Disclaimer: This is not a pity post. I'm not asking for, nor looking for your pity. In fact, I don't want it. I don't need it. Please take it elsewhere. This is simply an observation, some thoughts, and acceptance on my part.
I started running for real on Thanksgiving Day, 2009. I had done some running before that. My father used to get me up at 5 in the morning when I was in Junior High to go jogging with him. I did some running in medical school. But then I sort of stopped. Something changed that November morning and I went and ran about 5 miles, a new record distance for me.
Since that time I have continued to run, though with varying degrees of success at different times. Last year was great up until the marathon in October. Then I sort of slipped, was really tired (ya know, residency will do that to you) and didn't do great. But we signed up for a half-marathon and I had some motivation again. It was great to remember again just how good it feels to go out and move across the earth.
Our half-marathon was this past Saturday. My wife and her friend did really great. They were faster than me by far (no surprise), and even faster than they thought they would be. I was super excited she did so well. But I honestly had some difficulty with her congratulating me and being proud for me as well. I mean, she ran it well and fast. I just ran it. Then the metaphor hit me. I realized what kind of runner I am.
I'm sure we all know that one kid on the sports team. Pick your sport, it doesn't really matter. Let's go with basketball for sake of this blog, since I like basketball the most. But there is always that one kid on the team. He enjoys playing, but is just not good. He scores occasionally, but will never make the winning basket. He has a few assists, but more often than not either gets picked off or just throws it away when trying to pass. And he dribbles off his own foot as often as he does the floor.
His mommy and daddy are proud of him because he is "there". He's playing his hardest, despite the fact that, frankly, he sucks. In fact, the team would be better off if he wasn't there, but no one has the heart to tell him that. He just doesn't realize how bad he is, and that he is never going to be good at basketball. Everyone just cheers because they are decent people and sort of feel sorry for him. Fortunately for him, he just hears the cheers, and doesn't care.
I'm that kid.
I'll go out and run. I'll do okay, but I will never win a race, never win my age division, and will just constantly "finish" whatever race I enter. And as I cross that finish line, there will be people cheering for me. The only problem is, unlike that kid on the basketball court, blissfully ignorant, I know I'm that kid. I know that, without mincing words, I kind of suck.
But I have accepted that. So I will just continue to run, even though I kind of suck at it.