Have you ever had a moment in life that was so meaningful that it’s stuck in your memory? Today’s post is just about that, a moment in time that has stood out from the rest. This specific memory is from a lesson I learned about myself almost 20 years ago as a young varsity athlete. It’s about how running taught me one important life lesson.
I’m a sprinter first, a long distance runner second
At Laurentian University, I ran for the varsity Track & Field team as well as the cross-country running team. Attending a small University with a population of about 5000 at the time, some sport teams were thin and accepted anyone trying out for the team, such as the track team. Sprinting was my first love, I was so passionate about it. I joined the cross-country running team for two reasons; I felt I was expected to and that it would be a great way to cross train for track.
Long distances were not my strength. I could barely run longer than 5 km and would complain if I was made to run longer distances. I was definitely not passionate about long distances.
The Cross Country Meet That Changed Everything
The important lesson came later as a second year student and athlete. I was at a cross-country running meet in Kingston, Ontario. It wasn’t a long race, maybe 5 or 6 km but I remember it being particular challenging with lots of rolling hills. I was the last runner with no one behind me.
I remember seeing the volunteers packing up, thinking there were no more runners. Then I heard one of volunteers call out to the others from a walkie-talkie, warning them to stick around a little longer. There was one more runner. ME.
That was a particularly deflating moment. No one ever wants to be last. I knew I wasn’t a strong long distance runner and I was always at the tail end of a race, but being last in a race was a first (and only) for me.
Still, I kept going, moving towards the finish line even if my morale was low. With a few hundred meters to go, I could hear my coach cheering very loudly. I thought that it was because he wanted to encourage me to finish the race. As I got closer, I could hear what he was actually telling me. He wasn’t’ just trying to get me across the line (and no, there wasn’t a bear behind me either).
My coach was actually really excited for me. I was the last runner, but I was running this race at my fastest pace ever. After the race, I found out that I set a personal record in that race. He had recorded my splits and he was proud of me.Your self worth is not about how you compare to everyone else, but how you measure up against yourself Click To Tweet
So what was the important lesson that I learned that day? The important lesson learned is that I am my competition. I shouldn’t compare myself to others. My own self-worth is not measured by comparing myself everyone else, but about how I stack up against myself.
Although in the big scheme of things, yeah, I was running a race with a large number of people, but my only competition was ME. It doesn’t really matter if you are first or last in a race (although my husband would challenge this statement). If you know you ran your hardest, you should feel accomplished. I remember how proud my coach was of me at the moment when embarrassment was swallowing me up. I definitely think differently looking back on this event.
Now this lesson can definitely be transferred to other parts of life, not just running. When it comes to careers, salaries, the size one’s home or the size of someone else’s blog, we are always comparing ourselves to others. Happiness doesn’t stem from comparing yourself to others. In fact, the reverse is true.
Just remember, your self-worth is not about how you compare to everyone else, but how you measure up against yourself.
Join the conversation:
- Have you ever had a moment that you seemed to remember more clearly than others?
- How do you measure yourself?