Do you measure up? Who cares?

Comparison

It used to happen back in the day. Picture lining up in the neighborhood as team captains choose up teams for kickball, Red Rover, dodge ball, baseball, capture the flag or (insert your favorite team game here). If you are too young and haven’t had this experience, let me tell you, it was nerve-wracking. I was always the shortest and slightest person lining up. I can tell you I was never chosen first, and lots of times I was chosen last.

"I pick......you!"

Standing there amongst my neighbors and friends, I couldn’t help but compare myself. Who wouldn’t?  I mean, we were all standing in a loose knot, waiting for Bobby and Sally to choose the most promising athletes first. It was only obvious to everyone there that they were sizing all of us up. Who is the fastest? Who is the strongest? Who knows the game the best? OOOOOOOMG!!! It was enough to make you forget that you were supposed to be having fun.

The good news is that I no longer have to line up in front of Bobby and Sally. The bad news is that I sometimes pose as my own Bobby and Sally. Before you get the straight jacket, you should read a little more. I will work myself into a tizzy measuring myself up against others. I have all the same questions. It’s just a different era. When I start worrying about how much faster, stronger, smarter, thinner, wealthier, or luckier someone else might be than me, it is total disaster. Let’s face it. Someone is going to be ——-er than you…all the time.

I’m in total favor of healthy competition. It can be what pushes us to be more than what we thought we could be. Beware of that little monster that creeps into your brain that says you don’t measure up.  I battle this monster all the time and some days I win and some days I don’t.  The best way for me to avoid this battle all together is to be the very best that I can be. Competing against myself is the only race that should concern me.  I might be slower runner than lots of people I know, but I strive to better my performance every time I train. I race myself. This is truly comparing apples to apples.

I encourage to you to give 100% effort in everything you do. Be confident in who you are, your abilities, your gifts, and your strengths. You are no longer waiting to be chosen for a team. Unhappiness stems from comparison, so leave that mess behind. This isn’t just relative to fitness. You know this applies to life.

Until next time…live well! – Toni Kuhel

I “ran” a race!

As the registration for the Chicago Marathon 2012 opened this week, it reminded me of the first time I looked at that registration page.  I wonder how many of you are nervously looking at that page or one for a different race.

If you care to look back in my blog you’ll find several posts that cover races of varying distances. When I thought about standing at the starting line for my first 5K, I was nervous. Ironically, this was going to be my first race in preparation for my ultimate goal of my first marathon to take place in Chicago on 10-10-10.   I trained and successfully completed the Turkey Trot by running the entire distance.  BTW, any race with the word “trot” or “turkey” for that matter should not freak anyone out. These are friendly races and a great way for newbies to catch the racing bug.

As I got further along in my marathon training, it became obvious to my almost 40 year old- new to running- post childbearing (twins and one more) body that this was going to be a challenge like no other. I was wondering out loud to a neighbor about this crazy thing I was attempting. She introduced me to a concept by Jeff Galloway. He promotes a walk/run method to training and racing. Check out his website http://www.jeffgalloway.com/ .  Training and racing injury free was my ultimate goal and was I ever excited to know that someone had developed a program for it.

I know there are purists out there that think it doesn’t “really” count unless you run the whole distance, whatever that may be. To those people I say, “Run your race!”   To other people who are on the fence, let me tell you this. I have never participated in a race where a race official  has yanked a racer off the course when they started to walk the course. There are time limits and pace requirements, but all of them allow for the average person to walk parts, if not all, of the race. BELIEVE ME, I walked lots and lots of parts of lots and lots of longer distances. I had the same medal placed around my neck as the very first person who crossed the finish line.

See...my marathon medal matches the Kenyans' medals too.

I am in awe of those of you who can run long distances without a walking break. I have a few clients that school me constantly with their blistering paces and long runs.  I wish I could be a runner that makes it look like it’s no big deal to knock out a long series of 8 minute miles. Full disclosure…I ran one 8 minute mile and it almost killed me (not really, but it was UGLY).  If it is your goal to be one of these runners, you should definitely go for it.  I’m a big believer in setting and making progress towards your goals.

If you are looking to give yourself a little motivation toward getting more activity into your life, maybe a local 5K is in your future. If you have already completed a 5K and are looking for a bigger challenge, dare to dream of completing an 8K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon. Don’t let someone else (unless it’s your doctor) tell you that you can’t do such a thing. You should get clearance from your physician before beginning any exercise/training plan. You know I had to throw that in, and you know you really should do that.

Some training plans that might suit your training style

http://www.halhigdon.com/

http://www.nike.com/nikewomen/us/v2/media/pdf/marathon_beginner.pdf

http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/

Redefine “runner” and you may find you are one after all.

Until next time…Live well! – Toni Kuhel