December 27, 2011

It Does Not Matter How Slowly You Go…

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop – Confucius

I seem to know a lot of people who define themselves as runners. As far as I can tell, this self-designation is not just about an activity they engage in – it tends to be married together with a passion, a way of life, or a mindset. It is running as part of self-identity. You know what I mean – it’s on the list of what they would say when you ask “what do you do” or even “who are you?”

I run. I have not been doing it for long, but I now do it regularly. Still, I don’t think of myself as a runner and – I would guess – that my friends who do think of themselves as runners might agree. They might, for example, call me a jogger.

You don’t seem to hear that term much anymore. I was a teenager in California in the 1980’s and you had jogging and Jazzercise® and Jane Fonda. Recently, however, using a gym in a hotel in Seattle, Washington, I saw the word on a treadmill. This particular machine had three pre-set speed ranges for walk, jog, and run.

I was clearly jog.

I am slow. Right now, I am typically running (jogging) a mile in 10 minutes 30 seconds. This is much faster than when I started, but still pretty slow by the standards of runners. I had a recent discussion with a friend about joining him on a run. We got to talking about pace and I pretty quickly realized that my typical speed would not even be a warm-up for him.

He said – we could just talk while you run and then when you finish I can get a nice fast run in (or something like that)

I am thinking – you really believe that I can talk and run at the same time. Good one!

But here is the thing: I am not in this to be fast. I am not trying to win a race or beat a record. I am just trying not to stop.

My goals are about personal investment and growth, health and well-being, and general perseverance  – and if I get there by going slowly, or by stumbling a bit, or by looking a little foolish even, it’s ok with me. My yardstick is myself. Today, I can go farther and faster than a month ago and much father an faster than 6 months ago. My progress is my own.

Yet, even as I write that, I’ll tell you it’s a bit hard some days. I am pretty competitive and I sometimes have to stop myself from trying to push too much or too hard. Since the only person I can really best at this game is myself, it’s an interesting balancing act- push enough to grow, but not enough to break. Trying to stay the course, and simply to not stop.

Not sure where that gets me, but it’s where I am going.






Leave a comment
  1. Erin Akey
    December 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Dr. J, you ARE a runner! Your time for a mile is actually pretty fast, especially for a new runner! You are faster than me and my half marathon time! As long as both feet are off the ground at the same time for even a split second at a time, you ARE a runner! WAY TO GO! Now you can plan to do the 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with Team Bariatric Guru!

  2. Jeff
    December 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Keep up the running look forward to reading about your achievements!!

    I think a 10 minute mile is good actually it beats me I pace about 13 minute mile.

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      December 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Jeff! I could never keep your pace on a bike.

  3. Gillian
    December 29, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    You’re in the right climate for doing it. I need a running partner, but perhaps your inspiration will get me trotting on the treadmill again. I can’t run in snow. (funny, I’d typed dreadmill)

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      December 29, 2011 at 6:42 am #

      Gillian- I would definitely choose the “dreadmill” (that’s really funny) over snow. We Southern Californians are serious weather wimps – if it gets much below 60, I’m inside. Good luck- and let me know how it goes! Happy to try to inspire.


  1. On Keeping the Pace, Outpacing Myself | Not Born to Run - January 26, 2012

    […] So here’s my confession: despite efforts that I may make to not worry much about my speed and distance, I have become a little obsessed with pace lately. It started when I was experimenting with simply keeping a steady pace (which I thought would make it easier to run a bit longer). Figuring out how to run a steady pace led to actually being conscious of my pace and thus being able to compare it to the pace of others (mistake 1…). I then learned from a treadmill that my pace constituted “jogging” rather than running (you can read about that here) […]