Our lives move at a constant 85 mph. It is a pace of life that is adulated by American society for its efficiency, productivity, and ability to “do it all” in one day. The sad truth is that 85 mph is a speed which prevents us from really living. Someone told me this weekend that it is only when we live at 25 mph that we can hear God’s voice, our own voice and the actual sounds of life that surround us daily. When we miss out on these things, our lives end up passing us by faster than ever anticipated.
Saturday morning, I ran the VA Beach Surf ‘n Santa 10-miler with my good friend Nicole. Being both quite competitive runners, Nicole and I decided to savor the run rather than take it seriously, and so we ran it at a 25 mph speed versus our normal 85 mph. We arrived at the starting corral within the last 30 seconds of the race start, geared up with matching red Nike shirts, matching Santa hats, jingle bells on our shoes and a camera in our hands. We trotted along each mile, laughing with fellow runners, posing for photographs with other Santa-disguised runners and even skipping a little bit. When the course took us alongside the ocean itself, we stopped for a picture, chatted with a few strangers and high-fived the runners that were passing us by.
It was the most fun I have ever had during a race, and surprisingly, our “25 mph pace” was actually more like “75 / 80 mph.” When we crossed the finish line, looked at our splits and analyzed the “race” we jogged, we were shocked at our final time and speed. We had run faster than anticipated with barely any effort. Moreover, this little Santa run taught me how to enjoy the sounds and sights around me. I ran sans-iPod and instead listened to the holiday rhythmic sounds of the few thousand pairs of jingle bells running alongside me. My 25 mph speed enabled me to savor the feelings and sensations of running and breathing, it allowed me to enjoy the ocean winds, crisp winter breeze and the thousands of goofy-Santa runners that shared their 10 miles that morning with me. The solidarity and unity of running in a pack unit of thousands decked in holiday cheer was worth more than any final “fast” race time that I could have achieved.
What areas of your life do you live at 85 mph and how can you slow them down to 25 mph? This week, savor the small details of every activity you do; you will be surprised at how much more you enjoy yourself when you stop and smell the roses.