Oiselle flying through the streets of my small town.
There were a couple things that happened today and they are my reason for this blog post. Firstly, a good friend emailed me. She started running about 6 months ago and recently decided to step out and join a small run group in her town. In her letter she told me how I inspired her to get out the door in the first place, but now she feels like giving up. Her pace is not super fast yet, but it is amazing in my mind with an average 10 min/mile pace. The group left her the other night on their outing. Seems that the small group she joined is a bit faster and no one was willing to slow down to chat with her. Afterwards one of the runners came up and told her that maybe she should find another group in town or someone to run with. This was disheartening for me to read, especially since I am the one encouraging her to get out there + telling her how amazing runners are when it comes to support.
Then I went on FB for a moment and read a friend's status in which she was chatting about how she had read a response on a recent blog post where the person stated that 1/2 marathons should have cut off times of 2:15 or 2:30. It was stated that if you could not run that pace then maybe you should stick to shorter distance until the time comes you are a bit faster.
Here are my thoughts on this. In 2010 I ran my first 1/2 marathon after having children. It was the Disney Princess 1/2 and I finished in 2:53:49. In April of this year I ran my fastest 1/2 marathon yet in 1:48:15. So in three years I took over an hour off my 1/2 marathon time. Am I proud? Absolutely!! Do I feel any different? No. To me it is like comparing being a Diploma RN to a BSN educated RN. I was a Diploma trained RN for 13 years before I went back and received my BSN. The fact is I knew I wanted to go further in my career, but it was a matter of believing in myself and growing. As an RN now I am still the same nurse, just with a little more education under my belt. The same came be said about myself as a runner. I am still the same runner. The only difference is I can run a bit faster. Had I not been given the opportunity to run the Disney Princess 1/2 and start my journey of wanting to progress with running, well then I may not be where I am now. In my mind every person deserves a chance to become a runner and that begins when you cross your first finish line. Imagine if you took that chance away by putting a hefty time limit on a 1/2 marathon? That first big race is really the one that kicks you in the butt and makes you crave more.
As for being a fast runner or a slow runner it is all irrelevant to me. Do not get me wrong I am completely inspired by those speedy runners, especially the ones like this super cool NC Oiselle team mate and this amazing elite Oiselle team member. These two ladies are not only speedy, but they keep it real by being down to earth about it. However, I am also completely inspired by those people out there trying to be healthy no matter what pace they run. It would be an honor to run beside any of you who read my blog, no matter what your pace is. You see I have written about it on here before, but will talk about it again. Before the Disney Princess 1/2 I was overweight with 215 lbs on my 5'4" frame. I have chronic hypertension. So I started running again to become a healthier version of me. I was certainly not fast when I started running again. There were many times I turned around an headed back home after 1 mile because I thought it was not worth it. It was tough.
These are before shots of me. I was 100 pounds heavier. My journey with running started again in 2009 and I did not turn back this time. I kept moving forward. My family encouraged me as they saw how it truly made me whole. I realized I could use it to give back to others and that is something that has always been important, especially after losing my father. Then along the way I met some amazing runners, both virtually and in person. All of a sudden I felt like I was part of an even bigger family. Just like with any family there are always going to be those who may not be as encouraging, but for the most part I have been blessed to meet some amazing people. Runners who cheer me on and show me that it is okay to fall because you can still get back up. I have truly made some incredible friendships. It is also one reason I am utterly grateful to be part of a diverse team like Oiselle because they encourage each runner to be there best and cheer them on. There is no judgement. Every runner has a different pace. It is truly what the company stands for to and we need more places like this.
So I ask a favor of each runner out there and that is this: Be kind and remember. We all had to start out somewhere. Each of us has a different journey with running. We own it. It is ours to embrace. I was once a 13-15 min/mile runner and now I can happily run mid 7's and low 8's, but it did not happen overnight. It took time. I needed that time. There were many races run along the way and each one was an important milestone/lesson. For each runner it is an honor to be out there and none of us should take it for granted. Encourage those you meet along the way and show them how running can change their lives. It is a gift to share.
As I sat with my daughter tonight we discussed this. You see I have never been the popular girl. In fact I was (and still am) an inbetweener. That is one of the things I love about running. When you are out there on race day it does not matter who you are. You become lost in a crowd of dreams and goals. It is invigorating!! No one is looking at your pace group. Everyone is out there preparing to cross the line. We all begin and end at the same spot. We are all inbetweeners. In that diverse crowd you can view the whole painting and it is breath taking.