As I was looking ahead to the Philadelphia Marathon weekend with AMR, I decided to register for one of the races. I was in shape to do a half, but decided instead on the 8k. It’s a distance I enjoy and one where I generally perform pretty well. I hit the registration button, and then had a small tinge of guilt. I was “only” running an 8k.
Then I caught myself with that language. One of my pet peeves is hearing runners say “I’m only running the half. I’m only running a 10k. It’s only a 5k.” You get the idea. Minimizing the effort and after, the accomplishment.
To my mind, this is language we should all ban. Yet we repeatedly fall into this trap. Telling ourselves that because the distance is shorter, the course “easier,” or the speed slower, our completion isn’t as worthy. That we somehow have to strive for a longer distance or a hillier course or some crazy combination of back-to-back races for it to matter.
How silly is that? Very. Think back to when you first began and how far you’ve come. Remember when simply running a mile was an achievement? Or how about the first time you completed a race of any distance? It felt like a victory, and it was.
We live in a culture of more is better and we’re often caught up in the trap of believing that we’re not giving our all if we aren’t perpetually striving for that next rung on the ladder. I call bullshit on that.
Here’s the thing: if you are a mom and you’re training for a race of any distance, that’s enough. That’s a win regardless. You sacrifice your free time, your family time, and plenty of hours of sleep to get out there and get that training in. You’re out there in the rain, the snow, the cold and the heat. Or you’re digging deep and getting it done indoors on the dreadmill. It’s not easy, no matter how long the race you’re prepping to run.
If you never run longer than a 5k or a 10k, you’re still way ahead of the game. You still should be proud of the commitment you make to training and then crossing that finish line.
I’m willing to bet that you’d never tell another BAMR or friend “Oh, you only ran a (fill in the blank distance)?” So why would you say that to yourself? Instead, you’d congratulate your friend and sincerely mean it.
Treat yourself as you would others. Hold your head up, pat yourself on the back, and wear your medal proudly. Don’t let your monkey brain defeat you and make you feel like whatever distance you just completed wasn’t significant.
It was, and your time and effort matter.
Goodbye to the word “just.”