Updated: Nov 28, 2022
Warning: This is not permission to give up on your goals or an excuse to passively train for your next race, it’s simply a compassionate look at aging in our sport.
The following paragraphs are my thoughts on how we can feel secure when the numbers are threatening our confidence and what adaptation looks like in the community.
Calculating your worth and comparing results is so five years ago…
If you’re a Strava user secretly collecting frenemies, you know that “comparison is the root of all evil”. Not to be confused with route, which I did for the first hundred reviews of this blog post that previously noted:
Speaking of route, you should go check out your map visibility on the settings in the app and consider hiding them. It will not only keep you safe from predators but I think it might protect you against stolen crown notifications.
I’m really thankful I caught that embarrassing misspelling/quote before posting this article! But the tip is worth disclosing my error.
If you’re still “measuring your success using someone else’s ruler” - a clever expression I can’t claim, not doing that is kind of old news. There are an infinite number of factors that impact performance. It’s hard enough to accurately analyze our own successes and failures so why are we adding an unknown variable to the equation? I hate math. Just stop it.
Now. The next enemy is the one in the mirror. Comparing our previous performances is more hazardous to our self-worth than scowling while giving kudos to our secret running rival. The internal battle is fierce.
I won’t argue the notion that looking in the mirror for our competition is an effective personal growth concept. In fact, I love looking in the mirror. Wait, no. Wrong point.
Where was I? …Your reflection. The important part here is looking at and accepting what is in front of you. In order to excel, I think we need to get comfortable evaluating our circumstances and refocusing accordingly. Put simply, we need to be great at adapting.
We tend to let our goals define our successes but what if we let our definition of success guide us to our goals? What if we gave ourselves the freedom to allocate energy to the tasks that drive the most favorable outcome at any given moment? That could look like running incredibly fast; but is it any less admirable to help other runners?…or win the best “worst” running photo contest?
I think outstanding athletes just need to be exceptional in the face of adversity. We should always be asking, “how can I be great today?” And maybe that means high-fiving all the spectating kids or posing for the camera! Both happen to be exchanges I made for fast results recently.
Here are three affirmations to remind you that you can still be exceptional when you can’t be your fastest:
Courage: I am the best at showing up and getting back up.
Creativity: I am the best at improvising.
Compassion: I am the best at finding the good in myself and others.
Drop the ruler, raise the bar, and keep moving because routes (not roots) lead to the greatest destinations.