If you run, you are a runner

Running past my friend Jan during the 2013 Rock n Roll Pasadena 1/2 Marathon

Running past my friend Jan during the 2013 Rock n Roll Pasadena 1/2 Marathon

I am not a speedy runner. In fact, I’m solidly in the back of the middle of the pack with a 10-10:30 average mile.  Later in races I find I am often averaging a 12 minute mile in the last third of the race. I’ve had very flat courses that I’ve finished in 2:28 and I’ve had very hilly courses that I cursed the whole way and took me nearly 3 hours to finish.

I beat myself up about my lack of speed quite often. Do I come out of the gate too fast? Am I not pacing myself properly? This is what I seek to learn. I need to find my perfect pace and stick to it.  One of my best friends is closing in on a sub 2 hour half marathon. She trains with a relentless dedication that I admire and want to emulate.

I’m consistently inconsistent at best. Look at my list of races. I’m ALWAYS running. In between races though I have issues with distance. Sure I’ll go out and do a quick 3-4-5 miles 2-4 times a week. But those longer runs elude me.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like a runner because I am slow. But I AM! If you run, you are a runner. 7 minute miles or 14 minute miles – if you are moving forward you are, as the saying goes, still lapping everyone who doesn’t have the guts to get out there and try.

I’m working with a running group and coach this year. I have to get better, get faster, improve. I am a very competitive gal and it can be hard to be a runner in a world of people who compare finish times with gusto and bravado. “I ran a 1:57 half! How’d you do?”  It makes me want to hang my head. Why am I not as fast as these people? I’m tall, but thin. I have long legs and narrow hips. I have a great, supportive sports bra! The girls don’t move! I should be able to be speedier than I am.

I have to remember the only person I am competing with is myself.  Some races will be good. Some will be bad. All will be memorable. I’m running a half marathon on Saturday with a (healing) twisted ankle and a lingering cold.  I don’t expect to be fast.  But I will finish.

I will always finish. Even if I have to crawl across that finish line.

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