I was the type of person who had to push back against everything. I felt like if you have an opinion and don’t express it, or if someone insults you and you don’t retaliate, then you’re accepting being a faceless doormat cog. I put pride on the line for everything and I had to win every conversation.
Or course if you don’t practice humility eventually you get humiliated. Unless you’re swept into wealth and fame in your 20s life will beat you down enough that you have to grow up.
I came to running because it was a solo activity and I found it was a great microcosm of life, a safe space to train emotional skills.
Running will test you, running will insult you, there’s a point in any long enough run where your pride will go away. Running can take you to some dark places and when you’re there running can help you find your fight. Running teaches you to fight smart, you want to beat this 20k you’re not going to be able to plow through it, intimidate it, or answer every time it tests you with aggression. If you do that it will win and you will lose. You have to run smart and know that the little tests, running’s little suggestions that you should quit, that today’s not a good day, are just that – little tests.
In life I learned to not even acknowledge the little tests. I can deal with a boss who takes it out on me when he gets flustered by thinking you’re just a little test, man, I’ve got to save my pace for the hard parts.
Stopping the pace of a day for the shittiness of others is like not running a race because of the weather; you can’t control the weather, weather’s always gonna be there and if you can only run when the weather is ideal then you’re not really a runner.
When a run tests you or when life tests you with difficult conditions or awful surprises you gotta think this is what I trained to be able to do. I didn’t train so that I could do things that were easy – everyone can take the easy, automatic, give-in way – I trained so that I could make things that were impossible merely hard.
Because my pride comes from Endurance now, it’s built on something I can demonstrate to myself. When you’re cocky your pride just comes from defending your pride, it’s a shell that only exists to you if it’s seen my others.
And I think having some humility and having some class is trusting that your efforts will be seen by others and you don’t need to drive it home. If you run a half marathon you don’t need people to see every kilometer, you don’t need to explain it, people know running 21k takes some grit. You have an opportunity to show some grace by acknowledging it, even thanking it for it’s tests, and moving on.