I am the princess of volunteering. I don't want to claim to be queen because that title belongs to my mom. I am still able to fill my time volunteering and finding more projects. Over the weekend I volunteered for something new, to be a running buddy.
The fitness director at my gym helps run a upper-elementary-aged running club for girls and she found out that I run "fast." In no way want do I claim that I am fast. I am faster that I used to be, but not "fast." I am usually middle of the pack in just about every race. My goal is to be in the top 50% of finishers and I usually am with my 8-9 minute miles. The fitness director asked me to be a running buddy for an upcoming race. As luck would have it, I was already registered for the race and happen to be a sucker for volunteering. She especially needed volunteers to run with the girls that were too fast for their parents. As a running buddy, I would run along side a girl as she ran her race and help her if any issues came up. I agreed as getting girls to run is important to me. On race day, I was paired with an entering-6th grade girl who had completed two 5ks before, one in 42 minutes and one in 38 minutes, but she told me she can run a 8-9 minute mile. I was skeptical.
I may have mentioned before that I am competitive. And while I am not fast enough to really compete in races, I always compete with myself or I pick a random person from the crowd and tell myself to beat them. So agreeing to not race in this race was a big step in running humility for me. Just a few weeks ago at another 5k, I praised my friend for running with her daughter, sacrificing her race for her daughter. I told her I wasn't sure I could do it. Could I really give up racing myself to help someone else?
Back to be being skeptical at the beginning of this past Saturday's race, I decided that I would go at whatever pace my running buddy was comfortable with. I swallowed my running pride. We started with a short warm up. This is also a new phenomenon for me, I never warmed-up for races. Watching the runners before the race warm-up used to make me laugh. Then this spring, I at my two indoor triathlons I realized how much faster I can run when my muscles were warm. So I've taken to a bit of light jogging before a race in the past few months. I will say it is helping the way I feel at the beginning of a race. I was happy to relay this information to my running buddy. And then I told her what I know about running.
Throughout the entire race I told her what I was thinking about the course and how to run. I have never thought of myself as a running coach or even having that much knowledge about running, but it dawned on me as I told my running buddy how to attack a hill, that I have over 20 years of running experience. There a few things I can say I have over 20 years of experience in doing. I started running in 6th grade, just like her and apparently, I know what I am doing. Or at least I think I know what I am doing. Either way, there is a 6th grader in Washington, IL that PRed at 28:50. That is 10 minutes faster than her previous 5k!
I stayed with her the whole way and encouraged her. I taught her how to drink from a cup while running, how to run hills, how to pace, pros and cons of sunglasses and hats/visors, and most importantly how to have fun running. She even said it didn't feel like we ran that far. As we sprinted to the finish, a gentleman I know from church tried to beat me, so I had to leave my running buddy 1 second behind me to beat him. I may have been able to forgo my racing time to stay with my buddy, but there was no way I was letting him beat me. So I may have some humility to work on.
How are you working on your humility?