I did not hydrate well. I did not train. I did not purchase running gear; instead, I showed up in spanx and a pair of you-can-buy-fake-Nike-sneakers-in-China-for-only-five-bucks sneakers. To top it all off, less than 24 hours before race time, Mother Nature was like, “Yo Angela, your uterus has something to say to you.”
(Here is what my uterus had to say to me: “Haha, you’re a woman, fuck you”)
And so I did what any girl would do:
I finished the entire 12K!
I even ran the entire 12K!
I will say there is the possibility that, come tomorrow morning, I find myself incapable of separating my body from my bed. That is okay. In fact, that is why I’m posting this now. Coworkers: if I don’t clock in tomorrow, probably arrange to send in a stretcher or a wheelbarrow or something before I turn into a human vegetable.
The point of this post is not that I’m a good runner.
The point of this post is that I’m a terrible runner.
I return to my mantra: “If I can do it, so can you.” For a majority of my pre-collegiate years, I ran a 10-minute mile and once mistook a single flight of stairs for a P90X workout. A couple months ago, I joined a kickboxing class at my school. A couple weeks ago, I started jogging about a mile a day. And then, a couple days ago, I signed up for my FIRST. EVER. LONGER-THAN-ONE-STATE-GOVERNMENT-MANDATED-HIGH-SCHOOL-PHYSICAL-EDUCATION-TIMED-MILE. RACE. Because my goal was to beat my comfort zone, not to beat a certain time, I didn’t train or gear up. I just showed up. And it wasn’t any harder than that.
Possibly more painful.
But not hard.
The race began in Sausalito, needled through the Golden Gate Bridge, and concluded in Aquatic Park. I started in the fourth wave because I submitted my planned pace as Choice D, “I have no idea” (i.e., there is a chance it will take me 6 hours + an Uber ride to arrive at the finish line). I smashed my earbuds into my earholes and took off at the speed of a large watermelon struggling over the crest of a small hill.
In front of me: runners. Slow and fast. Sprinters and walkers.
Behind me: runners. Slow and fast. Sprinters and walkers.
Sometimes I passed people. Other times, people passed me.
During the first mile, whenever I got passed, I felt the urge to quicken my pace to catch up. The feeling intensified when my friends jogged ahead and soon disappeared over the horizon. On the flip side, during a steeper segment, I noticed everyone else slowing to a walk. Again, I felt the urge to do the same.
I gave my brain a good pinch each time. If I didn’t keep the pace that fit ME, I wouldn’t finish the race on MY standards. My pace: watermelon. My standards: no walking allowed.
THIS IS A METAPHOR!
It is a metaphor for how our lives should work.
First of all, we strive for success. And what is success? Beating ourselves. Competing against the people we were two seconds ago, one day ago, five months, a year.
(If you take issue with this statement, please reconsider your life choices.)
(If you still take issue with this statement, please leave a comment explaining why I should reconsider my life choices.)
That’s the part where you sign up for the 12K. Hell, that’s the part where you show up at the starting point in a pair of you-can-buy-fake-Nike-sneakers-in-China-for-only-five-bucks sneakers. Sure, some people strive for success in lululemon sports bras, while others only get nipple pads and some duct tape. Our endowments vary. The fact that we exist on the planet does not.
Here’s where the pace comes in. It’s simple: some people will run faster and harder than you. Others will run slower and softer. (And softer. Heh.) But what matters to you? YOUR STANDARDS. And what’s going to get you there? YOUR PACE.
You must do YOUR thing, or else you won’t achieve YOUR result.
So many people either push themselves too hard or let themselves slack off, simply because they’ve allowed themselves to fall in step with Everyone Else.
Have faith in your own pace. That’s what’ll carry you to the finish line. That’s how you make it to success.
Fun fact: my goal for this summer is to Kung-Fu-Panda-kick my comfort zone into the nether. I’ve already gotten a tattoo (two, actually), backpacked through Europe, run a 12k, and . . . I’ll be skydiving on Sunday.
Stay tuned for more metaphors. Or don’t.
Either way, if I die next weekend, please start an internet campaign to make my blog go viral. My vengeful ghost will be watching. Thanks.