“For The Race Called Life” – That’s what is imprinted on the little satchel that was given to all participants who registered for a fun run to celebrate Women’s Day.
I participated for the first run ever in my entire 4 decades+, old life. The 5 k was what I opted for hoping and praying that I would be able to complete it before I collapsed, gasping and frothing at the mouth with sheer fatigue.
Guess what? I completed it in 45 mins. My first ever, give me a high-5, yay!!! What did the race for life teach me? Well, like Haruki Murakami, who wrote about life really, when he ran, I too thought to myself: I can run. I can walk and run, I don’t have to run all the time. I can run at my pace and not worry about others who are behind or ahead of me. I don’t have to worry about taking up someone’s space, as space gets created for all, runners, walkers, old, young, infirm, men, women. As I moved slowly at a really gentle trot, there were those who got off the block with a lot of firepower and soon ran out of breath and I was able to overtake some of them. My mind was focused on completing the run. I was determined. I stopped to hydrate myself as I realised that it’s important to look after one’s body and listen to the mind and heart when it says, “pause”, “thirsty”, etc. I walked, without feeling guilty after the initial guilt of giving in (to walking) was overcome. I focused on the finish line and I was able to pick up running again where I’d left off without feeling the need to sit, stand, roll my head down in abject surrender. I was able to admire the grit and sheer determination of all the others who were also focused on crossing the finish line. I was non-judgemental and totally appreciative of other’s efforts. I focused on my breathing. I was able to hear my mind tick. I was in awe of my own determination at wanting to complete it. I was happy to hear the voice in my head that said, “you can do it, don’t you give up on me now”.
When I saw the Finish sign I couldn’t resist pumping my fist and almost bursting into tears of joy, relief, accomplishment and breaking the barriers of my mind. I had endured. I had triumphed against all the naysayer voices within my head that asked doubtfully, “can you really do it?”
Yes I bloody well can and did. I ran For The Race Called Life and triumphed. I didn’t come first, it wasn’t a competitive race, so in actuality, I was really racing against myself. I was awarded a medal at the end of it, same as every single participant there. Yes, it was symbolic. You run your own race, keep taking deep breaths, stop at pit stops to hydrate yourself, listen to those who egg you on and draw inspiration from those who’re running the same race of life, in different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. No one is jostling you, toppling you or causing you any insecurity. There’s no urgency to win, no one to sneer at you because you didn’t have a podium finish. You ran, focused on the task at hand and the Finish sign came up on you quietly, unimposingly and you slipped by the gates with a big Whoosh! Yes, you ran, and you just did it. By Jove! Happy Women’s Day!
For all the women out there, you’re not just phenomenal, but a phenomenon. Wake up, rise up, reach out and shine your light and shine in your glory. There’s no one quite like you. Xoxoxo!