When You're The Loser, But You're Actually The Best
For the last 30 days I didn't run at all (that's the reason I didn't update my "Road to Athens" series, if you wonder). For me, this is a rather long pause.
But it's also necessary.
The main cause for this hiatus is something on the business side. There is a bottleneck in some parts of that and a lot of my focus is directed there, even if I don't actually do much about it. But just thinking, pondering, creating new scenarios, testing them, all of that takes a significant amount of energy. I know that running could help me clear my mind, but I just feel it's not the best thing I can do right now.
Nevertheless, this post will be about running. And about a very interesting thing that happened in that area this year, a thing that changed my perspective a lot.
Going The Ultra Mile
You know that saying: "going the extra mile?". Of course you do. It's a very common saying in the running world too, as you can imagine.
It was also the undercurrent of all my running activities this year.
From the very first day of this year I did everything I could to enter races well beyond my perceived limits. Things I never did before. Longer. Harder. More difficult. I always wanted more.
For instance, during the spring, I entered a 48 hours race, in Athens (the same race I'm preparing for right now). Before that, I never ran in a 48 hours race. I knew how it is to run 60km, 70km, 100km and even 220km, but I never ran a 1 km loop for 48 hours.
To make a long story short, the race was a disaster. I published a short piece about it during the launch campaign for my book (and if you want the entire race report, you can always get the book from Amazon).
The bottom line is that I finished almost the last one, with only 202km covered. It may sound like a lot, but it's very, very little for this level. Running 100km per day for two days in a row may sound like a lot, but when you compare it with my goal, which was over 300km, it looks like a significant failure.
I swallowed my pride, I started the recovery process and kept training. Some of the races I entered after that were finished, some not. But this race remained in my mind like a significant failure.
Then, during fall, I entered a 24 hours race. This time I knew what I was doing and, even if it wasn't one of my best races, I finished with a very honorable 163km, on the 7th position, out of more than 20 runners.
Where Do I Really Stand?
So, encouraged by that result, and by the fact that I felt so good after the 24 hours race that I was able to walk to the place where I was staying (a performance in itself), I wanted to see where exactly I was standing, in terms of performance. Like searching for rankings and all that. I was so convinced that my results were so poor that I didn't even bother to look around for rankings.
To my surprise, I realized that I was standing quite high. The term "surprise" is not the most appropriate, though. But I can't find another one to describe my feelings. Which were totally shattered and confused.
On my inner critic side I was a walking failure, but on the other side, the public one, in which my results were compared to all the other runners, I was the first one at my age category.
I'm not kidding. The first. Here's proof.
And the link to the statistics page.
What's The Context In Which You Play?
For a few good days I was, like you may imagine, floating with joy. I still retain a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. But it kinda faded and I think that's a good thing. There are many more races to run.
But this story raises a few very important questions. What's your real context? What are your reference points? Where are you, actually? With whom you compare to (if you compare with someone)?
All these questions helped me change my perspective a lot, like I wrote in the first lines of this article.
The story you tell to yourself is just a story. If it's not validated by other reference points, its "truth value" is insignificant. It could be just a dream. You may delude yourself and what was really enlightening for me was that delusion can go in any direction: you may think you are the best but in fact you're just a loser or you may think you're a loser but in fact you're the best.
Ask around. Be present. Be aware. Look at what happens around you and stay connected.
That's the only way to escape the trap of your mind assembling a dream so realistic that you will start taking it as the truth.
I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.