Which Race Are You Running?

Yesterday I got to cross off a goal from my list. I ran a 5K.  Sure, running a 5K is a perfectly good goal. Running a 5K has been on my yearly goal list for a few years and I have been able to cross it off each year. This year the goal was different. Simply running a 5K was not the goal yesterday. The actual goal was to run a 5K together with my daughter.

ShoesRunning with my daughter was the goal. We got new shoes (note the distinct advantage I have simply from shoe size) signed us both up a few months ago, and a small competition began. Every few weeks a photo would appear on my phone. The photo was of the treadmill time of her latest run. In addition to these photos, periodic smack-talk began to appear alongside.

Once I get new shoes maybe I’ll smoke you in a race 😉

Perhaps as a way to defend myself, photos of my treadmill times were exchanged (especially when my times were faster), along with various replies, especially when she was getting nervous.

I’m kind of nervous!! I hope I’m not too far after you 😁

Luckily you will have your dad at your side encouraging you

And I hope to have my dad behind me cheering me on

This would cause more photos, and faster times, and more replies. This banter and friendly competition helped both of us stay on track and keep running so we would be ready for race day. But when race day arrived, something happened.

A few people who I know were also racing that day. I tend to be competitive by nature and I have been running at my fastest pace in years. I felt a different goal rise up inside me. This was my chance. A chance to finally demonstrate that I was faster than these other runners and have a “win” and obliterate my last year’s time. My daughter must have sensed something because she casually mentioned that it would be okay if I ran ahead, despite our earlier goal of running together.

I had a choice to make. And isn’t this a choice we all face at some point? We work together with other people. The original idea is a team achievement, then an individual opportunity comes our way. What we decide in that moment is important. Do we honor our original commitment? Do we give into ourselves and break away from the pack in order to “win”? I had to ask myself:

Which race are you running?

My choice appears below. (I am wearing the red hat, she is in the bright yellow shirt.)

As for beating those other people, there is plenty of time and plenty of races ahead of us. (And they should know that I am coming after them in the next race.) For now, I am happy with my choice. A message on my phone as she was driving back to school confirmed that it was the best choice.

But you’re a great dad and ran with me so basically you won the whole race

Today, make sure you are running the right race…It may just change the world.