Why everyone needs to run at least once.

It's more than fitness; it's perspective on life, for running is so analogous to life. The human lifetime is commonly compared to a path, a road, a journey. Just like a course marked for running, or in the case of my sweltering run this afternoon, simply the side of the asphalt road, life stretches before each of us.

As time passes, we pass through shade and sunlight. We progress uphill and downhill. We stride ahead with determination, or we shuffle along, head down. We can slow to admire the beauty of every flower, or we can rush past and glimpse only a verdant blur of foliage. We can use other runners to motivate us, or we can pity ourselves for not being as fast as them. Whether the goal of the race (or the run) is to simply survive till it ends, or to accomplish something along the way, we will all cross the finish line eventually.

Contrary to using darkness and downhill as representative of stressful situations, these conditions offers relative rest in running. However, those who persevere become stronger runners for training uphill. They will endure under the sweat-snatching sun. Sometimes an athlete's entire workout consists of uphill repeats, with easy jogs on the down slope. That's called “medicine for the legs”! Going through hard times stretches and builds on the periphery of character, like muscles being torn and re-formed from exercise.

When one experiences the actual source of common metaphors—running and racing—this natural and basic form of hardship mitigated with joy translates into an apt picture of life as a whole. So what does your race look like? Are you running your best race?





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