Thursday, September 26, 2013

Musings From A Wannabe Runner

I have a hard time convincing myself that I'm a "real" runner. Most days I feel like I'm living a fitness lie. I know who the real runners are. I have watched and envied them for years. They are the people who go out and crush hour + runs every morning. They run sub 3:30 marathons. A long run to them is 18-20 miles, and then they wake up for speed work the next day.

And then there's me. I don't do any of the above. Well, at least not consistently. I think 8 miles hovers on long, and there are days where 30 minutes on the pavement is enough (yesterday). One of the most appealing aspects of running when I first started was how it was a solo sport. Team sports always gave me anxiety because I never wanted to let down the team with my non-existent athleticism. I enjoyed sitting on the bench in recreational soccer because I was still part of the team (I was an awesome bench cheerleader), but I wouldn't be the cause of any loss or disappointment. Safe to say, I had a lot of issues growing up.

Running was the answer to that problem. The only person I had to worry about was myself. Any high point was my own doing, and I was the only person who had to suffer the lows. The problem I never saw coming was how competitive I would become with myself. This can be an admirable quality (attempt to PR my next race) until it becomes toxic (don't PR my next race which means I suck at life). I've always been my harshest critic. I was never smart enough, thin enough, cool enough. And now, I'm not fast enough, strong enough...It's exhausting. And it's definitely a process in learning how to change negative thoughts into supportive and encouraging thoughts.


Runner's World has a great column titled, "The Newbie Chronicles," and Marc Parent single-handedly removes me from any slump I'm in when I don't feel quite up to par. Check out his column from September, 2013 here. The following paragraph sums up the article and the truth of running perfectly...

"One of the most surprising things I learned about running when I started was that you didn't need to earn a lanyard with a hang-tag or any other validating identifier to make your membership official—you were allowed to call yourself a runner from the moment you began."


To go along with that, my mom has the following quote hanging in her house (I actually think it's on a pillow), and today is a good day to repeat it to myself over and over again.

"Do not compare yourself to others for there will always be those lesser and greater than you."

I may not be able to run a marathon (yet), but there are people that can only run one mile. And they should be proud of themselves too! At least we're not sitting on the couch. And to the couch sitters thinking about getting up and going for a walk, you're one step ahead of the game as well. Everyone is on their own personal journey to wellness. Who am I to judge anyone (myself included) for being less than someone else. So many of us get out there and try every single day to improve ourselves. And that's what it's all about. It's definitely time to start treating myself kindly and know that I'm putting my all into my "sport." - see I couldn't even write that without quotes. But I'll get there. And anyone else currently facing challenges with confidence, you'll get there too. Just know that you're doing the best you can, and that's always good enough.

A lovely shot from my short run yesterday to help me see that the world is beautiful...no matter how fast or how far you're going...









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