On Taking It Slow Even When You Want To go Fast

April 22, 2011

I’m not really a “move slowly kind of girl.”

My preference for life is a little more full-tilt, highly caffeinated, go big or go home. I like to move quickly.

However, lately, I have been practicing moving much, much slower than I would like.

The background story is that I used to be an athlete, and running is not a foreign concept to me. I have run a bajillion suicides in my life, pounded away on the pavement for miles, and swam a more laps that I could possibly remember. I played basketball, soccer, softball, and tennis. I was the captain of my high school’s varsity water polo team. At one point in my life, I was accustomed to working hard, getting extremely sweaty, and winning games.

But, that was, ahem, kind of a long time ago.

In my adult life, my preference has been towards slower, calmer sports. Namely, yoga. I LOVE yoga. But, the feeling after doing a long session of yoga? Not quite the same as the feeling after going for a long run.

That said, since it’s been a long time since I’ve run more than a minute – I pretty much suck at it.

I am painstakingly slow. My knees ache when I’m done. I have to stretch before AND after. (I mean, I always stretched before and after… truth be told, BUT now I feel like my legs are going to break off if I don’t)

The difference with this round of training, is that even though I’m slow and sometimes I’m embarrassed about it, I purposefully move really slowly so that I’m able to work out for longer without injury.  I know that I won’t always be slow, but for right now, I need to be patient with my body and pay attention to what it’s requiring of me. I’m out of shape. If I want to get into shape without getting frustrated/mad/sad and ultimately giving up – I need to move at a pace that allows me to sustain it.

I promised myself I would write this post without echoing the old saying: slow and steady wins the race. (ugh) But, it’s necessary here. The other day, my c25k program for the workout told me that I had to run for 20 minutes without stopping, and I have to admit my heart skipped a couple beats. 20 MINUTES?!?! Never in a million years would I have thought that I was capable of it.

I told myself: move as slowly as you need to, but keep moving. Put one foot in front of the other. You can do this.

And I learned a really big lesson: I am running for me. I do not need to move at someone else’s pace. I do not need to be fast. There is no one to impress. I am free to move at whatever pace comes naturally.

Love that.