Since I began running a couple of years ago, I have found that I am constantly learning new things about myself-not only as a runner, but a human being. Probably the most important realization I have reached involves running for inspiration rather than comparison. I have always had a terrible habit of comparing myself to others, generally making me feel just not quite good enough or giving me some false “I’m better than them” attitude. My experience with running was no different. I would see other runners booking it over the Williamsburg bridge, speeding passed me with their gloriously sweaty, fit bodies. Immediately I would start questioning why I wasn’t going as fast, or looking as good while doing it. My pace would slow down even more as I started weighing myself with negativity. I wasn’t as good as these other runners. Maybe I never would be. What is the point of running if I can’t keep an 8 minute pace while running a marathon? What is the point if I don’t look great in running shorts that would fit my 3 year old? How come I don’t have the killer six pack that runner does? All of these crazy questions would go through my head as I compared myself to others. The joy of running would slip away from me and I would start feeling sorry for myself. I would cut my run short and mope the rest of the way home. WHAT A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME! I came to this realization not too long ago. It took me long enough, but it finally hit me like a ton of bricks. Taking notice of others is only natural, but why not use it for inspiration? These super fit, super fast, super cool looking runners were in the same position I’m in at one time. Once I let go of all the negativity which came along with constantly comparing myself to others, I actually became a better runner. Now, while I’m out on that morning jog, I am much more mindful. I look at others for inspiration. I look at the faster runners, the slower runners, the older runners, the runners of all shapes and sizes, for further motivation. It makes me feel incredible to remember what each of our individual bodies are capable of. Further more, I get a sense of fulfillment hoping that others might be even looking to me for inspiration. It’s an interesting circle when you really think about it-being inspired by others while inspiring them as well. This is something I try to carry with me, not just when it comes to running, but in my every day life.