I ran my first mile road race this weekend. It was far and away the fastest mile I’ve run in my entire life. Kind of exciting, especially since it’s in the middle of a marathon training cycle.
Immediately after the race, I was on cloud 9. I texted my family, my coach and a few close friends who knew I was racing and shared the exciting news.
However while I was driving home, my thoughts started to wander. It dawned on me that my all-out, run as hard as I could for one mile – just one mile—was still slower than elite females run for 26.2 miles. It was slower than females run half marathons. And slower than some of my friends run 5ks. Ouch.
In that brief moment, I compared myself and my success to others. I allowed that comparison to take away from the happiness and pride I should have been feeling.
The thing is there will always be someone faster. Or someone who runs longer distances. Or someone who is a few steps ahead of you. Always. And you’ll never be happy or satisfied with your effort, even if you have given it 100%, because it didn’t measure up to someone else’s finish time.
Their accomplishments shouldn’t compromise your happiness.
I try really hard these days to not get into the comparison game. Because that’s the thing— there will always be someone faster than me. BUT, there will also always be someone who is slower and is looking at me the same way I look at these faster runners.
Speed is relative.
We all want to be faster. I think that’s in our nature as runners. That’s why we train for races over and over again. It’s the hope and dream we have of running a faster time, maybe qualifying for Boston or the Olympic Trials one day. It’s great to have someone who you look up to for inspiration or encouragement about what you could possibly be like if you work hard.
But we all need to take a step back and appreciate where we are and how far we/you have come. Focus on your own development before looking at people around you. Aim for daily improvements. And know that in the end, working hard, training right and giving it your all on race day really matters more than a finish time.