As I’ve ventured down this path of fitness I’ve leaned on and learned quite a bit from a dear friend of mine named Dave whom I affectionately call Jumbo. Jumbo started down the same road about 2 years before I did, and is wise beyond his years. One of the biggest lessons Jumbo has tried to drive into my head is “The only person your competing with is yourself.” And as I approach the end of my first year down this path, I finally understand what he means.
What drove it home was a posting recently from another friend of mine who’s done amazing things in her life. Over the last year through good eating and exercising she’s lost 75 pounds. 75 pounds. One year. I can’t even fathom that concept. And yet for my birthday she felt compelled to post on my wall, “Happy birthday!! You keep me on top of my running game..don't ever think I will be able to match your run times, but a girl can at least try!!”
The first part of that I loved. I was thrilled to find out that someone looked at what I was doing to find inspiration to help themselves. I honestly can’t think of a bigger compliment. And I now find the second part very interesting – she’s trying to keep up with me.
Someone who over the last 52 weeks lost 75 pounds is trying to keep up with me? Not hardly. You do that and that trumps what I’ve done. By a lot.
But does it really matter if she’s better than I am, or if I’m better than her? Not really. There are still people that have lost more weight in a healthy manner, and there are people that can run much further and much faster than I can.
All that really matters is this – that I go out and I run, keeping to my schedule. That every time I go out I work on improving myself. So that at the end of the week, the end of the month, the end of the year I’m a bit stronger and a bit faster than I was when I started. And that’s all that matters for her. And that’s all that matters for Jumbo. And that’s all that matters for you.
What someone else does shouldn’t depress or discourage you; you might not be able to keep up with them. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t – it’s still all about you.
But if you can use it to find inspiration, then by all means – “go get ‘em!”
 The nickname Jumbo has nothing to do with his size. Next time you see me buy me a beer and I’ll tell you the story. I love telling that story.