Health & Fitness.

77 Miles Of Perspective

SO. Here’s my run log.

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As you can see, my weeks start on Monday. If my weeks started on Saturday or Sunday, the week total for this week would say 77 because it would include LAST weekend’s Sunday and/or Saturday. But, because my week starts on Monday I only got 70 miles this week. I’m trying not to be bothered by this. I know my goal/plan was for 77, and I did do 77 in 7 days which counts, but it’s not marked like that on my run log AND THIS BOTHERS ME TERRIBLY.

Which is crazy, I know.

I’ve talked a lot recently with running friends about perspective. And the more I think about it, I think what we talk about probably plays out in all circles with a common connector. Let’s say you start socializing in an new circle. Maybe you started scrapbooking. (Does anyone do that anymore?) Or knitting. Or photography. Or maybe you just started socializing with a group of Moms with kids the same age of yours. For whatever reason, you ended up in a new social group for one common denominator that you didn’t previously have a group for…are you with me?

Before you enter that group you think:
I’m a good photographer.
I’m a good Mom.
I’m a good knitter.

That’s why you found that group, right? To find other people who connect on whatever that level is. But then you are surrounded by a lot of people who do that thing you do and suddenly you realize you’re not the best. And it’s not like you thought you were the best Mom or the best Photographer, but when you’re the only one you know doing that thing, you are the best in your experience. Then you see the quilt that girl in your sewing circle made out of 5,000 pieces of different fabric and you see your quilt and start to feel inadequate.

Perspective.

Before you started hanging out with other Moms you thought you were GREAT. But then you met that Mom who makes her own baby food. Or that Mom who keeps her kids off sugar. Or that Mom who doesn’t let her kids use screens. And suddenly you feel like you’re the worst Mom in the world.

With running it’s like this: You start running and think about braving some group runs because you hear people like me rave about it. Before you do that you’re the only runner you know and you’re awesome because you are training for your first 10K and no one in your family has ever done that and you feel BAD ASS.

But then you meet these great people you run with and you learn about people training for half-marathons or marathons or 100Ks or 100-Milers and suddenly you’re not as proud of you 10K challenge.

Perspective.

I don’t know how to stop us all from doing that. But I know we all do it. When I talk to other runners I always downplay my 100K coming up.

It’s not a trail one. It’s just on a greenway. It’s an easy one.

To which someone said a couple of weeks ago – someone I consider a rockstar of trail running – “It’s still 100K. There are no “easy” 100Ks.”

I just get my perspective out of whack because I run with people who have done the Western States 100-Miler. Or people who are training for their 5th 100-Miler. Hell, I know people who have done all of the crazy ultra marathons you can think of, including attempting Barkley several times. It’s hard to brag about your 100K on the greenway when those people are in your social circle.

But that’s twisted. Not everyone can (or even wants to) make their own baby food. That doesn’t make the Mom feeding her kid Gerber any worse of a Mom. Not everyone can (or even wants to) knit 20 sweaters for family members for Christmas. That doesn’t make the woman knitting her best friend a pair of socks any less impressive. If you’re knitting even a scarf? I’m going to think you are WAAAAAYYYY cooler than me and my 100K. Running a 100K is EASY compared to knitting a scarf. YOU PEOPLE WHO KNIT ARE AMAZING.

When you start to feel like that thing you do and sometimes makes you proud, is no longer impressive because you’re socializing with others who do that thing “better”? Then you need to shift your perspective. You need to remind yourself that your skill (parenting/running/cycling/crafting) is impressive to those who DON’T do it at all. I have friends who have done half-Ironmans and they downplay it because it’s not a FULL and I’m all, “DUDE. I don’t ever want to do an Olympic Distance triathlon again it was so hard. HALF IRONMANS ARE AMAZING.”

You have to remember that while your social circle may do amazing things, those outside of it think YOU’RE amazing. I promise you. Because you ARE amazing.

Hell, I still hold to the fact that my first 5k (the one that started my FIRST attempt at running but ended with a 7+ hour run/walk marathon) was the hardest thing I ever did. I trained entirely on the treadmill because I was scared of running out in public. I could barely sleep the night before. I thought I was going to throw up that morning. I was TERRIFIED. I am still as proud of that 5K as anything else I’ve ever done. Even though that attempt at becoming a runner didn’t stick, it planted a seed so I could try again in 2011.

Be proud, is what I’m saying. And I’m saying it to you AND to me.

2 thoughts on “77 Miles Of Perspective”

  1. I have the same problem with perspective sometimes. Seeing our running friends do 100-milers while I do 50 Ks, seeing other parents do a better job with their kids than me (a friend’s kids can cook and bartend and they are the same age as mine! Mine can barely make toast!), work people who are way more successful than me… But I realize sometimes that even these people admire me for something – one of our hundred miler friends admires how I’ve gotten my daughter to love the outdoors and hopes to do the same with his daughter. Another thought it was cool that he was running part of a 50 K with an astrophysicist. Then my astrophysicist friends who are more successful than me think it is cool that I can run 50Ks. Maybe I am pretty cool if I think about it! Plus it really helps to have friends like you who can do things I didn’t think I could – like the grand slam – and show me how much fun it is!

  2. I just try to survive a half marathon. I’m tremendously impressed with your grand slams and your upcoming 100k!

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