Sarah, Thank You for Making Me Feel Bad

Sarah Reinersten made me feel bad yesterday and I can’t thank her enough.

She reminded me that I’m often not in the right frame of mind.

That morning, I chatted with a gym compatriot about my running schedule and how I’ve gotten my mile pace on a 5K run down to around 8:30. I feel that’s still pretty slow (and Google confirms it), but my friend was impressed as he’s happy if he makes 10:00.

So I left the gym with a sense of pride. I was doing pretty good in comparison to not just those who are capable and don’t run, but even those that give it a go themselves.

And then later that day, as fate would have it, Sarah made an unexpected guest speaker appearance as the company completely changed the format of the town hall from previous iterations.

That’s where I listened in awe to Sarah, the girl who had a defective leg amputated at the age of six and was told she wasn’t allowed to play soccer with the other kids. Sarah, the first woman with a prosthetic leg to ever finish an Ironman competition. Sarah, the woman soon embarking on a seven-day, seven-continent, seven-marathon challenge.

And so, there I was, feeling terrible about myself because she was kicking my ass six ways from Sunday by any sort of measure and was fighting adversity far beyond anything I’ve ever had to face.

But then I realized the problem wasn’t that I was slacking, or that my friend from that morning was slacking. The problem is that I was comparing myself to both of them when the only comparison I should ever be making is to where I am now versus where I was last month and last year.

In other words, Ho’o Mua.

Yeah, that was another gem Sarah introduced to me. A Hawaiian phrase often heard among the surfer crowd, it means “push forward.”

That’s the true measure. That’s the best thing any of us can do.

So, to you I say, shake off the impulse to compare yourselves with others and ho’o mua!


Originally published at on June 23, 2017.