Ever get that feeling of deja vu? You’ve been here before. You’ve felt this way before. You’ve seen this somewhere. You meet the same faces, visit the same places, run the same races… With the onslaught of social media, the mass popularity of running, social groups and the sudden accessibility of running it’s easy to feel that you have to stand out from the inevitable comparisons. More than ever before there is pressure that you have to be different. That originality, and even being extreme in someway, is necessary. It’s not. I don’t think so anyway. It’s OK to travel a path that’s been travelled before, to do the same thing and experience the same feelings. It’s OK not to be unique.
Running is running. The motion is the same. The mentality is often the same. The people we share it with are usually the same. The places we go are also similar… We go there be cause they are EPIC. We should feel inspired by the experiences of other’s to go and visit and run these places, these races. No matter how far or how close they are. We should also want to experience it.
The feelings you will feel are the same. The runners ‘high’. The comedowns after the achievements. Those moments where you want to stop, give it all up, never run again. Those times when you don’t feel you are progressing as you think you should. It’s all OK. We all all experience that. You’re not alone. None of us are ‘super human’, despite our achievements.
The goals and motivations we set ourselves are likely to be similar too. Personal bests, furthest distance, run a certain event, get fit, get fitter, lose the weight, improve your mental state etc. All in someway a goal of achievement and possibly self-validation, proving that you can, sticking the middle finger up to the doubters. Taking yourself on a journey and transformation be it visible or not. These aren’t unique. They are however specific to each of us and personal. We shouldn’t be afraid nor need to justify our goals to other people or feel worried that other people are running for the same reasons and therefore we ‘can’t’.
The memories and recollections will be shared. We meet up with others. We take pictures. We all share them. We’ve all your own perspective on what it means to us individually, what it represents and how it made us feel. But it’s the same specific memory. You can’t change that. It’s OK that social media is inundated with the same picture for everyone who was involved in creating it. Moments shared are the best kind!
Many of us runners write too. So what about writing? Same thing. Race reviews, they’ll be similar. It’s the same race. Perspectives won’t vary that greatly unless there is an incident. The route, the conditions. They aren’t unique to you. Your experience is though. Mind you, those experiences and feelings over multiple events might well be similar (again unless there is an incident?). What makes one 5km race different from the next? What makes one’s attitude and motivations during one marathon different from the next? Not a lot. I don’t think so anyway. I write about my participation in endurance races. It’s easy for me to recap over a short period of time. My memory is sharp and there will be a finite number of things to recall. When Running long distances though your thoughts wander. You are distracted. I find I hit an almost hypnotic trance-like state where I’m just moving. Trying to remember the specifics over say a 12 hour period is tough. I recall the same thing I’ve felt many times before – ” I felt good”, “I felt tired”, “the hill was a bastard”, “ooh nice tree”, “I’m hungry”, “I spoke to someone about running”. Very little makes such a written review different than what’s been written before. But again, it’s specific to you. And that’s important. It’s you and your experience. Your enjoyment.
For me that is why it’s OK to not be unique. We are not, and should not be, in competition. Certainly not a popularity contest. It’s OK to just enjoy and revel in the process you go through, whatever that process is. Let’s not add more pressure to what is already a very demanding pastime. Running isn’t easy. Let’s not make it harder by sucking the fun out of it!
Be you, you don’t have to go hunting for something unique to stand out. IT IS OK to travel a path that’s been travelled before, to do the same thing and experience the same feelings. It really is OK not to be unique.
I’ve been nominated for the personal blog category with the Running Awards. I’d love your support and votes. If you like what you read and you’d like to vote for me you can click this link and find “RunWithDai” in the nominees. Thanks!