I want to be healthy, active and fit. I want to make my grandchildren proud, but how I feel at the end of the race, or workout or even at the end of the day matters to me too.
I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m about to drop dead. I once said that my goal is to be able to smile for the camera at the finish line.
So how hard do I push when I see the finish line ahead? I’ve been told that I don’t “leave it all out there.” When you see me happily running around after the race is over, talking to anyone who will listen to me, I understand where people get that idea.
I think I’m a competitive person. I want to do well. I even want to win stuff, but I have this innate sense of “good enough.”
My weight is “good enough” (right in the middle of recommended BMI).
My running pace is “good enough.” I’m not any slower than I was 25 years ago, so I guess that counts as improvement.
My weekly mileage is “good enough” (15-25 miles per week)
My run/walk ratio is “good enough. Even at my best, I walk 1 minute in every mile even though I could push through. I sip water, wipe my nose and check my heart rate (I am a senior citizen, you know). In Saturday’s 5K (32:15) I walked a total of 8 minutes. It’s a tough course.
Come to think of it, this attitude extends to other areas of my life as well.
When out and about and need to eat, I’ll choose Subway. It’s not perfect, but “good enough.”
When there’s absolutely nothing in the fridge to cook for dinner, I’ll choose a Healthy Choice steamer. Again, for me, “good enough”
I don’t beat myself up about lack of planning either although I will resolve to update that grocery list.
Probably this also explains why I never had or will have a perfect body. I never was or will be an adult champion athlete either although I was pretty good as a kid.
There’s only one problem with “good enough.” As society lowers its expectations of what’s possible to achieve in weight and level of fitness, am I just buying into the false self esteem?
I’ve written before about how vanity sizing in clothes, bigger dishes, bigger furniture and supersizing of portions have distorted what we think of as normal. A whole generation is growing up thinking that there’s something wrong with women who wear size 0-2-4. That’s what healthy weight women used to wear, but it was called sizes 8-10-12. That group includes Marilyn Monroe!
There are even “age graded” calculators for race times. Based on my age and gender my 32:15 translates to a 24:02. That makes me feel good, but doesn’t alter reality.
“Good enough” is absolutely fine with me as long as I don’t deny reality or define “good” as the lowest common denominator. Maybe I can be better than I am? I wish I had considered this 30 years ago.
I wrote the above post before reading the following article.
Scary title – “One Running Shoe in the Grave” Yet upon reading it carefully, I think this is one more sensational attempt to make me feel good about not putting in too much effort. The article contains relevant research about the VERY FITTEST OLDER ENDURANCE ATHLETES! 99.9% of us are NOT in that category. More than 30 years of sub 8 min/mile pace and more than 25 miles per week? Is anybody here in that group?
Often after weight loss women hear “you don’t want to be anorexic do you?” I hope the title of this article doesn’t become another excuse to justify sitting on the couch.