It’s like that age-old question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?” Okay, so maybe it’s not that deep, but it’s an important question that a lot of racers ask themselves, and actually may extend far beyond racing, and into life in general.  Not clear what I’m talking about? Let me explain.

TreeInForrest

IN RACING:

Scenario one: You run a 5K race and come in third in your age group, only to find out there were only three people in your age group.

Scenario two: You win a local race and then realize the woman who won it last year (who beat your time by 6 minutes) isn’t there.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve congratulated someone on a race result only to have them start immediately belittling themselves about why they did so well – “It wasn’t my best time but I guess the fast girls didn’t show up,” or “It was a really small race so…”  I’m guilty of this too and I should stop. I work hard and should be proud of your accomplishments, no matter who shows up! In sports, a “W” is a “W” no matter what, right?

If you don’t already know, scenario two is pretty much what happened to me at the Ten Penny Ale Duathlon this Spring.  Six minutes in racing is an eternity. However, in this year’s race, the top three women were all within 10 seconds of each other.  I try not to think about who didn’t show up, but I can’t help it.

Here’s another scenario; in a 5K last summer I went the wrong way on the course and ended up coming in third in my age group when I was on track to win.  I was super pissed off at first, until a friend brought my ego down a million miles, and told me what a better story it was, and always winning is boring. We all need friends like her.

What that race taught me was, the fast girls can all show up, but in any given race, even the top athletes can have a colossal fail and fall short of winning or placing.

TreeBlog1

IN BUSINESS

How many times have you received a promotion or bonus only to downplay the reasons why you were chosen/received it?

I’ve had numerous experiences myself and conversations with others (mostly women) giving similar excuses like “Well, it’s not that big of a deal,” or “there wasn’t a lot of competition for the position.”  Again, why can’t we just accept full credit for a job well done?

IN PERSONAL LIFE

How many of you take a compliment well?  How about this:

Girl one: Wow, you look great in that dress!

Girl two: Are you kidding me?  I hate the way I look in this, but I was running late so I just threw it on.

Exactly.  Why can’t we just say “Thank you.” Maybe some of you can, but I know I have a very hard time taking a complement.  My husband loves watching me squirm when he tells me I’m beautiful or gushes over an accomplishment of mine.  It makes me physically uncomfortable.

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SO…

This brings me back to my original question of “If no one shows up, do you still win?” which, I think I can answer now – YES, you still win and YES you still deserved that promotion and YES you actually do look gorgeous. Now, if you’re still obsessing about any of these things, then maybe you just need a good long run.

Do you sell yourself short when you accomplish something?

Do you take a complement well?

Have you ever gone the wrong way in a race before?