Monday, May 21, 2012

How Slow Pokes Can Get Ahead Even When Falling Behind

With Girl Power Hour's Fit & Fab(ulous!) Panel & Networking Event this Thursday, May 24th, I know that a lot of us GPH-ers have taken some much needed inventory of our diet and exercise habits and tried to change some of them for the better. We all deserve to give ourselves some credit while we get through these last few days with transformed minds and bodies.

One area that I have really been focusing on during GPH's Fit and Fab(ulous!) challenge is running. After running in the Belleuve 10K/5K Run a few weeks ago, I have come to a startling realization: I used to be a runner.

Becoming a mommy almost 2 years ago changed the runner inside of me. While I was never one of those CamelBak clad, fancy sweat-wicking sports bra, barefoot-running-shoe types, I used to hit the ground running--fast. Nowadays, I tend to  feel as if I am running atop some kind of concrete honey compound. So I decided that this Fit and Fab(ulous!) challenge would be the time to overcome my underwhelming strides.
However, what I truly learned about myself as a runner came when my husband and I ran together for the first time in ages.

At first, we fell into an easy stride side-by-side. For a moment, it reminded me of our leisurely pre-son-runs during breezy spring days. But on this day it wasn't too long until I began to feel a stitch in my side, and a familiar you-are-so-out-of-shape burn in my lungs.

My husband kept on trucking like a sprite little teenager, and I began to feel my lower half sag (much like my son's book, The Saggy Baggy Elephant). My shoulders began to creep up like strings on a Marionette- as if to physically will myself in forward motion. I was hoping that I was just being hard on myself and that he wouldn't notice, but it didn't take long until he slowed his pace to match my pathetic attempt at a "walking-run". Then he lowered the boom on me- "You're slow today."

Now, to be fair. It was an honest assessment. But, I am an extremely competitive person and in the past this type of comment would have spurred me on to dashing ahead of him, sprinting to the finish and laughing as he doubled his time to catch up. But this new slow-poke-of-a-person I had become? She stopped running, put her hands on her hips, and waved him on with an angry and defeated flip of the hand.

My husband slowed his pace and ran the rest of the mileage in line with me- much to my chagrin.
As the run neared its end, we sped (ok, maybe we schlepped) through a neighborhood lined with Apple Blossom trees. Amidst the burst of pink, there was one tree that stood out.

Half of it was abloom in bright pink buds and the other half was fleeced with white blossoms. I later discovered that when the trees were planted, the arborist has grafted the wrong limb onto the tree. Even though it was half it's old self and half it's new self, it still looked beautiful and more unique than any other tree on the block. Under the shade of that duplicitous tree, I decided that its OK to be in the middle of blending my old self with this new version of me.

As I have been trying to increase my speed and get more running in for the GPH fitness challenge, I have come to realize that even though my immediate response to these new inadequacies of mine is frustration, the ultimate discovery is that initial weaknesses can become our biggest strengths. So, while I may be a little slow these days, I finally have the perfect pace to really enjoy what I used to speed right by.

xoxo, Megan