Keeping Track, Not Keeping Score

Running can teach us to define our best as our best instead of the best; not as the best of all time but just our best, and more important, as our best for today. Running can teach us to stop keeping score and start keeping track to move from comparison to compassion, and from competition to cooperation. Your best is not some static state. Your best is fluid and changing every day. And your best isn’t always better than what it was. Sometimes, your best isn’t even close to your “best” best.

You learn to live with the gradual and dramatic shifts in your abilities as a runner. Your legs, lungs, and heart are not factors that you can control, but rather elements that you must consider. You learn that the most important skill is the ability to assess what your best can do and will be at any given moment. You learn, too, that your best or anyone’s best is really no more than a snapshot in your life.

When you stop keeping score, you discover that your worst, like your best, lasts only an instant. Your best and your worst occur in the here and now, and are then gone forever. Running can teach you how to let go of your worst moments while clinging to your best. If you can learn to accept how ephemeral your best is, you can accept the same about your worst. If you can accept that your best will pass you by very quickly, you can accept that your worst will pass by with the same speed. By giving up on keeping score, you can come to see both your best and worst as points on a map. They become mileposts in your journey. Nothing more.

– John Bingham

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