Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You're a Runner. Be Proud!

Photo from Active at Altitude

As a runner, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of the big picture. We're constantly chasing something: a new PR, qualifying for a big race such as Boston, trying to move up to a longer race like a marathon or a ultra. Always trying to grab the next gold ring.

I'm guilty of it as well. I mean, I love to talk about my own running exploits, but if I'm talking about other runners, it's usually someone like Max King, or Kara Goucher, or Shalane Flanagan. The NW runners that have made it big. Like most "average" runners, I like to look at the elites and think, "Wow, what would it be like to run that fast? How would it feel to hit the tape first?"

Well, back up for a moment. Take a look at what you've accomplished. Yes, you. Not the elite runners in the magazines, but you. And me. The normal runners out there.

Around 13 million of us finished a road race of some distance in 2010. Yes, 13 million. Are you thinking, "why should I be proud to be one of 13 million?" Well, remember that there are over 310,000,000 people living in the United States. And only 13 million ran a race last year. You're one of the 4% of Americans that ran a race. Be proud!

You're out there training. Daily? Maybe. Weekly? Definitely. Are you in shape? I'm guessing you're in better shape than most. Almost 70% of Americans are overweight and/or obese. Yes, 70 freaking percent! You're out there running, biking, swimming, doing whatever you can to be the other 30%. Be proud!

So you didn't get a PR at your last race? So what? Did you finish? Did you beat someone? My daughter did her first 5k last week on Thanksgiving day. She didn't break any age-group records. But she was out there running. And she finished in front of quite a few people. And she's nine years old. Nine. Be proud!

Ignore the individual trees once in a while. Step back and check out the whole forest. It's beautiful. You're a runner; maybe not elite on the clock, but definitely elite in a bunch of other ways.

Be proud.

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