“Sorry I’m so slow.”
“I don’t know if you want to go with me, I’m slow.”
“Just a warning, I might slow down.”
Like an ear worm of a song you hate, I’ve been uttering these phrases over and over since moving to Colorado and taking up trail running.
Which is why I needed to explain the mantra I’ve been sharing recently, that helped me remember why I run and what truly matters.
The “I’m too slow” or “They’re too fast” logic kept me from running with some great friends over the years. I worried that it would ruin their run or I’d feel compelled to keep up, which would lead to huffing puffing and eventually begging to walk.
In other words, utter embarrassment and the undoing of finally calling myself a “real runner“.
I began to realize that I never shied away from running with friends who were a bit slower, I just changed the goal of the run. I enjoyed the company and if they wanted me to push them a bit to improve their pace, that was great too. Turning the tables, I realized that most runners feel the same way.
Having many years of running under my belt certainly helped me feel more confident as well, which is why when little negative voices started to taunt me recently I was unprepared. Suddenly all my years of road running meant nothing. Those miles built my endurance, but trail running in the mountains at altitude is a whole different sheebang.
I needed more leg power, more lung power and more technical skills. My shins needed to get stronger, my ankles more stable and my confidence high enough that I stopped anticipating flying off the edge.
It’s not just a catchy little Instagram hashtag, I truly believe it and embrace it.
Every step matters.
Whether you’re telling yourself that your too slow, too old, too fat or too anything else to be a runner, it’s a lie. You’ve created a scenario in your mind, that simply isn’t true and it’s time to change the way you talk to yourself.
The fact that you’re trying and showed up matters more than the pace on your watch ever will. The pace on your watch didn’t teach you how to overcome hard things or how to connect to those around you. Lacing up and getting out the door is where the lessons lie.
And I for one am going to enjoy the fact that I can, regardless of the pace.Tired of feeling like you're too slow? Learn to embrace your run #forwardisapace Click To Tweet
If you’re dying to run with others, but still worried checkout this post about overcoming your fears of a running group.
Beyond the Run
What really matters to me is how these beliefs transcend running. It’s about all the times we limit ourselves.
- I’m too old to start a new career.
- I’m too fat to wear a smoking hot red dress.
- I’m too young to have that title.
- I’m too old to run.
- I’m too fat to go to the beach.
- I’m too…too…too
Then again maybe this does all come back to running. It’s a community where everyone is welcome.
Did you watch the NYC marathon earlier this month? Every age, gender, body type and ethnicity put one foot in front of the other and moved themselves 26.2 miles. No disrespect to Tatyana who put hand over hand! Which is even more to the point, it didn’t matter how they got there!Everyone did it side by side.
Same agony at mile 25 of finding yet another hill, same thrill coming off the bridge to the roar of a crowd that feels like it’s just for you, same long mile to get through the finishers chute and proudly post your medal selfie.
There wasn’t a separate finish based on time, age, weight or anything else.
No one looked around and said, you aren’t a runner. They looked around and thought “damn, I’m part of a pretty spectacular community.”I don’t know what it is about running, but I’ve seen it create confidence across all barriers.
It’s what kept me going and why I stand up and preach it all day long.
Right now I’m a beginner again and there is nothing wrong with my speed!
Even if I wasn’t a beginner, my speed is just fine because that’s not what defines me as a runner. What defines me is showing up on the easy days, the hard days and all of the one’s in between because I choose to. Eventually, I’ll get some legs and lungs back, but in the mean time I’m done apologizing for being me.
Many of you had great thoughts on getting over the “too slow” barrier, so please chime in! I want everyone to have the confidence and pleasure of running for themselves and joining others if they want to.
Think Out Loud with me
Why do we care so much about pace?
Do you ever feel “too slow”?
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