Just about every single one of us wants to be loved and feel the power of connection. Most humans thrive off of this. It’s in our make up. It is why social media has become such a big part of our culture. It’s like, “I want to show you my life and I want you to like it (or love it). I want to see your life and I want to celebrate it. I also want you to post those pictures or status so I can feel like, ‘Ahh, her life is messy too… it’s not just vacation pictures and achievement posts… good she’s human like me!’ ” We will save the comparison factor that social media can spark in each of us for another day, because today we’re talking community and diving right in.
I get to the start line and jog a little bit with about 30 minutes until the start of the race. I look around at all the people. Some people seem happy, others seem nervous; but generally the energy is excitement. There are bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and it’s beautiful. There are groups of families and friends as well as individuals who have embarked on this event on their own.
As it becomes closer to the start of the race I can feel the energy building. Besides the toddler crying in the stroller, everyone here is generally happy. Everyone is here for a good time. WHAT else in the world draws this kind of community and good vibes in one space? Gratitude flushes over me and I absorb all the love I feel surrounded by.
The race starts and off we go. Mile by mile, I am focused on my own pace but I can’t help but take it all in. Looking around seeing faces of joy, exhaustion, happiness, and definitely some struggle but everyone is here to be a part of the commonality. The idea of doing something together, start to finish. How many opportunities do we get to be a part of experiences like these in our lives… with people we love AND with strangers. That’s the best part you see.
Sharing memories with our friends and family is what makes life so vibrant. The uniqueness of races; whether you are participating to crush your fastest time or do your first 5k, this is the space that allows us to challenge ourselves physically and mentally for a relatively short period of time and then celebrate with your squad. Laughing (or crying) about the joy or hardships of our journey to the finish line.
“I was hurting at mile 2 but then I pulled it together to finish strong!”
“Did you see the lady with the sombrero?”
“I got passed by a person in a bunny suit!”
“Next time, I’m going to train more!”
“That was awesome and awful all at the same time!”
“Whoa, I can’t believe I did that!”
“That was hard but I want to do it again!”
Also, sharing experiences with strangers. Whether its the sweet human that lets you go ahead in the porto-potty line or the person running beside you that inspires you the whole race, it’s events like these that remind you of the power of human connection and spirit. If you are distracted by the media and depressed about the state of the world, sign up for a race. There are so many good people in this world; many of them are the volunteers standing along the streets cheering you on.
I only do a few races a year, but every time I show up to a start line, I am reminded of the big picture of how beautiful COMMUNITY is. Technology, emoji’s, and acronyms definitely have their place in this busy world, but let’s also remember to unplug and connect in person. May we not forget the importance of face-to-face experience in real life (RL), because a real sweaty high five feels different than a virtual one!
See you on the start line!
Sweat and Dreams,
She.is.beautiful Founder and Director, Mom of 2, and community lover