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August 31, 2008

IS IT OKAY TO RUN SLOW?

I googled that statement above this morning. While my original intent was to find out what the rest of the world thought about slow runners, deep down inside I know that I only googled it because I'm a little worried about tomorrows 10k.

What I found sortof had to make me stop and laugh...because it was the first item that came up when that statement was searched, and because I've read it before. It was what Amy, from the Runner's Lounge, wrote over a year ago about her thoughts on being a slow runner.

This sentence was my favorite: "I may lack speed, form, and substance, but I tend to make up for it with heart, determination and genuine care/support to other runners."

I'm back at the starting point of that square that I face year after year. Do I focus on trying to be fast, or do I focus on running a better marathon? While I'm sure it's possible for most people to focus on both at one time, my prior history in the injury department makes me a little nervous about attempting both at one time. I don't ever ever ever ever want to be in a cast ever ever ever again. Enough said.

But really...why do I do this? Is it to be healthy and active? Is it to be really really good at something? What drives me day after day, month after month, and year after year to put my shoes on and go?

I had three people come up to me at packet pickup yesterday and introduce themselves. They all had been reading this blog and told me how much they enjoyed it. I thought that was crazy. I mean, I am aware that people read my blog. But I guess I forget that there are those lurkers who read what I ramble about on a weekly basis but never post a comment. And get this: one of them even told me I was inspirational. Me? Inspiring? For what? For being able to run slow, not run at all, or complain to the nth degree about how much I suck at running?

When you are involved with a track club, hang out with runners, and get really really excited when another running movie is coming out, it's hard not to want to get faster. But, every time I do, I end up hating it, complaining about it, and generally feeling miserable about how much I suck at running. I continue to beat myself up about it, feeling like by now, 3 years later, I should be faster than I was back then. But, I'm not. And I guess that's the part that stinks. I'd like to just get over it and proclaim that I am just runneramy who doesn't run fast, who will never run fast, but who just enjoys being out there.

WHY CAN'T THAT JUST BE OKAY?

I tend to forget that I'm really good at alot of other things. Like being organized. I'm really really good at being organized and helping other people be better organized. I think I might be good at riding a bike, based on my limited experience but awesome moves on the mountain bike. Or the fact that I rode 50 miles the first time I was on my road bike. I'm good at putting a wedding together (or at least I will be in 41 days) and I'm really good at writing thank you notes. Apparently I'm really good at entering Labor Day Race Registrations (while I wished I sucked at it), and I think I'm probably a pretty good cook. I'm sure there are other things that I'm good at, but I'm just not thinking about them right now.

But, I'm not good at being a runner.

I'm good at getting out there and motivating (even inspiring!) others, but I'll never win the race (unless you let me, or no one else shows up). I might continue to place 3rd in my age group, or not place at all. Heck, I wish all I cared about was finishing!

Writing on this blog is like my own personal therapy session. Aren't you guys glad you get to sit in on it? When I started this post I was mad at myself for letting another year of running, another year of racing, get behind me with little to no progress on getting faster. I was angry at myself because I know I will be bringing up the rear for my little 5-person team tomorrow. I was confused on what to do, and how to proceed with all of this. And now I've talked myself through all of it....scary, but true.

I'm going to focus on getting married,

...making my arms look hot for that wedding dress,

...and gearing up for those silly marathons I signed up for in January.

I'm going to stop obsessing about it,

...start enjoying the great running weather that is right around the corner

...and make sure the word "speedwork" isn't anywhere on my list of things to do.

I'm not going to Google the statement "slow runners suck",

...take the "average pace" function off of the top screen of my Garmin

...and instead...

Just Run.

Have a great Labor Day!

4 comments:

Tim said...

Amy always remember:

"Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start." (W.I.S.H. Team motto)

And btw - you do inspire!

Peace

Melissa said...

I love this blog! I think it's one of my favorite ones that you have done. You inspire a lot of us to keep going! Thank you for that!

Anonymous said...

Not only do I enjoy your blogs Amy, I enjoy following the links and then following those links. I always find something fun. it's like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. today I found this (be sure to watch the video). http://losingman.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/i-am-not-a-runner/

Deb

charlie said...

Totally an inspiration! One of my only "regular reads"! Your experiences and contemplations (and style) ring true for me in many way. Don't stop!