Sunday, October 26, 2014

I am a Runner. But am I Good Enough?

Do you ever have that feeling that something is bothering you, but can't pinpoint why? There's something that's been bugging me for some time now and I'm just getting around to figuring out why that is.

Hi. My name is Mrs. Howard and I am a runner. It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I feel confident in making that statement. I used to add qualifying statements. But now, now I just let that statement stand on its own. I am a runner. 

So, why then do I get so uncomfortable around other runners? Lately, this is the question that's been stuck on my mind. I've actually gone to bed with my stomach in knots over a few things that runners do. This morning, after reading a post in my running group, once again, I'm left with my stomach in knots. So what is it? Why am I so uncomfortable around other runners.
It seems in my running group, I see a post at least once a day (usually about 10 a day), with people posting about speed. They either qualify their events by stating, "I am slow" (which, by my definition, they are NOT slow), or they post about improving their times (e.g. "today, I put my mind to it and did a 10 minute mile! I can't believe I did it!"). And it's got me thinking, 

If the goal of running is to increase your time, and I'm not getting any faster 
(or maybe even I'm proud of my time) 
than why am I running? 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good PR. I work to constantly better myself. And I love to increase my intervals or test myself with new distances. But I am competing against myself, not anyone else. I don't feel the need to constantly post my interval ratios for the world to see or focus on that in my running posts in the group, because that isn't why I run. And, it is for that reason that I just don't feel like I fit in. 

I run because it makes me happy. I run because I want to set a good example for my children. I run because of the sense of accomplishment I feel after achieving a goal I didn't think possible for myself. I run because of how it has positively affected my marriage and our sex life. I run because of the friendships. I run because I want to be healthy. 

So why, then, does it make me uncomfortable when people post about speed? If I don't care and don't run for that purpose, why does it make me so uncomfortable? Because, it sends the message, at least to me, that I am not good enough. And I know that if I'm feeling that way, it is making others feel that way. It sends the message that the purpose of running is to achieve some ever-changing unattainable goal of speed and I refuse to accept that purpose of running. If we are only congratulating each other on going faster, or making a huge deal out of someone who decreased their mile per minute, or commenting on each others' posts with comments about what they can do so that they change their intervals (decreasing walks and increasing runs), we are sending the message to them that where they are at, just isn't good enough. Once again, I reject that. I reject the idea that to be valued and celebrated, we have to go faster. 

We should celebrate each other for getting out there. We should celebrate each other for achieving our goals. We should celebrate each other for modeling health to our friends and family. We should celebrate each other for working out on days when we wanted to sleep in...or eat horribly...or veg on the couch. We should celebrate each other for getting better, more confident, stronger, and healthier.

Because at the end of the day if our only goal is only to go faster, what will happen when we can no longer do that?!? At some point, time has to pass in order for you to run a mile; we will never be able to do a mile in 0:00. 

And I am a firm believer that whether you run a 13 minute mile or a 7 minute mile, it is still a mile

So, I am left with my stomach in knots before runs with my group and I am left wondering if I'm not good enough. Am I not enough because I'm not stressed about my 3:1 intervals (I run for three minutes and walk 1 minute)? Am I not enough because I would rather focus on all the amazing Mamas who are just getting out there and rocking it? Am I not enough because I may never run a half marathon without walking? And, further, am I not enough because I don't even care if I'm never able to run a half without walking? 


J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am not a runner, but I think we've all felt this way. Don't stop running. You be the community you would want - for others who might be feeling the same way!

J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you, Priya! I know I won't stop running; i just want to make sure I figure out how to continue to focus on the right reasons for me.

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