Running is a difficult sport to do. It takes a lot of dedication and sometimes we just don’t want to do it. Life is the same way if you really think about it. It can get really difficult and it’s hard not to just lie down and give up. After many years of running, I learned some very important lessons that I could apply to my own life. Here are 3 life lessons I learned from running that helped me prepare for this race called Life.
- Community is Important to Reach Your Goals
When I was entering the 7th grade I had a friend who encouraged me to run cross country. The only time I had ever ran with a purpose was during tag on the playground. She made it sound fun, so I gave it a try. I ran a mile and it was difficult, of course, but I was excited because I had accomplished something! The point here is, I had a friend who challenged me to try something new, and something new ended up being something I really loved and enjoyed (Thanks, Kylie). One of the things I miss the most about high school was having a team. My teammates were like family. Family members are the people you laugh with and the people you grow through struggles with. My team and I shared many laughs, and many long, difficult miles together. When I felt like giving up, they were there to encourage me and help me reach my goals. After graduating, remembering my team has taught me that I need to surround myself with people who challenge me, encourage me, and laugh with me. Running/life isn’t as fun without your teammates beside you!
- Dedication Goes a Long Way
We hear things like, “no pain, no gain” all the time when relating to sports or exercise, but this concept is so true in adulthood as well. I won many awards in cross country because I was very dedicated to doing what I had to do to reach the goals I wanted. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that came with being a runner, but there were some awesome results at the end of every season (As you can see in the photo below: STATE CHAMPS). If you want something bad enough, you’ll do what is necessary to reach your goals. If it’s not important enough, you’ll make excuses. Just like we run hard to win the medal, we must work hard in our daily lives to make our dreams become reality. Being dedicated means doing the hard work to get your results. Work so hard at making your dreams come true that when you look back on your life, there won’t be disappointment or wishful thinking. Runners who get the results they want don’t get the results because they are lucky, they get them because they put in the hard work.
“You get what you work for, not what you wish for.”
- Sometimes You’re Going to Fall. Get Back Up.
Every runner has a hard fall every now and then, but the important thing is when they get back up. Similarly, life will hit you hard and knock you down, but it’s all about standing back up again. I ran several years with a girl who had many hard falls. But, she always came right back up with a smile on her face. There was one practice when we had to run 3 miles around a 1 mile course. She tripped and fell over the same piece of plywood, not only the first lap, but the second as well, and finally dodged it on the third. However, I’ll never forget the laughter that came right after each fall. She didn’t allow it to mess up her momentum; she handled each tumble with dignity, and she eventually learned to avoid the piece of wood. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear that when she was later diagnosed with arthritis, even then, she kept on working hard! Ally passed away in a car accident last year. But her legacy lives on. We can think back and laugh about Ally’s clumsiness, but we will also remember the grace that came after every fall. Life is going to knock us flat on our face every now and then, but we can learn to be like Ally. We can get up, smile, and keep moving forward.
I believe that God has a life lesson in everything, and He has definitely used my running career to grow me as an individual. Running with perseverance has taught me many lessons about what it means to be a responsible, dedicated adult. Life is a crazy, challenging run, but it’s a beautiful ride!
Keep Growing and Keep Living Free
In loving memory of Ally Cisowski, we love and miss you sweet girl.