Four months a year I live in Hamilton, New York – home of Colgate University. We have all the perks of a college town, including access to Andy Kerr Stadium. With a capacity of 10,221, stadium seating and a resurfaced track it’s the ideal setting for track workouts. Just walking in is an incredible experience.
Once a week I go to the track with my workout scratched on a sticky note. I have my routine dialed in. Gel, water, music and warmup. I know exactly what I would like my times to be as I prepare for my next 5K. My watch is programmed to let me know precisely where I measure up with each repeat. All in all, it’s a measured experience.
For the last month in upstate New York it’s been hot. The type of hot that includes humidity and those percentages and heat indexes that warn us to not “exert too much”. So, it’s not pretty to see a 59-year-old woman doing track repeats sweating and moving with everything she can muster.
Over my music I heard a man say, “Looking Good”. As I looked around to see who else was there that he might be talking to I recognized my friend Phil – a longtime runner with whom I’ve had spirited conversations with over the years. Mostly about running. He had said it encouragingly to me!! With a smile I said in return, “you too man”. I ran faster.
We continued our sweat fest – neither of us wanting to interrupt the other. Each of us in our own universe, dialed in and measured.
We walked off the track together and talked proudly about our grandchildren, what we are reading and injuries we have both overcome.
Much of running is about measuring up. The clock is a tough critic and somehow it seems to tick a little faster the older I get.
Yet, for me I have come to realize that as important as the metrics are – the interactions we have along the way mean so much more. Hearing a single comment such as “Looking Good” from a friend I respect, coaching my clients (and telling them to look up and smile during their race), and most importantly staying healthy for my family, align with my values. I am thankful for all of it.
The memories of workouts and race results will fade. But the experiences we open ourselves up to along the way are what we will remember.