If you run, I’m sure you have been guilty of using the words “just” or “only” when describing the distance or pace that you’re running. It goes something like this: “I’m just running two miles.” “I’m only running a half marathon.” “I just ran a 9:00 min/mi.” “I’m just running the 100k.” “I’m only running a 100 miler.” Then, usually what happens when another runner hears you say these “just/only” phrases, they tell you to not belittle or minimize your efforts and achievements (they are correct). They become encouraging towards you… runners tend to be encouraging people, which is why they’re pretty flipping awesome. But then, you end up feeling weird for what you said or apologizing!
* As runners, we should never down play our hard work, we should only chase down our dreams! *
I have never had someone tell me to not say the “just/only” phrases, thank goodness because I’m extremely stubborn and don’t want to hear it. God bless the person if they would. – I’d stare at them and awkwardly smile. Here is my reasoning for why I refuse to apologize for using the phrases. My perspective and mindset are wired differently. I have humongous running dreams, so I need to set high and strict expectations of myself in order to achieve my goals. When I say that I just ran the 50 miler, that’s me saying that 50 miles is good, but a further distance is better in order to be closer to my goal. I’m never content. There is no “good enough” or “close enough.” I want more. I can do better.
My number one dream race is Badwater 135, The World’s Toughest Foot Race. I know what I must do to be invited to run in Papa Badwater (that’s what I call it), basically offer myself as a sacrifice after I’m dry of blood, sweat and tears (perfect for Death Valley!). I have smaller dreams to accomplish on the way. And 135 isn’t the end of the road, I want to achieve beyond that. Triple Crown, other prestigious 100 milers, maybe attempt a FKT on a certain trail (stay tuned). I’m stubborn and driven. Throw the adjective “crazy” in there, too.
Every runner has their humongous dreams, things that they didn’t think were achievable until they achieved them. I argue to use the “just/only” phrases, it can be fuel to your fire. Adopt the “just/only” way of thinking and see what happens. Keep challenging yourself and wanting more. It’s about perspective and mindset. Do what you need to do, do what works best for you, just keep pursuing your dreams. Never give up.