Thursday, April 21, 2011

Race with your heart

A-Z Challenge: R
Post by Christina Schlachter, PhD

The Boston Marathon was earlier this week, and it was amazing to see such a wonderful crowd of runners accomplishing amazing things. While I am not a runner by nature, I run at the end of biking and swimming in what may be the state sport of Colorado, triathlon. If you have ever seen a triathlon swim start, you will know it looks like a rugby game in water. Everyone is jockeying for their place in the water, crawling over, either intentionally or unintentionally, their fellow racers. It is truly a sport where people can get in the “zone” and only focus on themselves. Being nice is rarely part of the game plan.

The night before this year’s Ironman Canada race, Sister Madonna Buder, an 80-year-old nun who has raced Ironman 19 times, gave a short speech to the nearly 3000 participants. Her message was simple: race with your heart. Sister Madonna was not talking about being in cardiovascular shape. Racing with your heart is not commonplace in a sport where even amateur athletes obsess over every second of their time and every minute of workout preparation. As an individual sport, individuals are often out for themselves, perhaps not even being aware of their impact on others. The words “Race with your Heart” is a message to not just work hard during the race, but more importantly to be genuine and gracious to others, even in the toughest of times.

Perhaps that is the greatest thing we can keep in mind as we write. Race, write, and run you’re your heart. Be aware of how the words on the page will impact others. Be honest and genuine to yourself and others in even the toughest of times. At most times, writing is an individual sport and keeping in mind that we need to race with our hearts in the human race is what keeps us authentic, human, and full of passion.

Racing with my heart on the Ironman course was more than just smiling on the bike and saying “good race” to others (although that definitely helped to boost my niceness level during 12 hours of swimming, biking, and running). Racing with my heart meant as I ran on blistered toes I did not curse the course or get angry that my knees will never be as strong as others; it meant that I persevered through it by being kind to myself. As I took each step and climbed each hill, I thanked my body for its ability to push me through the challenge of Ironman, rather than looking at who I should be passing next or obsessing on who may have passed me.

R is for living the human Race with your heart.

Dr. Christina T. Schlachter is an internationally recognized professional speaker, author, blogger, mother, wife, and Ironman finisher – not to mention a PhD in Human Development.  She enlightens, engages, and encourages audiences around the world with her light-hearted yet well-researched seminars and workshops on women in leadership and reinventing your career, body, and life.


Jenny said...

Thanks for this great post! Very wise and inspirational.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Excellent "R" post, Christina. The race is about more than just winning.

Chuck said...

Great post. Listened to a keynote speaker yesterday that had run marathons, triathlons and 2 Iron-man competitions... from a wheel chair! Amazing

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