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  • Writer's picture Irina

Nothing Compares to YOU

Look inside the eye of your mind and picture a busy road in a city centre.

See the cars, vans, motorbikes, buses. Traffic is heavy, the noise of the roaring engines is all you can hear, someone is slow when the lights turn green, the car behind is honking the horn. Pedestrians and cyclists fill the gaps. An ambulance approaches, the siren is on. The traffic landscape awkwardly shifts to let it through. Can you see it? Can you hear it?

Freeze that frame and start clearing it, piece by piece. As if you are putting a board game back in it’s box. Remove the ambulance, the bikes, the motorbikes, the vans, the cars. Remove the sirens, the noise. Remove the parked cars and the buses. The noises slowly die down…

The quiet street you’ve just created is the scene of any city on Marathon day. Soon the footsteps of the runners will echo. Listen closely. Oh, here they come. Tap, tap, tap. They are all united in their cause: cross the finish line.

How they get there however is so very different. Thousands of different paces, thousands of different strides hitting the concrete in different ways. Everyone runs their own race. Everyone is different. There will never be a runner who runs like the one next to them, behind them or in front of them.

No one compares to anyone and nothing compares to YOU.

I often fall into this trap of measuring my own happiness, success, achievement, progress in life and running by comparing to that of others. Maybe I don’t need to try harder, I just need to find someone who is doing worse to compare myself to. Or why am I not as good a runner as them? Should I just give up because I will never be as good? The answer is obvious, I know. Yet it escapes me so often and I need to consciously pull myself out of the situation, take a deep breath and look inward for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Running over the winter has been an absolute nightmare for me. I cannot remember a single run I enjoyed. It became a chore rather than a hobby and slowly but surely I fell right into the comparison trap through which I spiralled down to the deepest darkest questioning of my worth as a runner. Why is everyone else enjoying it? Why are they faster? Why don’t they mind the weather? If they are all improving where does that leave me? WHY IS NO ONE ELSE COMPLAINING?

I was looking for answers, but I was looking in the wrong place. You’d think it’s obvious. For every runner on the planet there is at least another who is faster and one that is slower. As selfish it sounds, it doesn’t really matter how anyone else is doing. We are all unique and have a unique set of legs, lungs, arms, cores, hearts and heartbeats. We all get up on different sides of the bed each morning. If I want to do better, feel better, make progress I need to look at selfies not photos of others and try to find the least flattering ones to make myself feel better. If I want to improve my running or enjoy it even, I have to scroll through my own runs and check for progress and drawbacks. No good hoping that someone quits a run to get a boost of self-confidence!

Three weeks ago I was in Brighton as a spectator and support crew for the 50km bike race and the marathon. I’d forgotten what a treat it is to be part of such an event without actively participating in it. I feel I came out of my own little dark tunnel that day. Cyclists and runners like snowflakes, are unique and come in ALL shapes and sizes, ages, backgrounds, lifestyles. They are all fighting their own battles. I watch them crossing the finish line and while clapping like mad I silently shout: You did it. In your own way and nothing, I say nothing compares to you.

I want to especially thank my favourite athletes Doug, Simon and Ian for taking part in the bike race and marathon and reminding me what it’s all about.

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Jul 04, 2022

well done irina!!


May 04, 2022

Another crackin’ post Irina. You have developed a habit of hitting the proverbial nail, smack on its head! Thanks for the name check too (& of course your constant support on my marathon adventure!) x


May 02, 2022

Lovely post Irina. It contains many truths x


May 02, 2022

I am once again so happy to have you putting words into emotions and deep understandings. It takes one to know one. I am totally with you and you really nailed the “never compare“ rule! Such a lesson for all aspects in life. Thank you with all my heart ♥️


May 02, 2022

What a great way to start a bank holiday Monday! Might even put my running gear on! Thank you x

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