Sometimes when I'm out riding my bike or running or whatever, the old tagline moral from The Tortoise and the Hare crosses my mind: "Slow and steady wins the race."
The next thing that crosses my mind is, "What a load of hogwash!"
I mean, slow and steady will always get you to the finish line (unless you're in the mountains and some heavy weather starts moving in - struck-by-lightening loses.), but the truth is, fast and steady wins the race.*
At the first 10k I ever ran, I overheard some guys talking a little way off the starting line. "All these people start out too strong. But they'll all tire out before they're halfway through and then we'll be passing them." Once I'd passed, I didn't see them again.
Don't get me wrong: in general there's nothing wrong with slow and steady. Sometimes just making it from start to finish is what it's all about. But don't let that adage be an excuse not to push yourself to your full potential. I'm not out there to win; I'm out there to see what I'm made of.
But isn't it supposed to be about having fun? Yeah, that too. The thing is, there's a certain confidence and gratification that comes from finding out that you are capable of more than you previously thought. And that feeling, to me, is a big part of fun.
So get out there and push it. Hold today's performance up against what you think you can do. As long as you're beating that self-image, you're winning.
* I'm not here to spray about how great I am. For the record, I'm much more in the "moderate and steady" category.