So, I ran in this race this summer. It was only a 5K, but it was at a much higher altitude than I live at, and it was kind of…killer. Yeah, I ended up running it faster than last year, but it’s still dang slow.
Tonight I finally checked the results (five months later). There were 116 women in my age bracket, and I came in at #61. Considering my running history, that’s scary-good.
However, since then I’ve kept running, 15 miles a week, and I’m telling you: I’m getting slower. Much slower. Today, when the song on my Mp3 player changed to Level 42’s “Something About You,” and I sped up, that was a telltale sign that I am moving at a slow, slow pace. Yesterday, I saw this lady, probably age 70, who usually walks with a shiny walking stick every morning, and we ended up on the same route. I passed her, barely, and then went around the corner (she is walking, mind you) and we met on the far side. I was roughly 20 paces ahead of her. She’s not a speed walker.
I don’t know. Does it matter if I’m slow? I can’t decide. Part of me thinks I should push myself. Speed up. Take it to the next level.
Another part of me says, this is the only consistent exercise I’ve done in my whole entire life. I’ve been running for about 18 months. This is a long time for me. Some people just love to exercise or play sports or whatever. I love to lounge and read books and be completely sedentary. Running is something I dread–and only do almost out of superstition. Like, if I miss a day in my schedule, I might stop and never start again.
So, then I say to myself, I don’t want to make myself hate it even more than I already do by pushing myself to run faster. Or risk an injury or something. Or give myself shin splints. (I can think of a dozen possible negative consequences to fast running, all of them at least as bad as looking ridiculous.)
For now I’m giving myself a bye. I’m going to tell myself to keep things as Aesop’s tortoise would have them. Be. The. Tortoise. I’m not sure there’s even a race I’m entered in, other than the one race against the calorie intake. So, take that, race organizers at high altitude. Don’t expect me to come in in the top half of my age group. Just know what a stinking miracle it is that I plod through the streets at all. Cheer that we don’t have to call the ambulance. Rejoice in the slowness and steadiness of the race.