Monday, August 09, 2010

How slow do you think you are?

Do you reach an empty finish line?  Consistently?  Are they packing up when you cross - always?

Do you look for your friends at the finish...and find that they've all gone home?

Do you find yourself on the course, alone...or chatting with the sweeps...

Have you ever not known where to go because the course markings have worn away?

Do you scroll down to the bottom of the list of finishers, and then start looking upward from there for your name?

Do you look for pictures of yourself...and find none?

Do you move to the very back of the start line, so that nobody trips over you?

Unless you've consistently found yourself the back of the pack...

Don't call me a drama queen. 

Don't tell me you've been where I'm at.

Don't tell me nobody is left behind...because they are. Way behind.

Don't tell me everyone counts, because actions speak louder than words. 

Unless you're back there, with me, right now: Don't tell me anything at all.

I choose to run, for myself, despite your absence, lack of interest, or care.  It's a lonely path. 

And that makes me braver and better than you.



  1. Amen, sista :-)

  2. Too weird... I wrote on this very thing, albeit slightly more bitchily, literally seconds before I clicked on your post. After a 6:26 debut marathon I'd love to get into ultra running since I may not be fast but I've obviously got some serious endurance. Viva les penguins!!

  3. P.S. I bullied my way into the "all marathon participants get a free massage after the race" area after I finished my marathon. They were trying to close down since it was so late (you know, 30 minutes *before* the marathon cutoff). I said no, I just did six and a half hours on my feet, somebody here is going to rub me and rub me now. ;)

  4. Here's another one-- do you volunteer to be the sweep at group events because you know you are going to be back there anyway. and do you have to buy yourself lunch after your big event, because all the free food is gone.

  5. Well done.

    I would add from my personal race experiences:

    Do you hear "I think this is the last runner" called every time you pass a volunteer or aid station?

    Do you ALWAYS run with food and water because the aid stations often run out of everything or close down before you get there?

  6. RBR, you reminded me of all the times people have spoken into radios as I went by. "Okay, she's here now..."

  7. I've been there, so been there, loved that post!

  8. My personal favorite: Having a truck follow 10 yards behind you because you are the last runner and have them constantly yelling "Are you sure you are ok??". Yes, I am fine, I am just slow.

  9. Do you wear a T-Shirt that says "Sweeper" on the back because you know you are?

    Do you make sure you have your own snacks at the end becasue all the race provided food will be gone?

    See, this is why you have my admiration... not that you need it. Because I am all those things in your list, plus my two, plus some others that appear here as well. Yet I don't enter hundred mile races like you do. I'm not brave enough. Yet.

  10. My husband recently bought me a tee shirt that says on the back: "This IS my race pace."

    Some people of course would say there's no point to running if you can't improve your times, and on one level, I agree. But on the other, let's be honest. Speed work is hard on the body. I believe there are people who are naturally built for running and so they can become fast with little to no impact to their bodies. Still other runners, perhaps the vast majority of us—those who run for health and simple pleasure and our own measure of improvement—face a Catch-22 when it comes to speed training: get faster and risk getting hurt, perhaps permanently; or stay relatively slow and therefore able to enjoy running for life.

  11. I'm right there with you...

  12. Anonymous12:14 PM

    feel that.....

  13. loved this post and your next post. I can totally relate having finished DFL and next to DFL since I've started this ultra thing (thanks in no small part to your Rocky Raccoon race report). Looking forward to meeting you at JJ100.

  14. Yup, I've been last. Or almost last. Nothing like heading out for your second loop at Ironman, in the dark, with everyone else heading back in and no one else behind you. It's lonely at the back. But I'd rather be in the back than at home on the couch. You. Rock.

  15. I get it too. People had signs in my first half Ironman that said, "Finishing is Winning!" and "Everyone is a winner". I wanted to yell at them that I wasn't racing to be a winner, I was participating to finish. That's why I do it.

  16. oooh yeah. been there. Have had a stream of cars behind the chaser behind me on the bike course, just waiting for the roads to open up. Been told "I think you're last" countless times. Showed up after the finish clock was taken down. Finished a tri and had my bike laying on the grass because the bike racks were taken away long ago. Only signed up for my first half iron after ensuring the time limits would not be enforced. But it sure is still fun!

    I love those tshirt ideas other commenters mentioned!

  17. i was listening to a younger woman dis a race i'm entered in because "the event was poorly organized and all the food and swag was gone well before it was all over", hell, if i didn't participate because of that ...slow people pack their own food and don't care when they run out the right size cotton t-shirt.

  18. Did you write this post for me? I've finished last in my last.....I don't even know how many races. Everything you wrote here is so true. And now I'm signed up for a half marathon and looked at the results for last year - 5 people finished in over 3 hours.



    I did a 12k that had a 5k option, and after the 5k folks turned around at the 1.5 mile mark, the sweeper car followed me THE REST OF THE COURSE. That was my first race after I'd moved to this area and learned that these race folks are serious, and NOT slow. I ran from mile 1.5 to 2, crying, until I told myself to STFU and deal with it. That was a great moment for me.

    Thanks for this post. I'm bookmarking it so I can come back and read it.


Comments containing links to commercial websites from people with invisible profiles are deleted immediately. Spammers are immediately deleted.

...and I, I have a goal.

Dear Diary, For the first time in 7 years I have a goal. It takes a lot to get me motivated.  I am the demotivation queen.  The princess...