“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”– George Sheehan
Yesterday, after finishing a swim at the pool, I went out to the lobby and found a friend of mine chatting with my hubby. I've been telling him about my training for the 10k in September, and he's been offering me tips here and there for it. He'd come in third in a triathlon the week before, so I said, "You did well last weekend!"
And he said something that surprised me. "Yeah. I was disappointed."
"But... you came in third!" I said.
And then he told me about how there was a girl he'd never seen before who was so fast... much faster than he'd seen anyone run, swim or cycle before. And when he saw how quickly she could swim, he got nervous and tried to swim faster, but it made him sloppy and it slowed him down. He passed her on his bike, but while he ran, he looked back and saw her gaining on him, and sure enough, it wasn't long before he heard her feet on the path behind him.
"I got caught up in someone else's race," he said. "That was a mistake."
And I think I do that, too... not just with my own fitness, but when I see people who are faster/smarter/thinner/prettier/better at stuff than me. I keep my eyes on them and forget about my own race, about my own journey, and that no one can write this story about my life but me. I get sloppy, and then I want to quit and wallow in my own unhappiness.
That doesn't work.
So, eyes forward from now on. Nevermind what the others are doing. Concentrate on your own running/knitting/spinning/dancing/singing. You've got a life to live, and a race to run.
And you're winning it.