running halfway

When I ran long distance track competitively in high school, there was always a point in the race where our coach pushed us where other coaches didn’t: the halfway point.

You see, most everyone’s heard of the “bell lap”. When the leaders in the race have one lap to go, they ring a bell. Long distance races have multiple laps and can be boring to watch, but the Bell Lap is the part where the race gets interesting. It’s where runners see what’s left in their tank and give it all they have to the finish, hopefully ahead of their competitor. The Bell Lap is where the race is won.

Well, not exactly.

My coach loved the halfway point. When I was running the mile, right after the first two laps my coach would tell me to “start rolling”. I wasn’t supposed to wait for the final lap like everyone else to start picking it up. I was supposed to pick it up at halfway. This was where I picked off other runners that were saving up for the Bell Lap.

Halfway was my new Bell Lap.

(Oh, and as a side note: My coach wasn’t crazy. He knew exactly what he was doing.)

It’s easy to get excited about the sexy Bell Lap, when we can give everything that’s left in us to finish, whatever it is we’re pushing ourselves to do. (They ring a bell, for crying out loud!) It’s exciting to blow by the competition in the last ten meters, with everyone in the stands on their feet cheering.

But it’s not easy to push yourselves when others aren’t, or when there’s no bell telling everyone to pay attention. It becomes a true test of finishing and mental hardness.

But you get used to pushing at halfway. And when you start gaining success, it becomes easier and a part of who you are.

Today is July 1, exactly halfway through 2010. Time to start kicking.

Photo by StuffEyeSee.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Mickey April 29, 2017, 2:52 am

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  • Rasmus July 3, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Excellent reminder that just because it’s summer and the sun is shining, doesn’t mean that it’s time to chill out and gear down. It is indeed the halfway mark of the year. Whatever goals we all set out to complete by the end of 2010, we only have half the time left to complete them in.

    If we start picking up the pace now, we won’t have to stress out completely when the bell does ring. Hopefully.

  • Armen Shirvanian July 1, 2010, 12:08 pm

    Hi Glen.

    “…it’s not easy to push yourselves when others aren’t, or when there’s no bell telling everyone to pay attention” is a truth I see. Without that bell, we don’t hear a bell, and so we don’t have any signal to push ourselves. We always need some sort of a bell, whether it is a rich person driving through a poor neighborhood to realize how much they have, or a parent telling a child to read their 30 minutes of reading that day.

    It sure is halfway through 2010, and it is cool of you to create this bell.

    • glen July 1, 2010, 12:48 pm

      I agree. Bells are important. I guess the trick is finding other bells.

  • Seth July 1, 2010, 11:24 am

    Yay for the Bloomsday statues at Spokane’s Riverfront Park!