Sunday, October 12, 2008

Running - A Team Sport!

Procrastination? Inattention? Call it what you may - but have you ever intended to do something that required you to register or apply - and then either put it off so long or forgot about it that when you finally got around to it - it was too late? Such was the case with our most recent race - the Adirondack Half Marathon in Schroon (pronounced Skroon) Lake NY. Funny thing, this had been one of the races we had most been looking forward to. It came highly recommended by a coworker from upstate New York, was in a beautiful part of the state (an area neither of us has ever spent any time in), and on a course around Schroon Lake that is rated one of the prettiest around. Alas - having no idea it might reach its capacity - I put off registering too long and found it full. Even my well-articulated, "hear our story" plea to the race director was to no avail. However - he did have a suggestion: there were still slots open in the 2-person marathon relay. We could register for the marathon as a 2-person relay team - with each of us running a half. Notwithstanding the first "half" being slightly shorter than the second (and having the internal debate about whether this should "count" as a half-marathon for each of us), we elected to go for it, since we already had airline tickets, we had been planning on it for months, and it would have the built-in advantage of us not having to worry about finding someone to watch Rachel! Whoever ran the second half could watch her while one of us ran the first half and vice versa. (Incidentally, when Karen discovered that the first half was a bit shorter, i.e. 12.8 or 12.9 miles, instead of 13.1, but that it was VERY hilly, whereas the second half was basically flat, I was nominated for the hills.)

So - how did our first relay go? The course and area were very pretty - forested, some fall color, a very pretty lake setting and pretty good weather (overcast, cool, very little wind - although it got cooler and breezier as the day went along). Indeed, my half had hills - lots of them - to include steep ones, long ones, and one right after another! (Are you feeling sorry for me yet?) And my half - while near the lake - was only along the lake shore the last mile or so (Karen was along the lake most of her half). However, I hung in there pretty well and considered my effort a worthy one - not to mention I gave Rachel excellent care during the second half of the race! However - what I gained insight into after this race was, at least in my mind, pretty profound. I felt I ran a really good first half - and yet I didn't get an official time. The only official time we got was our total, combined time for the entire marathon. And I'll admit I was a bit disappointed in it...but it wasn't long after that it really hit me. How often do we really think we can "go it by ourselves?" When I run myself, I have full control and have only me to blame or to credit for the results. But how often is it really the case that we can "go it alone?" And since it just happened that the results of this race depended upon both of us - which I suspect is QUITE analogous to a marriage - why do we even think sometimes that our success or effort is dependent on just one of us or that we are unequally yoked? In the parlance of today's business and performance consultants, certainly we do not want to be independent, nor do we want to be dependent on each other; I believe the word they use is interdependent. That made me wonder; how am I doing? How are WE doing? How well do we recognize that where we really want to go we must go together? And that getting there isn't just one of us doing our best, or always striving for a new "PR"?
In many ways, this race was one that reminded me of some important principles. And although it has taken me three weeks to share them with whoever might read this - they are no less meaningful - at least to me. Running out front can sometimes lead us to the conclusion we can run by ourselves - but I think this helped me remember that just isn't the case. Ultimately, the only race that really matters is the one we run......and finish, together - with each of us contributing our strengths, our values and our commitment to the common goal - complementing each other in the process and learning that this is the only way that the whole can be greater than the sum of the individual parts.

By the way - will we be running marathon relays often? Not likely. But hopefully, the lesson will not be forgotten.

Oh - and the Adirondacks were beautiful! We enjoyed a half day in the State Capital of Albany (where we were the official witnesses of a State Legislative session) and our day drive through Adirondack Park was great - to include Lake Placid, several scenic byways and a hike to the top of Mt Baker for sweeping panoramas of adjacent mountains, fall foliage in many areas and Saranac Lake and a chain of lakes through the valleys. Very impressive - and we recommend the area highly.


Thoughtful Runner said...

Pretty pix!! I know I learned a lesson from this race also--relays are great when your part is easier (and prettier) than your partner's!! Thanks for doing the hard stuff, as always--I love you.


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Super Daysh said...

That sounds like quite the cool, but hilly race! I'm sorr you got dumped with the harder part...geesh Karen- you'd think she'd have pitty on the old man. ;) 'Sounds like a good, successful race though- with some very "deep" thoughts. Love you dad and am so proud of all the great races you've done! You guys rock! :)

princess jen said...

Those are beautiful pictures! But I think the "real" lesson/insight is that you shouldn't procrastinate!!!! (hee hee hee) Glad you had a good time though!

Sara and Company said...

Jason grew up in Northern NY not too far from the Adirondacks and they truly are beautiful. The extreme weather I could live without, but beautiful scenery. And touche about working together as a team. Although I know 100% that I couldn't do it without my cute hubby, I'm pretty sure I don't always treat him that way and show him how much I truly do appreciate him. Thanks for the reminder. We're so excited to play with cute Rachel tomorrow!!!

The Andersens said...

those are definitely some beautiful pictures!! i'm uber impressed you could run all the hills. that would stink. I bet Karen woulda walked em'. ;)
I like your insights, and I fully agree. I will look at it, not only as married couples, but as our relationship with our Savior. We can't make it back to him on our own, we need his help, every step of the way...and he will "run" for us, whenever we don't have the strength. :)
love you Dad! glad you had a good race!

Mythreesons said...

Your pictures are gorgeous! That looks like one of the prettier routes you've done... although I'm a little disappointed to hear about your procrastination... who would have thought? Although, it seems like this is a pretty good system for watching Rachel... maybe you should do more like this? I'm not really surprised you got dumped with the hilly part... we know Karen! Good thoughts, too Dad... definitely ones worth remembering and pondering.