I’m a runner: but not a fast runner. Not a slow runner. Not a super fit runner. Not a fat runner. Not a once a year runner. Not an everyday runner. Not a pavement only runner. Not a treadmill only runner. Do you see why I’m in the middle?
I began running 10 years ago: right after the birth of my first daughter. I had never run before–ever. It sounded like a great way to get in shape…or die trying. I would run 1/2 a mile and then walk 1/2 a mile. That’s how I started. Now, I’ve run 40 races. 13 of those are half marathons. 2-15km races, about 5-10km races, and so many 5km races I lost count after 15. In 2016 alone, I’ve run 4 half marathons. Women comment and talk to me about running ALL THE TIME. “How do you find time to train?” “You must be so good.” “What’s your pace?” “I bet you’re fast.”
Well, let’s just clear a few things up: I am average at best. Yes, average. All of my stats don’t actually tell much about my running other than I must love training and putting my body through grueling weather conditions–downpour rain, snow and ice, heat and humidity, bone chattering wind–I can tell you about races in all of these conditions. I used to be offended because people would say, “if you can do it, maybe I can too!” What does this mean?! I’m so bad that everyone sees it as a motivator? ughhh. Now that fact is actually encouraging–if I can run, with my asthmatic lungs, poor legs, and fallen right arch, then ANYONE can run. Remember, I’m just average.
The reality is I can only run 3 days a week, at best. Plus, I dislike running with other people because my anxiety and asthma kick in simultaneously. Trying to talk to someone else while focusing on breathing makes my lungs kind of freak out. And I’ll be honest, I’m so competitive and anxious, I stress out when I run with other people–am I too slow, am I too fast–it’s not productive for me. So I never really get faster. Sure, I PR here and there, but I’m not running 8 minute miles folks. I’m pacing 10 minute miles. If I’m running a 5km, I can pace 9:30 on a good day. So average.
My point to all of this–the benefits of running are immeasurable even if I’m average. It helped me overcome depression twice, keeps my anxiety under control, allows me some alone time away from the kids, and forces me to keep working for something.
So even though I sometimes want to quit because I will never get a medal other than a finisher medal, I keep running. Even though some runners continue to run marathons and build their bodies into pristine condition, I am working on being happy with my stretch marks and flat feet getting me through my next run. Because what seems like average to everyone else, is really exceptional for me.
Find something in your life that allows you to work hard for a goal, get away for some alone time with your thoughts, challenges you to be the best “you,” and helps you to fight the issues in your head.
I chose running. What have or will you choose?
The middle can be exceptional too…