Perspective: I have it. And need to remember it.

I’d still like to run a 6-minute mile someday.
Just one.

If you follow a lot of other runners online – through their blogs, Twitter, Daily Mile, etc – it’s easy to start feeling like you’re really slow. You think, sure, I ran a half marathon, but gee look at my time … it’s really not all that impressive. I couldn’t even run a 5K at the pace some of them run a marathon. And just like me, they also hold down full-time jobs (that do not include running professionally).

However. I need to talk to more non-runners more often.

Some of my co-workers knew I was running a race last weekend, so when I came in on Monday, they asked me about it. I said the race went really well – great weather, great course, good course support, etc. They asked how many miles it was (11.5) and how long it took me to finish (1:58). One of them asked what they was per mile – “like 6 minutes?” I had to smile. Even when I told them it was more like 10 and a half, they were still impressed. Just the fact that I ran for two hours straight was a big deal to someone who never runs.

As much as I love following other runners, especially faster ones (so I can learn from and be inspired by them), it’s good to check in with the rest of the world once in awhile and realize even if I’m not the fastest, or even anywhere near the fastest in my age group, I’m still impressing someone.

AND, what is even more fun is when I see other friends start running – especially when they mention that I have inspired them to do so. Honestly, that makes me feel so awesome. Almost as awesome as a PR or placing in my age group at a race. Who cares how fast or slow I am – just the fact that I’ve helped to inspire someone else to pick up such a healthy habit, one that can help them physically and mentally, is so great. That’s what really matters. Not how well I do – I’m not getting paid for this, and I never will – but what I get out of it. And if others can get something out of it too, well that’s just fantastic.

However, friends, I’ll tell you right now, if you tell me you’re going to pick up running, or do a couch to 5K program, I will keep hounding you and bugging you and reminding you until the day comes that we do a 5K together. And then I’m going to bug you again to do another one.

Because I’m a runner now, and dammit, I want to be one forever. I heard a great running quote somewhere (online of course) – “You don’t stop running because you got old, you got old because you stopped running.” 

I’m visiting my ultra-marathoner best friend in Boston later this month, and we’re running a half together. At first, we weren’t sure if we would – we had picked a half to do, but by the time we went to sign-up, it was sold out. I suggested perhaps doing a shorter race – a 5K or 5 miler. She replied with something along the lines of “let’s do a half now – when are you going to be ready to run another half marathon again?”

I told her that I hope to be ready to run a half pretty much every day for the rest of my life (or at the very least be a short training plan away from ready). This “being a runner” thing isn’t just an item on my bucket list, and now that I’ve checked it off, I’m moving on. This feels too good, too inspiring to stop. Plus … well for the first time in five years, I’m actually liking the way my body looks again.

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