Happy National Running Day!! Who knew that the sport that I’d only known as punishment in other sports would change my life. Running has led me to new friends. It has given me the courage to set new goals and the discipline to achieve them. But perhaps the gift I appreciate the most is that of self-forgiveness and compassion. I don’t have to cross the finish line first; I just have to cross. I don’t have to be perfect or even good; there is dignity in the effort. Put one foot in front of the other. And don’t quit. That’s all. As a former high school and college athlete, loving or embracing mediocrity has not come easily. It’s counter intuitive. You put in the practice hours to be able to be better than everyone else, right?? Not now. Not with this sport. You need just to practice. Try to improve, but just do your best — because your best is golden.