A Beautiful Mile

by zeenadash

My favorite professor played India Arie’s song, Beautiful Day, in class yesterday. I have heard the song before, but yesterday I heard it anew. I think it may be my new theme song.

I thought of the song this morning as I was running the dreaded timed mile at FitWit camp this morning.

I hate running.  I always have.  I knew this day was coming and I seriously considered skipping camp today when I read the blog last night and saw that today was the day.  I almost did a happy dance when I saw that is was drizzling this morning.  I assumed that there would be no way we could run outside in the rain. I was wrong.

But there is another part of me that wants to be runner.  I often see people jogging throughout the neighborhood and I imagine that one day it will be me.  In the past, I have signed up for 5Ks with great intentions to train to run them, but I always talk myself out if it. I always tell myself that running is not for me.  I am not svelte enough nor coordinated enough nor fast enough to run.  The cool kids run and I am not cool.

This morning, when I saw that we were running, I actually began to feel okay about it.  Stacy started calling out the past mile times of some of the FitWitters: 8:46, 10:12, 9:2.  I told myself that even if I doubled the times of the other runners, I would be done in less than 20 minutes.  I also knew that none of the campers or the trainers would make me feel bad about my slow mile time. But there was still a part of me that was ashamed that running provoked such anxiety in me. People run marathons, 26.2 miles, and here I was freaking out over one.

But it started.  Actually, I started. I ran slowly, but I ran, nonetheless.  I was way behind the other runners, and that familiar pang of shame began to creep up: I was too slow and too out of shape to keep up.

But then I realized I could smell the grass and trees, made especially fragrant by the morning rain. And I remembered the lyric from “Beautiful Day”:

Life is a challenge not a competition
You can still smell the roses and be on a mission
Just take a moment to get in touch with your heart
Sometimes you feel like you’ve got something to prove
Remind yourself that there’s only one you

I kept running knowing that this is my challenge,  not a competition.  As I hit the half way mark, one of the trainers joined me and helped me keep pace.  And then as I hit the last stretch the other campers, rallied around me and ran the last way with me. And I didn’t feel ashamed at all.  I felt excited and like part of the cool kids.