Saturday, November 10, 2012

embracing my inner tortoise

I mentioned a couple of months ago, that I’ve taken up running. I started off with the RFR C25K program but mid way I got a bit off track. I was suffering with shin splints and struggling with what time of day was best for me to run and then I was distracted by comments from other runners in the same program posting their daily distances. I hadn’t paid any attention to my distance – I was focused on moving for the required amount of time every training session. How would I get back on track? In the end, on the advice of a runner friend, I tried running with a group. My local running store has group runs so I took myself off there for a group run. What can I say? I nearly went home so many times in the first few minutes of arriving at the run location. The marathon group was running 32K that day, the half marathon group 18K. There wasn’t a slow 2K or 4K option. In the end, I joined the Learn to Run people who were near the end of their session so were running 10 minutes and walking 1. We left together and after a couple of minutes they were easily outpacing me. I was about to say,”don’t wait for me” when the group leader split from the rest of the group and stayed with me. The others ran ahead and ran 5K. With the help of the group leader who stayed with me the entire time, I ran and walked almost 4K. And the following week I signed up for a running clinic at the store. We’ve been running 3 times a week – this week we were up to running for 5 minutes, walking for 1, repeated 4 times. We’ve had sessions on running gear, shoes, biomechanics, nutrition and safety. We always run together after the class and have another 2 chances a week to run with the group. The timing has never worked for me for one of the runs so I’ve always had one solo run a week. But in the past couple of weeks I’ve learned a few things about myself. While one of my motivations for joining the clinic was to have a group to push me, there is part of me that resents being pushed. I’m always the slowest in our group runs. Always at the back of the pack and I’ve struggled with that. But I’m still running. I still go every week. Some of the other slower runners have dropped out but I’m still there. My fellow runners and group leaders are very encouraging but it is discouraging to always be the slowest. But I need to embrace that. I’m a slow runner. I represent the end of the loop, for the group when they loop back and get to me they get to turn around and go forward again. I’ve been running in the rain and the cold and that is what matters, not how fast I go or how far I go. I’m still running. And as one of my fellow runners said a few weeks ago “you are faster than all the people on their couches.”

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