You know that sub-40 minute 10km that you can on that hilly course against the 30km/h headwind? The one you trained for by doing hour after hour of 2km intervals in the pouring ran until your lungs were burning and you wanted to puke. The race that you prepared for by skipping dessert on Christmas day and instead ran 20km along the canal in the freezing cold, sucking down water until it froze in you water bottle? That race. The one where you kept the medal and bought the photo certificate. Well… What you have to realise is… No one cares…
(Pause to let that sink in).
“What? (I hear you thinking) Are you sure about that?
Positive…. No one cares. No one cares about your stupid time, no one cares how hard you trained and no one cares that it’s your personal best. Sure, other runners kinda care. In a way. The runners that are slower than you will congratulate you but will be secretly jealous and thinking of improving their own time. The runners faster than you will be relieved that you aren’t as fast as them yet. But generally… no one gives a toss.
Certainly outside of running, the average person doesn’t really know how far 10km is and they certainly don’t know what is considered a good time.
“Oh, you did 10km in 32 minutes… Isn’t the world record like 26 minutes or something? Better luck next time!”
“Oh, you did 10km in 2 hours. That’s awesome! I can’t even run for 5 minutes…”
Now I don’t mean for this to be a discouraging post! Far from it. Ultimately my philosophical stance is “Love running, run often, and when you can, dress like a chicken!”, so I’m not in the business of discouraging a single runner in any circumstance. My advice is this:
a) Embrace the fact that no one cares
b) Embrace the fact that you are doing this for you because you want it. And because you want it, you don’t have justify why you want it. You can just do it. In the words of Justin Bieber: “To all the haters out there I wish you the best. You cant bring me down.”
So when you’re gliding along a snow-encrusted river in the dying glimmers of a winter orange sunset, listening to your favourite slightly-depressing acoustic guitar-playing Canadian singer-songwriter through your headphones perfectly in sync with your own running rhythm. So in sync that it feels like you are experiencing this moment as an audience of your own experience, like you are an ethereal being solely connected to this moment in time. A moment that seems both effortless and perfect and an intrinsic part of you. Not just as a person but as a human animal on the planet… just remember… No one cares. And know that is a wonderful thing.
And when you next get a chance, dress up as a chicken. Go on. With real feathers and a beak.