Race Day Revision

The American Fork Canyon Half started at the Pine
Hollow Trailhead, beneath Mount Timpanogas.

I ran a half marathon for the first time last year. I finished and the results were disastrous. But I learned some important lessons too. I had a chance to apply those lessons today, to another race. Here are a few of them.

Don’t give up. Dare to fail at things worth trying again. And if you fail, pick yourself back up, and keep moving toward the finish line. Not giving up is two-thirds of the battle.

Take care of your body and listen to its best aspirations. It’s not your personal landfill. Respect it, and don’t give into momentary cravings. Feed it what it needs, not what it wants. Leave weight behind you on the running trail. If you hold onto it, it only makes you slower. Trade pounds for self-mastery.

Super-hydrate, not just on race day, but in the days leading up to the race. Keep yourself electrolit.

Dress warm if the race starts up a canyon. Heat is energy. Preserve it. On hot days, teach your feet to beat the heat. Get up early. With a little planning, you can make it happen, even before you have to show up at work.

Eat high-protein food about a half-hour before the race begins. (That’s not good advice for everyone, but it works very well for me. It’s exactly what my body needs—it doesn’t manage sugars or carbohydrates well.)

Do not disdain or judge yourself. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to love yourself and tell yourself that you do. Accept the lessons that come from failures, but reject the need to repeat them. See the best in others and tell them what you see, on and off the course.

Have a plan and execute it. Keep your schedule, rain or shine. If you miss a goal, reschedule it. Fight for it. Take back lost ground. Sacrifice lazy moments for unforgettable days. Don’t be dissuaded by lesser gods.

Find your soul songs and listen to them. I usually don’t listen to music because I prefer to meditate and pray while I am run. But music can reach the hidden parts of your soul and bring out things you didn’t know were there.

The finish line at Art Dye Park in American Fork.

The Headstrongs‘ cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “Hear You Me” (also known as “Angels Lead You in”) carried me across the finish line today. I turned it on at mile 12. It helped me find what I had left inside, just when I thought I was on empty.

Last year’s time was, well, abysmal. Today my pace was 3:39 faster per minute, subtracting 48:09 off my old time. My plan was to shave off 30–35 minutes, so imagine my shock.

My little disaster took over a year to correct, but it was completely worth the effort. All life is change. You can master some of that change.

No one regrets working hard to overcome past failures. I don’t. Not today.

Angels lead you in (new recording 2013) from The Headstrongs on Myspace.

“Hear You Me” (Angels Lead You in), Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American
Cover by The Headstrongs

There’s no one in town I know
You gave us some place to go.
I never said thank you for that.
I thought I might get one more chance.

What would you think of me now,
so lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said thank you for that,
now I’ll never have a chance.

May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.

So what would you think of me now,
so lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said thank you for that,
now I’ll never have a chance.

May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.

And if you were with me tonight,
I’d sing to you just one more time.
A song for a heart so big,
God couldn’t let it live.

May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.

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