Monday, October 22, 2012

A Different Kind of Race

The Ultra Marathon.  The Tough Mudder.  The end-all-be-all Ironman triathlon.  We've done a pretty good job developing the longest, most difficult, most extreme physical challenges that have ever been organized on the earth.  There's cycling races, marathons, swiming events all designed to crush our limits and create new ones.  As endurance athletes, we accept these dares, we train, we prepare and we conquer.  And afterwards we give ourselves a big pat on the back for a job well done.  We walk tall with a medal around our neck and flash that tattoo on our calf which documents bragging rights for the rest of our lives. 

But there are other races going on out there.  The race for time with family when someone is suffering a fatal disease.  The challenge of dealing with a debilitating divorce.  The stress of children or friends or family who are experiencing loss or depression.  And the endurance test of watching a parent's memory, and their recognition of you, slip away forever. 

Life is our true test, our journey, our race.  There are times when we are anxious, treading furiously  hoping above all things that we can keep our head above water.  Exhaustion, sadness, fatigue are all parts of our story.  But so are moments of joy, happiness, and elation.  For all the work we put into THIS race, there is no medal, no podium, no victory t-shirt. 

Which is why we should enjoy the races we CHOOSE to enter.  Chip time and clock time don't need to define who we are. 
I am a RUNNER. 
I am a SWIMMER. 
I am a CYCLIST. 
There may be asteriks next to these definitions.  *Boston Qualifier.  *Kona Participant.  *LOTOJA podium finisher.  *Leadville BIG buckle. 

But there are no asteriks next to: 
Son of an Alzheimer's Dad
Wife of a Husband with Brain Cancer
Dealing with Depression
Parent dealing with a child's depression

For these friends and family members, your journey makes me most proud.  And you deserve the medal.  Keep on keepin' on.  Your race may never be over. 

But you are the true winners in my book. 


  1. Are you serious? No one has commented on this beautiful perspective? Well done Lorie, i'm proud you're my friend...

  2. That was one of the most beautifully written tributes to the athletes who compete in life. Thank you.

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