Running a race for a second time is always an easier experience. Always. Even if the race was a helluva race the first time!
And the reason is this: because you know what to expect.
The familiar, and endless summers
You already have an intimidate knowledge of the route and the terrain and the profile, and even if the actual recorded time on the clock is not as swift as the first time…the time that you experience will be swifter.
Because you recognise it. And when your brain sees familiar sights, it has less ‘work’ to do…it has less to process. It’s processing which takes energy, & appears to us to be taking forever.
It’s why the days go so slowly & summers last forever when you’re little – such a lot is new! Every day! And it’s why the years fly past as we get older…the pattern is familiar, we, & our brain, already know what’s afoot.
(It’s also why, when on holiday, even after just a few days, it feels as if you’ve been there for aeons! You’ve had a lot of new things to engage with, to register and for your brain to assimilate – it’s like living life through a kiddies eyes again! : ) And yet, the second half of your holiday flies by! Because you’re in the groove; there’s less new to notice…)
But something else happens when you’ve already raced a race before…especially if it was that helluva race, which is that in our minds we heighten the hellish bits… We recall the enormity of the struggle up all those hills, we replay the endlessness of the final straight, we repeat the challenges over & over in our mind so that we have built up the expectation of the hideously difficult experience.
And then when we get there for the second time, and, ‘oh, it wasn’t as bad as I remember’!
You’re expecting an uncomfortable experience, & yet when you arrive, your brain has switched off noticing, in the same new way, all that you found so challenging before… Things will seem rosier.
It happens over & over.
And so the trick?
Never say never again
Firstly to eliminate all expectations as far as feasibly possible. (Ok, so that’s rarely completely possible!) But be open to however the experience pans out…that’s all you can do in any given situation, after all. And secondly, know that going back to tackle the challenge a second time will always be easier…
In other words, even if you cross the finishing line in a heap…never say never again!