Lessons for life found in running

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

Coming home one night from a three-mile walk, there he was, loping in a giant circle about our property. We stopped, watching, taking it in. For a second split in time, it was another year, another boy, another undiscovered athlete, running the perimeter on The Three.

“If I didn’t know better,” his father said as we stood watching, “I’d think it was his older brother.”

His biggest brother who’d never been an athlete, really. Who’d never found his niche. Until he began to train, preparing for something else entirely, and discovered that he could run. And run.

Now, before our very eyes, the story was unfolding again, and once more, a strong, young fellow with “Schrock” on his jersey was running, wearing the NorthWood colors. And I’d told that story here.

That was in 2014. Now, a year later, our second running boy has just finished his second cross-country season, and the mother of the running boys is reflecting. What a year!

It is hard for me to put into words how I feel when I see our sons run or sing or act or dance. And I’m a ‘words girl.’ There’s such pride and joy. Such happiness and love. So much desire for them to succeed. Then there’s this–I feel grateful.

Today, at season’s end, I’m grateful. Grateful for all that running has given. Thankful for all it has taught. For running, as I’ve learned, is about far more than just winning a race. Running has taught me about life.

First of all, I’ve learned that how you prepare matters. It takes discipline and focus. Careful attention to one’s diet. Getting rest, having good shoes, the right outfit. It all matters.

There’s training. So much training to prepare for the winning before you step up to the line. Then the gun.


Running Suicide Hill on the home course where his brother before him had run

There’s even more training after you finish. It’s blood, sweat and tears in between times. And once more, you step up to the line.

Training matters.

Runners need coaches who know what they’re doing. Who’ve got the experience to teach them. Coaches instruct, educate, and they push ’em. A good one will motivate, encourage. The best ones will call out the best in their runners.

Ah, yes. A coach matters.

Sometimes, in running, you will have a bad race day. You just will, and it happens to all. It’s okay.

It doesn’t mean that you’re finished. It’s never the end. You just pick up and run hard again.

Failure happens.

Racing again is you not giving up. For one race doesn’t have to define you. If you lace up your shoes and get back on the course, you’ve not lost. You’ve shown character, and it’s called perseverance.

And that matters.

In running (it’s true), you don’t run alone. You’re a team, and you’re running together. Same school, same colors, a sweaty band of brothers, cheering and urging you on.

Team matters.

Lastly, perhaps the greatest lesson is this–that you don’t have to win, to win. No, you don’t.

Only one runner can cross the line first, but there are many behind him who’re winners. Yes, they are.

When you beat your own time, you’re a winner right there. In the sport, it’s called a PR (Personal Record). We celebrate those, and we celebrate hard ’cause improving yourself is so good. Yes, it is.


Here’s our runner who’s just PR’d. You can see his pain and his father’s pride.

In life, as in running, it’s how you prepare. How you train. How you eat. Who your coach is. Training and coaching and discipline and rest. All of it together, it matters.

In life, just like running, when you fail, you get up. Put your shoes on and try it again. Failure happens. But persevering’s important in running your race. It grows character, and character matters.

In life (yes, here, too), you don’t run alone. You’re part of a family, a band. In His body, we’re on the same side, and we cheer. We encourage and spur others on. We’re a team, and team matters.


A particular joy, to have all six of us there for the one. We station ourselves at different points along the course, shouting encouragement to carry him through. All for one.

Lastly, you’re a winner every time that you grow. Every time that you take a step forward. Even though you might fall, if your direction is right, you’ll fall forward, and that makes you a winner. And you matter.

You matter to Him, and you matter to me. I pray you’ll run strong, run well. For the team.

In Him,



Today, I express my true appreciation and gratitude to Coach Justin Bell and Coach Adam Polhemus for investing not only in our son, but in all of our sons. Your examples of personal integrity, character, love for the Lord, and your love for our boys is a gift. For what you’ve invested, the Schrocks thank you.

I also want to express my affection for the other young men on the NorthWood XC Team. It is a delight and a joy to watch you all run and to see you succeed on (and off of) the course. Your parents are a blessing, and I’ve come to appreciate so many of them, too. And, as always, “Go, Wood!”

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