Three things have come together over the past few weeks that helped create this blog. First, I ran my first ten mile race in about two years. Second, I ran a 5k this weekend with my family. And last…well, I will save that for the end.
After I ran in the Transplant Games 5k this summer, I did not want to suddenly stop training. I wanted to keep going and prove to myself that I could push my body farther than my brain thought it could go. I also wanted to start running half marathons again. Laughingly, I would tell people that my goal was to lower my time enough that I would make it across the finish line in time for the snacks at the end. Usually, by the time I got there, the rest of the people racing had packed up and gone. The reality is that I wanted to feel good about running again. So, despite the heat of summer, I kept working – Crossfit four days a week and running another two or three days. My awesome coach kept pushing me, and on that cool morning two weeks ago, I ran that ten miler. I was 44 minutes faster than my last ten mile race. And, I got snacks.
Yesterday, my family ran a 5k together. Well, not exactly together, but we were all in the same race. My son was the first of our family to come across the finish line, and his time was pretty good. He actually has run cross country off and on since 5th grade, and has always struggled a bit. Now that he is training consistently, it is getting better for him. He said he wants to start running again, which makes me pretty happy. I was second across the line, and took 3:05 off my time. But the even bigger deal, was my husband, for whom this was the first 5k that he did not walk the entire thing. He’s been making changes lately to improve his health, and he has started jogging in small increments. This is HUGE, and I am so proud of him. He came across the finish line in a pretty good time, and even more importantly, proved to himself that it was not just possible, but probable that he would be successful at this.
The last thing that prompted this blog was an article that was shared on Facebook, the writer of which said that the distance stickers he sees on the backs of vehicles are essentially bragging, and that runners are being “arrogant.”
The author is missing the point. Am I going to say that there are not arrogant runners out there? Absolutely not. But are all of us arrogant?
Those stickers are a representation of the hard work and dedication that runners put forth to train for these runs. It is not easy. And runners should be proud of what they have accomplished. Sure, you will not PR every race, but you will cross the finish line, which is far better than what you might have been able to do prior to that race. To acknowledge that you ran that far is a good thing – bragging is not.
For me, my first half marathon sticker went on my car less than an hour after I crossed that finish line. It wasn’t so much that I wanted or needed to brag about it, but that I wanted it for myself – to remind me that it can be done. I had worked for so long to get across that finish line, and I made it. That sticker was my gold star on the A paper. It is not arrogant or prideful; it was simply true.
And if my husband or son wants a 3.1, or 6.2, or whatever sticker for their car, I say go for it.
It is not bragging, just fact.
The fact is, you earned it.