Slow and Steady Still Frackin Finishes

The Tortoise and the Hare - Image Credit: Esoule on Flickr

Lately I’ve been joking that I’m a tortoise.

I run at a comfortable speed for me, generally somewhere between 6:20 and 6:40/km, and get done when I get done.

After all, as I’ve said before, I run for me and no one else. And for me, it’s more important to finish upright, smiling and MIGRAINE FREE than to try and be all rabbit-like.

But I find a lot of snark and attitude about being a slower pace. It’s as if some out there in the running community, both online and in my real life, that have an elitist mentality when it comes to pace.

The tortoise and the hare taught us that slow and steady wins the race. Those who are not “slow” would have you believe that slow and steady comes in last, doesn’t win diddly squat, isn’t trying hard enough and should be on the sidelines cheering instead.

To them, I would offer up my giant arse to kiss (and some other choice words I can’t type out here because I kind of like my job).

I’m happy that you are a self-professed speed demon, but last time I checked, YOU weren’t standing on the podium and earning cashola for a race well run. You aren’t qualifying for an Olympic team. Hell! You’re not even BQing!

But I shouldn’t be mocking your efforts because that would put me on the same level as you, a level where you’re being negative about someone else’s abilities and that is NOT  cool by me. In fact, you’re discouraging people from picking up running to begin with as they’re afraid they’ll be left behind, the last one in and a laughing stock, which is SO not true.

This is RECREATIONAL RUNNING, people! You’re doing it for health, for fitness and to challenge YOURSELF. For the love of Pete – don’t compare your time to mine.

But if you really want to, know that your 3:40 is my 4:30 and I still get the same finisher’s medal that you do.

So run a mile in my shoes before you go and decide to stuff your shoe clad foot in your mouth.


Anonymous said...

I run at about the same pace. I once had someone (who has run Boston so I guess he is a "real" runner) tell me that if it would take you more than 3hrs to run a marathon you shouldn't bother running at all.
It made me understand why so many people think they "can't" run.

watchmeshine said...

I'm glad I haven't met any horrible human beings like that throughout my running experiences but I probably will at some point. I'm sorry they have polluted your air with such rotten comments.

You're such an inspiration! Those negative people can stifle it!

Kimberley said...

Keep on runnin' sister!

Chunky Monkey said...

Wow! This is the 3rd blog I am perusing this AM where negative comments are being addressed. What is wrong with people!?! You have great run time!!! So good I am not even striving to be there yet :-) Thanks for being an inspiration!

~JillyC~ said...

I run at just about that pace, and to be honest I've never had any negative comments from other runners. Mostly they come from myself! Now I'm running half marathon distances and finally feel like a real runner. On the whole I find the running community really supportive, you'll get a few idiots, but that's like life!

fitrachick said...

I'm actually slower than you (I run/walk most of the time so I'm typically between 7:30 - 8 min/km)and I've been stuggling with accepting how slow I am. But I figure that a year ago, I was just starting out and running 3 kilometres was a struggle, now I'm hoping to do a half marathon in the fall. It will be a slow half marathon, but I'm still doing it. 3 years ago, I could barely walk (I have rheumatoid arthritis) so if the choice is being a slow poke or not doing this at all, I'll stick to my turtle pace.

krissie said...

I left you a comment last night that never showed up. I blame it on my stupid phone.

Anyway (as I'm sure I said more eloquently then), I think judgmental runners are just ridiculous. Here's my thinking:

So Mr/Ms Awesome Runner finishes her 5K before I'm halfway done. Great for her. I'm truly happy for her. I'm glad she's trained and trained and kicked my arse.

But while she's warm, cozy, and dry in her car heading home, I'm still plugging along out there. I'm still working every bit as hard as she does to tow my larger frame across the finish line. When I do? I appear just as exhausted, just as elated, just as proud.

It just took me a little longer. And that, my friend, is commitment.

I'm not trying to take anything away from faster runners. I get that they make a commitment too. But if my training schedule takes up considerable more actual time than hers, why should I be somehow less of a runner? Why should I get sympathy instead of congratulations? I may not have speed on my side, but I have endurance. And that counts for a ton in my book.

You are a huge part of the reason I started running. I have 4 half marathon medals because your running career convinced me that I could do it. And in my mind, you are pretty stinking cool.

Keep on running, my friend. And know I'm behind you.

Angie All The Way said...

I always look UP to YOU as a runner and kind of always look DOWN on runners with judgment written all over their faces regardless of their times. I admire an "attitude" in a runner more so than any pace or race time.

I might be out of line, but there are some types of people like the kind I think you're describing who come off as having some sort of fixation with the sport that to me, doesn't seem fun at all.

I love Krissie's comment - very true about the time commitment being MORE when you're a "slower" runner and that is nothing to dismiss! I always joke that my running is more of a walk with skip in my step :-D

corona said...

Loved this! I run at around that same pace and probably always will. It makes me feel discouraged when my running pals go on about how "slow" they are - meanwhile they are speeding past me like the roadrunner in a WB cartoon! I say who cares, as long as I finish!

jen said...

I tend to get down on myself for being slow (right now I am slower than you say you are -- took me a little time to do the conversion) but I rarely get any flak from anyone else. Like you said, we aren't doing this to win cash and fame.

sunshine! said...

Wow - some people.

It's not HOW you play the game, it's the commitment that you put into sticking with it and completing it.......

Running is personal - it has to be your way or it just won't stick.

Keep on inspiring me, please!

Jenn said...

Love yours sass! :-) I'm not a runner so I admire any of you who run distances I would only ever drive. :-)

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