I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m never going to win a race, unless I am the only person running it, and even then it’s a bit touch and go. I’m not a fast runner, and I really believe that even if I trained specifically for speed, I’ll never be blindingly fast. I am just not really a naturally gifted runner. And, that’s okay.
But, anyway, none of that is really the point because while I do sometimes feel a bit ashamed or down about my slowness (mainly when I am being overtaken by someone who is blisteringly fast and probably running twice and long as me), I am normally pretty okay with it. I have even been known to joke around a bit about how slow I am.
Recently, however, I’ve had two experiences where I felt completely alienated because of my speed, and because there is literally no chance that I will ever be in contention to win a race. The authors of the two pieces (one a book and the other an article) that made me feel like this were just relating their own lived experience as people who do win. I am not trying to suggest that they intentionally set out to make slower runners feel a little bit shitty about themselves. On the contrary, every actual experience I have had with front-pack runners has been overwhelmingly positive (e.g. faster runners hanging around at a race finish to cheer on slower runners and things like this).
In both cases the author in question was discussing the compulsion to push over the finish line, that winning becomes everything, and that a runner is consumed by the urge to win. These are not the only two times I have ever read this sentiment, but it’s often framed not just as a race against others but also as a race against oneself – a race that it is possible for every single runner to win at some point.
To be very honest, I’m not really sure what the point of this post actually is. I just wanted to lay some thoughts down, and perhaps this might help me come to terms with this feeling in my own way. I don’t know if it has worked or if it will help.
With that in mind, I want to finish my saying (or rather, reiterating) that runners are (generally) wonderful, encouraging, inclusive, supportive people. Fast, slow, or in between, runners – in my experience – come together to cheer on other runners.
P.S. I had thought recently that I might be getting (very slightly) faster. Nope. Garmin Connect has junked that idea!