Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Iditarod

Following Alaska Jill's journeys on her blog as I do, I feel alternately motivated and discouraged. Reading about her training, for example, as she slogs through the cold, snow and rain of a winter in Juneau, putting hours and hours on her bike, makes me wonder why I complain about a low-intensity, three-hour ride on the trainer in my heated dining room with the television to keep me company. Some days, I think if Jill can complete such amazing feats, I can certainly meet my small, not very ambitious goals. Then I read about the issues she had on this year's Iditarod and how she was actually in true danger and is now recovering from some wicked frostbite, I think that's true toughness, and I wonder why I even bother.

But every once in a while, I'm realistic and grounded. (Seriously, I really can be.) At those times, I think I'm not Jill, I'm me and my challenges may not be as ambitious or as dangerous as hers, but they're real to me. Maybe it's because I've never done anything epic and I hate to be cold, but I would never consider doing anything like the Iditarod. Perhaps I wasn't meant for greatness, but that doesn't make my goals any less important or valid.

It's easy to get discouraged when I compare myself to others who have accomplished so much more. Those people who are better, faster, skinnier, more attractive, whatever, seem to have it all compared to me. The truth is, though, they have their own struggles.

What all this philosophical mumbo jumbo means in terms of real life is that I have to work within my boundaries. I have to set my goals based on what I want to accomplish and what I think I really can accomplish. This doesn't mean I shouldn't challenge myself and reach outside my comfort zone. It just means that my goals should be based on my life and not be shadowed in comparison to what others are doing. It means that for me, finishing a 12-hour race and meeting a goal for a certain number of laps may be my TdF, my Leadville. That race may very well be my Iditarod.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hi Andrea,

I struggle with this too. Always comparing yourself to others can be discouraging. I try to keep a workout log and challenge myself to not worry about what everyone else is doing, just to focus on improving my times, distances, etc. Good luck!