Sunday (13th) we drove to Saanichton on the peninsula of Vancouver Island for the first run of the year in the Island Race series. It was frosty and clear but the sun was out and the sponsors gave out free gloves to anybody who needed them. And talk about an amazing bunch of runners! The fastest runner came in at 23:49 and the first place women’s finisher did the 8K in a top 25 in the world time of 25:28!
In my world, that means she had finished and was already getting her sandwiches and fruit before I was even at the halfway mark. I struggled quite a bit and found I was near the very back of the pack overall. I am used to going in the bigger races with lots more recreational walker/runners like me and I was quite outclassed as the majority of people in this race were serious runners. Still, a group of us had entered as an extended family and others in my group did very well in their age categories. My nephew came in 9th in his category, my sister came in 7th, and my daughter came in 3rd, winning a medal for her efforts! I am a very proud Mom. Considering that most of the people in our family group only started running in the last year or two, I think we all did ace, and I added another 8K onto my $2013 in 2013 tally.
And later, when my daughter asked me if I would have been embarassed if I came in last, I told her that yes, part of me would have been embarassed, but I will always keep three things in mind. First, no matter how much I struggle in these races, I know how far I have come since just last year. So, others may see a last place finisher, but I’m ahead of where I was for the last 25 years and I will continue to improve. Second and third, I remember two cool t-shirts I have seen in other races. One said “No matter where I finish, I am still ahead of the people who stayed on the couch”. The second was this photo from weknowmemes:
This reminds me that we all have a story and the last person’s story may in fact represent a greater triumph than the winner’s, we just don’t know. So yes, we tend to compare ourselves to others when we race, but we should not let the fact that others are ahead of us be discouraging, because there are always people ahead of us and behind us. The real competition is against ourselves and we should celebrate every step we take to improve. So if I came in last or even if I didn’t finish, I would still be proud that I had the courage to enter and try. (And after that deep speech, I secretly vowed to up my training before the next race…. Because I don’t want to finish last).