I recently had the unfortunate experience (very unfortunate experience) of meeting a man who ran his first half marathon and wasn’t feeling so good about it. Yes, I have run two but I am far from an expert and among the other runner’s at the gym (there are few) I’m like the adopted wounded turtle. I am by far no way as fit or as fast as these other women yet I’m completely accepted as one of their own. So when I met this guy and heard how bad he did I felt compelled to give him the whole, “It’s ok,” spiel.
I made the mistake of asking him how he did which opened the door to a litany of complaints. “I was too slow.” “I didn’t do it as fast as my friend.” “I’m not built like a runner.” Yada Yada Yada, blah, blah, blah. So I thought, “Man, how bad could this guy have been because I’m molasses.” Again, I made the mistake of asking about his time. His answer…wait for it…was an 1:48. It was that moment where a record scratches, the room goes silent and everyone turns around with mouths agape. That’s not purse worthy speed, but it’s not that slow. And so he starts in again with the complaints. “My buddy did it in an hour and a half and I’m not built like him and you have to be rail thin to be fast and look at me and I was a marine but not a good one and…and…and…and.” And indeed! As in AND how am I going to get away from this guy? I might be a queen at complaining but I can’t stand this kind of self-deprecation.
I’m sorry folks if there are those of you out there who agree that this is slow (Matt called the time average which I will accept) but this is not slow to me. At least not the way he made it seem. He could have said, “Oh I did ok, but I wanted a better time,” then I would have respected that, but he made it seem like it took him four hours to run the damn thing stuck in the back with the Walkers. My God, accept your accomplishment and move on. But did he? Of course not. He continued to complain and so now I’m stuck with the guy and trying to make him feel better with the little advice I have; “Gu Gels?” “Oh no I can’t eat those.” “Half Gatorade, Half Water?” “Too hard on my stomach.” “Honey Packets” “I don’t like to use anything.” I wanted to shake and slap him across the face like in an old timey movie Joan Crawford style. I mean: 1) I’m the last person to give advice on better running techniques and 2) who is this guy friend’s with? The Kenyans?
Seeing that I wasn’t getting an out (I’m pretty bad at escaping once I’m stuck with people like this), I tried to switch the subject mentioning I want to attempt a Triathlon next. Oh well that brought up bad memories of him being a lifeguard in Ocean City, MD and it was the worst summer of his life even though he was the best lifeguard but he hated all of the stupid people in the water….Ok I think you get the gist.
For all of us out there who put ourselves on the line to achieve whatever physical goals we have whether big or small, we need to appreciate and be happy for each and every one of them. No amount of exercise, race goal or physical challenge is insignificant. We need to learn to not compare ourselves to others and other’s accomplishments because all of this in the end is an individual thing. And if you are hanging out with people who don’t appreciate your accomplishments then you are hanging out with the wrong people.