The comparison game
I need to stop comparing myself. Not to other runners. Not to the faster people. Nope. To myself. Since I started running again post-baby, it's been hard not to look back at my times from last year and compare them.
Last September, I was just getting into a good stride with running. I had been running for a little over a year and my pace had increased significantly, my race times were dropping, and for the first time, I was actually training by doing hills, speedwork, and tempo runs, as opposed to just logging miles and building my base.
I ran what I consider to be my best race yet at the Run for the Coast 10K (on the beach, which is notoriously harder to run on but I still ran sub-8 minute miles), and just a few weeks earlier, I ran 14 miles at a sub-9:00 minute pace and it felt easy. My old half marathon pace was now my easy long run pace.
Make no mistake, I have no delusions that I was actually fast then, but I was certainly faster than I am right now. And I was ready to conquer the half marathon and hit my PR goals, and I felt like more improvements were on the horizon. Little did I know that everything was about to change and I was pregnant with our little boy.
I'm a competitive person when it comes to running (and all sports, really). I like to do well and I like to see fitness and speed gains, and there is such a thing as healthy comparison. How else would we keep track of our improvements?
But right now, it's not fair for me to compare myself to the runner I was last year at this time. Because I'm not that runner anymore. My core is weaker, my form is terrible, and I'm lugging around a few extra pounds of baby weight. And even when my core is stronger, my form improves, and that baby weight is gone (all of which are improving by the day), I still won't be that runner. Because that runner was only getting started and the runway is long. I'm going to be better than that runner.
But even more than that, whenever I run races, there will be a little miracle waiting for me at the finish and his little eyes will be watching. And I hope he'll be tagging along once he's old enough because I want to inspire him to a lifetime of fitness and to find the joy of just running, which is better than a PR any day.