I come from an era when everyone had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness Test twice a year in PE. Remember that?! I hated and dreaded it! I was always last in the run part of the test, and at those crucial times in a child’s life, it can be humiliating. My last year of PE was when I was in the 11th grade and I signed up for the weight class because I hated everything else… volleyball, softball, basketball. I am not a natural-born athlete. But I discovered I could lift weights. And I could do aerobics and Jazzercise. One of my grades in weights was figuring out an aerobics routine and teaching it to the class (yes, this was in the middle of the aerobics boom). I nailed it, and the coach even told me that I was good at it. I was chuffed. But I digress…
Even in weight class, we had to do that stupid physical fitness test, you know, the one with the running. I couldn’t even make it around the track once without walking half of it. I was tired of being humiliated, so I worked all year long on trying to get around that track without having to stop and walk, and I worked on trying to speed up. I did this after school or whenever I could get to the track to practice. By the end of the year when the test came, I made it around the track without walking. I was still last, but I made it around that stupid track. I considered the run a success.
Fast forward to now. I’m closer to 50 than 40, and I am a runner. I’m also in my 2nd year of racing. And I go out and give it my all. And I am not fast… although I am faster than I was last year. And that’s so very encouraging and positive. I see progress. And I’ve just begun.
I read other blogs of newbie runners, too. A lot of newbies (including me) struggle with how slow they run. Sometimes it even discourages them… “Why do this? I’m not going to get any better. It’s never going to get any easier. I’m so slow.” I want to tell you that you will get better, it will get easier, and you will get faster. You just have to have patience and put in the effort if you really want to become a faster runner. Sometimes it’s discouraging to be slow, I know, but keep at it. Your pace will come down, and with it, you will become more fit, or vice-versa. Running has brought me a sense of good will, good health, empowerment, control, a major sense of accomplishment. And I think it’s all worth it. You will too.