I love seeing other runners performing and accomplishing goals and finding their strengths. I love to watch a runner dig in and find what it takes to finish and maybe more importantly, to see them find what it takes to start. If you don’t get to the starting line, you surely won’t make it to the finish line.
I’m participating in races virtually like we all are. I see people with a lot of miles already under their feet and I see many with no miles logged. Knowing I can not catch up to the runners ahead of me is something I think about and try to keep from interfering with the mile I have yet to go. Being comfortable with my position in the race isn’t complacency towards being motivated to continue to push ahead. Accepting the fact that participating and accomplishing my goal is my goal, not yours.
I was running the last leg of a virtual Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay as part of an Ultra team yesterday. I had already run 32.7 miles when I went out in the middle of my work day to run the last 5.7 mile leg to finish my part of the 200ish mile Relay. My legs were a little heavy and I was a little tired after a long night of running since I had a 16 mile run at midnight the night before. I chose familiar route that I’ve run many times on a beautiful Avenue that hosts the final miles of the Twin Cities Marathon. A street lined with mansions and beautiful landscape and views overlooking the river side Capital city of Saint Paul.
Running down the avenue at noon on a Saturday in the middle of July means that it was a popular destination even in the mid 80’s heat. As I was running towards the Saint Paul Cathedral and the State Capital building, I passed numerous runners and walkers out for their miles and experiences. I also was passed by a few runners out chasing their own miles and goals. I heard and then felt the runners behind me as they over took me and passed along beside me and then distanced themselves in front of me. My mind wondered how fast they were to be passing me. A couple times I actually felt my pace increase as I momentarily tried to keep the distance between my new leader. I would back off to my usual pace and settle in as I watched them disappear in front of me.
I passed a couple of men that were talking and I felt like one of the men was perhaps, leading or guiding the other, as if he knew the area better or was more comfortable talking. When I passed them I realized that I didn’t know what they may have thought about while I passed them. Did they think I was better, faster, maybe more competitive? I then wondered if they thought I was trying to get past them to make them feel bad. As I continued towards my turnaround point I started to conclude that I had made up the stories about the people that had passed me and about the people I had passed.
I don’t really know what others were doing during my run. Were they out for their very first run, their first long run? Maybe they just had a medical procedure or surgery and coming back from illness or injury. The bottom line is that we were all out there running on their own. We each had our own motivation. I felt very slow at times yet was passing people for a lot of my 5.7 miles. “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” came to mind. While I spent less than an hour running down that avenue, I spent too much time being in front of other runners or being behind other runners. I did enjoy the run as well as I did feel great as I knew I had just finished over 38 miles for my overnight relay.
I’m glad I can see clearer sometimes that I am decent and can run as well as some and may never win any of the races. I’m grateful that seeing myself as myself can be enlightening. As long as I can continue to go out and keep moving, I will continue to go forward. I may always be running ahead of someone and I may always be running behind someone, as long as I’m moving. No need to compare oranges and watermelons. It’s my race, my run. I wish you luck and health on your run. I’ll see you out there.