“Do you run a lot?” the doctor asked.

I paused before I answered.

I hadn’t run that morning before going to the doctor, although I had stopped by the YMCA to listen to my iPod a while. The day before, I’d run a little over a half mile doing some intervals and ran a mile at about a 6mph pace for my triathlon class. A couple days before, I’d run a couple miles on a treadmill at a little faster than a 6mph pace. I’ve been doing some treadmill work off and on, and the interval runs as part of my regular workout. I’ve run a couple of 5k races in the last year with respectable times (although I only seem to medal or place when I’m walking the route with my youngest son behind only two runners in my age group).

But.

Is that a lot? I know a couple of serious runners and competitors who do marathons and real triathlons where the running component takes longer than the 20 minutes I’ll have on my upcoming indoor triathlon. I know people who run several times a week and who train for events instead of just showing up, plodding along, and getting a Gatorade and granola bar at the end. Not to mention hypermilers, crazy people who run like 100 miles at a time.

In my circle, I don’t run a lot at all.

I live in so many bubbles, although not political.

Contrary to how often I post about my gym playlist, I don’t go the gym that often. Once or twice a week at the most. Compared to some of the people there, that’s not a lot. I talked to another doctor about a shoulder issue I was having, and how it really hurt when I was doing burpee ladders. “That’s pretty intense exercise,” he said. “I hang out with a bad crowd,” I said. I know some guys who train every day in one form or another. The only thing I do every day is take a nap.

For three or so years, I have studied martial arts, and I can break wooden boards with martial arts strikes. So can everyone else at the dojo. So it sounds wild and cool to a person who doesn’t study martial arts, but it’s a normal part of life for a lot of people I know.

As you know, gentle reader of this blog, as I keep flogging it, I have written and published a couple of books (John Donnelly’s Gold and The Courtship of Barbara Holt, remember, and if you didn’t remember, buy them now before you forget!). To some people, this is a big deal, but those are people who have not written books. My Twitter feed is full of software testing thought leaders, whom I consider peers (but who might not consider me a peer), who have written and published books. I know several other self-published authors including the fellow who designed the cover of John Donnelly’s Gold, Miss Dalla Rosa, and a young lady who wrote and published a book in high school. I assume all of them have sold more than I have; my total is somewhere between 100 and 150, mostly Kindle editions. I read somewhere that this number is about average for self-published authors.

At any rate, this post reads a bit like a series of humble brags, but I don’t mean it as such; instead, I’d like to think of it as a musing on perspective. If you do something interesting or that seems laudable or whatnot, you might get to the other side of the accomplishment to find someone who has accomplished it better, faster, bigger, or harder than you have. You have to make your peace with that or you’ll be unhappy. Even if your making peace with it is to drive yourself harder to be better next time.

I’ve heard that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I like to think I’m applying that to the bubbles in which I live, but it’s not like I’m directing it that way. It’s just that I’m trying to do different things, and I’m not the best at any of them.

What was my point? I forget. Perhaps I ought to rename the blog Ramblings from Brian J. Noggle.