In an effort to network and stay motivated, I've been following a bunch of new fitness and running accounts on Instagram. Social media has a way of inspiring me, giving me new ideas and keeping things fresh. Don't be shy...you can follow me, too! Just be prepared for the occasional Hello Kitty or Star Wars post.
There was a recent post-run photo in my feed from another runner I follow. She wrote that she had maintained a 7.58 pace during her 8-mile run. In my best day, I could never sustain a pace like that. And I only seem to get slower as I get older. We had a small exchange on Intagram, and I mentioned as much.
She was very gracious, and said that it was all relative: there were other runners faster than her, the important thing was just to get out there and run.
I try to keep things in perspective: after being riddled with annoying setbacks that have kept me sidelined for months at a time (foot problems, thyroid issues, and bulging discs), I am lucky that I can run at all. My Instagram friend has a point; fitness is all relative. For example, people are frequently blown away when they find out that I am a spinning instructor.
"I could never take a class like that?! It's so hard!"
There is an intimidation factor for people who have never taken a spinning class. However, I'm of the belief that if you can pedal a bike, then you can take a spin class. Any instructor worth their mettle should offer modifications, and all fitness levels should be welcome. Regardless, there is something in my head that tells me that the stuff I do isn't good enough or doesn't count.
The fact that I have taught spinning for almost 9 years? It doesn't matter; anyone can ride a stationary bike. I can't get a sub 2-hour half marathon? I'm a slacker, and everyone knows I'm not a 'real' runner. It's enormously frustrating. I would never say such terrible things or undermine a friend's efforts in this way. It is like a bad version of the children's story: The Little Engine That Couldn't.
Despite all the work I have done, I have to stay one step ahead of my head. Every day, all the time. I know that these things aren't true, but I still have those thoughts. I chalk it up to what the recovery community refers to as an 'obsession of the mind'.
Some days I can tune it out better than others.