A few weeks ago, during the Denel 10k, I overheard a conversation between two other runners. It was something about how the one person had almost fallen off a ladder and had she fallen, she would have injured herself so badly that her racing days would have been over.
What amused me was the idea of this running thing we do being competitive… these events where hundreds or thousands of people converge at a venue to “COMPETE” in a “RACE”.
The idea came up again a few weeks later when Nick did Two Oceans – one of my little nieces asked if he “WON” – we laughed at the cuteness – and explained that we didn’t actually compete to win these events.
The words compete, race and won used to invoke the idea of strong, fit and fast people running against each other and a finishing line, ribbon et al… There would be one winner and a whole bunch of losers. I’m thinking of Olympic track events, Bruce Fordyce smashing through the Comrades ribbon for the gazillionth time, Zola Budd tripping Mary Decker – that sort of thing.
But now… now that I am a “runner” I have a different understanding of these words. I am learning that I do compete, but only with myself. Every single time I lace up my running shoes, I enter a race – and I am winning, just by virtue of the fact that I am getting stronger and I haven’t given up.
On reflection, this idea of competing against myself is relatively new to me. I have always been all about the results, and if I wasn’t the best or if the task wasn’t immediately easy… Well then I couldn’t be bothered to keep trying. I have been like that with all sorts of things from school to my career and hobbies.
I am learning that whatever the activity, be it running, weight loss or life in general – it is less about the end result and more about the journey and experience. Good experiences involve hard work! So whilst I may not particularly love the burning feeling in my leg muscles as I step out onto the road, the endorphins and feeling of achievement afterwards is worth all the discomfort.
And that, folks, is my philosophical musing for the week!
Happy Wednesday everybody!