Running insecurities

I may be the only one who feels this way but I’m going to throw it out there anyway – when I run with other people, I feel like the worst runner in the pack. When I run by myself, I just listen to my body and do whatever feels good. No one is there to look at their watch and notice how slow I’m going, no one is there running two steps ahead of me trying to check their pace when they’d rather run faster. Ironically, I often run faster when I’m by myself too – maybe because I’m not constantly checking my pace and stressing.

Now – my good friends don’t mind running my pace. I’m not THAT much slower than them. Unless they are training for a key race, my pace is quite conversational and even enjoyable. But I still have this nagging voice in the back of my head that I’m slowing them down. Because 9 times out of 10 – they are running whatever pace my body can handle that day. In other words, if you run with me – I’m dictating the pace and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Last week I committed myself to a 10 mile race at the end of this month that’s labeled “challenging” and “hilly.” That pace-nag in my head? She’s in overdrive right now. I’m running a trail race when I’ve really only done one trail race in my life, so I’m nervous. I’m running hills and I only gave myself three weeks to do some sort of hill training. I’m meeting up with some fairly new running friends and we’re planning to go out to breakfast afterwards (yum!) but I’m stuck here with this little voice nagging me that they’re going to hate waiting on me. (And they will be waiting on me.) I even pulled up last year’s results for this race to see if I would be last (the answer: I shouldn’t be but I’ll be in the bottom third for certain).

Putting myself out there on my own is one thing. Putting myself out there with other people… well that’s when the pace-nag pops up and asks what the hell I was thinking. I’ve read through my race reports recently to remind myself of how far I’ve come. I am a determined runner and I know I’m up for this challenge. But knowing still isn’t enough to silence the voice.

Part of me is so excited to have a new challenge and to meet up with new friends for a fun Saturday morning. Because I really think the whole thing will be fun – hard – but fun.

The rest of me can’t stop listening to that voice. That voice that reminds me of my non-athletic stride and slow pace. I’ll see the people at the front of the pack on race day and feel like they’re rolling their eyes that someone like me even bothers to toe the line.

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12 thoughts on “Running insecurities

  1. While I understand your feelings, I wish I could somehow get through to you on this issue. Having you as a running partner makes me love running. Without you, I guarantee I wouldn’t run as frequently or as happily. You motivate a lot of people through your consistency and your determination. You run WAY farther than me but (maybe I’m completely selfish) I never think “If I wasn’t here, they’d be running WAY farther today. I’m totally holding them back.” Part of being a friend and a good running partner is accepting that each person brings something different to the group and, because of that, the group is stronger.

  2. I used to run with a group of ladies that consistently ran faster than me. I would continually apologize that I was holding them back. THEY never made me feel like I was holding them back. I did it to myself. I eventually stopped running with these ladies because of my insecurities. I regret that. Don’t let that voice in your head play games with you. If your friends didn’t want to run your pace, they wouldn’t invite you.

    The race day is going to be just fine. If these friends actually do run that much faster than you, they will delight in the fact they can be at the finish line cheering you on.

    All runners know that running is such a mental sport. Use that head of yours to live in the moment, not worry about some else’s moment.

    Good luck with the trail race!

  3. You see my running log…you know what my “normal” pace is. And the funny thing, is that I still feel that insecurity. I almost always run alone, these days, but part of what has kept me from doing more races is that I don’t feel “fast.” I was once fast, now I am just a runner. It is all about perspective, right?

    And, at the same time, I can’t tell you how many times, when I am out running, I hesitate to pass someone, because I don’t want them to feel bad about their effort. It is the same reason, I sometimes pause before I post my own running logs. Because, every one who is out there running is doing the very best that they can on any given day. And it is the effort and the motivation to get out there and be your very best that should be celebrated. It is not your time, or your pace that makes you a winner, it is putting one step in front of another and working hard at what you do.

    So, shall we celebrate with some breakfast? 🙂

    1. It is about perspective – mine is just skewed right now. I definitely want to celebrate each one of our accomplishments with breakfast. And I’ll take Lyndsay’s advice and accompany you to the bathroom 😉

  4. I saw your tweets last night with E and S talking about where to go for breakfast. And I wished I could be part of it. And I wish more often that I choose to admit how much I miss running. After my ankle surgeries, it’s not even anatomically possible, and some days I miss it so much.(This wasn’t meant to be a ‘just be happy you can run’ comment, though I realize it’s sounding like it.) The three of you inspire me daily with your committment to running. I’ve never stopped to think about who can run further or faster, I’m just so impressed by all of you getting out there day after day.
    I don’t think they’ll mind waiting. And I’m sure breakfast will be awesome. (Just don’t let S go to the bathroom alone.)

    1. Thank you. I wish you could be here to cheer us on. I would love the chance to meet you someday. I’ll raise my glass to you at breakfast and keep my eye on S. 😉

  5. Tell that insecurity to shove it. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have you running this race, too. I am terrified of the hills. I don’t have a lot of hills by me–unlike your neighborhood, mine is mostly flat. Hills kill me and I don’t think I’ll have a lot of time to do hill training since this was such a last minute decision for me. I also don’t do trail runs, so you are already a step ahead of me on that. So what my inner insecure voice is telling me is that you are going to be the one waiting on me–see how that works? The bottom line is this: we are going to have a great time at a great pace and Sarah won’t have to wait around for us, because she’ll be waiting to accept some kind of award with all the training she’s been doing, so it’ll all work out. And then? We’ll go have mimosas.

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