“I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I am a runner because I say I am. And no one can tell me I’m not.”
Now that I have a few years of (fairly) consistent running under my belt, I can tell you definitively: I am not a good or fast runner, and I rarely enjoy it.
Truthfully, running wouldn’t interest me except for what it does for my fitness and health. To me, running is the equivalent of chopping vegetables: I’m not in it for the experience; I’m looking forward to the meal.
This has remained true despite formal and informal training. With practice and help, running has gotten easier in some ways, but it’s never easy.
Most runs are tolerable. Some are tough. A few are downright grueling.
But lately when I come in from a neighborhood run, I feel frustrated with myself. I go out into the wild outdoors and bust my butt, yet I come home dripping sweat and somehow disappointed.
Why? This year, I set the goal to run a 5k in 30 minutes, and I’m learning how hard it may be to achieve it. It’s particularly poignant when I come in from runs with 12 and 13 minute splits (or more).
I think my frustration comes from a few sources. First, I’m nearing my big race of the season–this is when I’m supposed to be at my top shape! But I’m finding what I can bring to the starting line is humbler than I expected. Second, I’ve been working on this for a few months now and I thought I would see bigger results at this point.
And also, I’m the kind of person who gets caught up in achieving a goal, sometimes despite myself. I’ll set a goal because it’s better than having none at all, and then I’ll get wrapped up in needing to achieve it.
The truth is that it would serve me better as a person (and a runner) to let go of more of my ego and gain a lot more perspective.