Yesterday I woke up with a groan – I’ve committed myself to running every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this summer. Most days I’m excited about it, I’ve actually been enjoying the low-key runs I’ve been completing. I’ve tried hard not to exert too much pressure on myself, just get out there and run. For some reason I woke up yesterday and just did not want to run.
I’ve never been what you call a speedy runner. In middle school I joined the track team and quickly was assigned the mile. I would never be a sprinter, but I could hold a pace pretty easily. Then I ran about eight and a half minute miles – a time I found slow, but I’d love to be able to run now. I enjoyed running, but was more attracted to the social nature of practice than really caring what my times were.
As an adult I’ve often turned to running to get in shape. I love the peace of going out by myself, the ease of equipment needed. I like that no one is relying on me, I am out there for myself. And yet, I’ve found myself growing frustrated. My pace is much slower than it was twenty-five years ago. When I ran a 5K in town a few weeks ago my time was around 47 minutes. Granted, the majority was walked, but I had students who were at the race that could have finished it twice in the time I completed it once.
So I’ve committed myself to running once again. Three times a week I find myself lacing up the shoes and heading out the door. While my time hasn’t improved enough to win any races, it has improved each week. Why wasn’t that enough?
I realized, upon finally getting out the door today, that I was tired of being slow. I didn’t like always being at the back of the pack. It is frustrating to run with friends at races that have done little to no training, but can easily lap me. My attitude was pretty poor as I jogged out of my driveway today – as you can see here.
And as I moved up my street and across to the next neighborhood, I realized that I’ve had plenty of students like this over the past few years – students who are tired for being noticed for their slow reading, who practice and practice but their fluency is always at an “easy” pace. I’ve had many conversations with them, saying I’m not concerned with speed, I’m more concerned if they are enjoying the text, understanding it, and actually reading each day. Several of these students have more of a laid back personality; they will never be speed-readers. I encourage them to embrace their speed and find joy in reading.
Let’s just say that was a bit of a realization as I turned the corner to head home. I need to enjoy my runs for what they are: time on my own, peace and quiet (other than my music), and something I’m doing just for me. In the four weeks since I started committing myself to running again, I haven’t missed a run. It’s time to ease up on myself and remember the reason I’m doing this. Life is a journey, and I intend to enjoy every bit of it.
Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers