I try so hard. I do all the right things. I eat well, keep my weight in check, I do speedwork, cross-training, and strength work, I am faithful to train consistently, so why am I still at the back of the pack? It’s maddening. I think I have read every book written about form, and still, I’m doing good to break a 10 minute mile, and that’s just for one mile.
It’s awfully humbling.
Conventional wisdom states that if you do all the right things that success will be yours. But conventional wisdom isn’t perfect. I guess there’s an exception to every rule, and with running, I’m it.
That leaves me considering where to go from here. Do I just be slow? Do I keep up the speedwork in hopes that some day something clicks? Do I buy every new book in hopes that there’s some kind of combination of breathing, form, and nutrition that I haven’t tried and that some day, somehow I will have that angel choir sing the hallelujah chorus over me as I breakthrough to the other side and become some kind of bodacious speed queen?
I guess my answer would depend on the day.
I think I have resigned myself to running for the love of running, for my health, just to be a runner, but that longing doesn’t remain dormant any length of time. All I have to do is go to a race, and feel sheepish as my husband is already cooled down and stretched before I reach the finish. Or perchance to jog the neighborhood and pass that guy pushing his daughter in the stroller, and feel like maybe if I can keep up the solid work long enough, that will be a regular occurance some day.
I don’t want to resign myself or rationalize, but I don’t want to hang every last hope that some day I might actually qualify for Boston, which right now only sounds absurd, even though the very thought of it make my heart pitter patter.
The thing is, I will continue to do the right things whether so doing yields desired fruits or not. Because doing it right matters, and is good, even if it doesn’t direct my path exactly as I desire. I guess that means I will be uncomfortable, hoping for something beyond my reach, while being content in my skin. I don’t think that discomfort is a bad thing. It means I’m not settling. Ever.
But I think I will leave the Garmin behind a bit more often, and enjoy running just for the sake of running, with no worries about distance, time, speed, or any other manner of measurement. There is joy in that freedom, and I am in the business of joy.
But if I may, I implore you, the one to whom speed comes naturally, the ones who plunge ahead as gazelles with grace and momentum enjoy it for me. Soak it up, delight in it, drink it in. Don’t ever take it for granted. Some of us would give up a toe to run a mile in your shoes.