What a Horrible Half Marathon (and My Friend Lori) Taught Me About Comparison and Joy

I did a half marathon yesterday, and it was one of my worst performances ever. I started out strong, but at about mile 10, the wheels fell off. My legs were killing me, I could hardly breathe, and every step was basically torture.

I started to compare this run to previous ones where I had been successful—when I was younger, faster, and just…better. But then my friend Lori, who was sticking with me through the agony, reminded me that this was not an indicator of my future—and that I should not compare this race with any other because each race is its own unique animal.

This was just what I needed to hear in the moment to keep me going, and on the drive home, I started thinking more about comparisons.

There are times when I compare myself to other women in the gym who are thinner than me, stronger than me, or faster than me on the treadmill. Then there are times when I compare my life now to my life when I was younger, when I was single, when we did not have children, or when Ed and I were first married.

I enjoy looking back at my life, but I am trying not to compare myself now to that because it can steal away the joy I have now. I also try not to compare myself to those around me, because that can steal my joy, too.

And so, Lori reminded me yet again to live in the present, to learn lessons from this race but to look forward to better races—and to feel joy knowing I am where I am meant to be.

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