This past weekend I had the opportunity to run the Stroll for Strong Kids 5K with friends of mine whose niece passed away a few years ago. The day is all about remembering the little lives who are no longer with us and helping the little lives who are fighting terrible diseases currently by supporting the Golisano Children’s Hospital. Basically, the day will bring you close to tears – and it brought me 3.1 miles of reflection.
If I had been in 5k training mode, I likely could have tried to win this 5k. It’s a small, not very competitive race, that has no elite runners. And sadly, that was my first thought when I signed up. I went right to the 2016 results to see if I could win it, or come close and at least push to get a new 5k PR. As I laid out my clothes the night before, I pushed those thoughts aside and reminded myself that that’s NOT what the 5k was about. So instead, I helped my friend through the race and reflected on the rushed pace we force upon ourselves, especially in running.
If you post about your running journey on Instagram, and inevitably follow others doing the same, you may find yourself falling into the comparison trap. You see others run stories – their PR times in various distances, them getting their workouts in despite having children or crazy schedules and ultimately their picture-perfect shots. This is all GREAT stuff to follow to support others and use to inspire yourself to do all the same things, but sometimes we fall victim to doing the opposite and using those things to put ourselves down. We’ve all been there, especially if you’re a competitive person, like myself. We all want the best times, the best races, the best body, the best gear – but what if we slowed down to just think about being ABLE to work for our best?
It’s so easy to get sucked into our bubble where we get down on ourselves about not reaching our running or fitness goals yet. What we often forget is that we are lucky to just be CAPABLE of trying to reach them. The individuals that we raise money for through various charity races often are not capable of even walking or breathing on their own, let alone running. Specifically, for the race I ran, the money raised goes toward a hospital that many children never get to leave. So while we fight for PRs, another is fighting for their life. Talk about perspective!
In the end I was so happy that I spent the run leisurely enjoying my friends and surroundings and thinking about how lucky I am to not only be able to run myself, but give back to help others hopefully run as well. So, I urge you to sign up for a charity race in your town. Soak up the atmosphere, raise money for a charity and spend the miles putting things into perspective! Because not every day has to be about a PR – and I guarantee helping someone in need may even make you feel better than that shiny new time!