Sunday, March 16, 2014

Good, better, and best

Okay, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as "The Mormon Church". I tend to wear my Religion on my sleeve, and have a firm belief in God, and certainly something greater than myself. I believe that there is a plan that involves me, and it grants me purpose and meaning in my life.

Life is not all rosy because of my faith though...

One of the things I hear the "brethren" or leaders of the church talk about is the difference between "good, better, and best". I admit when given a choice, anything less than the best is often not good enough. I've always seen myself as hopelessly not good enough. Truth be known, that's actually true. I'll explain why in a second.

When it comes to training, Virginie and I certainly have good run's, then better run's, and then the best runs. Yesterday was just "good". You know, I suppose that some are not even good. Think of good as eating a healthy snack that you hate... but it is healthy, and so you do it because you know even though your taste buds hate you, you body is likely thanking you. That's what yesterday was like for me.

We were up early in the morning. 3:00 am to be exact. The day was going to be a busy one.

  • 9:00: Drop off one child for swimming lessons
  • 9:30: Drop of another for Violin lessons. Take time to stretch
  • 10:45: Pick up the swimmer
  • 11:30: Get chores done
  • 1:00: Meet with our campaign organizer
Note that there are no meals in there. For me, I burn about 3500 calories per marathon that I run. That is about 4 full meals for me. It means that after our 42.2 km training run, I would be behind perhaps 3 (if I eat properly during the run). That gave around 3:45 to about 8:45 to get our 42.2 km done. I felt 5 hours would be pretty close. I tend to run faster than Virginie and it's tough for me, because I constantly feel like I'm demotivating her. It's easy for me to run fast. I don't feel winded, but my muscles scream at me. Because I tend to handle the muscle discomfort well (I've been running for almost 10 years), I get the feeling Virginie starts to wonder what she is doing, and if she's just holding me back. I try to encourage her, but it's often not too effective. 

It's funny... training seems to be a small part physical for me, and I'm assuming it's the same for Virginie. The big part of training for a 100 mile race is the emotional and mental training. If you are exhausted ... keep running. If you are frustrated or angry ... keep running. If you feel misunderstood ... keep running. I'll think to myself, "If I just get to the end of the run as quickly as possible, it will be over". The thing is, I cannot get myself to the end of the run as quickly as I want. Virginie is such a strength to me in so many ways, and so I must choose to accept her frustration and her pain as my own. To genuinely look outside of myself as a feeling and caring husband and allow her to feel and work out her own "demons (as she's begun to call them)" on her own. I allow her to rely on me, only when she is ready and able. If she's not ... keep running! I think this is what I pulled from the run yesterday. Yes, we did finish, and yes, it stunk, but that day, I'm just choosing good, and that will be good enough

You know, when I met Virginie's brothers Lehi and Mathoni, I remember that they could no longer walk. They spent all day in their wheel chairs by that point. Virginie would tell me stories about them though. When they were young, they would climb up the stairs by sitting on their bum, and using their hands on the stair above, pushing up until they could sit on the following step. They would repeat the process until they were at the top of the stairs. They were always exhausted when they got to the top. Perhaps yesterday, I can empathize a great deal better with them that I ever could. Perhaps this is what takes my run from good to better, perhaps even best? It's the realization that when you are at the end of your rope, you still have a choice ahead of you. It's a choice to improve, or to regress. I believe that just "staying the same" means your actually regressing. A choice to accept being "good enough" is actually a choice to be complacent. Lehi and Mathoni lived life with a constant focus on improving themselves, and living each day like it was their last. Lehi was awarded the award of fortitude for fulfilling all every single cub merit badge requirement. Yes, he received all of them. Lehi and Mathoni became very good at Unreal Tournament. One boy would play the movement, the other the aiming and rotation. I could scarcely get out of my hideout without getting shot when I played against them. Working together, they would get a head shot almost instantly when I was visible to them. Frankly, after a while, I stopped playing them. It just was not fun anymore.

Super Cub Scouts - Lehi and Mathoni Sanson
My conclusion? Things are not always as we see them. We do good, and that's good enough, because good paves the way to better. Good makes you appreciate best. Good get's you thinking outside of the proverbial box. Don't ever think good is not good enough. It is!

Sweet. We've lived in Edmonton for 10 years, but I never knew about this tunnel going under Anthony Henday Drive. This opens up a whole new world of potential roads and trail!
At the half way mark (21.1 km). We had wanted to run on a new trail, and we've never run on this one before, but we arrived at the trail head, just as we were supposed to be turning around :). Oh well!

This is a classic Alberta run, running in front of the Strathcona refinery.


  1. Good read, Steve! I share the same views about complacency and couldn't have put it into words better than you did here.

    1. Thanks Marc! Can't wait to hear more about some of your epic running stories!

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