Be Unstoppable: Leave it All On The Track
Ask any group of runners worth their salt how much they put into their race, into every race, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. “I left it all on the track. I held nothing back.”
Runners train hard for every race and their training is not just running. They do lots of that, but there’s more of a science to the sport than just slipping on some expensive sneakers and going for a run. There’s strategy involved. Whether to start fast and get ahead of the pack, set a pace no one will be able to sustain, or to hang back, let the leaders exhaust themselves, then make a move for the lead at the end.
Which plan they go with depends on numerous factors like where the race is taking place, if it’s a qualifying heat or the finals, who the competition is and what his or her strengths are. How the runner is feeling. Weather conditions. What race is next, if any. Each runner will come to the race with his own strategy, a mental plan of how he wants to run, what kind of time he’s shooting for, and where he wants to place.
But if it’s a race that matters, and most of them do, every runner shares one strategy: give it all you got.
With the exception of some of the elite runners in the qualifying heats, any athlete who doesn’t pour himself onto the track and leave 100 percent of himself there won’t last very long.
In high school I participated in track and field and at times had to fill in and run a leg of the mile relay. That’s 400 meters per runner, once around the track. I wasn’t a strong runner (jumping was my thing) but was at least able to hold my own. I loved the start, the moment that baton hit my hand and my legs began to churn. I felt like I was as near weightless as I could be. I’d take the first turn with ease, leaning into it, my arms pumping, breathing so naturally. By the second turn my lungs were beginning to tighten, my legs beginning to feel heavy. But still I pressed on. Coming out of the third turn it felt as though someone had played a cruel trick on me and filled my shoes with concrete. My lungs heaved, hands tingled. I had to will my legs to move, my feet to find the ground. And by the time I handed the baton off to the next runner I was spent, entirely. I’d done my job and left everything I had on that track.
In so many ways, life is like that race. The longer it goes on the harder it gets. Responsibilities pile up. Challenges get more complicated. Illnesses drop in for a visit. Finances fluctuate, spit and sputter. We deal with family issues, friend issues, work issues. So much competes for our time and the distractions are plenty.
But you know what? That desire to run hard and leave everything I had, every last ounce of effort I could muster, wasn’t decided going into turn three. No, it was determined long before I felt that baton slap into my palm, long before the race even began. That kind of effort comes from somewhere special, somewhere deep in the soul.
I wasn’t the fastest runner but I can honestly say I never finished a race wishing I would have run harder, wondering what would have happened if I’d only given it my all. There was plenty of sweat and panting and cramping but there were no regrets.
That’s how I want to live my life. With no regrets. With no wishing I would have given more. With no wondering how differently things would have turned out if I’d only pushed harder. When I finish this life, I want to be satisfied that I left it all on the track.
Run this race with me. Pour yourself into life. Empy every last ounce of your being as you run this race. It’s the only way you’ll be unstoppable. Challenges may slow you but they won’t stop you. Disappointments may cause you to steal a glance at those around you but you won’t quit. Failures will come and you’ll run through them.
But don’t expect to find that kind of resolve on the fly. Determine it now. Resolve it today. Promise yourself and everyone around you that you will not stop. No matter what. The finish line awaits. You may not run the best race; you may not run the fastest race; but you will run the hardest fought race. And you will finish.
Posted on February 17, 2014, in Be Unstoppable, Christian Living, Life in General and tagged 400 meter race, live life to the fullest, mile relay, No regrets, run hard, run the race, track & field. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.