Greatness has no finish line !
There is something strange and magnetic about the Finish Line. It makes us give our hardest and best : super human effort, personal best timings, et al…and sometimes it is a reality check which shows us the mirror…what are we truly made of. Then there is the tribe of Soul and Zen runners who say that there are no Finish Lines. We at Wellthy.Fit believe that Finish Lines are actually metaphors for goals…they are milestones in our journey as a runner and as a human being. Andre Agassi, the legendary tennis player, captures it beautifully in his book ‘Open’
The finish line at the end of a career is no different from the finish line at the end of a match. The objective is to get within reach of that finish line, because then it gives off a magnetic force. When you’re close, you can feel that force pulling you, and you can use that force to get across. But just before you come within range, or just after, you feel another force, equally strong, pushing you away. It’s inexplicable, mystical, these twin forces, these contradictory energies, but they both exist.
The runner plans to convert his/her dream into reality by setting a goal. Makes a plan and trains hard. It comes at a cost – sacrificed late nights, annoyed friends and family, early mornings, sweat, burning lungs, screaming muscles and the ache afterwards. All this to prove that, ‘I am a Runner’ to himself and the world. The finish line is the physical manifestation of this goal.
But the run itself is a challenge – strong start, good consistent pace and suddenly the voice in your head says, ‘I’m tired, I’m hurting, slow down, take a small break….’ The strong amongst us crush this voice ….mind over matter….come in striking distance of the finish line…..its magnetism will give you the second wind and the willpower to go beyond your physical limits.…and power on to a brilliant finish ! A distance conquered with style or panache….a personal best….test of willpower and determination, etc. The euphoria and celebrations follow ! The flipside is also a possibility – a Did Not Finish or a disappointing result ! But strangely the happiness or the disappointment is momentary…. It lasts till you either set a new goal or give up running (having proved the point).
It is these two things which separate the true runner from the amateur. First – the mental strength to conquer pain and the self-doubts to finish strong or draw lessons from a temporary setback. Second – to set new goals and find another race. Zen happens along the way. We need our medals, PBs and peer recognition (especially on Facebook and Strava, etc) – very few truly achieve the Buddhaesque state of the enlightened runner ! Running is a journey and each Finish Line has a a story to tell !
The question is – What is the difference between a runners story and your life story ? Do you wake up in the morning everyday with stars in our eyes, passion in our heart and fire in our belly ? Happy Feet !
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary.
(PS – The fabulous feature image of the finish line is by Lance Grandahl)