Competing With Myself
For someone who was totally and I mean totally, not sporty for a long time, for about two years, I got really sucked in to running and races. If it hadn’t been for corona virus and lockdown, I probably still would be. Instead, I took the opportunity to slow down and I lost my momentum.
It’s funny, because when I look at it and try to analyse it, I see that I use running as another marker of how worthy I am. It seems everything, even the things I enjoy are twisted by my ability to use them as a measure. It’s annoying, and I don’t always see it, but looking in from the outside, I can.
With running, it crept up slowly. First I could just run for one minute, but then as I improved, the goal posts changed. Soon, two miles wasn’t enough for an evening run, and then it had to be three, but that had to be fast, and I was disappointed in myself anytime I took over thirty minutes for it, even if it was hilly. I compared myself against people who were younger, faster or had been running for longer than me and I felt so annoyed when I couldn’t keep up. Soon the 5k became 10k and then half marathons. While I was proud of my efforts, I’d never thought I could run over 13 miles, instead I was annoyed I couldn’t do it faster, so I did more and more.
Running almost became a chore, something I had to do to maintain, rather than enjoy and over lockdown I took the opportunity for a rest. The thing is, as I went out less and less it became harder and I couldn’t measure up to where I had been.
I’m almost afraid to run now because I know it won’t be pretty. I know it won’t be fast and when my watch uploads my data to Strava I know I’ll be disappointed. I’m also feeling embarrassed about my time and worried that I won’t measure up to other runners I know. I know I shouldn’t be, that I should be proud I’ve got out, but it’s so hard and so much easier not to. It seems like such an effort and I don’t know if I can be bothered.
The cancellation of most of my races this year has been good. It means I have no pressure, but it also means my incentive is not currently there. Rather than seeing it as motivation that I have another half marathon in October, I’m just seeing it as a mountain I can’t and don’t particularly want to climb. It’s quite annoying as I was enjoying it.
I’m beginning to wonder if running was just a passing phase? Maybe it’s done it’s job. It certainly created a runner in my son Barn, and that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started running, and dragged him into it kicking and screaming. So maybe that’s the reason for it all? I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’m going to push myself either. I don’t want to end up resenting something that I loved. It’s hard isn’t it?
Take care and thanks as always for reading.