Just prior to leaving for my Dumbo Double Dare challenge trip, I was looking back at the photos that I snapped on my IPhone during my various races, and one thing struck me as odd: I have very few photos of the start lines and finish lines that I have crossed over the past two years. Race directors, rightfully so, spend a lot of time and effort creating unique, exciting, and celebratory start and finish lines. In fact, these are often times the object of the great official race photos one finds on event websites and promotional materials. Yet, despite this, I never make a point of visiting and photographing them myself before the start of the race.
Admittedly, before each race, I am usually busy talking with friends and visiting the port-a-potties, so I never even think to go visit the start or finish lines. The paradox of this is that I am the type of Casual Runner who pours over the course maps before each race so that I know what to expect at every turn, but I never think to acquaint myself with those special places where the whole experience will begin and end. In fact, because my starting corral is almost always farther back in the pack, at most races I cannot even see the start lines when the races begin.
On the rare occasion where I did have the spontaneous idea to take a photo of the start line, it was not until right before my corral was ready to cross underneath it. Similarly, I almost never take a photo of the finish line – perhaps I am just too exhausted or excited to have my SMO around my neck that the thought never crosses my mind. The one time I did have the foresight to do so, it was from the monorail before a runDisney race, and that time I only came upon the finish line by happenstance, and even that was from a distance. Perhaps I should consider working in quick visits and photo stops into my race day routine?
So, when I flew to California for the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, I did just that. This thinking was the inspiration behind our new signs video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSl32F923_Q. I wanted to know and to record some of the significant milestones along the way of that 19.3 mile race challenge.
This is also why this past weekend at the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle, I made a point to be at the starting line to watch the start of the marathon event. Believe it or not, after all of the races I have run, this is the first time that I have ever seen the beginning of an event. I am usually much farther back in the starting corrals and cannot see anything, so instead I focus on my own pre-race routine. Needless to say, this has been shaping my own perspective of the meaning behind starting lines.
In fact, the symbolism of the starting line is not limited to just race events, rather it is significant for every Casual Runner in his or her own experience. Recently, several readers have contacted the Casual Runner team to discuss their own goals, and how they are considering running their own first miles, but are not quite sure how or when to do it. Whether it be the fear of failure, nervousness regarding the unknown, or even some sense of embarrassment or shyness, these individuals keep pushing back approaching their own personal starting lines.
We want you all to know that there is no reason to delay. There is no better time to start working towards a Casual Running goal than today. Do not wait for the perfect timing, the perfect schedule, the perfect weather, or the perfect location, as the pursuit of a “perfect starting line” is an excuse to procrastinate, and you are only denying yourself the start of a great life journey. There is no better time to start than today. Don’t wait, just do it.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
In doing some quick research, I learned that this quote is attributed to the Chinese philosopher Laozi, and dates back to 600-500 b.c. Now, 2500 years later, it is just as true today. Your Casual Running journey will begin not with just a first mile, but with a single first step. And the Casual Runner team will be here to support you every step of the way thereafter.
In the coming weeks we are going to bring you some great advice, suggestions, and resources to help you along the way, to help make your own personal Casual Runner journey successful and rewarding. But only you can decide to approach that starting line, to take that first step, to run that first mile.
In the meantime, you can take a look at some of the first mile and other features we have brought you so far on Casual Runner, and we hope that you gain that last little bit of motivation you need to approach your own starting line:
Jennifer’s first mile: http://casual-runner.com/my-first-mile/
My own first mile story: http://casual-runner.com/mike-first-mile/
Kari’s first half marathon: http://casual-runner.com/2014-08-26-kari-codispoti-my-first-half-marathon-and-a-whole-lot-of-covered-bridges/
My own worst race ever: http://casual-runner.com/2014-07-28-worst-race-ever/
When did we lose sight of “Just Do it?”: http://casual-runner.com/2014-09-10-when-did-we-lose-sight-of-just-do-it/
Good luck to you, we wish you the best and want to hear from you and your stories on your Casual Running journey. Leave us a comment below, or write to us via email, Facebook, or Twitter using the links below. Also, keep up to date on all of the new Casual Runner content by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter using the same links below. And don’t forget to check out our Casual Runner channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW2gTfC-uxi2fyA1mqzOKGQ). We will see you out on the training trails!