I am an introvert. I do not like being in a group, socializing with strangers, and the thought of running with strange people for fun makes me sweaty. But racing is different, because I am competing against the clock and pushing my own limits. It is afterward that the self doubt and negative thoughts start to creep in.
I do have a handful of people (3) that I have run with in the past and it went okay, but it is mostly awkward. I am a new-ish runner, still working on my running identity. I have run distances from 5K to half marathons and have particpated in dozens of races in the last 2 1/2 years. Before that time I had not run more than a lap around a field hockey field. And I do not run fast.
Since I began running, I have a few friends who have been inspired to take up or go back to running again and I have a whole new appreciation for the effort it takes to just get out there with running shoes and move your legs to cover any distance at any speed.
I still find myself, however, feeling inferior or somehow lacking when running friends who are younger and/ or more experienced share their training and racing pace with me. I know I should not compare myself to them, yet I do. When I look at my own accomplishments I am in awe of myself and proud. When I try to stack myself up against others, I feel old and slow.
The thing is there will always be someone faster. Or someone who runs longer distances. Or someone who is a few steps ahead of you. Always. And you’ll never be happy or satisfied with your effort, even if you have given it 100%, because it didn’t measure up to someone else’s finish time.- via @nycmama
Here’s my advice:
- speed and effort are relative
- Every time you lace up and get out there is a new expereince-learn from it and move forward
- be proud of your accomplishments, but be careful about sharing speed, pacing, race results and distances accomplished unless someone asks for specifics
- If someone shares the specifics of their accomplishments or struggles with you, be gracious, supportive, and encouraging; remember, it is relative.