Musings of a Slow Runner

So if you follow this blog, you will know that I started running in April, and I’m not very fast. I keep at it though, and have achieved personal records in all of my races, but when you’re running 12-13 minute miles, it seems easier to drop time.

It reminds me of when I was on swim team in high school. I always dropped time. I was slow to begin with and I kept reaching personal bests. I was still the worst and slowest swimmer on the team.

Cut to the Zoo Zoom.  (8k or 4.98 miles) My longest race to date. I trained with my BF and my friend Anna and worked up from 3.1 miles to 5 miles by doing long runs on Saturdays and increasing them by half a mile every week until I got to 5. By the time I had run the Zoo Zoom I had run 5 miles twice during training runs, albeit without the crazy elevation.

I get to the zoo zoom and it’s 40 degrees out. Some of the runners are wearing tank tops and running shorts. I’m not. I have two shirts on and a pair of yoga tights that don’t seem to want to stay up.

The race starts (I never seem to hear the horn or gun because I’m too far back) and people start jogging towards the starting line. I get passed…by a ton of people.

Once I get to the 2 mile mark, I hear the announcer remark that the first finishers are crossing the finish line. My first thought is: Wow, I’m really slow. I just try to keep running.

One of the most annoying things when you are a slow runner is when people run past you and then start walking. When you run next to them they start running and pass you. Then they start walking again, you run up to them and then they start running, and pass you.

The most challenging part of this course was a very steep hill after 3.5 miles. I tried to run up it as fast as I could but had to stop to catch my breath once I reached the top. At this point I kept running. Running slow, but running.

During the last mile we are informed by the race volunteers that the kids from the mile long fun run are coming. I get passed by about 20 kids and their parents.

I finish the race with a personal best of 1:05:10, which was a drop of 6 minutes from my fastest 5 mile run. I’m pretty happy with that.

I guess the things that bother me most about being a slow runner are the following:

  1. Going on “fun runs” and being the last one to arrive because you are not racking up at least 20 miles per week. Or just because you are slow.
  2. Getting passed by everyone
  3. Running the same pace as people who are walking the same course
  4. feeling sad looking at other runners’ posts about their times and how you wish you could be as fast as them.

I’m lucky enough to have my friend Anna who runs 9 minute miles who is willing to run with me, and a BF who has very long legs who runs 10 minute miles to start with me and then wait for me until I finish. At this point I would sell my soul to get down to a 10 minute mile consistent pace.

I’m also lucky that I have women in my office who motivate me. One who has done three marathons, and my boss who runs all the time.

I signed up for another 5 miler in December, and then my big goal is to continue running through the winter or continuing to be more active in general. Hopefully I can join a 10k training group or something to try and get in some speedwork or improve my technique.

For me running is really about my health, and doing something that I never thought I could do. It’s a fun way to spend time with friends and to meet new people, and really, all you need is a pair of shoes.


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