“The best things in life are unexpected - because there were no expectations.”
When I crossed over from the “world of those who walk” into the “world of those who run” I found my expectations quickly shifting into high gear. Within only a few months, I went from being so proud of myself for running 5K non-stop, to feeling so disappointed at how slow I was. It is almost impossible not to make comparisons, and as competitive and ambitious human beings, we are definitely biased in our comparisons. That is, they tend to be only with people who are better than we are. There is also the tendency to not take into consideration the reasons they may be better than we are, which certainly doesn’t make the comparison fair. It is so easy to get pulled into this cycle of expectations.
Believe me when I say I know this is much easier said than done, but I’ve been working on it. When I first started running, I only had one barometer and that was myself. It was easy to feel proud for going a little farther each week. I still found it difficult sometimes, because I kept thinking it should feel less hard, but I was improving and I was proud of that. Then I started blogging and I started running with a group and I started running with friends and family and all of a sudden, the number of barometers I could measure myself against increased many fold. Initially, I totally got caught up in it all. Taking nothing other than running speed and distance into consideration, I was slow and I wasn’t so proud of myself anymore.
I am not talking about goals here, it is VERY important to have goals, but then ideally we need to let go and enter each situation with no set expectations. The difference between a goal and an expectation is that a goal gives you direction and motivates you to push yourself, whereas an expectation sets an emotional barrier on the goal. My goal is to run a half-marathon in May. This goal is motivating me to prepare to the best of my ability so that I feel ready to take on the challenge on race day. Ideally, I would go into this race with no expectations. If I expect it to be a nice sunny day and it’s raining, I’ll be disappointed; if I expect to finish in style and with no pain, I risk disappointment; if I expect to finish under a certain time, I highly risk being disappointed; and if anything doesn’t go as expected, I risk being disappointed regardless of the fact that I may attain my goal of completing a half-marathon. What a waste of a great achievement!
Everything I do to reach this goal is life experience that will stay with me forever, no matter how it goes on race day. So I am trying hard to appreciate being able to run injury free today and to work towards my goal of running a half-marathon in Ottawa in May. As for how it goes on race day, well: “Que Sera, Sera.” :)
“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”