This might not be necessary, but given what I've read on other blogs and how I feel about what I've read, I wanted to have this here.
For runners, time is a fickle lady. We race to hit a certain time. We train to hit certain times based on the workout. We compare our times to friends, strangers, and our favorite professional athletes. We rejoice when we meet or exceed a desired time. We sulk when we don’t. We might even sulk when we see that our fancy new PR pales in comparison to what a friend did in the same race at her “recovery pace.” Time might even convince that we are a “good” or “bad” runner. Even worse, that we are a “good” or “bad” person.
And this is where the disclaimer comes in. I’ll come right out and say that I am guilty of everything I mentioned above. Comparing, valuing, and devaluing. All of it. Never more so than these past 6-8 months as I've been injured and unable to get proper treatment. I look at my PRs, gathering dust and thinking that athlete is gone. Races ask for a current time in order to assign your corral and I am clueless.
This is something that I am working hard on. I am really trying to treat each workout individually and stick to the prescribed timing based on my current ability. Not the ability I used to have or wish I had. I try not to think about what my friends on Daily Mile or Garmin Connect when they see my latest update. And because my friends rock, I know they aren’t thinking any of the disparaging things I project them saying in my head.
I think that the most difficult aspect of fully embracing this “my race my pace” mentality derives from the social nature of running. Runners, especially female runners, rely on each other for support in so many ways. But as we tend to do in other arenas, we easily sink into the comparison trap. We mentally compare training loads, weekly mileage, race times, training times, and so much more.
I've been blessed to be a part of a group of women who actively work to rise above that (I’m looking at you, Team Tough Chik). I know they have made me a better runner and a better running friend. So, long story short, here is my disclaimer:
My times on this blog are mine. They are a reflection of my current level of fitness and/or the amount of effort I put into each workout (which is not always 100%, or even close). If I categorize something as slow or fast, I am speaking only as it compares to me, my ability, and what I hope to extract from this body. It is NOT a passive-aggressive value judgment on any reader, friend, or stranger. I may bemoan a particular run as crap but if you just knocked out that same run at the same or slower pace and that was KICKASS for you, then ROCK ON. Seriously, that is awesome. If you smashed that workout fast than me, KUDOS. Don’t be afraid to own that too. A mile is a mile is a mile and we should all be grateful that we get to go out and log them. So please, do your best to refrain from comments comparing me to you, you to me, me to Kara Goucher (aside from our obvious abs resemblance), et cetera.
I’m just here to share my running experience and I hope to learn from yours.
Run with a grateful heart. Thank you.