My mother is a bit hypercritical. I never could figure out where I got it from until recently---and it was running that made me realize it. Back when I was a freshman in college my mom lost 75 pounds (she divorced my father, went on Jenny Craig, started running). Running is what she started to try and break through those last 20 pounds. And she was pretty good at it for not being the most athletic person in the world. She worked hard at it. She even became a little obsessive about it (see the similarities already?). She had a few injuries that managed to force her to stop running but she really enjoyed that time in her life.
Fast forward to my running. It is not something I naturally excel at. I AM A SWIMMER. Have been a swimmer most of my life-swam competitively as a child, then in high school and continued through college. I can swim like some people can run—it takes minimal effort and I can swim and swim and swim (sometimes much to other's frustration). I love sweating out chlorine the next day. I am not the fastest at it but I am decent. Running sucks. The first couple of years that I was running, I was SLOW. I knew I was slow but I was making progress so I was happy about it. I would call my mom and tell her my 5k times and she would tell me good job but I knew she was judging me. Her first ever 5k time was 26 minutes. She didn’t think a time of 30 min was any accomplishment. This is a tough cookie to please. So imagine my happiness when I was on a runner’s high calling her to tell her about my own 26 min 5k. Her response---great job, now you’re finally getting competitive. Way to keep it in perspective mom.
When I read about people’s running times or running blogs or even Runner's World, I have a hard time not using her benchmarks. I can’t help it. She set the bar pretty high. I get fussy when people call themselves runners when their running is basically a fast walk or when they started running Jan 1st with all the other new year's resolution folks. Or if they cut their running in with walking---2 min run, 1 min walk. People consider themselves runners if they run around the block-so quick to want to attach a label to themselves. I am sorry, I don’t consider that running. That’s working out that includes running but it doesn’t make you a runner. I know people won’t agree with me. Sorry, I am not actually sorry. I still have a hard time considering myself a runner especially when I haven’t run in a couple weeks (hard to consider yourself a runner in the winter in Cleveland…you have to be tough). I consider myself a girl who happens to run.
So I will judge you if you run—and you can blame my mother. She’s judging you too.