Hanging out post mountain bike ride with a college friend the other day the topic of “The Meg Pace” came up, he was around when this term was coined and as I still currently prefer being the one at the back of the pack doing my thing. We had a good laugh about it but it got me to thinking. Back in college my boyfriend at the time and all of our mutual friends determined that my slower pace which was always slow and steady would be called “The Meg Pace.” Seven years later the Meg Pace still holds strong and proudly.
The “Meg Pace” is a slower yet steady pace whether it’s hiking, ski touring, or mountain biking. But it’s not that I am out of shape I just naturally have a slower pace. I’ve been 20lbs heavier and 20lbs lighter. I always get there, I don’t always expect people to stop and wait for me, especially when I know where I am going.
I am the “slow and steady” even back in high school when I was a runner I was really good at pacing. But my slow and steady pace comes from always training to be more of an endurance athlete where I would have to run for longer distances.
For me, the best way to keep moving even for longer periods of time is to set a steady pace that can be maintained with some sort of rhythm based on what activity I am doing. This rhythm is setting a cadence that allows me to go for a long time without taking a break, which was how I always trained. Figuring out the pace and rhythm can take time, patience and will fluxuate based on settings but as long as you can be consistent your body will move in harmony.
The activities that we are doing are not reserved only for the top athlete they are universal so for anyone who wants to connect themselves to nature and these sports can. As children we are told “Practice makes perfect,” but practice never makes perfect, because there is no perfect day- everyday in new and difference. Everyone is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable while getting out and being active. That’s the point we are all learning and pushing ourselves in our own ways and while it may not feel graceful getting out of a comfort zone it makes the experiences unique and special.
We have to embrace the difficulty, pacing and find no excuses to just get out. The best way to become confident in something is to do it over and over again. You will never become fully comfortable until you step out of your comfort zone and into your zone of movement. And even though my pace rarely changes it always get easier with practice. I won’t fall off cliffs, get eaten by a bear or fail because my personal triumphs at any pace are what are more important than leading the way. It just takes one step at a time.
Invest in your happiness- not the most expensive but definitely the proper gear will also make a difference and this leads to committing to a plan and overcoming fears and struggles in order to make these goals a reality and rewarding. Pick a local favorite spot, and practice your sport whatever it may be- over and over it will get easier and I know what I may never be the fastest but once I have gained confidence I feel less stress and reconnected and ready to roll with anything.
Smile. It’s contagious and it leaves you in a good mood. Or giggle and laugh, let out whoops and hoots and hollers while getting after it. The more lighthearted the more fun everything becomes. Just ask my friends about me mountain biking flowy downhills… I feel like I’ve wandered into a fairy tale. My heart is so full of joy, I can’t help myself, and laughter has to come out. No matter what you have to smile and keep going. Because what’s great fun for someone else is great for them, that’s not you.
Everyone is on a different path, love and embrace the one you’re on, even if it’s a bit slower.