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See the Turtle Run

I run slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter! This shirt always made me laugh. I was a real slow poke when I started running. Things have changed! My walking miles are faster now than my running miles were in the beginning.

Recently I began thinking about identifying with a turtle.

I have written about lots of topics over the years. This one bothers me a little. It's about POTENTIAL. Oh God forgive me. It's not because I am an average runner, but because, for some, being a turtle is an excuse. Ouch!

What if calling yourself a turtle kept you from your full potential?

What if our attitude about ourselves was a self-imposed limitation? It can be. When I was a teenager, I practiced long after dark shooting pucks, ice skating and stick handling. I never made the pros. Hell, I was lucky to make the varsity hockey team.

My brother was scouted for an NHL team. He left the pond at sunset.

I certainly understand that most of us won't become world-class athletes. Those are the limitations of genetics and age. For the same reason we struggle with weight and fitness, our bodies just can't do some things very well.

Ask yourself: What if I could do better?

Last year I ran a race with a friend. This runner was a back-of-the-pack-er. Doing a mix of running and walking we made it to finish line of a half marathon. My friend was also a self-proclaimed turtle.

Let me be frank about this. In the first mile the complaining started about the hills, the weather and how hard it was to breathe. As the race went on, I heard a lot of turtle talk; not just from my friend, but other runners in the back of the pack.

It was a cesspool of negativity.

Every runner knows that a training run should allow you to carry on a light conversation while running. In a race, you should be hard pressed to spit out a single word. :)

Negative self-talk will produce very little positive.

It can be about your speed, your looks, your weight loss, your job, your relationships or anything else.

A changed attitude is a changed life!

My friend has since worked on his form, his breathing and a few other things. His half marathon times have gotten faster and faster. Thirty minutes faster!

If you have read this far, I want you know that I am not down on slow runners.  Some of us just are. Some of us run just for the fun of it and don't care about times, pace or speed. I want you to be proud of your accomplishments. I want you to be encouraged to do better.

I have one question: When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see an elephant, a turtle, or have you learned to see your potential?

Go run and have fun. And push yourself a little.

43 votes + -


BodyandWellness wrote 73 months ago:
So. I am slow. LIke I was jogging and there was a man a few blocks ahead of me and it took me FOREVER to pass him. He was walking. Just walking. Completely unaware that an overweight woman was huffing and puffing behind him with one goal in mind. Pass his innocent unaware butt. He had no idea the role he played in my little drama.

I do not get the feeling that you are judging slow runners or joggers as I do not feel I can really call myself a runner at this point...

Just remember that your perception and your reality may be very different from that turtle that you may be judging. 8-)

Personally, I stopped judging myself based on those who fly by me. Thinking that I suck and will never be fit and healthy and I should just give up and crawl in a hole.

Now, I judge myself by me. The me of yesterday, the me from a few years ago who could hardly walk a mile without getting out of breath. And I imagine myself out there on the trail, all these versions of me, and I am passing them all and then I see myself of the future running past me, patting me on the back as the speed by.

I think the point is that we all need to push ourselves to grow and improve and although we may appear turtles to some, we are really raging lions. At least to ourselves and I think that is all that matters.

dsjohndrow wrote 73 months ago:
Ha ha - no judgement at all.
ashliedelgado wrote 73 months ago:
When I first started doing the couch to 5k, I was slow. Like, walked faster than I jogged slow. But I plugged along. And every morning on my route there was this same fit girl, who obviously had been running much longer. She would always smile and nod politely.

The best day I ever had running was the first time she started looking behind her to see where I was, and would start running faster.
FIT2125 wrote 73 months ago:
I could barely Jog a mile when I was 23 ... Now I can run / jog 3 miles without walking at 34 might be small but for me a big accomplishment from where I started

I some how cannot seem to cross the mental barrier that I cannot do more than 5K .. but I know it is all in my head ......I know if I try.. I will ... I can ....

My bucket list item : 13.1
celticlass69 wrote 73 months ago:
I'm just beginning to try and run. I try to intersperse short runs into my walking, hiking. It's a start. I'm trying to get my back used to it. I may be slow but it's faster than standing still! And I will get faster!
jackflak wrote 73 months ago:
interesting. makes one think
seiffertrk wrote 73 months ago:
I too am slow, at least for now. It's funny to see this today because yesterday I ran a lake close to me that is a popular spot. Always lots of people running, walking and biking. For the first time ever, I passed someone that wasn't just walking. I enjoyed this and felt smug about it for a brief moment, right up until he passed me right back. Then in what could only be described as fast-acting karma, a pack of about 60 people went by me like I was standing still. I literally just laughed out loud as they went flying by.

I don't find any of this the least bit discouraging. I'm not racing against anyone but me. In spite of the above, I set a PR on that run.

I thought it was funny. I hope someone else gets a chuckle out of it!
dsjohndrow wrote 73 months ago:
LOL Fast acting karma! Congrats on a PR.
cory17 wrote 73 months ago:
I am currently a turtle but getting better at covering distance and slowly picking up a little speed. Certainly there's been improvement as only walking before. Goal of a 1/2 marathon next year. Really enjoying your blogs, make me think. Thanks! Keep up the good work!
Brin1956 wrote 73 months ago:
The good thing about turtles is they work to get where they want to be. I have to work on it slowly again but this is the way to go. Put a turtle on everything my son did and he is down 150 lbs in 3 yrs.. The turtle wins the race. I'm on a goal and like the stubborn turtle I will get there.
LinOtt wrote 73 months ago:
I'm slow, but I love running. I find myself with a huge grin on my face even though I've gone a dangerous shade of puce! I also know I am getting beyter and better at it! Also I've met some great people who encourage me around every turn.
beckystropicalsmoothie wrote 73 months ago:
This blog is not about running. It is about life, attitude and success. Thank you for the encouragement and insight!

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