"are you winning?"

smokey mountains running


Today as I was bounding down the trail a hiker walking the other
direction yelled out: “Are you winning?” A glib remark that I had no
answer to other than “good morning.” I chewed on the comment a little as
I continued down the path. “Am I winning?” There’s no race here, no
other competitors. Why would someone run when they don’t need to? It’s a
typical sentiment among non-runners, but it did get me thinking.

Am I winning? Well,
in the context of competition and awards I’m probably not. I
haven’t completely closed the door on that possibility. With enough luck
and effort there’s still some achievements possible. But I have to be
honest. I’m past the prime years. But beyond that. What is winning really? If I’m competing against myself, who wins?

I do of course. Tapping into personal potential is worth the deposit of sweat and “pain.” I could hike instead, and I often do. But moving as fast as possible through nature has always been a draw for me. I can still stop and smell the roses, but when I get into a state of flow, there’s nothing like it. Skipping, bounding, turning, jumping. I must have been a mountain goat in a previous life. The experience of moving the body through nature, to be optimally prepared is hard to describe. Primal, like a wild animal. That’s what I strive to become. And the more I get closer to that goal, the more “winning” I feel.

There’s nothing like shooting out of the woods with eyes wide open, with nostrils flaring and hair standing on your neck.

Another comment as I flew by a surprised hiker today got me going. “Holy shit.”

Yeah man, that’s me flying. Holy shit indeed…