When I first started running through the streets of NYC as a beginning “distance runner”, I was intimidated. I mean INTIMIDATED. Here I was, attempting to run alongside people who made running look effortless. Soooo unlike myself, whose face consistently showed my desperation to stop and never run again. They were decked out in either Nike’s latest running gear or their infamous run club’s attire while discussing crushing PRs (personal records). When I ran by myself through my neighborhood, I was in my zone. My music was turned up, I breezed past the blocks like I was chasing the ice cream man and I felt like a “real runner”. But when I joined the group runs, I was back to feeling like I didn’t belong.
What was the difference? Whenever I got around other people, I became more worried about them than the run I needed to complete. I let their personal achievements and their level of expertise distract me from my own goals that I was trying to meet. While running, I tried to mimic their style of running in hopes to make my form better and my stride more fluid. During those runs, I couldn’t tell you about my times, breathing or if I was getting better but I could tell you about everyone else’s run. That was a problem. It wasn’t until I went to a track session that the light bulb came on for me.
We were told to line up on the track lanes to run 100 and 200 hundred meter sprints. As a newbie to their track sessions, I lingered near the back of the lineup until it was my line’s turn. I remember something my former high school coach told me, “If you are focused on getting to the finish line, don’t waste your time looking at everyone else run”. The run coach said GO and we ran. I couldn’t tell you about their stride, their breathing or their form but I can tell you about mine. I learned to stay in my lane and be concerned about what I am doing and what I was trying to get done. I was too busy watching everyone do it that I was missing out on myself and how I could make myself better. Focusing on my goals and my results is staying in my lane. Not worrying about what the next person is doing is staying in my lane. Not letting things that don’t concern me distract me is staying in my lane. I’m convinced what is for me is in my lane, not planted in someone else’s. While I do stop and learn from other runners (because, obviously), I have learned that there is nothing wrong with doing things my way in my lane.
Hey, I’m running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October and I am raising money for the Children Tumor Foundation’s NFE team! If you wish to donate or learn more about why I’m running for them: here.