July 29, 2017 jasperdetaeye

Why do we compare?

The 29th of October. The moment that my heart will be kicking and the blood in my entire body rushes to my legs. 26 miles need to be covered during the marathon of Dublin. Fellow running fanatics will be waiting anxiously at the start line. Waiting anxiously for the start shot to be fired. The moment  I pass the start line, I will have 3 hours to return back to the same spot. That’s my goal. Barely 1% of the marathon runs are completed within the 3 hours. If you run a marathon within the 3 hours, you can join a select group of runners. You’ll not be able to escape suffering while aiming to run a marathon below the 3 hours. Suffering during the marathon as well as in the weeks prior to the marathon training vigorously.

Mid-July, I started my 16 weeks training schedule preparing me to achieve my goal at the marathon in Dublin. I have to train weekly 7 – 9 times, varying duration and intensity taining sessions. Often, I train during lunch time. I train during lunch time fpr the reason that I have sufficient time for my other training in the evening or I can allocate some relaxation time. Completely understandable, my colleagues had to get used to the crazy Dutchmen leaving the office in his training outfit for the past year. Never the less, I kept nurturing this habit. Nowadays, my colleagues are surprised if they see me at lunch and could ask “when are you going to run Jasper”?

Last Thursday, I run into Pete after a training during the break. Pete is also running and he really admires my discipline to stick to my running schedule, the pace I run and the distances I cover. In the beginning, I really appreciated Pete’s compliments. However, Pete often adds something causing tension to his compliments. This addition makes me often feel a bad. Often Pete compliments me and refers immediately to his own situation: “Do you run 12 miles? >> I already have difficulty running 7 miles.” “Do you run every day of the week? >> I only run 2 to 3 times a week.”

Even though I really appreciate that Pete compliments me repeatedly, I feel guilty and a kind of show-off around him. Did I give him a bad feeling by my running activities? Why do we compare each other always?

Pete and I continued our conversation and John joined the conversation. John notified me that he had given me kudos on my last run activity on Strava. He is starting the build up his mileage and likes sharing running experiences. Pete asked curiously about the mobile application Strava. We clarified that with Strava it is possible to follow each other’s sporting activities. Pete reacted enthusiastically and acknowledged the fun and value of an application like that. He said he was also planning to install the application. Whereafter, he quickly added he plans to do that after he had trained more to prevent making a fool of himself.

I looked at Pete touchingly. Raised my voice calmly and asked why do you compare yourself to us?

Everybody should dance to the rhythm of his own drum. Like you don’t compare apples and oranges, you should never compare somebody who runs a marathon with somebody who has a 5k running goal.

* Names are anonymized for privacy concerns

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