Now for my RANT about the 1% in the running community

Excuse me folks, but I need to get this off my chest.  If you would please just oblige me for a few moments while I clear out the disgust I’m feeling for some of our very own.  

Every group, be it social, political, cultural, or whatever, has them.  The 1% that shall be called “HOLIER THAN THOU”.  Can I just say that I had a run in with one of those people yesterday, and it really ticked me off.  

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Yeah, a person came across as he was just better than everyone else.  A person that spreads hatred, or arrogance around like fertilizer.  I think he must have been covering up for inner shame, or a very small member.  Something!  

Runners as a community I have found to be overall very accepting, and open to all.  New runners, experienced runners, young and old, tall and short, skinny and overweight, black, white, you name the color.  We are a varied bunch, a group of people seeking fitness, health and often times in a competitive nature.  But, like every other group known to man, the 1% does exist.  

I’ve felt it before.  Haven’t you?  Standing in the start of a race, getting that holier than thou glance from someone near you.  Judging you.  

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I guess it’s common to be judged in life.  Just most of the time, it’s not fair judgement.  You know what they say about sinners and casting stones, right?  

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Let’s all get along.  Simple, right?  Well, not really.  There will always be the 1%.  I choose to stay as far away from them as possible though.  In a nut shell, let me tell you the store from yesterday.

I am a member of the running group/club called Half Fanatics.  A paid, and until yesterday, a happy member.  It’s not anything I gloat about.  When I first started seriously running a few years ago, I admired people who could run further than me.  It’s natural.  Watching folks compete in a half or full marathon was something that gave me an inner drive to accomplish something more.  Well, eventually I ran my first half marathon, and loved it.  Distance running and racing became a passion of mine.  I aspired to be able to qualify for a club such as the Half Fanatics.  I qualified in 2011.  I paid my fees, and bought a shirt.  I did it!  It meant something to me.  An accomplishment.  Something I could hang my hat on.  I’ve never worn the shirt, because I don’t need to advertise it.  In 2013 I qualified to become a Marathon Maniac, another running group.  It was then that I realized that for me, I didn’t need to pay to join a club or buy a shirt.  It’s enough for me just to know that I could if I wanted to.  

Ok, background established.  We all have different goals.  Mine are personal, as I’m sure yours are as well.  The success or lack thereof I get from running is mine.  Mine alone.  It’s internal, it’s for me.  I can choose to  talk about it or not.  I try very hard not to judge.  I’m not perfect, but I do try to be as good a person as I can be.  

I’ve seen a lot of posts, and a read a lot of negative comments from people in the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniac groups lately.  It’s almost like it’s becoming an elitist club, or is at least taking on that air.  Yes, I know that the holier than thou attitude comes from a very few, but it really sheds a bad light on the group as a whole.  I had posted in one of those groups on Facebook yesterday, soliciting feedback from a race this past weekend that I am really considering running next Summer.  I just asked that anyone who ran it, to please share their thoughts.  I was almost immediately attacked asking what was in it for me.  I thought, can we not just share race experiences in an open forum.  Solicit feedback?  Wow!  I was so taken aback that I just deleted the post before this guy got out of hand.  I am an ambassador for the race series in question, but hadn’t run the race, and stood to gain nothing from the general chit chat other than to find out if people enjoyed running it.  I like to talk about “the runner experience”.  I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It helps me make decisions on if I will spend my money on a race.  It’s no secret that I like to share my experiences, take them for what they are.  If I can help a person make a decision to run, or not, a race in the future that is my right.  Judge me if you want, but I am just trying to spread the love of running around.  This guy was just a first class jerk, and I hope to never bump into him at a race.  If being a Half Fanatic now means that somehow I am better than you, or that you are better than me or someone else, then I want no part of it.  I am pretty sure this club was not established to drag down our running community or act as a pulpit for those to cast stones or shame other runners.  Just floored me, the ignorance.

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I guess until this feeling subsides, I will just plan on focusing my thoughts on the positivity around running and our community.  I will not let the actions of the heavy minority weigh me down.  For me, we are all out there putting feet to pavement.  Regardless of how fast or slow you are, if you win the race or come in last.  Our community should be joyful, and celebrate each other.  Let’s try to do that, shall we?

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Countdown

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In just 20 short days I will be running marathon #11 on the coast of North Carolina.  Will I be ready?  I hope to be.

I planned on using a marathon at this time of year to really push toward a Boston Qualifying time.  This may be my chance, and then again it may not.  Coming off my marathon in Hilton Head a few weeks ago, where the focus was not on Boston, I have been getting in a few really good training runs.  The biggest problem I’m having, and it really started at the beginning of the year, is really tight hamstrings.  Honestly, I think I’ve probably injured them a bit.  They tend to loosen up a good bit during a run, but they just feel stretched and strained.  I just am not sure that I will be able to pull off the speed it will take me to get that BQ, not feeling 110%.

Regardless of pace, I plan on giving it my best shot.  I have not run this race before, so this is a first time event for me.  Plenty of great comments abound about previous years, so it should be a great time.  Originally, I planned on participating in the Asheville Marathon, but due to family obligations I had to bow out of that race.  Wrightsville Beach worked out as a perfect replacement.

So, the training plan leading up to the race.  Nurse my hamstrings for sure.  Stretch and roll, and often.  This past week was the first week I gotten in five runs in a weeks time since December.  For that, I am hopeful.  The weather seems to be cooperating, as temperatures have been on the milder side for a week, so that really helped my attitude, in getting me out on the road more often.  I plan on getting in about 20-25 miles both this week and next.  Starting on March 8th, I am taking the week off completely, so that my legs, feet and hamstrings will be as fresh as possible for race day.  That also coincides with a planned vacation, and wow, am I really looking forward to that!  Upon my return, I will have one overnight at home and then head to the beach.

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Ah, the beach…..what a glorious sight that will be.  I know, it’s only been two weeks since I was at another beach, but I am already looking forward to it again.  You can bet that I will be dipping my post marathon feet in the surf immediately following the post race festivities.

Wrightsville Beach will be my third marathon of the year.  All at the coast.  The last two in South Carolina, this one in North Carolina.  It’s actually kind of odd that on race day, there are three Marathons in North Carolina alone.  A busy marathon day around the country, but equally as busy just in my home state.  The Asheville Marathon in the mountains, which I ran last year.  The Tobacco Road Marathon here in central NC, which I ran two years ago, and Wrightsville Beach Marathon at the coast.  I guess locals can pick and choose.  I think it would actually benefit these three races in NC if they weren’t held on the same exact day.  Marathon Maniacs, and wanna be maniacs would flock to NC for easy chances to qualify.  In my opinion, at least one of these races should change to a Saturday from a Sunday, allowing for that elusive double marathon.  Two marathons in one weekend.  Maybe start in the mountains on Saturday, and end at the beach on Sunday.  That would be great!

Well, with less that three weeks to go, I am hopeful.  My plan is in place, and I will execute it the best way I know how.  Enough rambling, time to lace up and hit the road.