Humble Pie

Mark, The Blogfather and my new favorite person, wrote a post not too long ago about run he had that was sub-optimal for him. He ended that post by asking the question “Had any humble pie lately? ” That got me to thinking about my particular answer which came out a resounding “Yes!” I eat humble pie every single time I go for a run, a ride or a swim. Every.single.time.

I am not a performance athlete. I didn’t even begin my life as a casual athlete until I was in my late 30s when I started running. I started swimming in my mid-40s and I started riding my bike last summer in my early 50s so at some level I’m a rookie. At every level my performance is, on a good day, middle of pack-ish. I spend my swims eating other people’s bubbles and my rides watching my riding partner’s backs. I don’t fault myself for that – I am kind and loving when I’m not beating myself up for being a weiner.

I have had to work hard to come to grips with what has always felt like a lack of talent. It took me a really long time to appreciate my efforts at all – to recognize that just getting out there and doing what it takes to cover the distance really does count. That was in spite of all of the kudos I got from just about everyone I know. Lately I’ve even been pleased with my efforts because I have started working harder and it seems to be paying off. My times are better and I feel better after I finish.

Until recently my routine was to eat my humble pie, lace up my shoes or get in the saddle or pull on my goggles and then go out and just sort of run or swim or pedal. I often thought of Signorney Weaver playing Lt. Tawny Madison in Galaxy Quest shouting, “Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it’s *stupid*, but I’m gonna do it, okay? ” the parallel being “Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it’s *hard* and I’m not that great at it , but I’m gonna do it, okay? ”

I could talk about how lots of people never get past “I could never do that!” which is what I said about running a marathon when I first started running. I didn’t even want to get past that feeling and then, somehow, and I can’t for the life of me remember how this happened, I signed up with Team in Training and I did it – I ran a marathon. 6 years later I turned 50 so I ran another marathon and my time was worse – by 8 minutes.

Now I’m training for another marathon because I believe I can do better. I believe I can work and train and focus on my weaknesses (form and lack of strength) and run a marathon in just under 5 hours. Since I’ve started trying harder and started getting better I’m eating less humble pie and focusing more on the next little mini-goal, the next triumph.

I’m sure there will be many more days when I eat humble pie and feel discouraged but finally, after years and years of begrudgingly continuing to go the distance in spite of my limitations I’m starting to feel like I am reaching for my potential and that tastes a whole lot better than even the most lovingly baked humble pie. Besides, I need to save some room for the tater-tots!

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7 Responses to Humble Pie

  1. susie says:

    I can absolutely relate to your post. And I find myself, even today, placing limits on my own performance so I don’t disappoint myself. (If I don’t try, then a mediocre finish is ok, right? Wrong) Hmmmm, lots to think about.

  2. jeanne says:

    oh yes, so can i totally relate. SO CAN I. I hope i’m where you are now one day. And, yes, what susie said! Definitely lots to think about. (I do know one thing: we three rock!)

  3. Susan says:

    me too – seems like everyday lately is humble pie. I think your marathon goal is obtainable. Hang in there and don’t be a weiner.

  4. Dori says:

    Very inspirational! I’m always at the back of the pack, and sometimes get discouraged when women my age, and older, run twice a fast. I’m in a running group, but run every training run alone because the others are so much faster. But I tell myself I started late and will improve if I keep at it.The running community sometimes seems to be all about speed (I’ve seen marathon pace charts that stop at 5 hours). It’s nice to read about people I can relate to, who are running to stay fit, meet challenges, and accept themselves for doing their best. Good Job!

  5. The Running Blogfather says:

    Growth and empowerment are wonderful things ain’t they? You are kicking butt – no doubt about it.And you are SO sweet to call me one of your favorite people. Right back atcha. 🙂

  6. Bex says:

    I eat humble pie at the weekly track workouts my running club holds. Especially when I’m sprinting and I inch by the hares, who are on their recovery laps ….

  7. David says:

    My running keeps getting better (when I am in good health) and it all started when I got serious about training. If you’re buying into the regimen, you’ll enjoy the rewards, because they will come – all in relation to you. Nobody else. This is about you. Not anybody else. Allow yourself to enjoy the best you have to give.

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