Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Offense, It's About Me ... Not You!

I started this blog several months ago for a couple of reasons ... to exchange thoughts and ideas with other runners, and to have a record of my running for my family and friends.  However ... IT IS IN NO WAY INTENDED AS A COMPARISON!!!  When I post a race or training time, it's for me.  It's just a point of reference.  Simply a dot on a graph to chart my personal progress.  As a reader I sincerely hope you never feel that we are competing against each other, if you do - it's one sided my friend and I wish you well.

Now don't get me wrong ... I'm a fierce competitor!  Plain and simple I love measuring myself in almost everything I do.  These days though, pretty much my only opponent is myself.  But when I was younger, personal insecurity made it so I always HAD to win.  If I lost in something as simple as Checkers it would ruin my day.  Kinda silly I know.  But over time and maturity, I started realizing that I didn't enjoy the victories as much as I hated losing ... and that didn't seem right.

That's why I love running ... it's the ultimate competition with me!  I love setting a goal and then working to achieve it.  It challenges me.  It's what gets me out of bed at 4am in the morning to log ab work, push ups, and miles. It's the plain and simple objective of trying to improve my last time.  Will I ever be a great runner ... HECK NO!   Realistically ... unless you live in the Goucher, Hall, or Karnazes household, none of us will be.  99.9% of us are "middle of the packers" ... some a little closer to the front, some wedged in near the back ... but all middle of the pack to be sure.

Occasionally, I'll read a condescending post in the blog world condemning people who are consumed with race times.  (Unfortunately, I think their words are probably aimed at people like me.)  I'm sure the "self-righteous" tone of these posts probably comes from a sincere place and are meant only to make the running world a more enjoyable community for all.  But it seems like they miss the mark a little, and probably hint of some hypocrisy.  I mean seriously, do these runners NEVER check their time after a race?  Or NEVER wear a watch?  Or NEVER check the watch while running?  Or NEVER push themselves to keep running?  Or NEVER wear a timing chip?  Or NEVER attempt to run faster?  Please.

Tracking race times is all about beating me!  When we line up together at the starting line, I couldn't care less if you smoke me by 10 minutes, or I finish ahead of you by a few seconds.  When we're standing at the water cooler comparing recent race times, if yours is much "more impressive" than mine, it means nothing to me other than to congratulate you for a job well done. Your race times are simply not my target.  And if I do by chance finish before you, you will NEVER hear me utter one word of bragging, trash talk, or self-congratulations because I was a little faster that day ... YOU are just not what it's about for me!

That being said, if we could never pace ourselves again, or there was no way to measure our elapsed time race improvement ... I WOULD STILL RUN!!!  Running has added so much more to my life than a few ticks on the clock, or a gift certificate for being 2nd in my age group.  I'm healthier, happier, and stronger than ever. I've loved every step of the journey and I will always run ... just to run!  And this blog has been a great way to chronicle the experience.

So at my next race, will you see me with a focused look on my face with several glances at my Garmin ... heck yeah!  That's just how I roll.  But even if I don't make my goal time will I enjoy the experience ... without a doubt!  And hopefully, regardless of how you finish, who you beat, or what your time is ... you do to!
... be great today!

28 comments:

  1. I only use the garmin to check on my personal performance. I'll never at the front of the pack or the middle. I am famous for coming in dead last at a huge marathon *snort* and near last for most of my races. But it's life. I have good and bad races. But I still go out there. You be great today too! Check out the first picture on this post: http://www.babyweightmyfatass.com/2011/05/three-picture-thursday.html Everyone loves their Garmin!

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  2. Excellent post - sounds like something I could have written myself. Running is another aspect of my life, and I try to challenge myself to 'be better' across the spectrum of my life - a better husband, a better father, a better son, a better brother, a better friend, a better employee, a better boss ... and yes, a better runner. Nothing wrong with that in my book. And .... I LOVE my Garmin.

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  3. Great post. I love running because it's an individual sport. It's all about you. My goal is always to finish the run and hopefully be a little faster than before, or to feel a little better than I did the last time I finished. I love that running is all about the individual, when I run, I'm not worried if someone passes me the ball, if someone doesn't catch the ball etc..How I do depends on me and how I've prepared.

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  4. Great attitude Jim! I am all about the clock and I love challenging myself against it. I think most of us are. And folks need to learn to keep judgment in check.

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  5. Well said vent here Jim! I thing these time and new levels we set for ourselves to reach is part of what makes it so fun! To each his own. Love this post!

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  6. I love this post! My running is MINE and that's it. I feel the same way about the discussions that I see here and there about whipping by someone at the finish line. When I'm crossing the finish line, I am NOT worrying about other runners - I'm trying to cross it as fast as *I* can and that's it...every one of us is a slower runner to some and a faster runner to others.

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  7. Wonderful post Jim! And I love the new look. I could seriously see this as an article in runners world...you should send it to them (or if you insist on "no", Michael should go behind your back and send it to them :)

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  8. I could not agree more.
    See me I am in the slow group. It is the truth and I am ok with it. FAST People can run a marathon in the time it takes me to run a half.
    I am never first and I am never last either. I follow a lot of people on blogs and most of them are faster then me and it is ok with me. I only compare my times with MY times. But even if my time is kind of slow, it matters to me. A lot. I want to be less slow at each race even if it is still slow. My first 10k was 1:12 and my 3rd 1:01. 1:01 is still slow but for me it was huge and that is all I care about. I don't believe runners who say they dont care about the time. We all do. At my first half. I said my #1 goal was to finish and it was the honest truth but I wanted to finish under 2:45. I did it. If I had not done it and still finish I would have been a little dissapointed. Man this is a long comment :)

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  9. I am so competitive but with me. This is a good post.

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  10. This was a good post for me because while I don't compare my times with others', I do worry when I don't seem to be progressing as quickly as others do. We're all on our own road. I need to watch my own clock and not worry when it's slower or faster than someone else's.

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  11. I totally agree. That's why I can feel a little down after a race if I didn't meet my expectations or how I can feel elated because I smashed them. I'll never be the fastest (unless it's really small field of slow people) but that doesn't stop me from competing.

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  12. Awesome post Jim! You hit the nail on the running head on all fronts. I run for I think the exact same reasons as you - the way it makes me feel, the sense of accomplishment, pushing your body beyond where you thought it could go. That is what it is all about.

    I also love my race time history - maybe because I love numbers and I love comparing myself to how I used to run in the past. I do have one friend who we are generally about the same speed - sometimes I am faster, sometimes he is faster. So he is a good barometer as to how I am running, even though I am still running only for myself.

    Today at Bay to Breakers I saw the back of a girls shirt - "you've just been chicked." Personally I find this slogan insulting, I realize that they probably had good intentions wearing that shirt, but what about all the guys that they pass? Should guys be wearing a shirt that says "you've just been cocked?" haha I just think mutual respect in the running world is huge.

    If someone is setting a solid pace close to me, I try to stick with thenm as long as possible to be pulled to the finish line. Then if they need to be pulled along I try to urge them on to follow me. Mutual respect on the racecourse can go a long way towards helping everyone out there.

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  13. Well said. Running is many different things to different people. To each his own.

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  14. I'm totally competing with you...cuz I could run Boston...if I wanted.... LOL!!!!

    Love this post!

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  15. Well said. I'm so with you. I love reading about all these fast runners (I include you in that) and yet I know that I'm a back of the pack'er. I know why I run and I love challenging myself. I'm in this for me :-) I do enjoy cheering my fellow runners on in races (and just working out in general).

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  16. This is a great post -- and is one of the things that I like about running. It allows me to unleash my competitiveness but it is entirely with myself. And when my Garmin freezes up (which is does occasionally) and I loose a run, I'm sad not to have that notch in my running history.

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  17. Interesting post. I agree with you 100% although I am probably the least competitive runner out there. With 30 years of running and 1251 races behind me I honestly don’t look at my watch anymore. I do take my times to keep track of training, mainly to refer back to at times. But I still compete with myself. Even if it is just to finish some race. I’ve changed my goals from times to distances mainly and I’ve never owned a Garmin or something like that…never will. But I still put the challenges out there for me to achieve. I just don't care about my finish time.

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  18. Jim. I love reading your posts.
    So well said, my friend.

    "..., if you do - it's one sided my friend and I wish you well."
    Love that.
    You. Rock.

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  19. This, my friend, is easily the best post of the month that I have read. So true!! I am slow and I know it, I never compare myself to others, when I race, its me against the course and when I make it to the finishline, I am the winner. Nothing else matters to me, I am just happy that I am happy enough to do these types of events. I have pushed myself to do things that never in my life I thought was possible. Numbers dont matter with others, you can race with 50 friends, and not one person will remember what anyone elses time is, but they will always remember the great memories of that race.

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  20. Nelly had me dying laughing. The only time I "chick" someone is when I gift them some marshmellow peeps.

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  21. Sorry that we are driving you guys crazy with the puppy pics! We love our new "baby" to death, but it sure would be nice to get a full night's sleep!

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  22. Yeah, one of the fun parts of running is to see if I can improve my times - I like the challenge!

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  23. I LOVE this post. In my life running is the only thing I do for myself. I am not a great runner but I run because I love it. I think anyone who runs and finishes or even attempts a race has won, that's why this sport is so great. The roads are always open! :)

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  24. It's all about callenging myself - not racing others but against myself.

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