Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why It Pays to be Slow!!!

I have to admit that taking the time to work on yourself is one of the hardest things you may ever do but the pay off is most rewarding in the end. When I began this journey a couple of years ago I was not necessarily in the best place/space but I embraced the journey and here I am two years later; two half marathons, a few 10ks, more 5ks than I can count, a metric century ride, many 30 mile rides, a few triathlons all under my belt. The physical health payoff may not be as great as I was hoping for but my emotional/mental health has realized the greatest improvements. Interesting that it wasn't even what I was looking for at the time but it is what I achieved.

So people often get frustrated about their speed when running but I have to tell you there are enormous benefits. I finished my race a minute behind the 2:50 pacers according to the clock/pictures but the 'official' time stated I finished at 2:55. What is not to be proud of??? First of all I always take the time along the  route to thank the police officers who are keeping me safe at the intersections, cheer on the guy who looks miserable, and even slow down to help people along the way. Some people ask why I take away from my own time to do those things but all I have to say is it is totally worth it. My running friends from Bowling Green sacrificed their times the first few events they participated in with me so they could run with me for the first mile or so; it reminded me that the running community is the most supportive and encouraging. They only want you to have the same feeling of success no matter how you achieve that success.

So on to the point of my blog. Yesterday I lost a good five minutes to the port-o-potties along the race course. I will not provide you any more details regarding my lost time but it was somewhat disappointing... So what did I do rather than focus on the disappointment? I found all of the positive aspects of being a slower participant in the half marathon. Read on to see what I learned:

Bathroom Lines

If you have ever run in a massive event (12,000 plus participants) you know that port-o-potty lines can be overwhelming at times. Well if you are a slower participant you benefit if you have to use the bathroom along the way. By the time you need to use the bathroom (if you have to use the bathroom at all) the lines are non-existent. I never had to wait yesterday for a bathroom. Yes this is a benefit, just don't ask me the state of the bathrooms because I would say that the bathrooms are less than user friendly when you are in the back of the pack, if you get my drift.

Great pictures

Often times these big races have photographers that document the event who then make big bucks by overcharging those of us who want to commemorate our races with a photo. Well when you are in the back of the pack you often cross the finish line alone or with very few other racers. This means you always have great and abundant photos in the end. This year I was lucky enough to get a shot from the local running store's Facebook page. The staff told me they tok the picture because they liked my shirt, but I know the truth... They just thought I was awesome!!!

People cheer for you

I don't know if spectators feel bad for slow people or are truly encouraged by their persistence but what I can say is spectators really take it upon themselves to make you feel good. I love the folks who are hanging along the sidelines screaming your name (because it is printed on your bib) as you pass by at a tortoise pace. It makes you feel like you have hundreds of new friends along the way, I personally just wish I knew their names.

Easier to improve

Because I am slow I always know I can improve my time next time around. Next year I am shooting for 2:45 and it shouldn't be that hard to achieve that goal.

So if you want to start running but are worried about what other runners are thinking I can tell you they are impressed and wish you success. Come join the races!!!


  1. Sarah, this is such an inspiring post! And you're totally right. When I was running I was so bummed by how slow I was and wasn't paying enough attention to the fact that I was doing it. So, I just need to start doing it again and enjoying it! Thanks :)

  2. Hi Sarah, I'm so happy for you, happy for your honesty, happy for your persistence, and happy for your success. Good Job Sarah!