Monday, January 11, 2010

Finishing is Winning too

One of my colleagues completed the half-marathon last year, and had set a rather challenging time target for himself this time. He was training to a schedule, but a month before the event, he fell ill and ended up missing two weeks of training.
He's decided not to run the race this year, because he knows he will not be able to meet his time target.
"So what?", I rather naively asked. "The point of the race is to do your best. You know you lost two crutial weeks. Why can't you set a new target for yourself and run?"
He was adamant that he would not. He had set a target for himself (which, incidentally, I am not sure he would have been able to meet), and since he would not meet that target, he would not even participate. He's now willing to wait another year, before attempting his target time.
"And what guarantee you will not fall ill next year?", I asked in a vain attempt to get him to change his mind. "Practically everyone falls ill at least once in winter. Odds are that you will fall ill next year too."
"I will not fall ill next year", he replied. "I never fall ill. It was a freak one this year."

The run is next Sunday. When I registered for it, I was a healthy woman who had a realistic chance fo finishing the race if she trained for it. Three days after I registered, I was informed that I would have to undergo surgery. Weeks of precious training time were lost, but dropping out was never an option. Revised expectations were the only concession I made to my changed circumstances.

Two weeks before the race, I caught a cold. The congetion is so bad that I pant after climbing up the two stories to get to my office. The one thing I should not be doing is participating in a long run, but it is most unlikely that I would give it a miss. I may be the last one to cross the finish line, but I am doing to do everything in my power to cross it on my two feet.

After all, like someone said, there are three types of winners - those who compete with themselves, those who cross the finish line first, and those who cross the finish line at all.

I am sure I know, but I would like you to tell me if you are like me, or like my colleague?


Leanne said...

I'm with you - just finishing the damn thing is an achievement (says the girl who hasn't even managed to sign up for a bloody damned half yet...). I have a friend (or possibly frenemy... she's odd) who is one of those insanely goal-oriented people who won't play if she doesn't think she can "win". She's a bit mad, really... :-P Wish I could be there to cheer you on, first, last or in between!

Anonymous said...

Doing your best, making progress and becoming a tiny bit better than you were before are the goals I have...

Jan Morrison said...

Yep, I'm like you. finishing any marathon is winning. I did a marathon the year I turned fifty - walking not running. I felt great! I wasn't the fastest or the slowest but I was the only ME that crossed the finish line!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I can see we think alike on the things which matter, which, perhaps, is why we are friends. BUT, don't they say diversity is at the heart of all enduring friendships? Or maybe they mean diversity in the things that don't matter, like our age or the colour of our hair.

@ Leanne - I think I am going to sign you up for a half myself one of these days. It is fun.

@ Fiona - totally.

@ Jan - incredible!!! And, yes, the only thing that matters is that you finished. And even if you can't finish, the thing matters is that you had the courage to start.


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