Several years ago, I had a friend that I'd met online and she started talking about being a "penguin." I had no clue what she was talking about. She just said it was a running thing. I was still very anti-running so I just ignored it and moved on.
Then 2010 happened and I started my journey to become a runner.
And I had some successes and I had some struggles.
Lately, the struggles have been very mental. I think that's the hardest thing about running.
Racing is one thing but I'm pretty sure the majority of folks who show up for a 5K on a Saturday morning aren't there to be first across the finish line. Running is a sport that's about personal records and pushing through mental hurdles and physical annoyances.
I came back from Christmas break to work and a co-worker, who has started up a weight loss plan, came to me, very proud, and announced that he knows he's doing better because he can just run a mile without even thinking about it now. He has been out of shape and not exercising and hasn't run in years and years but can suddenly just up and run a mile in 10 minutes or less.
I can't even run an entire mile without a walk break and I've been at this for almost a year.
So I've got this mental defeatist battle going on in my head.
On the one hand, I'm too fat to run. On the other hand, my weight is a hindrance and when I get lighter, I'll run better.
On the one hand, I can't run a significant distance without a walk break. On the other hand, I'm building my endurance again and my recovery breaks are more effective and shorter.
On the one hand, I see fat when I look in the mirror and I see it in a negative way that I've not experienced before. On the other hand, I am down 2 or 3 pants sizes and that hasn't changed.
It's an ongoing battle.
I was reading my friend Emily's blog a few days ago and she mentioned John Bingham and "the penguin." My interest was sparked... I remembered my friend Christine... and I went to John's website to check it out.
I'm a penguin.
I will never come in first in a race. In fact, I am pretty steady at being in the back part of the pack.
I might not ever run a 10 minute mile. I might not get to a 13 minute mile.
Maybe I can't run an entire mile. But I will. It might take me a long time to get to that point.
And all of that is ok. Because I'm a penguin. I run... to run.
I've gotten caught up lately in comparing myself to others too much. I'm getting too concerned about Christy being better than me or Robert being better than me or Emily being better than me... and I'm not focused on ME being better than me.
Actually, I need to completely get rid of the idea of being better than anything. I need to focus on each run as it starts and proceeds and ends. I will have good runs and bad runs. And if I get caught up in this better than that... I'm just going to defeat myself.
Slow mileage is better than no mileage.
I'm slow. I know. Getter over it.
The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.
I am a penguin. I waddle. I'm slow. But I'm doing it. I'm out there, running. Sometimes I walk, sometimes I shuffle, sometimes I run.
I am a penguin. And proud of it.