fitness,  musings

celebrate, don’t self-hate

RoseRunner‘s race & speed workout times definitely qualify her as hardcore in my book, and I love her irreverent humor and willingness to speak her mind.  This blog post gives a refreshing perspective on racing in makeup, overnight relays, and runner holiday gift guides.

This item about self-cutdown talk by runners resonated with me.

4) Qualifying Your Internet Running Opinion by Noting You are a Slow Runner.
I am cool with talking about how slow you are relative to YOU. Like hey, I was faster before my injury, or hey, I feel way slower than normal lately.

But one very common comment I get on this blog is one that starts out with “I’m nowhere near as fast as you, but….”

No qualification necessary! Unless the comment prompt is, “can you be my speed workout partner?” I guarantee that your speed does not matter to a discussion about running. For example, a discussion about a specific race, a pair of shoes, a brand of running fuel, etc., etc., is enhanced by runners of all experience and speed.

And I get it, I do – if I’m in a virtual room with KrisLaw, I’m probably thinking “she’s way outta my league, I have nothing valuable to add to this conversation…” But there is nothing to be gained by setting yourself apart by pointing out you are “slower.” We all put in the time and miles. It’s the same club. [emphasis mine]

This is not a brag about how some people who comment on this blog are slower than me. A ton are faster than me too. They don’t write “I could never hang with you because I am way faster, but…”

Just let’s all try and avoid this blogger compliment/self cut-down talk!”

Thank you RoseRunner for not perpetuating the idea that *real* runners belong to some exclusive club defined by some arbitrary pace standard!

I started running in spring 1995 when my friend Caroline convinced me to join the TJHSST spring track team. A complete neophyte, I ran in cotton t-shirts and in Naturalizer sneakers with a Swatch to time myself on loops that I’d used my blue Buick Regal to measure. I recorded my mileage and times in a blue spiral notebook and was proud when I saw improvements in my distance and pace. As a teenager, I probably was worried about what everyone thought of me, but it was more “OMG is everyone staring at the zit on my forehead?” not “OMG people will judge me for being slow!” In any case, nobody *could* judge me because all that data stayed in the blue spiral notebook, not displayed on DailyMile, MapMyRun, or RunKeeper.

Back in the ’90’s, we carried quarters in our socks in case we had to make a phone call, not smartphones for Instagram selfies or Facebook posts of our Garmin displays. Though we can track our data more accurately with running apps & social media than with paper running logs, the ease of sharing this data brings an attitude shift in how we treat our own running. It’s easy to compliment others and congratulate them for race times through comments on blogs or Facebook or DailyMile, but It seems de rigueur to qualify our own posts if we are sharing about a race that isn’t up to what we perceive as fast enough. In a world where even the ridiculously-in shape singer Gwen Stefani called herself chunky, it seems like we have to achieve a supermodel-equivalent standard for race pace in order to be able to publicly be proud of it.

I like the idea of assessing pace relative to one’s typical pace, not against some standard. I recently ran a Super Bowl Sunday 5K in 26:44 (8:37 pace). I was proud that I was able to run close to the same pace I had when I was primarily running (vs. doing barre, spin, and Pilates) and after having been sick with the flu. For me, that’s good. For someone who normally runs a 20:00 5K (6:26 pace), that’s not so good. It wouldn’t make sense for me to hold myself up to that 20:00 5K standard because then I’d be perennially unhappy.

If we put in 5 miles a week or 50 miles a week, we’re still runners. Celebrate, don’t self-hate!

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