 spectators rose to give Derek a standing ovation.
A Hero in all of us
The above picture shows Kirsten Koh. In a freak accident when she collided with a truck and was dragged underneath. She fractured both ankles and femurs. Her pelvis was shattered. Her left shoulder, fibula and shin bones were broken. She went on to have 19 operations totaling more than 80 hours and was bed-ridden for 2.5 months.
Yet, she never gave up. The doctors did not give a good prognosis about her ability to walk, not to mention run. But she persevered, and in the article, she mentioned that it was very hard to keep going, when life everyday was a pain. She drew her strength from stories people who have survived from accidents and come back stronger, but essentially i guess she drew power from herself – her inner hero. She would be in the Adidas Sundown Marathon, 42 km, completing the event from sheer heart and an ability to take life on its own terms and come out stronger and better – In short , she’s coming out a hero.
“Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them…cheer them…scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us…that keeps us honest…gives us strength…makes us noble…and finally allows us to die with pride”
Aunt May – In Spiderman
We all have that inner hero, the guy who tells us not to give up, it’s the hero within us that ultimately tells us to live our lives brave and strong, and though it is not the easiest path but it is the most rewarding.
- Running and Rambling
- Out Running
- The case for Lee Merrien (ethicalathlete.wordpress.com)
- So what’s the plan? (marathonmolly.wordpress.com)
- Five for Friday: Run-dition (runningandcupcakes.com)
- Inspirational Running Quotes