My friend Anthony runs 6min plus pace most everyday, so when I started to run, I always referred to me as a Slow Runner. I indeed was and still am. I started running around 11:00/10:00 pace, and working my way to a better speed. In getting better and training, what I have forgotten or didn’t realize is that, in Running, there is no real ‘slow runner’. Even tho I referred myself as ‘Slow Runner’, I could see how judgemental that could be, even if its judging my own self. I had my wake up call and a moment this Wednesday during my Snail’s Pace group Run.
Since I just finished my half marathon last Sunday, my legs were still sore. I took Monday and Tuesday off from running. When I went to my Wednesday Run with our Snail’s Pace Group, I wanted to just move around and finish a 5 mile out and back loop, at my own comfortable pace which I was expecting to be around 9:00/9:30. I started to run, and my usual pace group that runs around 8:00 pace already took off, and I was in no shape or form to catch up with them. And I wasn’t expecting to.
So I am running my own 9:30 pace, trying to feel if everything is good with my legs and body! Right around first mile mark, I hear someone trying to trail me, and I turn back, and this gentleman, trying to catch up to me, informs me, he just got back into running after 5 years, and that day was his first day running as well as, running with our group. I immediately tell him, I am planning to run slower being my first recovery run and if he is trying to speed, he shouldn’t wait for me. He at that moment tells me what I will remember for my life – “You are faster and I have been struggling to catch up with you”. It is that moment, I realized, how offensive, and egotistical the term ‘slow runner’ is, even though I used it to refer to myself. In referring myself as slow runner, I tried to refer 8:30 or 9:30 a s a slow pace, but that is a pace, for lot of runners – a goal pace! That was my goal pace at one point.
I slowed down a bit to pace with Mark – as I learnt the gentleman’s name later. We had chat about running, and what it means to each of us. He explained to me he is just happy being out. And he tells me he likes that he could pace with me. I explained the hills that’s coming up , and how the back route is going to be downhill and exciting! It is an experience to help pace someone. People do that to me often, and this Wednesday I got to slow down and help pace someone.
I like this about the running community. Ever since I started to run, there had always been someone watching out for me, whether my first pacer Chris, or my group run buddy Marc, or Alex and Gloria who helped get through my last few miles at Camarillo Half Marathon, there had always been someone that looked out for me, and to help me! I just know Runners run, not to get to finish line faster, but to Run! I believe, anyone that can wake up early in the morning to go run 15 miles, knowing its going to make them tired and sore after, is more than human! That explains me the love and support i see in the trail, and why runners are always so nice to each other! I used to go to GroupX classes, and even tho I made lot of friends in GroupX classes, there had been lot of animosity and drama that goes around but I never once I felt that with the running!
Moral of my Wednesday Run is that, we all are someone’s fast runners. I just updated my blog so the ‘Slow Runner’s quest’ now reads ‘My quest’. I think if we are running, we are not slow! Like the saying ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!”. I want to go so much farther.