I started running in 2008. I joined a running club with my hubby (this was in the pre-kid era) and essentially learned the basics of running. Up to that point, I didn’t understand things like pacing, training and, like many, the term fartlek made me giggle (ok, it still makes me giggle). We both completed the clinic and ran our first race, a 10k. I was elated that I had accomplished such a feat and so proud of myself!
Awkward action shot! (I still have and wear that shirt btw…it has the stench to prove it)
Gradually I worked my way up to a half marathon distance and finally ran a race last year, which was such a highlight for me. The sense of accomplishment still resonates with me because it was something I never dreamed I’d be able to do.
Someone can smell a free pancake breakfast…
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fast runner. I’d say that at my best, I’m middle of the pack. It’s never really bothered me because my focus was on endurance and finishing the race on my own two feet rather than being dragged across the finish line by the kind folks who clean up the pylons at the end of the race.
I’ve had a few people laugh at me and call my running slow in the past and lately, I have to be perfectly honest: it’s begun to sting a bit. I know it’s all in good fun but suddenly, I’m not laughing anymore. I’ve accomplished a lot with my running. Not in terms of speed but in terms of finishing the race. I shouldn’t be any less proud of myself because I didn’t finish first.
I will even do a fun run on New Year’s Day if it means I get free coffee and cinnamon buns after.
While this whole debate was raging in my head, I happened upon a blog post by Ted Spiker over at Runner’s World. I knew I had found my next mission: He started the Sub-Club: a place for runners like me who want to break the 30 minute mark in a 5k. For runners like me who aren’t the fastest but who are determined and dedicated to doing what we love even if we aren’t leading the pack. For runners like me who love to support and encourage each other at every step, mile and finish line out there. I’m thankful for this group because it’s full of big puffy hearted love and respect for our fellow runners, humor and honesty.
Those few moments of doubt are long gone. I’m still going to run my half marathon in October and I’m going to get to my sub-30 goal some day. My running has a focus and a purpose and neither revolve around being the best or the fastest. Rather, they revolve around doing something I love doing in my own way and in my own time.
Unless there comes a day that they run out of free pancakes before I get to the finish line.