I’m going to start off and say that yes, I know that a watch is real and that if you cross the line at 1:25 you are faster than someone who crosses at 1:35. I know that is an undeniable truth. However, when talking about running “fast” it can really just be an idea.
I’m talking to every runner out there, even if you’re going half a mile and walking and then running again and then walking. You are a runner. I’ve seen a couple of people exclaim, “just because I’m not fast, doesn’t mean I’m not a runner!” and you’re right! Who has the audacity to judge who you are? Who is judging how “fast” you are?
In a community where there are all different levels of running, and all different levels of success, “fast” truly is relative.
Think about it. We’re all slower than the World Record holder of any event; only one person can be #1. This is something I have to remind myself of when I get into to comparing game and get discouraged about not being faster. I have to ask myself, what are my goals? Why does it matter if a person has a better time than you in a race you haven’t run? Are you planning on running in the Olympics? What matters to you when it comes to running?
For me, I want to get faster, I have long term goals and short term goals that are related to time. But the overarching goal is to always have fun and enjoy the sport. I’ve been running for so many years and have met many of my best friends through running. We all share a love for this sport where we put one foot in front of the other and take to open roads and trails.
I may finish behind some of these friends and others I may be in front of, but it never matters because at the end of the day we all ran our own races. Good or bad (judged only by ourselves), we have something to share and bond over brunch, beers and mimosas.
It is a gift to be able to run. There are many people out there who can’t fathom being able to run a mile, maybe because they’ve lost a limb, or they have debilitating pain they’re fighting against, or mentally they just cannot wrap their heads around it. So just being able to lace up and head out the door, or jump on the treadmill is a feat in and of itself, and something that runners should pat themselves on the back for. It should also be enjoyed. Because really what is the point, fast or slow, if you don’t love what you’re doing?