Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Running Your Own Race…

Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle

When I jog several times each week along the Santa Ana River Trail, there’s plenty to keep me company. The trail along the river is park-like with trees and flowers and even the odd rabbit or squirrel. There are also other people there, cyclists and couples strolling, and even other joggers.

Oftentimes, as I’m jogging along, I’ll get passed by other joggers. Actually, far too often. Sometimes, they pass with some struggle, which makes me feel like I’m putting up a good enough speed to be a challenge but, more often than not, that’s not the case. Usually, they just zip right by me like I was standing still. They charge up the trail without a thought for whatever speed I might be running. Heck, I might as well be running backwards.

I won’t lie. It bothers me. My first response is to wonder what is wrong with me. Why aren’t’ I running as fast as them? What do they have that I don’t? How is it I’m so tired and they seem so full of energy?

As I say, that’s my first thought. Then, something else happens and I’m reminded of a truism that came to me from long distance cycling. When I’ve been out riding centuries, which are 100-mile bike rides, there too, I’ve been passed by others without a thought. In those circumstances, though, I realize that I am on a 100-mile bike ride and they may only be cycling a few kilometers or just down the block!

This is what I’m reminded of after my gut reaction to being passed is so negative. I realize that the jog I’m on and the one I was just passed by are probably very different things. They may not be going as far as me. They might not be as old as me. They may not have the same beat-up legs I have. Their circumstances are going to be very different. They may even just flat out be better than me, but that’s them. That’s not me.

I mention that this month along with the title “Running Your Own Race” because I think it must be common to think of attaining your dream as a race. You have a goal, a finish line, and your job it to get there as fast as you can. But you can’t help witness other people passing you. Maybe you want to be a chef and you can’t help wonder why those celebrity chefs are on TV and why you haven’t caught a break. Maybe you’re a swimmer and you keep seeing Michael Phelps doing better or catching all the breaks. In my case, as a writer, I’ve seen others succeed where I’ve failed – plays produced, novels published – and I’ve wondered, “Why not me?”

The reason it wasn’t me was because they’re not running my race any more than the folks on the trail are jogging with my legs. All I can do is run my own race and run it to the best of my abilities. If I’m doing that, how can I possibly fault someone else for their good fortune or their good talent? That luck or skill isn’t there to spite me. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that those who have succeeded instead of me were no more aware of my disappointment than those joggers who pass me on the trail.

While it’s tempting to think of another’s success as diminishing our own, that’s just not how it works. Your race is your own and nobody else could possibly run it, no matter how similar your dream may look to theirs. And the success you achieve when you reach your dream will be that much sweeter because you’ll see that nobody else could possibly have reached it the same way as you.

About the Author

Ken La Salle

Ken La Salle

Novelist and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. He’s also very funny. His plays are often seen in theaters on the west coast of the U.S. and many of his books can be found in ebook format on (for the Kindle) and all e-reader formats). Ken La Salle is represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency


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