pace yourself

Tonight I went running with a friend ten years my junior.
I asked her how far she was running and when she said only about 1.5 or 2 miles, I teased her that I could go at least twice that far. And to just let me know when she needed to stop.

I have been running pretty regularly for the last few weeks. It isn’t long but keep increasing my time and distance. I’ve stopped getting blisters. I don’t suck wind after five minutes anymore and I was feeling pretty good about myself. Thinking I might even be able to out run this girl who was so much younger and obviously in more shape than me.

As we started to jog I told her that I run pretty slow. Like my husband used to walk beside me while I ran, slow. And she slowed her gait a little bit for me but it was still faster than I usually go. I was a little embarrassed and was not going to ask her to slow down again. So I just ran at her pace. I stayed close. And was fading fast.
A little over a mile in I was ready to quit.
Again, pride, which isn’t usually one of my better qualities, kept me going even though I couldn’t breathe well enough to carry on a conversation. I told her if she wanted to chat she could only ask yes or no questions.
I kept up. I struggled. And eventually my side started to cramp.

Thankfully, about this time she was asking me if I was ready to quit.
I lied and told her no.
She asked again, hinting that maybe she was.
And so, out of pure consideration for her, of course, I stopped and we walked the rest of the way back to her house.

I was frustrated at my bad run. That I only went a few miles rather than my usual three or four. And those were a struggle.
That I was trying so hard just to keep up.
Because, I was running her race. Not mine.
I quickly grew weary. And quit.

Which is exactly what I do when I try following the wrong person.
When I try to keep my house neat like my neighbors. I usually quit before finishing one room.
When I try to stay on top of lesson plans and grading papers and having my copies ready, like the type A personalities next to me. I quit and let the papers pile up on my desk.
When I try to look like my friends. I quit when I can’t get my hair to do what I want.
When I try to balance everything so seamlessly. I overbook and eventually quit. Order pizza and sit on the couch.

Essentially, following every body else and keeping up is hard work.
Instead I need to remember just to slow down. To keep my own pace. And that really there is only one person I need to worry about following.
And when I do, I can go so much further.

Bigger Picture Moment
This post is part of bigger picture blogs..........and attempt to find the bigger picture in our crazy week and look for faith along the way. Check out some of the other posts Maegan's blog.


Corinne said...

It's so hard to remember that... but recognizing it is a start :)
I love how you wrote this... I can see myself doing that exact same thing with running - which is why I like to exercise alone :)
Thanks for linking up - I really appreciate how you're consistently supportive of the link up!

Laanykidsmom said...

This was so what I needed to read. My son just played at a friend's house where the boy has a cutomized golf cart to tool around in. How can I keep up with that? I can't, and I loved how you described running your own race, your own pace. So beautifully put!

Brooke said...

I find myself keeping others pace alot...thank you for the reminder that I it's not as hard to follwo my own. Keep on running!!!

Anonymous said...

My goodness, what a great post. What an important lesson! Actually a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. Thank you. I really, really enjoyed this. I'm the type who likes to keep up too, and it exhausts me. Mostly because when I'm keeping up, like you say, I'm not being me. This is the perfect bigger picture post!

Young Mom said...

Yes! I struggle with not being me too. I've joked with my hubby that I need a book called "how to do what you want to do", because I don't know how! :)

Maegan Beishline said...

I love this post! Oh how often I find myself trying so hard to keep up in someone else's race! I, too, need to remember that the only that matters is following my own beat and staying in my own race. Thanks for this!

Alanna said...

Today I wrote a note and stuck it my wall above my desk. It says, "Be kind to yourself. SuperWoman is not a paid position." To say the least, your post resonated with me. Very well put. Good stuff.

Alita- Da Mainiacs said...

Oh my, this so resonated with me. My girlfriend and I started running at the beginning of the summer and although I've gotten my stride the first couple weeks... hurt.

Hurt my pride, hurt my muscles, hurt my ego.

We ALL have to run at our own pace literally and figuratively. Thanks for sharing! (!!!) It deserved more than one exclamation point ;)

Kate! said...

Hi there! I found your blog through the Bigger Picture and just wanted to say that I can't agree more! It's so easy to get caught up in what we "should be" rather than letting ourselves be what we are. Thank you.

Margie said...

GREAT post, Michelle.

Amber said...

Like many others, I can relate very well to this!

Comparing myself to others is a daily occurrence. I'm not pretty enough, smart enough, clean enough, or whatever enough. In reality, though, I am good enough. I am the perfect mom for my kids, perfect wife for my husband, and the perfect me.

What a beautiful post.

Hyacynth said...

You touch on something near to my heart with this post because for a very long time I was always trying to keep up with someone or follow someone else's lead. And it was exhausting and frustrating, just like your run.
Awesome bigger picture moment. What a grand realization.

Tatiana said...

Hi, finally got around to checking out your blog, and I'm so glad I did! What a great post! I'm always trying to keep up with other people and this was such a great reminder to just slooow down and be me.

Thank you!

Stacia said...

I hate to run with other people. I like running so much because it's me keeping up with me, me challenging me. Running is my "selfish time," and it makes me more generous with the rest of my time. So glad you're getting out there and just going ... It does wonders for the soul, doesn't it?