This blog briefly reflects upon my adventures in both running and life, and what I've learned along the way.The purpose of documenting these adventures is partially a meditation tool for myself, but also to help you and others learn with (or from) me. Our journeys may be separate, but we can all push eachother to reach our peak potential.
For years, I loathed the number
2.It meant second place, behind the
best, a lost game, being so close and falling short.It meant a failure to reach that ultimate
goal: winning.Even more so, it meant
not being good enough… It meant “I” was not good enough.
does winning really mean?If I do my
best and still fall short of number one, whether that’s number 2, 3, or 100,
did I still really lose?
For those of
you who have known me for awhile, you probably know I was a bit of a nut case
back in my teens.I lost any sense of
balance.To me, if I was anything short
of #1, I was a failure.I even wore a #1
gold necklace around my neck, reminding me of this goal every day.
being a twin made this even harder.Besides being born 4 minutes ahead of Sandi, I always felt like I was
number 2 to her, that she was better in almost everything we did.Funny thing is, if you ask her, she’d
probably say the same thing.)
say, this provided me with a constant source of stress and depression.I will say this “unrealistic” goal pushed me
to work hard, pushing physical limits, albeit sometimes too much.Sometimes it made me selfish, picking a
workout over time with family and friends.It could leave me exhausted, anxious, and alone.
pride myself in my work ethic, my ability to endure.But, it took years to reach a healthy state
state of mind would discredits everyone else.There are plenty of others out there who are talented and work their
butts off. (On the other hand, in high school and even college, there are a
whole lot kids who simply talented without much effort which at least in sport,
can still get them pretty far.Still, I
saw them as squandering their potential away, and I was jealous…If I only had
their natural abilities!)
Last year, I
took some time to study a psychological approach called “reframing”.Here’s a sight that can give you a little
more information on the topic:http://changingminds.org/techniques/general/reframing.htm
, but basically, it means taking a problem or unfavorable situation, and
switching from a negative perspective to a positive one (aka. changing lenses).
Now, for me,
#2 does not mean I lost.As long as I
have done my best, as long as I have reached my “peak potential” both through
training and in an event/race/etc., I have “won”.
doesn’t have the same meaning for me anymore.Actually, when people talk about kids and competing, I grow a bit
wary.The “do anything to win” approach
has had some negative side effects, but I won’t go into that all of that here.All I know is that attitude can surely drive
people, maybe I grew “soft” and lost my competitive drive.
And true, it
can be a tough balance to work as hard as you can for something but also
realize that winning isn’t everything.
think I’m pretty tough though. After all, I run in the mud and snow, uphill,
through creeks, on days where the weather person warns it’s too hot to go
outside for long…and I can run 100 miles.
competition for me is something really to look forward to.Running against other women still fires me
up, but not to the point where I am going to dislike them just because we are
going against one another.It means I
have other women out there who are going to push me to do better, dig deeper,
find my strength and do my best. “Counting ponytails*” isn’t a negative
statement, it’s a testament to all the other women out there pushing themselves
to the limit.It’s a privilege to race
against so many strong women.
(*Yes, I realize many men, especially in the
ultra community, have ponytails.But I
know you get what Im saying anyway.)
I still find
deep satisfaction in find out just how far I can go, how much my body will let
day I had to laugh when looking at my race results for the past two years…I
have come in 2nd place, and 3rd, at the majority of my
races.And yes, there were a few times I
was bit disappointed…like the time I finished about 5 minutes back and I knew
my two extended bathroom trips took just over that (it wasn’t my fault, the
bathrooms we really far of the course, and once I couldn’t even find it!), and
the time where I went out way to hard and got passed with 2 miles left to go.
though, I’m really proud of my 2nd and 3rd place
finishes.For one, I know that I did my
best.I also know that I had way more
fun that at these times that I ever did past competitions.At Bigfoot 50k this past year, I finished
second and with a huge smile on my face.I had truly enjoyed almost step of the 31 miles.
By far, my
most proud #2 finish came at Burning River in 2011.Besides some hip flexor issues that were
beyond my control, that has been my best race, both strategically and in
effort. After crossing the finish line, the best I could do was stumble a few
steps before collapsing on the ground.I
had truly given all I had, and if 2nd place is what everything I had
got me, then I’m proud of that #2 spot.
Now that I
think about it, number 2 really isn’t so bad.It’s taught me a few lessons, like how to be humble and how to learn
from my mistakes.Plus, being a twin, I
am one of two.And even though Sandi
could run me into the ground at a race, I really don’t mind finishing behind
her.Actually, I’m usually too proud of
her accomplishments to care.
So how did I
come about writing this blog?
currently reading “How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the
Toughest Teams on Earth” by Adventure Racer Robyn Benincasa and I came across
the quote “Great leaders reframe what a win looks like.” –Robert Nagle, and
which forced me to reflect on my own past, and my thoughts simply flowed from
there.But what a great quote!
certainly don’t consider myself a great leader, I have adopted the “reframe
what a win looks like” strategy in my running a career (I still need to work on
using in my everyday life).It’s
probably why a “DNF” never really crosses my mind (okay, admittedly it does
cross my mind when I’m really, really tired, but I never really mean it).I may not be in first, second, or even top
10, and I may be feel like death (if you’ve run a 100, you know that is the
best description is fitting), but I am going to finish.It’s not like I run ultras because they’re
I run ultras
because they are hard.It is only when
things a hard, when you are at your worst, that you can truly find out what
your made of.
And what I’m
made of can’t be defined by a number.