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Dave Griffin On Running: Taking Action

Dave Griffin On Running
Taking Action

Tom hadn't planned on running a race on New Year's Day; he decided to run it at the last minute. 2008 had been a disappointing year for him. He didn't reach any of his goals, and he was hoping a turn of the calendar would change things.
As he paced in front of the starting line, he watched the other elite runners warming up. He knew nearly all of them, and there wasn't anyone he didn't think he could beat. He decided to go for the win.
He took a few strides in the final moments before the start. He felt smooth and fast, and he saw the others looking at him with concern. He stepped onto the line and waited for the start, smiling.
Ten rows back, Patty waited nervously. She danced from side to side, trying to keep warm in the January air. Her hands were freezing, despite the running gloves she had gotten for Christmas.
She had been running for almost two years now and she loved it, so much so, that she wanted to start her year off with a big race. When her friends asked her about running, she never knew exactly how to describe it, but they all understood how important it was to her. She seemed so different since she started, more confident and relaxed.
During the fall, she told herself that this was going to be the year that she would get faster. She increased her mileage and started doing speed work in December. She knew she was ready to run a personal best.
At the very back of the crowd, Joe waited. Just thirty-five years old, he already felt like an old man. In high school, he played football and lacrosse. He considered himself an athlete, but he didn't feel like one anymore.
His best friend was a runner, so he knew a lot about it, but he never thought he would run himself. He didn't think real athletes ever ran willingly, but a look in the mirror convinced him it was time to do something.
While the celebration was still going the night before, his friend invited him to come to the race. He bet that he could jog the entire 5K without stopping. He knew he was going to loose the money, but he planned on making a new bet after the race; he would beat his friend before the end of the year.
There were a thousand others, each one with their own story, and in the newness of the year it seemed like anything was possible. Then, the race started and anticipation dissolved into action.
We're all standing at the beginning of another year. The future is before us like one last Christmas present yet to be opened. Imagine what it might be.
Maybe you're reluctant to dream; afraid of being disappointed by failure. And yet, running has taught me that the fear goes away once the gun fires. All you need is enough courage to get to the starting line.
You see, in the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter if Tom finished first, if Patty set a personal record, or if Joe won his bet. It's not from accomplishment that fulfillment comes, it's from the effort.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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