Just like other athletes, I like to talk about this or that race. Races help give focus and motivation for training. They are the extra little push out of the bed when the weather is nasty. They are the end date of the training schedule to count back from to plan workouts. They are a yardstick to gauge efforts. Races, though, aren't the reason why I run, bike, swim, lift, or do whatever else I choose to do each day. Staying healthy to live a full and active life is my goal, as I'm sure it is for all of us that have come to accept that there is no Olympics in our future.
Crossing the finish line is fun, but the true reward of training comes in both everyday and extra-ordinary activities. Being able to carry laundry baskets up the stairs, playing with the kids, and having the physical stamina to clean house all day and still walk the dog at night are some of the ways that I put my physical fitness to use everyday.
This week I've been lucky enough to do some extra-ordinary things. I'm getting some quality time with the family, and for our family that usually involves lots of outdoor fun. We've been mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and riding a zip line. During the steepest steps of the climb, standing on the pedals of the mountain bike up the trail, and paddling down a long river, I was truly thankful for a fit body.
Taking in the views of beautiful mountains, paddling the river with beavers, and sighting bear tracks on the banks were all part of my race today. Sharing the journey with my smiling kids and husband is a greater reward than any race medal. This week has been a reminder for me to not get caught up in whether I beat my race goal or what place I finished. I am reminded that getting out the door for that run is more important than what what pace my watch reads at the end. I hope I have many more races like the one I had today. In the meantime, I'll keep training for the rest of life.