My average pace is just above 10:00 per mile. On a good day I hover around 9:30. I’m not fast. But, I run.
One of the things I’ve noticed about the running community is that there’s not really a place for “slow runners.” Elite runners brag about their times and how they’re going to beat them, but I’m over here like “Hey, I’m slow and that’s cool.” But sometimes I can’t help but feel bad about my “slowness.” Should I be faster? Should I run more? I can’t even imagine finishing a mile in seven minutes… And it doesn’t help that my body type doesn’t fit the stereotypical running figure. I love my athletic body type and the strength and power that my muscles give me but I can’t help but feel a little self-concious when I’m registering for a race and I see the Athena/Clydesdale category for “heavier” runners. Sometimes I just don’t feel like I should be a runner.
I can’t put the feeling of a good run into words. After a good run I feel great, amazing, fantastic. But when I’m looking at my logs, to be honest, I’m disappointed. But why? After conquering trails, roads and hundreds of miles on the treadmill, I should feel empowered and proud. I’ve always been competitive and I’ve also always been my biggest rival. “Be better. Do better. Get faster. You can do more.” The dialogue I have with myself is more exhausting than the running.
So, today I decided to challenge myself. Not to get faster, but to accept that I am a “slow” runner. A year ago I couldn’t imagine being where I am at today. Going back even further I never thought I would be as passionate about running as I am now. I’m slowly accepting the fact that I am a slow runner, and that it is OK. Who knows, I might just get faster.
Photo via Patrik Nygren