“Don’t come last!”, thus yelled one of my unhelpful offspring as I dashed out the door. I was making my way to the National Stadium for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge 2020 race weekend’s 10K. He was only sort of joking. When I reached the starting line I just kept walking back:
I went past the real athletes who had already run a mile just warming up for the race.
I went past the visitors who had trained for months to do the three race Bermuda Triangle Challenge.
I went past the recreational runners who ran three times a week on the roads of Bermuda, rain or shine.
I kept walking back until I finally found some of my tribe. These were the runners who didn’t look like runners. They were cracking jokes, wearing outlandish costumes and jumping up and down to keep warm on one of the coldest, wettest, dampest mornings of the Bermudian winter. These were my running buddies for the next hour or so. We were at the back of the pack, just in front of the walkers.
“Don’t let the walkers beat me,” was all I could think. I hugged a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, set my music and earphones and waited exactly 38 seconds from the horn blow until I had inched to the starting line. Then we were off. It was amazing. Within one minute of starting I turned off the music and the distractions and paid attention to the people and environment around me. They taught me a lot.
Here are the first five life lessons that I learned from the 10K:
1. It’s all about the story that we tell ourselves!
About 2 miles in, some kind person cheering for us from the side of the road yelled, “Keep going, you’re almost there.” No, we weren’t. One of my new running buddies yelled, “Yes, 2 miles down, 450 miles to go.” At least 5 other runners within earshot cheered. Another runner nearby yelled, “I think that we are going to win!” More cheering. That was it of course. By our own standards of being out there we were going to win, just by finishing. We could tell ourselves that the finish line was just around the corner or that we had so far to go or that we were winners just by being there. Whatever – it was all about the story that we chose to believe about our situation.
2. “This hill is stupid.”
Coming up the hill the intersection of Hermitage Road, after you have climbed the hill past Somersfield, there is a really, really big hill. I was halfway up this hill and someone cheering from the side of the road said, “You can make it, this is just a stupid hill.” Then she started yelling, “You got this, it’s a stupid #$% hill.” Aside from the fact that every time I drive this hill in the future, I will surely think of this moment in the race, she was right. Sometimes uphill battles are there. Don’t over think the struggle, go through it. There is no reason that it’s there at that point, it’s merely a stupid hill.
3. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes
At the top of the stupid hill, we were greeted by the aroma of the controversial cows and stinky farm that’s been in the news. There is nothing like gasping for air and breathing in the fragrance of manure. Jack Handy purportedly said, “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile from them and you’ll have their shoes.”
For the first time, I really felt empathy for the people who lived near this odor. I had never really understood as I drove by and smelt the fragrance on my bike but at the top of the stupid hill and gasping for breath, I could feel the weight of this problem settle in my lungs. My wonderful tribe of misfit runners cracked poop jokes.
4. Even when many of us think the weather is not worth going out in, Bermuda is gorgeous!
My “back of the pack” tribe had visiting runners who not only ran with their cameras but kept taking pictures! One runner stopped and took a picture of a lovely house. Yes, it was a nice home but I would NEVER have stopped and looked twice at it, let alone use valuable time and energy to take a picture of it. Then there were the selfies near bushes and hibiscus flowers and when we hit the North Shore, all sorts of selfies with the water in the background. If you want to see Bermuda differently, see it from the eyes of a visitor.
5. Sometimes it’s how someone says something.
Go chicks! At one point I found myself running with around a dozen other women. We were just all in a bunch together, and running sort of strong and with confidence. Someone cheering on the side of the road noted the bunch of confident (not yet looking exhausted) women. They yelled, “Look at those amazing chicks! Wow, what a group of strong chicks! Go chicks!” Normally, I would have choice words for anyone calling me a chick. Not today! I think that as a woman, we took that cheer as a compliment. I showed off my very un-Michelle Obama like guns and embraced the strong, working woman, Mom, pseudo-runner, awesome, phenomenal woman and any other moniker that I could think of.
Life lessons from a race in Bermuda
Life lessons are timeless and you’ve only begun to join me on my journey. Check back soon to find the last five lessons I learned from the running the 2020 Bermuda Race Weekend 10K.