Run Your Own Damn Race


On vacation this week, I had a memory of time past.  It is something simple that took me years to figure out but NOW that I got it, I know I am never going back.  

I don't want to run with you.

There I said it.  I hated running with my husband, or anyone else for that matter.  I liked the idea of being a lone wolf, and when I was expected or asked to run with others, I loathed it.  

I loathed it, yet I always put on a happy face and did it anyway.  And I always looked at other people doing it and just didn't get it.  How was that fun?  Yet, I longed to do it.  First, it killed two birds with one stone.  As a mom, you don't get a whole lot of workout and date time with your husband or workout and friend time so to get both of those at once just seems like an ideal multi-task.  And I did like the companionship of someone being with you.  Running with a partner seemed very easy for just about anyone else, so why couldn't I do it?

My problem was that I kept setting my cadence and pace to someone else.  My husband is like a jackrabbit, he gets all jazzed about running and starts off like a hare, running the first few miles at an almost sprint and then getting tired and slowing way down.  I am more like the tortoise and believe a steady cadence and pace actually gives you a better time in the end.  And for my races, I have seen I am way faster on the back end than when I start.  I like the slow build, not a fast burn off.  My two besties are great runners with long strides and long legs.  They are just naturally faster out of the gate and never slow down, they are former track stars, first place finishers, running even with major leg injury kinda gals.  I spent more time in the pool than on land when they were developing muscle memory for running and am short with a shorter stride.  Trying to keep up with any one of these situations was frustrating and made me feel off my game.

For years I would try to match their pace, try to keep up or in the case of my husband, sprint and then slow way down when I was just starting to feel my stride.  It was exhausting.  Then I had a life epiphany...JUST RUN YOUR OWN DAMN RACE.

What if instead of trying to keep up, slow down, match stride, keep cadence with them, I just decided to run my best for me, no matter what? 

Seems soooooo simple. However, my desire to become something or someone who morphed into the perfect running partner for someone else took way more precedent over me getting a good run in.  So much so that it began to cause anxiety.  What if my husband asked me to go for a run with him?  Or my friends and I went on vacation and wanted to take a run together?  What would I say...I would start formulating excuses as soon as I got up in the morning so I could just go by myself later.

Which seems ludicrous.  It was after all just a run.  A run that no one else meant to be stressful, quite the contrary.  

However, how many times in our lives do we try to conform to how we think we need to do things or be things instead of just worrying about running our own damn race?  Think my silly running problem is silly?  Ever stood in front of a closet and wondered what to wear because of who was going to be there instead of what would make you feel like you?  Yup, almost everyone has done it at some time...and the problem is that when we don't run our own damn race, we are never going to feel like ourselves and therefore not ever completely happy with our lives because when we set our sights on someone's ideas or goals or abilities, we create unattainable situations.   

And it takes a trained, mindful eye to spot that you are doing it, especially if you tend to be a person pleaser.  Taking care of others is compassionate; however, changing who you are or what you do and then trying to meet their goals instead of your own is damaging to everyone involved.  It teaches everyone to lose synchronicity with who they are.

So, when I took a hot, mindful minute to access why I hated running with anyone else I discovered that it wasn't with others, it was that I had to stand in my own truth and run my own race the way that was best for me, even if that meant opening my mouth before a run and stating my intention for the run to the people I am running beside.   Just because I changed how I did things, I did not expect anyone else to change how they did things or conform to how I was going to run.  That also would have created an issue.  We all just needed to be on the same page with our intentions.  I also realized that by mindful stating my intention it freed me to relax and realize that my intentions may change from run to run, but the race is always still my own.  Like, when I run with my children.  I intend to run with compassion and gratitude and love of running, maybe not getting my exercise in for the day or train for my next PR.  This way I don't feel frustrated or disconnected from the people I am running with.

This year on vacation, my husband and I ran together often.  He still runs like a crazy jackrabbit out of the box, but I no longer feel the need to try to keep up with his frantic energy...and we are both ok with that.  I do my thing, and he does his and about halfway through the run we fall into synch with our pace and cadence naturally because I am no longer trying to match his and he isn't trying to match mine and yet when I let go of trying to keep up, it all fell into place.

Crazy how letting go actually lets everything fall right into place.  Set your intentions and run your own damn race.  We will all be better for it.



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