Comparison is the Thief of Joy

By the nature of the sport, being a runner (or any athlete for that matter) results in comparison.  We’re runners.  We like numbers.  We like data.  We like times.  Most of us are trying to improve something: times, weight, strength.  And how do we determine our “ideal” times, weight, and strength?  We compare.  And instead of seeing how far we have come, a lot of times we only see how far we have to go.

I read the article this morning about 17-year old Alana Hadley who won and set the course record for the Indianapolis Marathon this weekend.  My first thought:  I’ll never have a race like that.  Could I sound any more ridiculous?!  She raced her first 5k at the age of 6.  I raced my first half marathon at the age of 18 and had never even HEARD of a 5k!  Like, I’m not even sure I know now what exactly a “k” is!  The “mile” is still dominant in my refuse-to-convert-to-metric mind.  While I was not about to admit that to the gal in the corral who had asked me what other races I had done, it really made me realize how much there was to learn!  I cannot compare myself to Alana because she’s 17, has been racing for 11 years, and strategically plans her races.  I am not 17.  I have not been running for 11 years.  My race day strategy is to finish without puking (which been a successful strategy thus far!)

My goal since turning 24 almost a month ago is to like myself.  Life happens and people put you down and make you think twice about what and who you are.  So my strategy: STOP COMPARING!

So, what do I like?

I’m funny.
You cannot be 4’11” and a former member of the 8th grade basketball team and not be able to find the funny in life.

I’m stronger than you’d think.
Anything past the first shelf in the cabinets requires a quick lift up onto the counters.  It has made me rather agile and given some sort of a little rock to my otherwise pathetic “muscles”.  Just don’t ask me to open a jar of pickles.  And I recommend not eating off of my counters.

I have never colored my hair.
So every dumb thing I say is because these roots are truly blonde.

I cannot tell a lie.
So don’t make me testify as a witness for your crime.  I would never survive the Witness Protection Program.

I can run faster than the boys.
Not all of them.  Just a few.  But their legs are longer than mine, making it quite the feat!

I enjoy being healthy.
Beans, squash, tofu, turnip greens.  I love it all and all the weird food, too!  I think sweet potato cookies sound awesome and so does butternut squash macaroni and cheese and quinoa chocolate cake (I can attest that it is actually the bomb).

I like that I like to run.
I’m not crazy, I just like running.  Not all runs are fast or good or enjoyable (like running in 30 mph gusts of wind), but I reap that “runner’s high” and that makes it all worth it!

I like to indulge.
Ice cream.  Preferably gelato.  Pizza.  Cinnamon rolls. Traveling.  Running socks.  Things like this just make your life worthwhile!

Things can only go up from here.
One of my favorite people said to me last night, “Us as humans are so resilient!”  We bounce back.  It’s in our nature–especially as runners.  We can oftentimes come back faster and stronger and better and healthier and happier.  There’s a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and wise runners at our fingertips that love to share about not only running, but life.
The race photo, the hills, the bad hair day, the red lipstick, the pearls, every thing weird, hard, awkward, or new.  Try it.  Like it!

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