Not a Collegiate Runner, and thats OK.

Absolutely GORGEOUS 82 degree day yesterday.  Brlght blue skies, not a cloud around. I celebrated by studying all day and taking a running “rest” day.  I have run 3 days in a row, and after a stress fracture in my femur a few years ago, I am very careful not to run too many consecutive days. What a bummer! But I went for a walk instead, which was almost as good. Almost.

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There were of course a million people and their mom outside walking or running as well. I was jealous of every person that ran by. But I maintained my fast walk like a good girl!

Confession time:

I am, and always have been, awful about comparing myself to others. Especially when it comes to athletics. I have such a competitive drive, that when I am running or at the gym, I am constantly comparing myself to the other girls– do I lift more than her? Is my treadmill at a faster speed? Is my bike resistance higher? What is her back squat weight? Is she skinnier/fitter/stronger than me??

I hate that I do this. Really hate that I do this… One of my biggest struggles is when I see Collegiate Runners. I am just totally and completely envious and obsessed with them. I envy their strong, lean bodies, I envy their strict training schedule, I envy the access they have to nutritionists and coaches, the constant presence of other runners and “running talk”.  I envy the miles they put in, the calories they burn, the strength they gain. I envy their mental toughness and perseverance.  I envy their lifestyles.

I want nothing more than to look and be like them. I am disappointed when I look at my own body and see I am not as toned, stomach not as flat. I am angry when race times that I am proud of don’t even stand up with theirs. I am frustrated with my own food “limitations” I place on myself when I see them eating tons of food because they know (and I know) that they run 60+ miles a week and burn calories like a machine.

But I am not a Collegiate Runner. I do not have a coach looking over my shoulder. No one makes me go out and run a certain distance/time every day.  I do not have the running support system of a team.

And because of this, I have a different toughness about me. I have the mental strength of someone who despite not having all the things Collegiate Athletes have, still gets out there and gets ‘er done.

I am just a girl who LOVES to run, who pushes herself as hard as she can, while trying to balance life.  Running is what I love to do, but it is not ALL I do.  So to compare myself to Collegiate Runners is not only self-destructive, but it is inaccurate. Our lives are not the same.  We all have different lives, different stories.

All I can expect from myself is to do the best I can, when I can.  Sometimes that means weeks that I run everyday, put in GREAT miles, run hard and happy. Other weeks, I maybe run 2 or 3 times, and struggle with every single mile.  But that is ok, because I AM STILL A RUNNER.  In my head, and in my heart, I am a Runner. And no title of “Collegiate” in front of that will make me any more passionate about it or make me any more ‘impressive’.

How can I compare myself to these girls? I do not know them. But I know me. Hi, I am Andrea.  I am pursuing 2 masters degree, trying to work on a million little things in life that are far more important, like keeping God at the center, keeping the amazing relationship with my family and, getting my health under control.  This is what matters.

No I am not a Collegiate Runner, but I am still a Runner. And that is what matters.

As I was going to bed last night, I read my daily Bible Verse that my phone sends me.  It could not be more appropriate. Thanks God 🙂

Luke 6:37-38

Judge not, and you will not be judge: condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Did you guys run in College? Do you wish you did?

How do you cope with comparing yourself to other athletes?

What is your favorite breakfast food? I need some ideas…

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15 comments

  1. Runner Girl Eats · · Reply

    I am always comparing myself to others and HATE that I do that. It’s something I’m working on. I can be a runner without running 6min miles and that’s ok. I love smoothies for breakfast in the summer 🙂

    1. yumm smoothies! I just got a Vitamix and I am always looking for an excuse to blend something 🙂

      thank you for your comment… I am sorry you also “compare yourself” but it is slightly comforting knowing that I am not the only one who struggles with it.
      I love what you said though… We can still be runners without running 6min pace. So true, I just have to remind myself 🙂 have a great day!

  2. pickyrunner · · Reply

    I really love this. I AM a collegiate runner and STILL fall into that trap when I see girls at other schools running more miles than me, faster than me, eating more than me, looking thinner than me. It’s not a healthy relationship but I can honestly say it’s one of those grass is always greener things because often times I wish I wasn’t a collegiate athlete and am planning on taking next season off from collegiate sports. Running is a great sport for that reason- anyone can do it. And that’s pretty fantastic 🙂

    1. I LOVE having your perspective on this! I guess always “wanting something we don’t have” is feeling everyone can get about anything. I think what I have learned to realize (and you too it seems) is that being Happy is the most important– so whether that is collegiate running or not, taking time off or not, putting in a million miles or not… we all need to do what we can to be happy!!
      And so true– Running is for EVERYONE– old, young, slow, fast… it is welcoming to all!!
      That awesome you have made a decision to take some time off from collegiate running– I am sure you will mentally and physically learn a lot about yourself and become an even MORE AWESOME person and runner!!!

  3. I am constantly comparing myself to other runners, specifically, other blogger runners. Sometimes it’s all positive and I use it for motivation and other days I’m just discouraged by it and want it all. I do wish I had done something while I was in college other than drink, but it’s much too late now! 🙂 I typically have a Greek yogurt and add nuts, granola or fruit on top for breakfast. If I have time, I’ll make eggs or a smoothie, but I usually don’t have extra time for that! 🙂

    1. yummm i love granola!! love me that Crunch!!

      Some days it is motivational… and other days reading about other runners accomplishments just totally get me down!! I think in the end though, learning to handle these emotions and turning it to positive energy will help us be better people– and runners!!
      Thanks for sharing… you made me want to go make yogurt w/ granola. in fact, i will go get some right now ha 🙂

  4. I was a collegiate runner, but now that I am an elite runner…it’s still easy to compare yourself to others. But, God has made us each unique…and with the purpose to glorify him with our running 🙂 If we use it for Him, then we won’t get stuck comparing ourselves to others. Praise God that He has made you a runner!! Then, love and enjoy it! 🙂 God delights in us when we use our gifts for him!

    1. Yes yes I love this… Some days I forget that God gave me the ability to run, and when I remember I am just so so THANKFUL. I need to just completely Love on the gift He gave me, which is getting such JOY out of running, and remember that HE is not comparing me to anyone because I am so special and unique and exactly how He made me to be!!
      Thanks so much for the comment and reminder girl 🙂 Sometimes just need a little reminder from our friends!!

  5. I’m guilty of doing the same thing! This is such a great post- thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad I could relate to some people!! It is unfortunate that so many of us compare ourselves to others, but I think it also goes to show that everyone has some insecurities in life! The best we can hope for is that we learn to love OURSELVES as WE ARE!

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