Friday, September 21, 2012

Faster is not Better

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.  

Yes, for elites, faster means better.   For those of us who are recreational runners, who do this for fun and for the love of it, than I'm going to say that No, faster does not mean better.  It's hard for me to say that. It's taken a lot of soul searching for me to be at peace with that.

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.

In a recent conversation about this, where I was still thinking faster is better, Husband made some very good points.  He said that yes, others are faster than me.  However, he feels I'm a better runner because I just ran for 9 months while pregnant. I never stopped.  How many people do that?  I also got right back out there after I had R and started running again even though I had a lot of pain.  I signed up for 2 big races while in my 9th month, races that I knew I would have to train for while trying to deal with an infant and a post-baby body.  He said that most people don't do this.  Those people that I think are better?  They didn't do that. 

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.

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