Nature versus nurture is a common debate when determining whether a person’s traits are due to genes or environment. I’m a fan of moderation (and don’t really know anything about psychology or anything remotely science-related), so I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a little of both.
For example, my love for reading and writing is nurture from my mom, an incredible high school English teacher who had us in the Howell Library on a weekly basis as kids, and my build is mainly due to nature from her side.
Another thing I inherited is my inability to take a decent race photo.
Exhibit A (pale girl with the sweet pink and white spikes):
Those pictures were taken a decade apart, yet they are consistent with my general race-photo face. (No excuses, I knew those pictures were being taken. That’s my game face.) I inherited that from my dad, but I’ll spare him the embarrassment of having his race photos posted online. A camera appears, and our form goes down the tubes, face scrunches up, and eyes begin to close. Not that I look like a dainty flower for a minute of any race, but I’m pretty sure that I’d be excommunicated from my running club if I looked like Exhibit B throughout an entire race.
I also inherited my inability to run a consistent pace from my dad. You might say it’s nurture, but I was trained by the best from day one of my running career. With the help of a coach I would follow goal pace and negative split, while my dad was notorious for speeding through the first mile of a race and suffering the consequences. Suddenly, when left to my own devices after college, I discovered my true nature: go out too hard, die, then claw my way to the finish.
Sometimes it ends in disaster, and other times it leaves me a little frustrated at what should have been a much easier race. Yesterday I ran my third Newport Liberty Half Marathon and PR-ed. Hooray! I’m psyched, but I made it way too difficult for myself.
Let’s review this train wreck:
- 6.21 (Oh, good! 5k pace!)
- 6.51 (I’ve finally reached goal pace!)
- 6.59 (Ohhh boy…)
- 7.13 (OUCH. 48 seconds slower than my fastest mile in the race.)
- 6.56 (This slight redemption was motivation from my amazing teammates.)
If anyone asks, I can honestly say my average pace (6.47) was slightly under goal pace (6.55), which lead me to a PR (1:30.37). But let’s be honest, it’s like the Yanks’ rollercoaster win over the A’s: it should have happened, but it could have been done a whole heck of a lot more gracefully. I learned my lesson after Philly 2011, proven in Boston 2012, but that’s now one success out of almost a full year of racing, so I’m chalking it up to genetics.
My dad and I are running the Runner’s World Half in October, and we’re both going to fight nature and attempt an even pace, maybe even negative split. Might as well shoot for the moon and go for decent race photos, too. Go big or go home!