On assignment for several years Anderson Cooper had very slowly become desensitized to the violence he was witnessing around him; the horrors of the Rwandan Genocide became trivial: "I would see a dozen bodies and think, you know it's a dozen, it's not so bad." One particular incident, however, snapped him out of it:
On the side of the road Cooper came across five bodies that had been in the sun for several days . The skin of a woman's hand was peeling off like a glove. Revealing macabre fascination, Copper whipped out his disposable camera and took a closeup photograph for his personal album. As he did, someone took a photo of him. Later that person showed Cooper the photo, saying, "You need to take a look at what you were doing." And that's when he realized he had to stop - "I've got to report on some state fairs or a beauty pageant or something, to just, like, remind myself of some perspective."
The first event that I ever signed up for was the Honolulu Marathon. Prior to that, the longest that I had run was probably 10km and never in a race. Once I had committed myself, I set to work developing my training program with help of a veteran coach, and part of it included registering and running in the North Shore Half Marathon.
I can still remember the days leading up to the race, I was so nervous. So nervous in fact, that on the morning of the race I almost didn't get out of the car in time to make it to the start line. Needless to say, I did race that day and have been ever since. But one thing stuck with me, how blase everyone around me was about me completing a half marathon.
I understand we do this all the time, and it's easy to forget what your first race felt like when so many others have happened between then and now but sometimes, just like Anderson, it's good to remind yourself of some perspective and remember that this is someone else's first race.