I think we've all played it to some extent (at least I know I have). We've played this stupid game as women, as moms, as friends, as community volunteers, as wives, and as athletes. And, quite frankly, I'm done with it.
Enter the genre of running and it can get especially tricky. It's really quite ridiculous, after all, to compare one's running abilities, aspirations, or goals to those of others. After all, we have different genetic makeup, varying degrees of "free" time (for training), and we all are driven by different stimuli.
I have long contemplated the sport of running, and I have tried to be a "real" runner. It's only in recent years that I finally realized we all define "real runner" by our own individual goals and aspirations. And, finally, in recent years, I have achieved true contentment with MY running.
Low mileage is my gig. Simply put, high mileage does not work for me. Indeed, it is a nice surprise when the high mile numbers happen all on their own and I haven't risked injury to experience those very miles. I just know for me, though, I do much better with low mileage. I don't know if I'm just blessed with a body that does not need excessive mileage to prepare for a race, or if I'm just injury-prone if I run too much. I do know that the few times I have tried high-mileage training for a big race, I have toed the start line in an injured state from over-training, and those big races were near disasters.
I'm not PR driven. Of course, I love a shiny, new PR as much as the next person. Having run for upwards of 13 years, though, the newness of the sport has worn off and I have sort of plateaued. Please, don't feel sorry for me. I have not necessarily gotten slower, but it has gotten increasingly more difficult to get "faster" without putting in a lot more hard work than when I first started. I respect that some runners thrive on that kind of a conquest, but I have moved beyond that. I simply no longer need those PR's to validate myself as a legit runner anymore (but I do welcome them with open arms on the rare day that all the stars, moons, and planets align).
I am not impressed with the stats of others. It's not that I'm envious (well, not much LOL), but I seldom look at the pace/miles/distance stamped across the selfies on social media. Again, it's the comparison thing. I realize some are motivated and inspired by seeing how far other runners are running and exactly how fast (or slow?) they're doing it.....but why? Are they running the exact same route as you? Did they get as little (or as much) sleep as you did the night before? Is their weather as hot (or cold) as yours? Are they the same height as you, with the exact same size feet? Are they following the same training plan?
I love doing races of all distances instead of focusing on one specific goal race. What can I say? Variety is the spice of my running life. Maybe that's why I'm not PR'ing very often now days - because I'm not actually training for it (LOL). One time, I had a friend tell me that if they were gonna spend the money on a race, they were gonna "make it worthwhile" and run that race hard. Hmmmm. I'd rather focus on the race itself and not so much on my finish time. Bottom line, neither of us were wasting our money; we simply both had very different goals.