Embracing the Runners We Are Today

Dear runner,

You do objectively amazing things. Maybe you run fast. Maybe you run far. Maybe you run up and down mountains or through country sides or along beaches. Maybe, in your words, you “just” run, or even jog. But you do so many incredible things that other people won’t even attempt.

And yet, so often, all you can see is the flaw, the failure, the loss, the diminishment.

You’re out there kicking ass. 

You’re showing the world strength, commitment, perseverance, resilience, might, and grace.

I hope one day, not too far from now, you can see it too.

I’m regularly struck by how a runner cranking out miles, blazing past me, will diminish what they are doing or how they are performing. Or as I move past a fellow racer, I’ll sometimes hear a conciliatory comment about their pace. Or after a group run, the last one in will apologize for being “so slow” or “sucking”.

I recognize that I am not immune to it either. I’ve done the same far more times than I care to admit.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. But I do have one now:

Stop apologizing for how I run.

Recognizing factors that may be affecting me on a given day—such as sleep, hydration, or illness—can be a valuable reflection. It can help me understand what’s working (or not) and what I can do to set myself up for better days.

But I’m going to (try to) stop apologizing to others around me because I’m running slower or shorter distance than they are or than I think I should be or normally would be. I will strive this year to stop atoning to my partner and to myself for how I’m feeling and moving any given day.

Because here’s the thing about running: Lacing up and stepping out the door is an accomplishment, whether I—or you—go a block, a mile, or a marathon, and no matter how long it takes us.

I want to stop diminishing what I do—and unintentionally what others do—when I say, “Sorry I’m so slow” or “Oh I can only do <x> miles.”

We are out there, putting in the time and effort, to move our bodies through this world. And that alone is an awesome and beautiful thing.


Parts of this post are adapted from a reflection written during a running retreat and from a recent Twitter thread I posted on @RunningBoundary.