Back of the Pack

Today’s post is just an observation from the weekend…

Back in the days of marathon training I used to be hitting the pavement at 5am!  Now a weekend run might start at 9am or 10am – after I’ve had a chance to do a little household catch-up.

Saturday was a beautiful morning for a run and I ended up running into (literally) the end of a 1/2 marathon.  It started at 7am and by 10am there were still people on the course.  I ended up running along the last 3/4 mile of the course – opposite those running their last 3/4-1/2 mile.  It was a humbling run.

My fresh legs and energy had me running sub 8-min miles (I don’t know where this speed is coming from!).  The runners coming toward me were running a 13 or 14-minute/mile and were tired.  Some were in pain and the cops on bikes were encouraging them to make it to the finish.  I cheered people along – giving them a thumb’s up or a “Way to go”.  Some people smiled, some people gave me the, “I know the finish is near.  I’m in the zone and trying to make it.  Please take your cheering elsewhere,” – look.  I know this look.  I’ve flashed it at people.

It was a good reminder that we come in all shapes and sizes and all fitness levels.  The person who finished 5th and the person who finished 205th both can call themselves a 1/2 marathoner.  They both earned the finisher medal.  It was also a reminder how how precious health and mobility are and a motivator to keep moving and keep health and wellness at the forefront.  So I pushed myself for the last couple of miles.  I used to run with a friend who would always tell me to go faster – that if I finished a run and I could still move and breathe, I’d gone too slow.  

Here’s a NYTimes blog post about running a marathon “in the slow lane“.  Writer (and runner) Tara Parker-Pope says, “It didn’t matter how fast I finished, just that I was out there, enjoying the view from the back of the pack.”

How do you cheer on runners?  Do you prefer to spectate or participate?  Care to share a workout “a-ha” moment?



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