Race Through The Finish Line – Running Life Lesson #15
I could taste the salty mixture of sweat and rain dripping around my lips and into my mouth as I rounded the corner towards the finish line, only 100 meters away. It was a Saturday afternoon at the Indiana Boys High School State Track and Field Finals. I raced valiantly for over 7 laps and was about to finish a hard fought race in 2nd place.
I wasn’t gaining ground on the soon-to-be champion, Jason Casiano, my rival the past few years. I had a fairly large gap in front of the 3rd place competitor, Jason Hicks, a strong veteran runner from Warsaw. I could hear the roar of the crowd as Casiano crossed the finish line as the 1990 Boys 3200 Meter Champion. I merely had to cruise through the finish line to claim my “Runner –Up” status. I began to pull back and relax a few yards short of the finish line only to feel a blur pass by me as I crossed the line.
My heart sank. Hicks had come from nowhere with a flurry of energy in a last ditched effort to try and overtake me at the finish. I held my breath as I looked over at the finish line judge for I was not sure if Hicks crossed the line before me.
I felt a sigh of relief when the judged pointed at me and yelled, “2nd place finisher!” and then pulled Hicks behind me and yelled, “3rd place finisher!” I hunched over and gasped for oxygen as I struggled to get my heart rate back to normal. Casiano came over to hug and congratulate me. I looked over to the crowded stands and spotted my parents. They gave me thumbs up and smiled with pride. I ran a good race and deserved the honor of being the second fastest 3200 meter runner in the State of Indiana, but I almost lost it at the finish, because I violated one of the principles of racing, always race through the finish line.
My coach preached it to many times before and would berate me if I pulled up at the finish of a workout. He taught me to race past the finish, about five yards, so I would not lose momentum and avoid what almost happened to me at the State Finals my Junior year.
How often do you let up on a project before you’re finished? Things are going great only to flame out in the end and finish with something less than your best. You gain an edge when you work hard and it’s hard to deny the momentum gained when you grind out a project.
Today, I’ve become a grinder in my everyday projects. I’ve chosen my path in life and won’t allow myself to let up in a few select areas that I determined are critical like my faith, my marriage, parenting, sales, public speaking, writing, and exercise. I keep my head down and don’t look up until after I complete a project. After it’s completed, I take a deep breath, give myself a pat on the back and then jump back into the race for another shot at a new project in one of my key life areas.
What are you doing to keep yourself in the game of life? I’m interested in any tips or tricks that you developed over the years. Comment below if you have some thoughts.