runner

There are all kinds of different runners out there.

Treadmill runners. I don’t understand them but they are out there.

Trail runners. Going uphill on purpose for some reason.

Speed runners. You know the type. Naturally fast. Bemoaning how slow their sub 4 minute kms are.

Slow runners. Oh here I am! Slow, but get the job done.

Distance runners. Oh sure, I’ll just head off and run 6 ultra marathons back to back in 6 days. For funsies.

You know that quote from Kurt Cobain – wishing you were someone else is a waste of the person you are?

Well wishing you were a different kind of runner is a waste of the runner you are.

I might look at other runners, people who started running around the same time as I did and wonder why they are so much faster than me. Now some of it comes down to dedication to training, sure. But mostly it’s because they are fast. And they will always be faster than me. I could get disappointed with that, or I could embrace it.
You know who I’m a whole heap faster than? Me, a year ago. Or six months ago or two weeks ago.

But in the course of accepting that I am a slow runner I’ve found that I’m not too shabby in the distance stakes. Now maybe that’s because my mantra has always been that nothing matters except distance. If you can’t run it, you can walk it. Maybe that has taken hold in my subconscious somewhere.

So every time I go for a run I am aiming for sub 6 minute kms because that’s my next speed goal. Most of the time I fall short of that, but I am getting closer to it every time. Eventually I will get there. Slowly. But what I can do is turn around and say sure, I’ll run 30kms, which is close to 10kms longer than the vast majority of my runs. And it’s slow, but it’s natural. Sure the last 6kms were hard, but not that hard. For some reason I find it so much easier to push through the part of my brain that says you can’t run that far than the part of my brain that says you can’t run that fast.

And now I don’t spend much time worrying about how not fast I am. I’m too busy enjoying being the runner that I am.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Zoey Dowling

    So much to love here Zoey. There is so much to be satisfied with where we are at right now.

    • Zoey Dowling

      So true. And we all need reminding from time to time. I know I do!

  2. It's funny how you read something and it's just what you need to read. I have been running for just under 12 months. It's taken me that long to get comfortable with 5km (when I started I could barely run 1 minute straight). So now I can run 5km and I'm out there on Wednesday morning and a woman is in front of me, and she's getting further and further in front, and I got really miserable. Had to shake myself that I wasn't about how fast she could run... Acceptance. Here I am.

    • Zoey Dowling

      And I think for me the difference is also that yes, before I started properly running I used to run for weight loss occasionally just as an easy way of exercising but I never really liked it that much. Now I get to love it.

  3. This is so true. I really needed to read this and it certainly struck a cord with me. I've ran 4 marathons now since started running 2 years ago. Although I love doing them, have told very few people my finishing times as I feel that people get caught up in how fast your are not what you've accomplished and how far you've come. Thank you for your inspirational post and I look forward to reading more. Kim

    • Wow 4! which ones have you run? I've only done the Perth M and the Perth city to surf, both last year and this year - would love to hear of how you went with them.

    • Zoey Dowling

      Amazing Kimberly! A friend of mine ran the New York Marathon this year in 6 hours and I'm kind of more impressed with that than someone who can do it in 3.

    • Zoey Dowling

      And it was just as true on Sunday when I came pretty close to last in a half marathon. I didn't enjoy it any less and it didn't take anything away from how I felt about it!

  4. Needed to read this too. We must not compare. <3