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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's all about me


Yesterday was the last of our numerous family Christmases.  It was the most stressful, since we were hosting and thus had to clean, but also the easiest because there were no gifts to buy.  Instead of being centered around opening presents, it featured a lot of conversation.  And cookies.  Oh my gosh, if I don't get moving I'll still be wearing those cookies in May.

Because one of my cousins is interested in adventure racing and my sister-in-law runs and mountain bikes, both of those things came up, as did my running.  I have three brothers: one, Jim, has been running and biking and being way tougher than me for a long time; one is just starting to run after some prodding from (and losing a bet to) his wife; and one is pretty scornful of the whole endeavor.

I heard the usual [sniff]I'd never run a marathon, but the comment that really got me then and is still irritating me today was I bet I could train for two weeks and crush you in a 5K.  He's probably right, and that was my response.  The fact is that I'm not a natural athlete.  I've had to work my ass off to be even mediocre.  Running doesn't come easy to me, and mountain biking definitely doesn't come easy to me, so saying that you'd easily beat me in those isn't really bragging.

This is where I'm really glad that my running and riding is for me.  It's not about impressing someone else, it's not about beating someone else (not even my nemesis); it's not about places or times.  Ultimately, it's about finding and answer to the question Can I?  It's about the joy of the attempt, the thrill of hard-won accomplishment, and the spirit of adventure.  And since I set my own grading scale, "almost" does count, "I tried" is acceptable, and "I can't" is only temporary.

So there.

18 comments:

  1. You should have told him to start training. As it stands currently you are way ahead.

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  2. My brother Sky signed up to do the triathlon with me in March. He keeps saying he can't decide if he wants to train for it and KILL me (he hasn't exercised much in the last two years), or not train, still beat me, and rub it in my face for the rest of my life. It's funny, but it also has me scared, because he's a wizard, and might be capable of beating me without training. Which would suck so bad.

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  3. Great Post, simply great.It IS all about you. Always was, always will be. If he does actually do some 5ks, he'll get it.

    Of course part of the "brother" job description is to be annoying. It happens....

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  4. I have found that some people are uber competitive and I just take that crap with a grain of salt. I am first and foremost competitive with myself. I like to improve and admittedly there is an occasional runner or two I'd like to beat now and then (if we're at the same level) but it should all be about you and how you feel about your placement, not your bothers :).

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  5. Sorry your brother was being an annoying jerk. Hope you can get out there this week and work off a few cookies. Weather is looking like maybe a bike ride is in store this weekend! Love that you don't really let this all get to you and remember what is important....YOU!

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  6. That was a pretty crappy thing for your brother to say. It would be different if you were still teenagers. That said, the appropriate response was "A 5k isn't worth getting my exercise clothes dirty, how about a half marathon and I'll give you 6 weeks to train?" :-).

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  7. Yup, we have to do this stuff for ourselves.

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  8. I like Patrick's comment!

    THis is a good post. I find it very irritating when someone says, "I could do that." Or "I could get such and such a time." And you know that for sure how?

    There is certainly no one who worries when I show up to a race. It is certainly for me. I love new goals and new challenges. Keep up all your wondrous things!

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  9. I am with Patrick on this one.
    My brother is in shape and he bikes a lot but does not really run. He has never done any racing in running and he always has comments that just gets under my skin...all negative like he is better than me...finally one day I had had it and I said "Lets see YOU run a half marathon!" still waiting.....

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  10. just do it and have fun. if not, why do it?

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  11. I can't stand talking about this stuff at family gatherings. I'm seriously thinking of getting some sort of padding that makes me look 50 pounds heavier so it stops coming up.

    And thank you for saying it's "all about me". You can say that here, because we get it.

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  12. I agree with Patrick M...we get it.

    I run for me....and me only!

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  13. Sometimes it's good to be reminded why we do this. :)

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  14. "Since I set my own grading scale, "almost" does count, "I tried" is acceptable, and "I can't" is only temporary."

    I LOVE this. So right! You just have to ignore people who are talkers, not doers.

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  15. Your brother needs to grow up! That's what mine would have said when we were teenagers, but recently he said I had inspired him to begin running, and left off the "much faster than you can" part, thank goodness. But hey, challenge him to a race, a long one, like the others suggested. You can't lose--he thinks he will win handily, so if he does, then oh well, but IMAGINE if you beat him! Or if (even better) he can't finish...the bragging rights would be yours forever and ever and ever.

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  16. Sounds like this fellow needs a good marathon. I love your last paragraph.

    I would add...you can go any pace you like and still lap everyone sitting on the couch. :)

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  17. You can do everything and the pace is optional (only if you want to train for it).
    I bet that he cannot beat your PR with only 2 weeks of training. And beating a PR is nothing compared to all the races, the adventures and the workouts you have done.
    As usual great post.

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  18. Hi Kate,
    It really doesn't matter how good any of us are, just that we do it. I am always 80% down in any race I do, and sometimes I do wonder why I do it. And then I remember that I love running (and cycling and mud and ...). The others probably 'could' be better than us if they did the training. But most often they don't, and we do. So we are the winners, even if we are crap!
    Keep on being fab x

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