Friday, June 24, 2011

Self Image

I'm 31 years old but today I was reminded how much I still think of myself as basically the same person I was when I was a kid. I started running track in the 7th grade and I was bad. Really bad. Like... usually-finished-near-last-place bad. I had little-to-no athletic ability. Luckily, they didn't have tryouts for track. Everyone made the team and they didn't kick anyone off. I Loved it.

I wasn't just physically awkward though. I was socially awkward too. I was the nerdy, smart kid that played in the marching band. I was happy with who I was and I had some great friends, but I also got picked on a lot in middle school and never felt like I was one of the 'cool' kids.

Fast forward to this morning... I went to the local high school to run my Bannister repeats. I've noticed that the school is holding summer workouts for their athletes and they come out to the track to run drills in the morning. I'm usually mostly finished by the time the dozens of high school students take to the track, but today I still had a couple of intervals and a cool-down to run.

Today I caught myself wondering what they think of this old guy trying to sprint around the track. I wondered if they were mocking me. I realized I was assuming that I was being judged. When I was leaving, I passed one of the coaches and said, "Good morning." He said good morning back and told me, "The kids were impressed with that workout!" It caught me off guard and I stumbled through an awkward reply but tried to say thanks.

When I got to my car, I realized I was even questioning whether the coach was serious or if he was somehow making fun of me too. It hit me that, in my head, I'm still the kid finishing at the back of the pack in high school. I felt like the dorky old guy running laps while the younger, cool guys laughed under their breath. How sad is that? I've told people not to be intimidated by going to their local track for a workout. People tend to be very accepting of all speeds and skill levels and are generally really nice to each other at the track. So, why was I feeling self-conscious running while these kids were there? Apparently, it's hard to change your self-image.

I still find it uncomfortable when people talk about me as a 'good' runner. I know I'm relatively good and I'm proud of what I can do. I work hard to get better. But I still think of myself as that lanky, awkward kid. (Especially when I'm struggling to finish that last 400m interval and I feel like my limbs are flailing like noodles!)

Case in point: I made some new friends at the Minneapolis marathon this month and met two guys who have a great podcast about their development as runners. ( The way they talked about my running made me feel that same kind of uncomfortable. I have a LOT of experience running and I'm knowledgable when it comes to the marathon, but when other people talk about me as a good runner, I find myself wanting to downplay my accomplishments. It's something I'm struggling with... how to be more comfortable with compliments. I'll add that to my list of goals.

Goal For The Day: Bannister Repeats
Distance: 4.00 Miles.
Time: 8 x 400m (Goal of 1:15 each.). 2 minute breaks.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 69 degrees. 7:30AM.

Notes: 1 Mile warm-up. 8 x 400m (1:16, 1:14, 1:14, 1:14, 1:15, 1:16, 1:15, 1:15). 1 Mile cool-down. Wanted to stop after #6 but finished with a couple of quality intervals. Encouraging workout. Beautiful weather!

Daily Miles: 4.00 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 30.34
  Swim - 950 meters

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