Ok, I’m catching up here so bear with me through the following deluge!
In September I ran the Bellingham Bay 10k. For the last several years, this race has offered a full marathon, half marathon, and 5k, but no 10k. I’ve run the half and the 5k and was excited that they returned to offering the 10k. I knew early on in the year that I wanted to complete the 10k – even though it isn’t my favorite race distance.
The race went great – not a PR but I kept up a good pace and felt terrific throughout. It was a perfect day – sunny and mild temps. After this race, I felt a bit more endeared toward the 10k distance.. but just a bit!
I run slow as shit. So what? Who the hell cares?
One of the challenges on my journey to embrace running and being a “runner” has been an increasing self-consciousness about my speed. Throughout the last year, my goal was mainly to increase my stamina and distance and my speed never bothered me much. Now that I’ve achieved many beginner goals with running, I’ve starting to think more about speed as an aspect of my running and looking at ways to speed up just a bit. Now, I am not interested in achieving a 6 minute mile tomorrow, or ever really, but as my fitness increases, speed is one measure that I find helpful and motivating. My running family is so good to politely wait for me at finish lines and are always happy to cheer me on as I shuffle across the line, but it would be cool if they didn’t have to wait too long for me!
Part of what I enjoy about running is the plodding along and the time it gives me to clear my mind and observe. I am a somewhat high-anxiety, high-energy person and running is a time where I reflect and slow my brain down a bit. The thud of my feet on the ground and the rhythm of my breathing consume my attention and I can feel that day’s concerns, frustrations, and worries sloughing off my shoulders step by step.
I’m currently training for my second half marathon and I’m actually finding that my slow and steady speed is beneficial in many races. I chug along and very often catch up to people who start off too fast. I ran my second 10K this past weekend, the Anacortes Art Dash, and found that in the last two miles I truly was the tortoise plodding by those who’d over-spent their energy in the first four miles. It was a 10K PR for me by a few minutes and that felt good. But more than that, I’d tacked on a mile before the run to make it my longest consecutive run to-date. I was surprised at the amount of energy and pep I still had at what was cumulatively miles 5-7.
I found this article several months ago and I occasionally go back to it to remind myself that my pace is my pace and that I’m a runner no matter what.
Won’t you join me? Embrace your pace and stop apologizing for being “slow”. You are holding no one else up, forcing no one who isn’t willing to join you, and most importantly, doing what is best for your body, mind, and heart.