"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
Yesterday was a very dark and rainy morning when we set out for a run. I decided since it was only three and a half miles I would do my best to keep up with my wife today. Normally she can be about a minute per mile faster than I am, but let’s be honest most people are faster than I am. I have never been built for speed, at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. One of the first thoughts going through my head was why do I have to work so hard to barely keep up with my wife? Not just that she is faster than me but she doesn't even look like she is struggling, why is it so hard for me? Now she is getting farther ahead of me until she has to cross a big intersection first and she goes a ways up the street to go around traffic. Now when I get to the intersection there are fewer cars and she is back with in sight. Now I turn it on determined to catch up, until we turn and go up a long gradual hill. She holds her pace steady and the hill slows me just a little and as I stated, it was dark and rainy. I ended up slowing down with a mile to go because my glasses were covered in water spots and headlights were making it impossible to see. I thought it was better to stay on my feet and back off versus keeping close and wiping out. We don’t always run together but it definitely pushes me and I think sometimes when I stay close it pushes her too. I think I am closing the gap a little but I know better than get cocky because if she wants to she can humble me any time she chooses.
It was the same way in tenth grade when I started playing hockey. I skated three to four hours a day during the week and four to six hours sometimes during the weekends and worked my butt off to be mediocre. When I started playing we lived in a small town and I would have loved to try out for the school hockey team. Unfortunately, another move took us to another state and a huge school. I went to the first day of tryouts and there were so many people at the tryout that no one even noticed when I skated off and picked up my bag and left. I played in a league and although most of the time I worked my butt off and was very average I did get a chance to score a goal in a big game, okay, it was my only goal of the season. We were down two to one in a game that determined the championship and I found myself with my back to the opposing goal when a shot came in and the puck came off the goalie and landed by me. The next few seconds went by in slow motion as with a backhand flip sent the puck flipping over the goalie’s shoulder. Once the red light went off I felt like my skates never touched the ice again all night. A teammate scored two goals shortly after and we won the game. I still have the trophy and even though it is a small trophy with the tip of the hockey stick broken off, it is huge in my eyes along with my hockey stick and those two things mean a lot to me.
Having children and coaching for years; I have seen many examples of people who were close or similar talent levels, but one worked very hard and the other came by it more naturally. One person putting in hours of practice on there own and competing with another who seemed to breeze by. They can both at times enjoy success and love what they do but how equal are they? The person who works hard will usually be more passionate about what they are doing but at times it can be exhausting and frustrating. It is not a bad thing to have to work for something it is simply something I have observed over the years. I guess it is yet another thing in life that is the same thing but different. There does not seem to be any other explanation than that. Some of us are destined to have to work for every inch of ground we gain and others simply glide along not even realizing they have moved. Both evidently have advantages and disadvantages so we find out what works and move forward. I am also reminded of the saying; Don't compare your every day self to someone else's highlight reel. We are who we are and we have to use the strengths that we have been given. So push on with me and hopefully the person you are trying to catch up with on your runs is as cute as the one I am chasing.