Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Respect the Distance

I love The Half Marathon distance 13.1 Mile Races.

It’s a great distance. Long enough to be strategic, and short enough that if I screw up I’m not screwed.

They are respectable. I kinda wish they’d re-name them. Instead of Half Marathons, which sounds suspiciously like only “half” a race, I wish they’d call them 13.1 milers. Like, a 10Mile Race. It’s straight forward. And no one calls it Half a race. Even a 5K isn’t a Half10K, right?

Or perhaps 13.1 mile race would be better reflected in Kilometers… like, let’s just call it a 21K. Hey Jon, what do you think of that? Sportsbackers could just re-name it: The SunTrust Richmond Marathon, featuring the McDonalds 21K and Ntelos 8K.

Of course, then all us “stupid americans” would walk around wondering how long our race is today. (oh oh, wait, how many people here have had someone ask them how long a marathon is? Yup. A 15k? Yup… how about, How long is The Surf & Santa 10Miler??? Me! ME ME ME ME!!  True story...)

Seriously though, the Half Marathon isn’t Half of anything. It’s a solid distance. What kind of half sane or half crazy person thinks that this is a good idea? “I think I’ll go out and run as hard as I can possibly run for 13.1 miles". It takes training and strategy.

So why all this today? I’m training for a Full Marathon, and have no races lined up and scheduled from now until… well, November 12th.  Shouldn't I have been on this High Horse a few months ago when I was Half Crazy?

I’m writing this in response to a runner who said to me recently, and I quote, “Well…. I’m only doing the Half, this year”.

I’m… only? Shut the front door, did you just say, “only?”

I hate that. I hate when someone belittles their effort because they feel that as a runner who’s training for a marathon, I’m not going to respect their efforts. Seriously? What kind of jerk do I look like? I have some friends who will be tempted to answer that… resist.the.urge.

Please don’t apologize for coming to a training run at 5am.

Please don’t dis your training.
Please don’t belittle your effort.

You had my respect as we were laying down a 6 solid miles at a sub 9 that morning, because ~ yeah~ I’ll say it and risk the wrath of the blogesphere:  You’re a runner who knows when you have time to give a marathon your attention, and when you don’t.

As a “marathoner”, there is NOTHING that irks me more than a runner who claims to be training for a 26.2 mile race, but then doesn’t give the TIME it takes to get there. This isn’t something you just wake up one day and say, “Oh I think I’ll run a marathon in 16 weeks” and then expect it to happen.

People, this takes more dedication than you could possibly realize. This takes hours of your week. 8+ hours for some, plus ice baths, plus cross training, plus… you still have to be functional for your kids, school, work, Irish Step Dance, and then some.

So to the person who chooses the Half because they know their limitations, my hat is off to you.

And to the person who says, “I'm training for a full... but I only ran the long runs because I didn’t have time to do any running during the week” I say, I know you might be a marathoner, but I’m not feeling a whole lot of respect for you right now.

Of course, I could just be tired and cranky today...  I've been up since 4.

~Savor the Run~


Jesser said...

This is so me. I always qualify my efforts and you're right ... I need to stop. What I can do is impressive. But I must say, living in CO gets a bit intimidating. We fielded an entire 12 person relay team from my office of ~80 people (took 2nd place too). And I don't work at an athletic specific company ... we're construction management. The scene around here is pretty intense and there's tons to compare myself to. But still, I deserve some bragging rights and I'm going to try to take them!!

MCM Mama said...

Thank you.

As someone who prefers the half distance (I don't have a posse to run with and long runs get boring around the 15 mile mark by yourself), I appreciate a little respect. ;o)

Now if my body would just get with the program and let me run farther than a 10k. How many miles is that again?

runningthedawn.com said...

i get asked the distance question all the time! and it is super annoying... although i do prefer them asking rather than assuming that a marathon and 5k are the same. cause some people just think that "marathon" is the description for all running races. sigh. they just don't get it.

Meredith said...

As a girl who has found herself apologetically saying to her faster runner friends, "I only ran a 4:21 for my 1st full", I love this! As a girl who doesn't give herself enough credit, I LOVE this! As a girl whose realizing she has some serious untapped potential, I freakin' LOVE this!! I love the half. I love the full. And to be quite honest, I think that those who run 5k's and 10k's are amazing! Any amount of running is something to be proud of. And the hard work that goes into it for whatever distance you're training for deserves every single ounce of respect! Sorry - just a bit wound up this morning :)

bobbi said...

As a pokey runner who puts in the time to train, thank you for respecting the time put in vs. just the finish time. I am often belittling my successes because I am not fast.

I seriously need to stop doing that.

Morgan said...

That's easily one of my biggest pet peeves when someone says "only"... Anyone who's ever trained for any distance race knows that everyone starts somewhere and works up from there. Once upon a time a 5k was your "marathon." Whenever I hear such madness I am the first to pipe in and remind whoever is downplaying their distance that it's total b.s. for doing so. This weekend while I walked the 5k I talked to so many women that were walking their first 5k and I never once mentioned I was a marathoner instead I asked them what got them going and congratulated them on their success... You have to start somewhere and even that first step is worth celebrating!!!

Viva la 21k!!! LOL!

fancy nancy said...

Seriously respect the distance! I am with MCM Mama...I prefer the half and do probably 4 each year. It is just easier for my family for me to do that distance right now. Plus I do feel like I get a challenge.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

The distance doesn't matter. I don't even think the training does. What matters is that each person get out of their chosen passion what they want out of it. If it's fast paces, great. If it's better health, good. If it's me time, wonderful. If it's teaching your family something, fan-freaking-tatstic! But don't limit what you choose to do with words like ONLY.