Do you have anything unrealistic that you aspire to be or do? I know I do all the time. I tend to think I can do so much more than is realistically human to do.
I know I wrote a few weeks ago about my journey with running and how ultimately you have to run your way and your style. You can read that blog post here: A few thoughts on running. Initially, this post may seem to contradict that post but stick with me to see how the two are connected.
A few weeks ago as I was running my 10k, it was a straight out and straight back course, the elite runners were coming back as I was running out. I saw them. I looked at them with awe. I will never be one of them, nor do I ever want to be one of them. The thing that I realized while running my race is that they look like those pictures of runners on the cover of magazines and books. They have that really great looking stride.
Before the race, I spent more time than I care to admit thinking about my running form and what I look like as a runner. I even went so far as to ask Mr. T to come to see me while I was out on one of my runs (he was going out anyway….cause that makes me feel better about admitting I did this). I wanted him to see me run and see if I look like one of these runners –
Do I look like the pictures of runners I see on the covers of running books and running magazines? Do I have that stride? Am I that high in the air? Do I ever actually have both feet off the ground?
Well of course he disappointed me by being honest and telling me I don’t look like them. He also told me I didn’t look like an old lady runner either(meaning I’m not shuffling along), well there is that…gee thanks, honey. For a while, I tried to think of how to ‘look’ like a ‘real’ runner like the beautiful runner pictured above. See I thought that is what I was supposed to look like.
I think the truth about a lot of us is that we do this comparing thing to our own detriment. One of my friends and I were talking about this. She admitted that she does this too. She has recently started exercising a lot more. For her, it is her arms. What do my arms look like? If I move them just like this, then they look like the picture in the magazine or this actress. Asking her husband to assess her arms and what they look like. Doing specific exercises to work on her arms or maybe not moving them certain ways so they don’t look ‘bad.’ I didn’t mention to her that my arms are already doing that floppy thing at the bottom when I make certain moves…you know what I mean, right? Anyway, the point is that we both were compared to what we SEE out there in books, magazines, etc. The thing is that we are comparing to something that isn’t realistic for us. Whether it is me comparing my running stride to elite runners or her comparing her arms to a model or someone who has a personal trainer they hire just to keep their arms looking like that. It isn’t something that the average woman/person should ever aspire to be.
My 10k taught me so much and in those moments at the race while watching those amazing athletes, I realized they have that look I had been aspiring to have myself.
In those moments I also, probably, more importantly, realized I will never have that stride/look and I am able to let that go and enjoy my stride and my look. It is completely unrealistic for me to strive for that look as I am not now nor will I ever be an elite athlete. Now I run with my stride and my look. It is my look and just the way I am meant to run.
I hope you find your stride and can be comfortable with it, too!