Hey y’all. It’s me again. Second post this week! I’ll wait for you to pick your jaw off the ground. I had another mini-post brewing in my mind so I thought I’d write it while it was still fresh.
Before I start, I feel like I need to define some things. When I say I’m a midpack, mediocre runner, I’m saying that in the most objective way possible. I’m not trying to get you to say, “What? You’re not slow!”, or, “But you’ve won age group awards and stuff!” What I *am* saying is: in large races, I usually come in somewhere between the 30th to 50th percentiles. Now that’s slightly above average, but I’m not cracking the top 10%. And the top 10% are the “fast” people I’ll be talking about below.
So, a few days ago, I was having a Twitter conversation with a runner friend, as you do. He’s been battling injury and said he wants to make sure not to do too much too soon as he attempts to make a return to running. The next thing I know, he’s tweeting about a speed workout. I pointed out to him the contradiction between his intent vs. his actions. His response was along the lines of, “Running has always been about pushing myself. If I’m not running fast, I get bored and it’s not fun for me.”
I should point out that he’s someone I’d put in the category of “Fast Runners” — people who usually have a natural ability and easily Boston Qualify without thinking about it. Some people in this group win races outright – and I find their performances inspirational because I know that they’re normal people who have jobs and lives outside of running. Fast Runners – they’re just like us!
Anyway, my friend’s response got me thinking. Yes, I agree it’s (Type II) fun to run fast and push yourself. But for me, it’s also enjoyable to run for the sake of it — as an escape from work or to feel some dirt and rocks under your feet. There have been times when I’ve been relegated to running very, very slowly. I never got an endorphin rush, but I can tell you that not running would’ve made me feel worse.
On top of that, I feel that being a middle of the pack runner means I have SO MANY opportunities to get better. I can see how, from the perspective of the Fast Runner, there’s not that much farther you can go when you’re already so much closer to the top. I can talk about all of my process-oriented goals and they mean something to me, because running does not come naturally to me and I have to work hard at all aspects of it. The Fast Runner may also run into some of these problems, but making their body go fast isn’t one of them.
So, it’s a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to express how thankful I am for being a mediocre runner because it allows me to enjoy running in all its forms and give me plenty of room for growth.
Disclaimer: I know I’m oversimplifying things by categorizing people into 2 classes – fast and not. I’m only speaking for myself and my own experience… I don’t mean to generalize things. But I’m interested to hear your take and what you think. Sound off in the comments!