Deep down, I think we all want to be fast runners. We want the PRs. We strive to knock seconds off of our average pace time. We want the sub-enter your time here half-marathon/marathon/10K/etc.
But what does it really mean to be fast?
In the traditional sense of the term I am not a fast runner. My average pace has never dropped below a 10-minute mile and I still use a 10:1 run:walk ratio when I run races. I won’t be placing in my age-group any time soon, and the Olympic trials? Yeah right.
But when I hit a new personal best for a distance I’ve run many times before I always use the word *fast* to describe it. Too often I also add *for me* at the end.
On Saturday, I set out to run my usual 3 miles along the river trail. I didn’t have any specific goal in mind other than I wanted to log some miles before the SeaWheeze that is fast-approaching. But before I even left my street I knew I wanted to see how hard I could push myself for the next 3 miles.
And push myself I did.
I ended up running my fastest 3-miles (5K) to date with an average pace of 10:17.
Now, like I said above, a 10:17 pace may be considered slow to some (most?) people but for me and my current abilities as a runner that is pretty darn fast. I even dipped into 8-minute mile territory for a few strides. I felt strong. I felt confident. I felt fast.
Because I was fast.
My point here is to remind those of us that are slower than the rest that running fast is all relative.
It’s relative to what you ran last week, last month, and even last year.
It is relative to your own abilities.
It has nothing to do with what someone else is doing.
I read and admire some pretty fast bloggers and in the past I would compare myself to them. I would wonder why I couldn’t run like they could and as a result I would brush aside my own accomplishments as a runner. But I’m not them. Maybe someday I will reach their level but for now I need to focus on the improvements I am making personally.
It is so easy to get discouraged when we compare ourselves to something we are not. The only person you need to compare yourself to is your former self. It is, and always will be, you versus you.
And guess what?
This weekend, I ran a fast 3-miles.