Monday, May 6, 2013
"But I'm not a serious marathoner."
I don't have any natural, God-given talent for running, and so I do have to work pretty hard at it in order to finish the one or two marathons that I sign up for every year. And while I do work hard, I occasionally miss training runs, stay up later than I should, and don't always fuel myself properly. I'm a few pounds over my ideal running weight, which probably slows me down, but I just can't bring myself to skip dessert in the name of shaving those few minutes off my finish times. I'm currently pretty focused on qualifying to run the Boston Marathon, so I'm paying more attention to my training paces and race times than I ever did before, and honestly it doesn't sit well with me. It's not who I am, but I know that it's the only way I'm going to achieve that goal. Training for a "BQ" (a Boston-qualifying finish time) has made me a more serious runner than I've ever been, but truthfully I'm about as un-intense as a runner can be, and still technically be a marathoner.
But what I am beginning to appreciate is how little that matters. To people who don't run, the distinction between a serious marathoner and someone like me is meaningless. I caught myself saying to someone recently that yes I am currently training for my fifteenth marathon, "but I'm not a serious marathoner." As soon as I said it, I realized how silly it sounded. At a dinner party Saturday night, my husband told one of our hosts that I'd run twenty miles that morning, and her jaw dropped. "Today? You did that today?" My instinct was to explain that while yes, I had in fact run twenty miles that morning, "it was slow," or "I had to walk a little bit," or find some other way to communicate: "Don't be too impressed. I'm not a very good runner." But I stopped myself. She thought that sounded pretty awesome, and you know what? She is right. What distance runners do on a regular basis - whether we're "good" at it or not - is pretty amazing. We set lofty goals, work through the struggle, and eventually we finish. I'm hereby committing to stop trying to lower other people's expectations of me in this way, and instead to embrace the awesome.