My mom used to recite a mangled version of a line from a Lord Tennyson poem to try to motivate me.. “Its better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.”
Sounds inspiring doesn’t it? You can just picture me trying to turn my hand at anything, right? Not so much. I grew up in a family of athletic over achievers. As the youngest of six kids, by the time I came along all the good genes had been snapped up. My four brothers were collegiate track and cross-country stars before I turned 12. These proved to be big shoes to fill and my mom knew it, hence the motivational pronouncements. It seems I have alway zigged while everyone else is zagging and my formative years were no different. So rather than expose myself to the inevitable comparisons with my fleet-fitted siblings I chose not to run.
Yes, I played rugby and soccer, and ran the odd fun run, but I never stuck my neck out just to make sure I wouldn’t disappoint, or be disappointed. What a waste of 15 unproductive years. When I started running again later in life, it was because I was carrying around the weight equivalent of pigmy hippo under my oversized shirts. And of course none of my brothers were running anymore so it seems like the obvious choice.
Here’s way it was a waste of those 15 years… I was pretty good at it, at least for my age. So I started competing in 5k’s and then 10 milers and finally marathons. And I liked it, a lot! And now I can’t stop.
I run because “its better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.”