Back of the pack

At many of the conferences I attend, there are often group wellness activities scheduled. Whether it’s a yoga class or a group run outdoors, the idea is to give people an opportunity to socialize while doing something to enhance their wellbeing. Recently, I was at an event that featured one of these outdoor group runs that was open to all attendees. The run was led by an external fitness instructor from a well-known gym brand. The conference was largely populated by high-achieving, ambitious folks. As a result, when the fitness instructor took off at a fairly good clip, the majority of the group took it as a welcome challenge to keep pace. It was only a two mile out-and-back effort and I certainly could have kept up with the lead group. However, I decided to hang back at the beginning, adopting what I fondly refer to as my Captain America pace (i.e., “I could do this all day!”). Another runner settled in alongside me at the same cadence. We started chatting, which one can do if you’re in your endurance zone, and about a mile in, he asked somewhat hesitantly if he was holding me back. The answer was no. He wasn’t holding me back. I was holding myself back. Although there is always a degree to which I want to push and compete, I’ve realized that this instinct doesn’t always serve me. Practicing restraint and working at a rate that is sustainable while also being challenging is really the goal. It’s also something that I choose for myself. And that’s true whether we’re talking about running or mental health.

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