External validations are not always the true measure of gains.
Going into the women’s elite for the second time last weekend, I knew my mind, body and soul were going to be challenged – which is exactly why I do them – but I never know what emotions I would be showered with and the life lesson I gain after rinsing away the emotions.
Now I do.
Here’s what happened. I had expected a better result. I typed in my bib number to see a number I saw last year flash up.
But after digesting my performance (with the aid of free beer and good company, of course) I realize Sunday’s life lesson was about improvement and the mental gains.
Basically, I didn’t drag my ass as much this time.
It was a different course. One that forced us to trudge in mud sludge (yes I’m Deaf and I know how to bust out a rhyme sometimes) almost as much as we had to run. My calves and back didn’t make me halt once, the way they used to. I didn’t stop moving and faced the obstacles with a smile instead of panting, out of breath. I didn’t let pesky mud make me slide down the rope again.
To be honest, at first I was afraid that I failed at showing people how to constantly challenge and elevate your mind and body. All my hard work I put in was for what? Because I didn’t have the external validation? Of course, seeing how I place is awesome, and I’m still going to look at it next time because we are wired that way, but I understand better this year the true measure of success are our mental and physical gains.
Acknowledging the marginal gains let you appreciate the personal records every time so that you are able to get even more PR’s.
And to quote the redhead with beautiful biceps, Erin Kirk, – who was able to provide access to overcome communication obstacles at the Spartan race for the first time (which is another PR right there) – it’s about “getting off your ass and showing up.”
I don’t believe in just testing your limitations. Success is flux. Success is unlimited.