It’s been a mind-blowing couple of weeks for me. Within the last few weeks so much has happened…finished Body Beast, broke 190 lbs, got heavy into yoga, blowing away PR after PR running…I’m ecstatic to say the least! Then yesterday, I ran the Tavern to Tavern 5K and completely shattered my last 5K time and my expectations for the day.
But why? How?
I decided that everything I had done and accomplished so far wasn’t good enough.
On this beautiful Motivational Monday Morning I want to talk about the words “good enough”. This is partly a Tavern to Tavern 5K recap and partly a breakdown of that phrase so many people use and can’t break past. The last few weeks has really made me think about those two simple words…it’s time for everyone else to think about it too.
So, let’s start with The Tavern to Tavern 5K Recap
This was a fun race! There were 722 runners total – male, female, young, old…a good mix of people to make things interesting. Apparently the race organizer had a hell of a time – due to construction in Cambridge he had to re-map the course route 17 times in the last week or two. Poor guy! I’m sure he had to deal with the hardcore runners who were all bent out of shape that they didn’t know the EXACT course layout, etc etc. I was a little bummed because I was expecting a flat course, but it didn’t really matter in the end – I had fun anyway. Isn’t that the important part? The course ended up being a kind of lollypop loop – out along one street, took a right and did a loop, eventually came back to the street we started on, ran past where the starting line was and went through the finish line “chute”. There were definitely some hills on the course but overall I feel like I was able to power through it. I had to remind myself to do my own thing, don’t worry about everyone passing me. I don’t care HOW fast I was able to go yesterday…there’s still going to be someone faster than me. I mean…the top finisher came in at a little over 15 minutes…are you kidding me? Yeah, I can deal with people passing me. I think that’s what saved me – if I had let it get to me and tried to go even harder I’m pretty sure I would’ve crapped out.
There was a great post-race party too! Sam Adams / Boston Beer Company sponsored the party so there was free Sam Boston Lager and Curious Traveler summer shandy. Pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. The race organizer was also giving away a TON of swag, so that was pretty cool. Ended up getting this year’s shirt, both a regular and performance version of last year’s, plus pint glasses! Whoever says they don’t care about the t-shirts at a road race is either lying or has too many t-shirts. Get it in a medium and give it to me if you don’t want it. Hah.
Thanks again to Flex Appeal Sports Nutrition for sponsoring me!
So what about this “good enough” thing?
Well, that’s why I feel I can combine the “Motivational Monday” article I wanted to write and my recap of the race…they go hand in hand. In yesterday’s race I was reaching for the sky and shooting for breaking 25 minutes. Considering I ran a 5K in my neighborhood in 26:30…I thought knocking a minute and a half off was a good goal. And what ended up happening?
I broke 24 minutes instead.
It made me stop and double-check the LED time clock at the finish…”did that really happen?” – I SMOKED the time I was aiming for…absolutely smashed it. I finished in 23:51 (in the above pic I had actually already crossed – can’t tell from the angle). Many people would think that kind of progress was plenty good enough and would be completely satisfied with where they had gotten. They’d understand that it was only 5K and perhaps that pace (roughly 7:40 min/mile) might be a bit too fast for a longer race, like a 10K or 5 miler and they’d be OK with that.
I am not OK with that answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED with my performance yesterday! Absolutely, positively pleased as punch that I went that fast and shattered my previous Personal Record (which, by the way, I only set within the last couple weeks).
But why stop there?
I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day – she runs, she’s kind of a fitness person…and she said something that stuck with me. It went something like “I see all these other people and I think to myself – I’m doing better than a lot of these other people…that’s good enough for me.” – I didn’t really know what to do with that. She was basing her goals on her opinion that she was in better shape than a lot of other people and thus, didn’t need to go any further. I don’t get it. For me…it’s not about anyone else. It’s about me, and being better than I was yesterday. There’s no such thingas “good enough”…it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make sense.
As far as I’m concerned, fitness should be about constant improvement of oneself. Continue to reach higher, go farther, run faster, lift heavier, improve your physique…continually become a better you. “Good enough” is an excuse to stop. “Good enough” is (no offense) the lazy man’s way out. It’s a cop-out, and I think it opens the door for “I Don’t Feel Like It Syndrome” to set in. Why should where you’re at be “good enough”?
You have not yet reached the mountaintop.
Over time, yes, progress will slow down. Your improvements will become smaller and will take more time to achieve. That’s OK. I’m losing weight much more slowly now than when I started, but I also don’t have 100 lbs to lose anymore. I’m increasing my weights a bit more slowly now, but I’m not weak and wimpy anymore. I’m reaching farther in my stretches a bit more slowly now, but I can already reach pretty far.
It’s all relative.
After a while, these things happen more slowly and after more work because…well…you’re already doing so well! Take that as another measure of success! I CAN’T lose weight at the rate I used to…because I don’t have that much left TO lose! Don’t lose faith once you get “pretty good”, and don’t let “pretty good” become “good enough”. “Pretty good” can still become “really good” and “really good” can become “wow, I’m impressed”! Continue to work hard and test your limits. Fitness is about how you stack up against Yester-You. Continue to become a better you. It’s not about anyone else, it’s not about how many people you’re going faster than, and it’s not about how many people you’re generally better off than. It’s about you, you and only you. I finished 200th out of 722…that’s pretty good! Next time I’m sure I’ll do even better. There’s no such thing as “good enough”. Don’t forget…
You can always keep improving. Get it.