Respect Your Accomplishments, Block Out the Endurance Culture
This morning I went for my typical Thursday run; start from home, head in to Tecolote Canyon, meet up with the Dirt Devils at the visitor center and enjoy the trails. After I left the group to add on some miles in canyon 2 I ran in to a friend that I have gotten to know from the club and as a customer of the store. He was walking so I stopped to walk and chat with him a bit. It turns out he was out with the goal of a two mile run and was walking because he’s frustrated with his inability to stay consistent enough to build his endurance. After walking and talking a bit we hit the turn around and we parted ways for him to continue his run/walk and for me to head on home. The rest of the run I started thinking about his situation and why he would be so hard on himself, and why I am so hard on myself in similar instances.
While this is probably true in other places as well, San Diego is a fairly active city. You can’t go very far without seeing a runner or a cyclist out on the roads. Then, once you get in to the “scene” and start doing events and joining clubs it starts to seem like EVERYONE is a runner, cyclist, triathlete and every one of these people are going farther and faster than you are or can. Once you get immersed in the endurance culture it becomes very hard to step back and realize what a small fraction of the general population we athletes actually are. (I am intentionally using the term athlete in an all encompassing way to include all of us that get out there and toe the line from time to time or just take to the trails and roads on our own to stretch our comfort zones and improve ourselves athletically.)
It takes nothing more than a quick google search to find out how bad it is for the general American population: 1/3 of adults are obese, 17% (12.5 MILLION) of kids from ages 2-19 are obese, almost 26 million people are affected by Diabetes. These numbers are frightening. So when I see people out on the roads and trails struggling to get in even a mile of walking because of their current fitness level, I am in awe that they have the courage and desire to try to reverse these trends, to push themselves. I want to go up and congratulate them for making an effort to improve their lives through fitness and healthy living.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about it when you focus on the small pond you’ve jumped in to, but there is a much bigger ocean out there of people who can’t or won’t even try to accomplish the things we do on a regular basis. Take pride in what you can do, no matter how big or small. If you want to go farther and/or faster you’ll get there, it just takes time. But make sure to enjoy the process of getting there and appreciate what you are doing.
There are far worse ways to spend a morning than with a couple miles on the trail in beautiful weather!