Today I made a few changes to my blog, which led to some personal revelations about who I am as a runner.
I updated the header. The old one included a picture of me running this past summer. With the cold weather here, I couldn’t look at myself in a tank top without without feeling cold, ha ha! Instead I used a general Pittsburgh photo my husband took.
I added more navigation. There are now tabs for recipes, workout clothes reviews, and my greyhound (though I realize I will probably be the only person who clicks on the greyhound tab.)
I edited my About Me page. This is the most significant.
I changed this text:
I’m a back-of-the-pack runner trying to get to the middle of the pack. I know I’ll never be fast, but I’d like to improve.
I always used to introduce myself as being a slow runner, but recently I’ve learned the importance of positive thinking. If I say I’ll never be fast, I won’t. The fact is that I’ve improved a lot since fall 2013, when I started to get serious about running. I want to keep improving while at the same time being proud of my successes and recognizing that I’m on my own journey and shouldn’t compare myself to others.
My last 5K where I got my sub-30 PR was a big turning point for me. Not only was it about achieving a long-time goal, but it was also an a-ha moment: I’m not in the back of the pack.
But since then I’ve realized something greater: It doesn’t matter. Thinking of my position in the pack and my age group ranking is a form of comparison. It’s good to show my progress over time, but we all know that a mile is a mile, no matter how fast or how slow we run it. Speed and pace are almost irrelevant. It’s effort that matters.
My husband, who hates running but is naturally able to run fast, and I both ran a one-mile race this past summer. He finished in 6:30 and I finished in 8:12. Comparing how we felt afterward, we both put in the same effort, to the point that we were both coughing for the entire night and even days after because our throats hurt so bad from running so fast. Our paces were completely different, but our effort was the same.
So while I need to pay attention to pace as a way to measure how I’m improving, I’m going to focus instead on effort. And I’m no longer going to introduce myself as a slow runner. Instead, I’ll say this: Hi, I’m Jennifer. I’m a runner.