As I run through the Park each morning I have been shocked to find myself comparing myself to other runners. I see the really young runner, the twenty some thing runner, the older runner, and dare I say it the larger runner. There are as many type of runners as there are colors in a crayon box. One thing we have in common is that we compete against each other both inside and outside of races.
I used to be the large, slow runner. I used to carry a lot of weight. I was heavy and I had a hard time getting up speed. My ankles complained and my breathing was labored. I lost the weight and I do have the ability to run faster but somehow I do not. Mentally, I am still the heavy runner laboring abound the loop.
Nowadays, I have increased my speed at times out of wanting to fit in. This makes me feel good at times but it is short lived. There is always someone faster. So now I consider myself an older runner.
My husband has adopted my attitude now that he has restarted his running, after taking a long break from it. I was able to keep up with him for a while during a race which I never could before, due to my weight. Because I was slower and we ran early in the morning to beat the heat, he used to run circles around me, literally to keep track of me while we ran “together” and called it his “extra” training. It was very hurtful when he did this because it made me feel like I was not even running. Meanwhile I had a Park full of runners speeding by me while I was trying to just finish my loop. Now he feels that way too. I used to go out of my way to run early because there were less people in the Park to pass me. All this sounds horrible but I realized after a while it’s mostly my little mental game that was causing me grief.
I started doing my workouts no matter how slow and I let people pass deliberately, so as to just refocus myself on my work out. Soon, I was just focusing on my work out and having a good time outside. I realized I had learned to run faster. I learned to respect myself as a runner. It was all right to run like I do right now. I just had to accept it and then it was OK.
There is nothing a little time and effort cannot change. I may never be an Olympian, (or maybe I’m wrong about that too) but I can still train and run like I have a chance to be one.