I’m not like a lot of my friends. Half Marathon, 21K/13.1 miles is my distance. I don’t run “long” and I don’t run “fast.” The folks I measure myself against and admire run much faster or much longer than me. It’s silly that I sometimes feel insecure measuring myself against them. After all, isn’t it all relative?
For some, 21K is hella far. For others it’s just a moderate training run. To me, my average 9++ minute-mile is slug slow. To some, that seems fast. Does it really matter how fast or how far? Should’t I just appreciate that I have what it takes to drag myself out of bed early every weekend morning when others are snug in their beds?
A more experienced bike racer friend once advised me; “If you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward.” He was referring to positioning oneself within the field of riders, but the statement works for life in general. With that said, I imagine we should wake up every day and push to make ourselves better than we were the day before. Move forward so to speak. Be your own “better.”
I write this post because I recently finished my first race of the season. It was 17k. It was hilly and it was beautiful. I ran slowly up hill and I ran fast down hill. I got passed a lot on the first climb, but I too passed people going up and then I passed people going down. I passed people who had passed me earlier in the race and I loved that feeling. I was out there on this day for no other reason than because I wanted to be. I expected only to finish feeling proud of my accomplishment, for having taken steps to keep moving forward, to better myself. In the end I found that in spite of myself, I’d managed to finish first in my age group and better than halfway through the total field of women. I beat men & women many years younger although I’d been beaten by many more than I beat. My lesson; a reminder that my typical measure my success is out of whack. It had no place here on this day and it really has no relevance what so ever, as… success is relative, specific to any given day, situation, imagination.
So, go out and run/ride, whatever… do it because you can and because if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward. Remember, how you measure up in your own mind doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you get out and do it… Do it every day and do it to the very best of your own personal ability. You may just surprise yourself one day.
P.s. My pal Pen raced this day as well. Pen was one of the very first people over-all to cross the finish line. And, Pen even stopped before the line to pick up her 3-year-old son Max so they could cross together. Nice job Pen! (Is it any wonder why Pen is at the top of my measuring stick?)