“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?