Slow Runner Fast Eater

Posted on January 10, 2012


If I were to be given a Native American name it would be Slow Runner Fast Eater.

I started running in 2008. In a Forrest Gump-like fit, I put on shoes, got on the treadmill and started running. The only difference between Forrest Gump and me is that I was overweight and had the cardio capacity of a sloth. Within 30 seconds I was done. I couldn’t breathe. My legs were frozen in pain. So my running program was quickly revised to include a lot of walking and ibuprophen. Silly reality.

The good news is that I did manage to build up my strength and stamina over time and have been running ever since.

In spite of my going from zero-to-running, I have never been happy with my speed. As the saying goes, “In my dreams I am a Kenyan.”  I envision myself flying effortlessly through the city streets, turning heads everywhere I go. “Who is that woman?!” My reality is much different. I plod along. “Is she running? Is she walking? Is that a sloth?”

I should be happy to be moving at any speed but I want to be faster. For now, I am torn between accepting my lot as a slow runner and doing the work to improve my speed. As another saying goes, “Just do it.” I prefer magic.

When it comes to food, I do have the gift of speed. Mealtime, snacktime, anytime, I can eat any/all food in seconds flat. I’m not sure where my speed-eating skills come from. I didn’t grow up in a large family where I had to duke it out with a gaggle of hungry siblings. My mother taught me well. I have manners. I know how to use them.

Maybe it has its roots in grade school when we had to eat everything on our plates in record time or the teacher would admonish us for wasting food. Or, perhaps it’s from college and fitting meals in between classes and studying. (The dining hall wasn’t the hippest place to hang out in anyway.) Maybe it’s from years of mindless eating while reading, driving or sitting in front of screen.

Whatever it is, there’s a speed-eating medal with my name on it. I don’t wear it proudly.

Slow running. Fast eating. These are just two more stones in a big pile of stones that I push uphill over and over again. But I’m working on changing that. I am about to register for my next half marathon with the goal of improving my finish time.  I am armed with a number of training plans to get me there. I am also paying attention to how I prepare and eat meals. I am forcing myself to sit down and enjoy what I am eating. Maybe the others who join me at the table will too.

Some day I’d like to be known as Fast Runner Slow Eater.

Do you have any fast running or slow eating suggestions?