2019 is in full swing. Kids are back to school. Most of us are back to work. Depending on where you are in the Great White North, white, fluffy stuff is falling from the sky. Or maybe like me you’re south of the board chasing sunshine and warm weather; don’t be too jealous as I email you sitting in the sunshine from Phoenix, Arizona, training hard.
Ben and I got to talking about creating something themed for the year, something that was meaningful where I could share my journey of running adventures and I could offer you—the running reader—something as well.
I offer you, ‘How to Be Better.’ I spend a lot of time thinking about this, being a better version of myself is something that I implemented back in 2015. OK, perhaps I started working on it before then, but I was introduced to it in a Positive Psychology for Engineers Class at the University of Toronto in the winter of 2015 (Thanks, Dr. Sacks!), and it’s been a part of my daily values and New Year’s resolutions since then.
A better version of yourself isn’t something grandiose; something that scares you into hiding away from it. It isn’t redefining all your values. It isn’t supposed to be something so overwhelming you give up on it.
A better version of yourself is a collection of the small things. From smiling at someone on public transit. Holding a door open for the next person. Doing a daily gratitude practice where you think of one thing that was just awesome that day.
As it relates to running, maybe you spend 30 seconds foam rolling before you head out the door, maybe you try and run that kilometre one second faster, maybe you meet up with a friend and smile every step instead of frowning every step. It’s about a collection of small positivities that make your life better.
On my theme of being a better version of myself is celebrating other people’s successes. Typically we look at what someone else has done and we compare ourselves to what they’ve accomplished. When you step back and think about it, it’s sort of backwards thinking, not very nice, and really judgemental, not just of yourself, but of that person too. Instead, if you take someone else’s accomplishment and look at all the positivity you too can learn from and get better from it.
If you didn’t see or hear about it, Gabriela Stafford, broke the indoor 5000m record. No, scratch that, she smashed it. She bested the former record by over 28 seconds, finishing in 14:57.45 (the record was formerly held by Megan Metcalfe-Wright). Not only was that a new record, it is also the second fastest time for a Canadian woman in the 5000m ever—and she did it on a 200m oval. Oh, and by the way, that was her debut 5000m!
That kind of performance gets me fired up. It was the performance that helped me to step up to the start line to do a workout that fills me with confidence leading into my next marathon (more on that next week). I happen to count myself as one of the lucky ones; for a time I was training and racing with this woman. Not only is she a talent, but she is one of the hardest working people I know. Watching her grow, not just as an athlete, but as a young woman, watching her take risks to help herself become the best athlete she can be inspires me to be brave.
Work hard. Set audacious goals. Be your best version of yourself. And read all about Gabriela, so she too can inspire you to be brave, to take calculated risks, and chase things you dreamed of being possible.
Tell us what you want to hear about. What do you want to know that will make you a better version of yourself?