I have this problem, you see. I think that if somebody runs faster it means they are a better runner than I am. Now, yes, because with running you only win if you are faster, it would be true that a better runner is a faster runner. However I think perhaps there is more to it.
I run with a lot of people who are faster than I am. Ok, let's be honest, I am the slowest one. This used to not bother me. I knew that if I could keep up it would make me faster and better. However then when I was pregnant and had to run slower because of my heart rate I was told that I was too slow and therefore not good enough to run with. I've mentioned this before. It really messed me up in terms of how I view myself as a runner. I felt that I wasn't good, that they were all better than I was.
For those of us who are not elite athletes I think there are other qualities that make some runners better than others. Yes, I'll still say that pace can play a factor. I'll see somebody running super fast and still think they are a heck of a runner. However I think somebody can be faster than me but not be a better runner.
I think there are other qualities that make some runners better than others. Determination. Dedication. Strength. Friendliness. Just to name a few.
How do I compare to others? You know, some that I would consider better than me earlier this year I know consider myself better than. I have the dedication. Yes, life gets in the way and I can't always get in a workout, but I make it work. If I can't get in a run than a lot of times I'll do some form of strength training at night after the baby is in bed. Depending on what I've been doing I might embrace the unplanned rest day. I have strength. I am very strong. I do cross-training, I lift weights, I bike (stationary right now), and I run. I try to make sure I'm strong all-around and not just my running muscles. I am determined. I will get upset about things but I don't let it hold me back. I try to constantly improve. I'm understanding and supportive. I have no problems slowing my pace and running with others who aren't as fast as me. I would much rather support them and run with them than to be selfish and leave them behind. I think these other qualities make me a better runner than some of the faster runners in this world.
He's right. Not just about me. I know several ladies online who are running/working out through pregnancy. Who are running/working out post-baby. They are all better runners than a lot of fast runners. Because they have soo many other obstacles. They have so much more to deal with, yet they are out there. I just need to remember that I'm one of them. When I sit there talking about how awesome these ladies are and how great of runners they are, I need to remember that I'm one of them.
I'm never going to be an elite. I will however strive to be the best runner I can be. If that means being slower than others I know, that's ok. I now know that deep down, they aren't better than me. They are just faster than me. And that's ok.