Remembering To Be Proud of What I Can Do, Not Ashamed of What I Can’t

by Aaron Einhorn
In the words of Baymax, I am not fast.

I’m closer to 40 than I am to 30, and I spent most of my life not exercising and eating like crap. I’ve been paying at least some attention to my physical fitness for about the last ten years, but kids and jobs and life and a lifetime of bad habits have kept me from ever being serious about it, although I’m getting better.

I enjoy running (mostly), and I’ve been doing it with some regularity for almost five years now. I enjoy the benefits of running. And I feel a lot of pride when I look at medals from past races and can think to myself “Yeah, I did that.”

But I am not fast.

I do run/walk intervals, and on a good day, I can keep a 10 min/mile pace for a 5K, or an 11 min/mile for a 10K. My only Half-Marathon to date I did at just over a 13 min/mile, although I’m shooting for a 12 min/mile or less for Cap City in a little less than a month.

This puts me in the back half of the pack, although still fairly close to the middle at most races I’ve done. Which upsets me. I don’t mind being in the middle, but I’d love to be on the other side of the bell curve.

And yeah, I’m super competitive. Mostly with myself, but also with people I know, and probably 80% of the people I know who run can do so faster and farther.

Which always makes me nervous about doing big events. Because I know that on those courses where we do a loop, I’m going to get lapped. I know that while on the back half of the course, I’ll see people going home already with their shiny medals around their neck, and I still have miles and miles to go. And I know I’ll never be one of those people.

But then I see posts like this one, and it makes me feel a little better, and resolve to lace up my shoes and do another couple of miles.

Besides, I’ve got two kids who I’m trying to set an example for. Mira has run her first mile race, and is ready for her first 5K, and Cordy isn’t far behind. How can I let them down? How can I tell them “Be proud of what you did, and as long as you tried your best, know that your mother and I will always be proud of you too,” when I’m beating myself up because I ran a 10K in 1:10:48 instead of the 1:06:00 I was aiming for? I need to be better about accepting myself – for them.

This little girl is my inspiration. Ignore the make-up - her mermaid makeover from the day before hadn't quite washed away yet.

This little girl is my inspiration. Ignore the make-up – her mermaid makeover from the day before hadn’t quite washed away yet.