Respect Your Pace

It was WARM in our little town today-- 55 degrees!

Ordinarily, I'd run outside with Mr. M on a day this nice, but (boo! hiss!) he's in the middle of being attacked by his own innards (this is a recurrent thing, and is pretty much manageable).

I was on my own, and I did not want to go. Or rather, I was anxious about it. Which was strange, because I like running, and I love being outside, and I think warm weather in January is better than getting our annual insurance rebate check.

I decided to go, and to pray about the anxiety while I was out there.

While I was praying, I thought about Mr. Rogers. My friend Danny Fisher recommended this great book about him by Amy Hollingsworth, and I just finished reading it today. I didn't really watch Mr. Rogers when I was a kid, and so I knew about the blazer-to-cardigan wardrobe change, but not much else. Mr. Rogers believed that one of the best things we can do for kids (and adults, for that matter) is to openly be exactly who we are.

Back to running: who I am is one damn slow runner. That is a fact. But praying, and thinking about Mr. Rogers, I started thinking, "Respect your pace."

Slow is exactly the right pace for my runs right now. I'm often embarrassed by it when there are other runners/walkers (toddlers) around. So I can be embarrassed by my shuffle, or I can accept that today, that's my pace, and carry on.

I thought, "Respect your pace" all through my run-- 4 miles gave me a good bit of time to meditate on it. As I padded along the asphalt, I thought about all the ways that's a good policy: in running, in discernment, in relationships, we should respect our own pace. I thought about the epistle to the Hebrews, and the admonition to "run with endurance the race marked out for us."

And I had a really, really nice run today.


  1. I just discovered you through our common interest in Marcus Borg. Your post is very serendipitous for me. I am behind in a Spirituality and Practice ecourse on Change and I affirmed today in the forum that I'm going at the right pace for me.

    love, john + www.abundancetrek.com + "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -- Albert Einstein

  2. John, I'm grinning because I finished a 2-year Spiritual Direction course in May, and definitely did not get to all the reading. There's a lot I'm going back to, and it turns out the resources I got then are the ones I need now-- at my own pace.

    Good luck to you, and enjoy your ecourse!

  3. I am probably slower than you. I came across a great quote in Nora Gallagher's "The Sacred Meal": "When a friend of mine told her Buddhist yoga teacher that she found herself trying hard all the time, he said, 'Don't.'" Years ago, my yoga teacher told me, "Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. It won't help." She was talking about my ability (or inability) to achieve a yoga pose, but I think it has wider applications.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins