In Her Own Words: The Process Is The Goal

Lila Gaudrault a junior from Cape Elizabeth won the Class B State title in 2018, she's back to defend her title in 2019.

Happy September!

If you've noticed a slight chill in the air, or the sun rising a little later each morning, you're not alone. It's getting to be that time of year when I wake up to a dark sky outside, and have to put on my headlamp for predawn morning runs. Luckily, there's no snow or ice to worry about... yet!

At this point in the season, it can be easy to start to feel a bit restless. We've been training hard all summer, and want to see it pay off. The big invitationals are still weeks away, and championship races are barely on our radar. Right now, as we're working hard every day with hopes it will help us in races still months away, I wanted to emphasize a quote I shared in my last post, "the process is the goal." When I think about this quote, it brings me back to the question of why I run in the first place. The "process" refers to the behind-the-scenes work that running entails: the morning runs, the afternoon workouts, the endless core sessions, the barefoot strides, the list goes on. The "goal" is so often the end result: the PR, the win, the race. But what if the "goal" was that day-in-day-out work that we do? What if we viewed training, instead of as a highway to our destinations, as the destination itself? What if we ran just to run?

Cross country, in the view of a spectator, is about running the race and crossing the finish line. But it's easy to overlook the days, weeks, months, and even years that got you to the finish line in the first place. And maybe that finish line isn't the ultimate test, but instead the ultimate testament to the long process and amount of work put in.

It's easy to get philosophical about all this, but what does it actually look like in everyday life? For me, seeing the process as the goal means running for the sake of running, not for some race that may or may not go as planned. I try and ask myself, "If I could exclusively train or race, which would I do?" If the answer is training, I know I'm running for the right reasons. Of course that doesn't mean you should be totally indifferent to racing, but viewing the race as a part of the journey instead of the ultimate destination has been super helpful to me.

This sort of thinking can also be applied to school (although this one's a bit more difficult for me!) Instead of focusing on the grade, I try to focus on the learning, and letting the grades be a benefit of this mentality. Because in the end, you're not building an academic, or athletic résumé, but a person.

Keep running hard and enjoying the process!

  • Lila


At the end of every blog post, I want to include a book recommendation for the fellow running-nerds out there. One of my favorite running-related books is Deena Kastor's memoir, "Let Your Mind Run." Along with sharing her journey to becoming one of America's most successful distance runners, Kastor talks in depth about the power of positivity and other mental strategies in training and racing, one of the most overlooked elements of the sport. When I finished this book for the first time, I immediately flipped back to the beginning and started reading it again. I've now read it 3 or 4 times - I've honestly lost count!