As I was running along one of the straightaways through the town area with plenty of spectators, I heard a lady shout "THAT'S IT! GOOD JOB! SLOW AND STEADY!" and I was shocked. Appalled. Confused. Enraged.
Slow and steady? Who are you talking to, lady? I don't know if this lady was talking to one runner in particular, like someone she was there to watch, trying to give them a friendly reminder to go slow and steady, or if she just chose her words rather poorly, but I took it as a personal attack. Slow???? I am pacing perfectly. I was spot-on for my achieving a personal best and my dream-big goal for this race. Who was she to call that slow? I knew I needed to just calm down and let it settle.
Well, I have thought about it. And I'm still mad. Even if she was talking to one runner in particular, even if she herself is a runner and thought it was actually good advice, I was really just baffled that someone would say that. And I stewed about it for my remaining miles on race day, after my race, and I've thought about it every day since then.
I felt the need to correct her at the time, but I didn't as I was a little busy. I still feel the need to say something, but of course, I have no idea who she is and so I obviously will never be able to express these thoughts to her directly, so I'm laying this out here for anybody and everybody. Runners are a... ummm.... "different" breed of people. When we run races/events, we all train so hard, and we spend huge amounts of time and energy dedicated to our training. Sometimes we get so involved that we really do eat, sleep, and breathe running. Like, almost literally. And when we race, it is (hopefully more often than not) a life-changing experience. Especially with a dream-big goal race like mine was on Saturday. And to hear somebody belittle that, even if it was unintentional/accidental is enraging.
So whether you're a 2-hour marathoner or an 8-hour marathoner, an ultra-runner or a sprinter, an athlete or a spectator, or anybody in between: run your own race. And run it