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Vail running: Time is of the essence in life

Greg Decent
Vail, CO Colorado

One of the simplest forms of measuring: There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. Runners especially obsess over time.

The world record for the mile is 3 minutes, 43.13 seconds set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999. If you have ever competed in a race, you know that the No. 1 question asked to you afterwards is always” “What was your time?”

After all, time is the unit of measure that enables runners to compete fairly. When we have reached the final miles of our race or other event that we have been training for over the past couple of months, how do we cope with the intense feelings of accomplishment but also void, now that we do not have an event to occupy time?

For the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to ski with friends from New York. For the last eight years, I have skied with this same family every March. I have watched their children grow into young adults and have experienced feelings of sadness as they depart and return to their everyday lives.

For two weeks, I enjoyed skiing everyday with a 12-year-old boy and sometimes occasionally his sister. Lunch was always a large social affair that included three other families from New York.

The smiling faces arriving hungry from their morning ski runs soon transformed into laughter and storytelling. As full bellies waddled out the door for more afternoon skiing, “See you tomorrow” was always the goodbye.

However, as the last day dawned, I realized that our time together was nearing an end and that, “See you tomorrow”, is now “See you next year.” On the last day, it hit me that the friends I had been skiing with for the past two weeks, who I had shared laughter with and watched ski through gladded tree runs, would not be there tomorrow.

Trying to extend time

A heart-wrenching feeling that time will control when we will meet again. On this last day, I watched the family attempt to extend time. The common demeanor of the day was, “One more run,” or “I want to ski my favorite trail on my last run.”

The feelings of sadness over the fact that the time for the vacation was nearing an end were almost palpable. These emotions can also be experienced by athletes who train extremely hard for an event after they have completed their event and had time to celebrate their success.

Time. One may think of time in terms of how many days do they have left for training until their race or event. Time may also be referenced to what pace you would like to run for your race, or how much time it may take you to complete your event.

As athletes, we often focus much time and energy on our premier event that we forget to also focus on how we will feel when this event is over. What will we do with the extra time in our schedules, now that we are in our recovery phase?

How will we handle not waking up early for our morning run that we have been doing each day as part of our training? In order to have a successful event or race experience, include how you will cope with your fluctuating feelings that accompany your resting recovery.

Greg Decent writes weekly running column for the Vail Daily.


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