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Run to finish: a good philosophy for life, exercise

When I was a teenager I would never have admitted this, but it's true that growing up in a small town has lots of advantages.

Having only 37 kids in your graduating class sounds like a nightmare to those of you with 500 classmates. But there’s an upside.

Whether I wanted to be in the choir, the band, the school play, or in any sport, I just had to show an interest. There were no tryouts. Just show up, come to practice, and you were in. That said, I did try out once for cheerleading, and I didn’t make the cut. But I got over it.

Really, I DID!

Lack of athletic ability didn’t stop me from joining the basketball and track teams when I was a teen. Athletics was an odd choice for me because I didn’t like to run. Who signs up for the track team when they don’t like to run? I found a way around that problem though. I was part of the weight team. The skinny girl throwing the discus caused a few snickers amongst my competitors. But what I lacked in bulk and muscle, I made up for in "technique."


Last fall, I, the non-runner, signed up for a "Learn to Run" class at the Running Room in Rochester. I had been invited to the class and had planned to prove to myself once and for all that running was not for me. How could I write off those people who loved to run, if I didn’t try it myself? I had always been fascinated, and I’ll admit it, confused by people who "loved" running. How in the world could finishing a marathon contribute anything to your life? It looks painful, seems like a waste of time, and sounds just plain sounds crazy to run 26.2 miles all in one day. Isn’t this why cars were invented?

I’m sure you will guess what happened next. I fell in love with running. Somewhere between a 2-minute run/1-minute walk, and the feeling of euphoria one gets from a good dose of exercise, I decided to keep at it. My first 5K was on New Year’s Day, a sunny, cold morning that held as much importance for my classmates and me as the Boston Marathon.

Recently, I stumbled upon some running advice that changed my outlook on more than my new hobby. Some runners are motivated by the time in which they run a race, or the number of miles they can squeeze in during a weekend run. Others run marathons (or in my case half-marathons) with the goal of "RUN TO FINISH." This means that you don’t care how fast you run the race. You take walk breaks. You enjoy the run. The plan is to finish the race no matter what your time.

I’ve started to think run to finish is more than a plan for running a race, it’s a new way to look at life. Start every day or week or month with the goal of slowing down to catch your breath and enjoying the path you are on. Maybe you will run a long race or a short race, who knows? Don’t worry about the end or when it will come, enjoy where you are and just Run To Finish.

Lace up your attitude and give it a try!

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