I was driving down the main road that leads me from our new house to the city for class yesterday…windows and sunroof open, sweatshirt on, leaves flying all around me on a windy day, 64º and sunny, some John Mayer playing…and I have to say, it was pretty glorious.
Actually, it was really glorious. This is my kind of weather.
I’d hear the sounds of all the crisp leaves that were falling to the ground crunch under my tires as I drove over them, and I would instantly see images of my feet hitting the ground.
Fall is made for running. (Or is running made for fall? Either way.)
I love the dry, fresh air. Everything seems so much clearer…cleaner. I love the foliage here in SW Virginia. There’s nothing like it.
When I got to the stoplight, I checked my email, and I saw a comment regarding my last post where I’d mentioned I’d finally gotten back up to three miles. I’ve been fighting obscenely tight calves and hips/glutes, and I’ve been worrying, far more than I care to admit, that I might not bet cut out for this after all. (Maybe I should disable commenting today…I fear y’all might smack me around for that one.)
Anyways, back to the comment. It was a nice comment. A lift-you-up-and-keep-rockin’ kind of comment. You know…the kind for which this community is known.
You know what I did, though?
I cringed!? Why? Who does that?
…I can almost guarantee every single one of us has done it…
It’s a case of I’m my own biggest critic.
Most of us worry about what others think about our running…whether we’re fast enough, run long enough, or whether we even look like a runner. When we’ve had a setback, we’re so worried about getting back in there and hitting that pavement and seeing those higher miles again. God forbid we just relax and listen to our bodies and let things happen.
We focus on being the best…on getting that PR…on reaching that high every. single. time.
95% of the time, we’re greeted with comrades that will cheer us on, pump us up, and give us virtual ass slaps. Well, even some physical ass slaps…but for me they’re all virtual. Haha.
Yet, on the inside, we’re constantly critical of ourselves.
I realized this yesterday, because the day that I had run, I wanted to just give up. I’m not ready. I’m not strong enough. There’s no way I can get to half distance by November 18th.
And then I remembered something. Something I’m still working on.
So I busted through those three miles, stretching my calves halfway through, and I felt amazing afterward. I’m heading in the right direction.
The next day is when I got that comment. Several of them, actually…and while I should (which I am now) have been grateful for them, just as I always have been, I whined inside.
“Ohhhhhh, a measly three miles…big freaking deal! You should be running much farther than that.”
I’m so sorry. I went there. (I think I might leave commenting enabled. I’m ready for it. Haha.)
First of all, who am I? Where did that “big measly three miles” come from? What am I? An elite ultramarathoner or something? Guess I missed being crowned that one to be able call three miles measly. I am just me. Two steps forward, one step back sometimes. Injuries and/or setbacks happen. Three miles is NOT NOT NOT something to scoff at. I couldn’t run a freaking half a mile two and a half years ago. So why am I behaving like this?
It’s not because I’m a run-snob.
It’s because I’m often times way too hard on myself. I can write post after post about stealing the glory out of someone’s run and still, in the back of my mind, question myself as a runner. I’m stealing my own glory.
But why am I being such an asshole to myself? Really. Why? I’m not sure.
I asked my nutrition professor about what she’d consider to be my physical activity number for an assignment we’ve got coming up, explaining to her what my normal daily routine is and how much I run and how often. (She’s a well-seasoned marathoner, by the way. *swoon* I love her class.) She asked about what kind of mileage I’m seeing during the week before my long run. As soon as I went to say “only three”, she said, “Three, right?”
See. Three is something. Three miles is three miles. That’s 15840 feet.
That’s 15840 feet that a lot of people can’t run…whether yet or at all.
I’m instantly brought back to reality.
It’s all about perspective. It’s about remembering where you started. It’s about remembering that you, too, are a runner, just like everyone else and that you deserve your own support, too.
I’m going to leave this post at that but asking you to do one thing:
No more worrying about what other runners think of your pace or your distance…take a few minutes to think about the last time you scoffed at an accomplishment (even little) because you’re too critical of yourself. Lift yourself up. Remember those very first steps…and look back at that newbie and pat him or her on the back. You deserve it.
This isn’t about anyone else but you.