This morning, my legs ached and were sore. My quads felt like lead weights. My calves burned a bit and my groin was stiff and tender. Yep, it was the day after a race. And as I crawled out of bed, I did what any self-respecting runner would do… I winced, placed both feet on the floor and said “Where are my shoes…I need a run!”
Now yesterday’s race wasn’t just any race. It was a good old-fashioned indoor track meet (on a slightly squared, 10 laps to a mile track at Widener University – man, I hate that place!). It was part of a series of track meets put on by the Philadelphia Master’s Track Club. I’d raced the mile and the 3,000-meter races, and I’d run pretty fast.
Now “fast” is a relative term. This morning’s achy, creaky, shake-out run was done on a treadmill in a hotel and I was moving, oh not too fast. The gentleman next to me looked over and said ‘my you’re moving pretty fast.’ I should have said “thanks” but rather knowing that my pace was about three minutes per mile slower than I’d raced the day before, I said “just warming up this morning.” I hope I didn’t sound like a jerk. I certainly didn’t mean it.
I know a number of runners who will not show themselves in the light of day because they think others will measure them by their pace – the “I can’t keep up with the likes of you” individual. There is also the “I’m just starting out and too slow for the group” person and the “I’m not in shape yet” type.
Now not to say I’ve never met a pace snob, because I have. But in the universe of running, there are really very few pace snobs around. The vast majority of us – myself included – love to see any pace. If a 12-minute mile is your “fast,” then embrace it and know that most of us embrace it with you. If you power through at six-minute pace, know that many of us are indeed impressed and that we embrace that with you. I know way more of the former group who have issues with the latter group than the other way around, and that total count may be all of four or five people.
Fast is your fast, not someone else’s fast. My innocent comment this morning wasn’t intended to show a level of superiority to the gentleman making the statement, but rather a self-perspective of my own various paces. My fast is my fast and my easy is my easy – no one else’s.
I truly wish more runners would come out in the light and show themselves for who they are; committed to feeling better, improving their health, and maybe hopping in a race or two. Know that most of us don’t care about what your ‘fast’ is but rather that we just want to support you in whatever capacity you’re willing to accept. Yeah, we’re runners and we’re a bit goofy that way.
Page 2 of 2 - Tomorrow when I wake up, I hope to be a little bit less sore and maybe a little bit faster than I was this morning. But if not, I hope that’s okay with you, because it’s okay with me.