I have a confession to make – I am not an élite runner – that isn’t really earth shattering news to anyone.
Actually, I am not even all that good of a runner at the local level either – not much of a surprise here either.
But I run
While I am being totally honest, I am what most “competitive” runners would consider a “recreational” runner – I don’t race all that often (though I will race more this year than I have in a long time), for many reasons – but that is a different post.
Even though I haven’t raced very often I do run a lot and yes I run to get better at running – so no I am not a jogger (runner vs jogger – it’s an attitude, not a pace per mile).
I am strictly what could be considered a middle of the pack runner.
Why am I saying these things?
While most of the runners in the communities that I follow are great and supportive (online and real life), there are always a few who – to be blunt, look down their noses at those of us, who run slower or not as far as they do. This is not a rant on better runners or those who can run long, but just a gentle reminder to some of those faster runners, that we are runners too, even if we tend to delay your awards ceremonies a little.
I also want to make sure that everyone who reads “A Veteran Runnah” understands what I am – a middle to back of the pack runner, who is going to focus on having a lot of fun running this year. 🙂
Age, injuries, my attitude and lack of ability have all contributed to this understanding. Yes I want to run faster and farther than I do now and of course I want to do better in my age group locally. There are also a few younger runners out there, who I know, that I would love to keep up with for an entire race and surprise them at the end (my competitiveness).
Unless of course I suddenly find some magic elixir that turns me into Hermes, the Flash or reverses the aging process – I know “not likely”, but I am ever hopeful.
I also know that I am not going to run as fast as a lot of the runners and now my main competition is myself.
Yes you work hard
Those of you who finish ahead of me – I know that you work your asses off to be able to go as fast or as far as you do.
The truth be told – I am jealous of all of you who can run like the wind or seem to be able to run forever. Those of you who can run those 40-50 plus mile weeks and throw in a sub 7:00 or 8:00 minute pace (or faster) on command for miles and miles, when I have to struggle pretty hard to go under 8:00 for more than mile nowadays or a relatively pain-free double-digit run is cause for a big celebration.
We work hard too
Middle of the pack runners are not lazy, mostly it just that we are more limited by genetics, injuries, age (yes aging plays its sadistic part), attitudes and an unwillingness to embrace the pain that comes with running faster and farther (even though many who run in the middle of the pack have our own pains that we endure to just run).
We train and run the best that we can, given our circumstances and abilities. However, instead of competing so much with other runners, we are training to compete mostly with ourselves and our own goals or dreams, which are usually very different from the others that finish so far ahead of us.
The reality is that
For most of middle of the pack runners, competing against ourselves is our main goal, if we are able to “beat” some people we know who are a little better than us – that is cool too.
Even front of the pack runners eventually end up as middle of the pack runners at some point in their running life, due to injuries, burn-out or age – if they continue to run long enough. They slowly sink farther and farther into the middle of the pack – sorry just the way it works, aging, injuries and changing priorities or attitudes all work to slow you down (it might take longer, but it eventually happens).
Those faster runners who look down on middle of the pack runners today – enjoy your time in the sun – just as Icarus did, but don’t fly too close ;-), so that when you eventually join us, it won’t be as painful a drop for you as it was for Icarus.
Middle of the Pack
To be labelled as a middle of the pack runner is not a bad thing. In fact considering the alternatives, I am damn proud to be included in this very select group of people who run, that are called middle of the pack runners. It means that I am still running 🙂
We are out there doing the best we can and at the same time doing something we love – are you?
Think about it.