Running: It’s a Journey, not a Destination.

For months now, I have whined and moan and whined some more about my various frustrations with my running.  From my breathing to my form, it never seemed to quite come together.  I had a conversation the other day regarding the upcoming 10K training and how despite my lackluster performance in the Fun Runs and the constant struggle to keep up with my pace group, I was excited about signing up.  It was “suggested” to me, that perhaps 10k might be too much for someone like me (i.e. slow) and that perhaps repeating 5k might not be such a bad idea.  The suggestion, which I’m sure was given in earnest with only my best interest at heart, struck a nerve.  At first I became angry.  Wondering how dare you, person, suggest I’m not up to a challenge?  Four months ago, I was a snack cake eating, rerun watching, spud whose only exercised involved a 20 foot walk to my car.  Who are you to judge?

Then, I thought about it. In fact, I thought about it ALOT!  And I started to think maybe this person was right.  With all my “issues,” it seemed like everyone was progressing, but me.  So with all this self doubt weighing heavy on my mind, you can imagine what my run was like today, as I watched the space between me and my pace group get wider and wider.  I finished, last of course, stretched and headed back to my car. On the way, I had a talk with one of my fellow pace group members and she asked if was going to do the 10k training.  I said yes, but in my heart, I wasn’t so sure now.  She said to me, “I’m so glad you’re doing 10k. It just proves how far you’ve come.”  How far I’ve come??  What is she high?  I’m the unofficial problem child of my pace group.  The “special needs” runner who always ends up with a pace coach pep talking her back to base camp.  What is she talking about?

But she went on to say, “I can tell you’ve made progress from when you first started.” (Or something like that) And I thought to myself, you know, she’s right. I am not so far down the totem pole as I have portrayed myself. I HAVE come a long way.  One mile felt like torture in the beginning. I can do the full three miles AND some, and live to tell about it!  Hell, I’d just done at least FOUR!

But it was George, who really brought it all home for me.  As we were walking and talking about our various struggles with running, the conversation turned to pace. I’d remarked about how, in an effort to keep up with my pace group, I often start off too fast and end up lagging behind as a result. George said, “This isn’t a race. So what if you end up in the back as long as you finish. What’s important is that you do what you can do. Speed will come in time.” (Or something like that)  And  I thought, all this time, I’ve been beating myself up believing or being led to believe that my progress hinged on somebody else’s idea of what my pace should be.  Can I run a 9:30 mile? Heck no!  But I can run 9 minutes straight (and longer) at MY pace!  Unheard of four months ago!

This whole experience has not been about the race, but more about laying the foundation for longevity in the sport . And if I’m going to continue, injury free, I have to be patient and forgiving when my body does what it can.   I also have to give myself credit for what I HAVE accomplished instead of the things I have not. No, every run has not been perfect. And I’m sure there are more janky runs to come, but the goal is and should always be, to just show up and love yourself no matter what the outcome.

So  I say all of this to say, YES, I WILL be signing up for 10k training. And so what if I’m at the back of the group, what’s important is that I show up and finish.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow! what a good reminder that running is all about you and your pace. Can’t wait for you to join the 10k Training Program.

    Coach Deirdre

  2. Don’t let Deirdre fool you. She runs like a gazelle and will have you begging for mercy! LOL

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