There are two types of runners, gazelles and dump trucks. We both get there, one just looks prettier crossing the finish line.–me
I have never been what one would call a graceful runner. Even in elementary and high school I was always the last kick picked for any sort of running type sport. I can still hear the taunts and the names being shouted at me.
Many moons ago I was in the U.S. Navy. Running and physical training (PT) are required. I always struggled with pacing. Finishing was never a problem, it was always the pacing I had trouble with. I always crossed the finish line in many different shades of pink to red to purple based on how my breathing was.
Knowing that my career was on the line I asked one of the senior petty officers in the office to run with me during the PT test to help keep me on track. He was kind enough to agree (considering that his normal pace was way faster than mine and his legs probably have an extra 8 inches on mine he should have been deemed a saint).
This particular race course was near the beach in San Diego. It didn’t matter what direction you ran in you were always running into the wind. ALWAYS. Being asthmatic I struggle with my breathing anyway. If the wind blew too hard in my face it took what little breath I had away. My entire mental capacity goes to breathing not to pacing. Hence my request for help. Fisher stood with me at the finish line and said, “don’t worry, you’ve got this.”
The proctor counted down and then we were off. As we rounded the second corner I caught in my sights the pretty petite “Barbie doll” of the command. She had sprinted off the start line like a rabbit. I had just kept my pace since the start line, just putting one foot in front of the other. Not faster not slower, just a metronomic pace thanks to Fisher. I have no idea what he spoke to me about, but I do remember that he was telling me stories and keeping me distracted. We started gaining ground on her and then we passed her. As we kept pulling further and further away from her I remember he said to me, “see I told you you had this.” I just putting one foot in front of the other. That particular PT test I landed my best time ever (which still wasn’t super fast compared to others in the command, but it allowed me to pass with an “excellent”).
What does that particular day, that particular run, stick in my mind? It was only a mile and a half. It didn’t have any crazy elevation changes. That race in that day taught me an exceptionally valuable lesson. Just keep your own pace, run your own race, and you will cross the finish line. Yes, I will admit that kicking the skinny “Barbie’s” butt had it’s own sense of satisfaction.
This leads me to where I am right now. I’m running for me. Not for the military. Not for my career. Not out of wanting to escape a bad marriage. For the first time in my life I’m running for me. I may not be fast, but as that run with Fisher so many moons ago taught me, it’s not about being fast it’s about completing. For with completion comes a sense of accomplishment. I may be fat. I may be an asthmatic. I may be a girl. I may not be a competitor, but I will be a completer.