Last Sunday I ran the Sandia Mountain Shadows 10k Trail Run. I ran this last year as well so I was interested to see how I would compare. Last year I finished in 49:59.1 and this year I finished in 50:39.7. So I was about 40 seconds slower than last year. And, to be honest that extra time was probably when I tailed a guy on the last big uphill. I probably could have gone faster but it was up and I liked the pace he was setting.
I kicked it into gear after that and passed a bunch of 10k and 5k runners on the way in. I even pushed a young man that was slowing down and ran him in. I kept egging him on and told him “Don’t let me pass you! I’m an old man!” He laughed (as well as you can when fighting for breath) and we ran it in together. Good times.
The thing is, it wasn’t that good. Sure I had fun but I found myself thinking about getting past the next guy or wondering if I was going fast enough.
I was competing.
I had the awareness to notice I was worrying about what the other runners were doing and not looking around and enjoying the beautiful scenery around me. It was after that that I relaxed and followed the fella up the hill and enjoyed the run.
Two days later at a health event at work we had a 1 Mile run. The top ten runners from our site were going to be compared to other DoE sites and someone gets to claim who is the fastest.
I entered because, well because I love running and being proactive about health is a thing for me. I encouraged my coworkers to get out and participate (there was a walk also) and I lead by example. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t daydream about being in the top ten. How fast can a bunch of science nerds be anyways?
Well shit. They were fast. come go time they shot off the line and I worked to get up near the front. First half was 2:33. As I rounded the corner my boss was there to cheer me on. She pointed to the man i front of me and yelled “Just beat him. He’s the only one I care about!”
I get what she was doing, but it snapped my back into reality: Here I am competing again. I don’t want to chase this guy. I want to do what I can do. I didn’t catch him and in fact two others passed me before I hit the finish, though I still had some solid kick at the end.
My Mile? 6:11. That’s pretty fucking fast and something I’m very happy with. I didn’t crack the top ten and the fastest one was 4:54 I think. Fast fucking nerds.
The point of all this?
I don’t want to be the best. I want to be my best. It wasn’t fun for me thinking about what the other runners were doing or how I was in comparison to them. I don’t care.
I enjoy pushing myself, seeing what I’m capable of but I don’t care if others are faster or better than me, someone always will be.I don’t want to think about the other runners in that sense. I want to share the experience with them, to cheer them on when they succeed or boost them up when they are struggling and to accept that from them when it is offered to me.
I enjoy experienced the world around me, the sights and sounds and smells. I will miss these things if I am focusing on what the next runner up is doing, or how fast they are or how smooth their stride is so they must have trained better than I did.
I’m not in it to win it. I’m in this for the long haul. For the experience. For what I can learn about myself. For what I can create and foster in myself. For what I can become. For what I already am.
I am a Miracle.