Yesterday I ran my fifth 5K.
What a strange thing to say, seeing as it was only two short years ago where I would have laughed at you, thought you were insane to suggest such a thing. Even last year at this time (after I'd already lost a good 100 freakin' pounds!), I would have thought, well, I can do maybe one. But five? In six months???
Oh, but there's more. See, once again, I set a new personal record. Now, I realize that a part of that is because the initial bar was set exceptionally low, but I'll still take it.
Okay, no, wait a second. Step back. Look back.
This is something I have trouble with, and I imagine a lot of other folks here do, too. We think, oh man, a compliment? How could that possibly apply to me? It's selfish. It's wrong. It's vain. It'll make other people feel bad. Yadda yadda yadda until we end up with just so much white noise buzzing as we minuet out of the way of anything good that anyone could possibly ever want to say about us, and that even means our own self-talk.
So let me try that one again.
My first 5K was run in one hour, four minutes and four seconds, back in May. Yesterday's was run in 38 minutes and 12 seconds, AKA about 39% faster, six months later. I had been hoping I would break the 40 minute mark this year and not only have I done that, but I've blown past it and instead have also broken the 39 minute mark. I'm running one more 5K before the end of the calendar year. Will I break the 38 minute mark? I dunno. I attribute a lot of my success to this time running for one song, then walking fast for another, then running again and so on. I went so fast that I didn't even make it to the finishing song on my playlist. It was a good running day for my husband, too, and our friend Thomas. We had a blast, as always.
There, now, that's better. Did lightning strike me for being oh so self-centered as to say that I achieved something? Of course not. Did the earth stop spinning on its axis because I dared to crow about something good? Tap tap tap I'm still waiting.
I have power, to be sure, but not THAT kind of power.
And you -- what have YOU got? More situps today than yesterday? Looser pants? More weight on the press-up machine? More steps on the pedometer? More errands run by actually running them rather than driving? Being able to say no to cake? Or at least say no after just one piece instead of two? Better choices at the grocery and the dinner table and the restaurant? More restful sleep at night? A happier day? Speaking the truth of these things out loud will not cause the sun to crash into the moon.
But above all, don't look back angrily at the old person. That was you, too, and you need to not just love who you are now but even love who you were then. Forgive that person in order to become the person you are now, and the one you can become in the future.
Every race is with ourselves. Every time I come down that track and I hear those people (this time, my number was 99, so I could hear people calling for 99), I hit the gas. Whatever I've got, I give it then. Sometimes I hit that pedal earlier than others. This time around, it was quite far back where I was jogging, and then I hit the gas pretty far back as well.
And in my own personal race, yesterday I came in first, and the October me came in second, and the September me came in a close third, and the July me came in fourth and the May me came in fifth and then we all stood and cheered and applauded and waited for the ones who never ran, for the 2008 me and, yes, even the 2007 me, even if it took her all day. She may not have been fast. She may not have been strong. She may have been filled with doubts and fears. But she had more courage than any of us, as she saw through to a murky end that was unknown but impossibly hoped for and wished.
One small change to today's song:
No, I'll never look back in anger
No, I'll never find me an answer
Can't be no warning how could I guess?
I'll have to learn to forgive and (NEVER) forget