When Elephants Fly

About ten days ago I hit the street to run to the YMCA. I figured it would be a good warm-up. It’s a little over a mile if I run back a few extra blocks.

So I’m cruising along, not really pushing, but not lolly-gagging either. And the Map My Run app goes off.

“Time, six minutes, fifty-two seconds. Distance, one mile.”


I laughed it off at first. I am not physically capable of running a mile in under seven minutes.

I kept running. But curiosity got the better of me. I slowed down to a walk and took a look at my phone. Yep, I heard it correctly. So it must not have been a mile then.

But I mean, how do I know I can’t run a mile in under seven minutes? Maybe I totally can… I never run an uninterrupted mile since I do interval training. I took a screen shot and sent it to two people: a friend who works out a ton, and my sister. And I waked into the YMCA feeling like the strongest woman alive.

As I started my workout, I got my first response. It was from my friend- a dude I might add- and he was totally impressed. It didn’t occur to him for one second that it was inaccurate. (Or more likely, he knew better than to say so…) The more we chatted about how I was totally insanely fast, the more encouraged I felt in my work-out. I tried harder. I felt less intimidated in the weight room. I was probably the fastest person in the room. These guys should be intimidated by me.

Then as I was cooling down the texts came from my loving little sister. “Yeah, that’s wrong.”

Ok. That’s not exactly what she said. But it was along those lines.

“I mean, it’s possible I guess. But that’s like what grown men who train really hard do. If it’s right, you should start entering races for money.”


I knew all along that it takes training (and talent…) to run that fast. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I got home and mapped my distance with a different app. Definitely not a mile. So I’m just as slow as ever.

A few days later I ran in the Riverside Run. Three miles through one of the wealthier communities in Greenwich. (Which is one of the wealthiest towns in the country. And when I say “one of…” I mean single wealthiest…) It’s a gorgeous run past beautiful houses and water and trees and smiling neighbors. I felt pretty good about myself for finishing. It is the furthest I’ve ever run without a stop at all. (During the Disney Princess 5k I walked the length of the two water tables, and during my 10k training, as I mentioned, I run ten-minute intervals.) I was also highly entertained by my playlist, which I set on random. It played “Eat the Rich” by Aerosmith. Twice. My iPhone is hilarious. Nothing like running and laughing.

But as much as I can list the positives, I still really struggled that day with the negative voices. I was one of the few runners not wearing designer running gear. I was getting passed by people who should not have been passing me. I came in 41st out of the 48 in my age group. Ouch. (In my defense, the age group was 30-39. FYI, 30-year-old bodies have very little in common with 39-year-old bodies. So I compared my time with the 40-49 group. I would not have placed much better. Seriously OUCH.)

So I thought about singing.

I sing, like, really really well. I reminded myself that if we were to stop the race and have a sing-off, I would likely win the whole damn thing. And you know how I got that ability? I earned it. I was not born with a golden voice. I was born with a crazy ear and a gift for understanding music. The voice did not come with it. I WORKED. Really, really hard. For years. And you know how I feel when people assume singing is just something you can do naturally?

I get pissed off and frustrated.

Is it possible, then, that these runners who are kicking my ass have been working at it as long as I’ve been working at my voice?

Ugh. Yeah, probably.

And am I being obnoxious and disrespectful to assume I can step into their world and take over?

Boooooo. Yep.

Of course there are those natural talents. People who just run fast. People who just sing beautifully. But once they realize they have talent, you know what they do? They work. And they train.

Man. Being emotionally healthy is exhausting.

Which takes me back to that mile I ran in less than seven minutes. The one that totally wasn’t a mile at all. It wasn’t the running I was interested in. It was the way I worked out when I thought I had run that fast. The sub-seven-minute-mile was my magic feather. It never really existed at all. But I still had a great work-out. It’s so hard to keep things positive without concrete positive reinforcement. For less than an hour I thought I could run really fast. It was the magic feather that helped me feel strong. But if I keep working, and keep reminding myself that I’m doing great things for my body, I bet I can fly without it.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Aesop’s Fitness | Thoroughly Modern Mommy
  2. Trackback: Project 40 so far | Thoroughly Modern Mommy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: