As the XC season unfolds from the hot days of August to the cool autumn days of championship season I thought it appropriate to share, as best as I recall, my words to our high school Cross Country Team before they flew off the starting line at the Regional Championships October 21st. A bow of thanks to those who made this request and a deeper bow to the beautiful efforts each one of you made.
“Cross Country. it does not get much more pure, more real than this. Crisp fall air, geese overhead, earth underneath, and just you, your legs, your heart. When you embrace xc running you are engaging life up close, your are participating in an activity that spans eons of time.
This is not about running to lose weight, or to lower your blood pressure, or to extend your lifespan. You are not running to live longer you are running to savor life. This event, today, is a pure expression of being alive. So today, I implore you to run with courage, with relaxed confidence. Be clever, be cunning, and DO NOT run safe. Forego comfort.
Go berserk, be reckless, Push yourself beyond the limits of safe and sensible. Look pain in the eye and ask if that is all it can deliver?
Do you think your ancestors clear back before recorded history concerned themselves with ‘safe’ when running down prey (or away from predators) to keep family, clan, or tribe alive? Where do you believe our ability as one of the best endurance animals on the planet came from? It didn’t come from sitting on our butts attached to reality shows, plugged into computers or video games, or by indulging our minds into the soap operas of TV or our own self made dramas.
Your ability comes from those ancestors. You are the effect of that cause. So today, in the minutes ahead, draw on that source of strength which arises from deeper down even than the your cells. Run not from your ego, rather instead, from your essence.”