Before I even jogged over the starting mat at the Capitol Hill Classic 10K on Sunday, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day to shine, running-wise. My legs felt stiff and sore despite taking the day before the race off. My stomach felt like a brick from the two pieces of Papa John’s pizza with garlic sauce (necessary to make the Papa John’s pizza palatable) I’d eaten for dinner the night before, thanks to CPR-instructor class from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. And though the 8:30 a.m. start time seemed like a good idea when I woke up at a leisurely 6:30 a.m., I started cursing the late start as soon as the sun started making it feel less like May and more like July.
Thanks to the Bolder Boulder last year, my 57-minute 10K on Sunday was not my slowest 10K time ever. But it was pretty close, and was a good seven minutes slower than my time two years ago.
Here’s why the race was still a win: Rather than beat myself up about not training enough (it occurred to me mid-race that I haven’t actually run six miles for quite a while now), or about being slow, or about putting something so sketchy into my sensitive stomach the night before the race, I accepted the race for what it was, and moved on without feeling that it was a judgement of who I am as a person.
It was the morning of my 32nd birthday, and I couldn’t help but think about a poem a good runner-friend sent me recently. It was apparently written by Charlie Chaplin when he was in his 70s. I so totally relate to this, and I know I’m not the only perfectionist weirdo who has spent too much time loving myself only when I’m running PRs, or fitting into certain jeans, or getting tons of new assignments.
My birthday present to myself was realizing I’ve finally gotten to the point that a slow, uncomfortable race is just that and nothing more—a slow, uncomfortable race. I still had fun. I still tried my best. I still got fitter and faster with each step. And I still had an absolutely wonderful birthday, full of good friends and fresh strawberries picked from Butler’s Orchard after the race.
As I Began to Love Myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!