Dave Griffin On Running: The Running Room

Dave Griffin On Running
The Running Room

We just finished an addition to our house. The largest space is an office, a quiet place for me to write and do my coaching work. I call my new place the running room.
In the basement, there's a big green tub that holds my old running awards, pictures and newspaper clippings. You might think that I love going through that stuff, but if you want to know the truth, it's a mixed blessing.
Inside, there are mementos from some of my best moments, gold medals and finish line celebrations. Then, there are other things that might seem just as wonderful if you haven't lived the rest of the story.
There's this one bronze medal in the box. It's big and shiny with an impressive engraving of a runner, but it's not the medal I wanted. I had trained for months to win that particular race, but I lost my focus on race day. So, among all the best memories, there are things that remind me of times I could have done better.
Recently, I opened the tub and, one by one, remembered the day that was connected to each item. On one side of me I placed those things that made me proud. On the other side, I put the ones that made me feel regretful. When I was finished, I gathered up all the disappointments and finally, after all these years, let them go.
In the days that followed I polished my proudest awards and framed my favorite pictures. There's one newspaper picture from my first high school cross-country season. I'm running in practice and staring at the camera with this goofy smile on my face. The floppy left arm will confirm that it's me.
I placed that picture at the doorway of my running room. Then, using the ledge that surrounds the room, arranged everything until I was happy with the presentation. When I was done, I stood back and admired it all. For the first time in my life I appreciated my entire running journey, with no conditions attached.
Don't misunderstand. I know the lost opportunities and poor performances are still inside me, but I'm not going to dwell on them anymore. Instead, I'll simply tuck them away for the times when I need inspiration to achieve, or for days when I need wisdom to avoid a mistake.
We all have a pile of stuff to sort through. Maybe yours is in a box in the basement, just like mine was. Maybe it's tucked away in some closet, or hidden deep inside your heart. Take it out. Separate the disappointments. Feel them one last time, and then leave them behind you. You don't need to keep them anymore.
We know how fast time moves along, and yet we spend so much of it lingering in the past. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can somehow recapture a moment, a day, or a year that's gone forever.
December is a time to find peace and feel hope, but those things are allusive, until you stop yourself from wondering what could have been, and begin dreaming about what might be.

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