27 August 2012

Walking is for Sissies

I don’t know how often I hear that or some form of that statement, throughout a day/month/year but it’s a lot. And it is seldom said to me by my friends or fellow “sissies”. It’s always said by a “runner” – you know, someone who runs 8 -10 minute miles, ignores my statements of encouragement as they go rushing by me, enjoys plenty of the post-race food and drink, taking home sometimes cases of water and is seldom at the finish line when I come waddling through, triumphant at finishing, disappointed that there’s only lukewarm water left but thrilled that I can color another state in. Walking may be for Sissies but I still get the job done.

To date, I have completed 21 half marathons in 14 states and 1 other country (Ireland) and 1 thirty mile bike ride, 1 Muddy Buddy and 3 Sprint Triathlons since I started in October 2010. My times haven’t been stellar – my longest time in a half was 4 hours and 49 minutes in Wyoming and my quickest time in a half was 3 hours and 36 minutes in Oregon – but they’ve all included one thing – I finished. I do have a couple of “DNS”s (did not start) and a couple of DNFs (did not finish) but I don’t count those in my tally. Those I wipe clean and try again until I do finish – even if it’s a DFL (dead fucking last). I have quite a few DFLs to my credit.

I celebrate everyone’s success at the half (or full) marathon. I have friends that can finish a full marathon before I even hit the half-way mark on my half marathon. I have friends that started out like me, walking, and have gradually added running to their training so that they are run-walk-running their events. I have friends who are like me, slow but determined, and excited for everyone out there – fast, slow, short, tall, thin or fluffy. The point is that while the event may be the same distance, it is not the same event for everyone. We all have our battles that we fight in order to cross that finish line and wear proudly that medal. Speed, or lack thereof, does not make it better or worse for someone. Crossing that finish line, rising triumphant over mental and physical demons is the proof of the warrior. If it takes you 2 hours and 30 minutes to cut your barriers down, Bravo! It takes me a little longer.

And sometimes I fail. And sometimes I just can’t shut down the negative nonsense my inner-self is slinging at me. And sometimes my inner-self rides the bandwagon of the other nonsense out there. My brain is already good at knocking me down – it doesn’t need the encouragement of other naysayers to pump it on.

I submit that any distance finished is an accomplishment and if I must walk the whole 13.1 to silence my inner self-doubter, I will. No one knows the individual battles that wage during an event. So before you say, “I failed – I had to walk”, remember someone else is saying, “I did it! I WALKED!”

Walking isn’t for Sissies. Quitting is for Sissies.
My medal display rack. From Allied Medals
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