“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
A few years ago, I signed up for a beginners’ running class at a local running store. It would be a great way to get back into running after several years off, and I hoped to meet someone to run with. The class lived up to my expectations on both counts. We began very gently: on the first day our workout consisted of 4 minutes walking, 1 minute running, five times. When the running class ended ten weeks later, we were well trained for a 5K Turkey Trot.
During the ten weeks, we ran once a week with the class and were given a schedule to follow on our own. Another runner, Chris, lived in my town, so we often ran together.
Although I followed the training plan for the most part, I was not as dedicated as Chris. She ran more often than I did, and it soon became apparent that she was more fit than me. Indeed, she ran the 5K race at a much better pace than I did.
I had a choice during this time. I could have stepped up my running so we could keep running together. Instead, after the 5K race, I essentially gave up. I had no one else to run with and didn’t have the ambition to run on my own as winter set in. Chris would have run with me, but I didn’t want to slow her down. My decision not to step up my running led to my not running at all.
Fast forward to about 15 months ago, when I again decided to get fit. I walked with another friend once or twice a week. Over time, the opposite of the above situation developed. I became more fit by running and walking, and my friend was busy with other activities. Some weeks, our walks were her only exercise. Although we walked up to 3 miles, it was at such a slow pace that it wasn’t a good workout for me. Eventually, we stopped walking together. My friend became too busy to meet, and I suspect she sensed my frustration. It’s been close to a year since we walked, and recently she told me she has gained twenty pounds.
In both of the above situations, different choices could have been made.
Now once again, I face a similar choice. My friend Muriel is a little faster than me and has more endurance. She runs more often than I do, and she often runs farther. Sometimes she runs twice a day. If I keep running only two to three times a week and if she keeps running half marathons, we will soon be mismatched for running together.
Will I push harder and rise to the challenge by running more often and working harder to stay fit? Or will I not?
The decision is up to me and so is the end result.
What choices have you made? What have been the outcomes? What decisions do you currently face?
Your story is a great metaphor for so many of the choices we make (and don’t make) concerning friends. So many friends come into our lives and then leave and just a few have enough common interests to sustain a long-term friendship.
Good point, Joanne. I always think fondly of friends that have come and gone, but they become more of acquaintances. I’m most grateful for the friends I’ve had for decades. Thank you for your comment.
Oh how awesome. I love that you are running and pushing yourself. I say go for it. It doesn’t matter if you and your friends get a bit separated in the run….the fun is meeting up in the end. Go for it darling. Run your heart to the finish line!
So good to visit.