RUNNING IN THE BACK OF THE PACK!
This past Saturday I ran The Woodlands Half Marathon! As an avid runner for over 37 years, I typically run somewhere right smack dab in the middle of the pack. This race was a bit different.
For a variety of reasons, I was just unable to train like I normally would for an upcoming 13.1 miles. I signed up for the race back in July thinking that my training would ensue and I would run a very typical, uneventful race. As race day was fast approaching and those miles had just not accumulated, I toyed with the idea of not running at all.
Ready to Rock the Race!
A good friend of mine was in the same boat that I was in. She too has run many half marathons yet had not trained for this one. We discussed our options and both decided to just GO FOR IT! We agreed that we would just run our pace no matter how slow it was and enjoy the event!
We took it a step further and donned green tutus and cute bouncy headbands! What the heck right? Might as well step out in style, make ourselves laugh and hopefully give others a giggle along the route.
We did have a great time even if we ran a snails pace! I did however, learn some really great lessons from this experience! This being my 10th Half Marathon I feel that I learned more from this race than any other.
Lessons learned from running in the back of the pack:
- The real heroes are in the back. The many runners I encountered had some amazing stories. Two 80+ year old men who served our country were still going strong! Many runners who shared weight loss stories, loss of a loved one, battling horrific illnesses and more! You see, when you are not concerned about your time, PR, etc. you have time to become engaged with your fellow runners.
- It is OK to just be a part of the race without putting pressure on yourself to hit a certain time! Isn't it just alright to give yourself permission to be happy with actually finishing the race?
- Learning to appreciate living another day and being able to even run is a huge deal! So many people can't run at all for a variety of reasons so just being able to put one foot in front of the other for 13 miles is huge!
- We truly had FUN during the entire race! Sure we are sore just as if we had run a lot faster, we still covered the same 13.1 miles!
There are many out there who don't like the back of the pack runners. Grumblers who are frustrated with the fact that the race takes so much longer for the caboose to finish. Drivers exasperated with waiting to cross an intersection. Tired volunteers who are ready to go home!
Thank you to all who do support races like these. Remember that everyone out there running has a different story as to why they are there. Those runners in the back need as much or more support as the top seeded runners!
I have an entirely new respect for the folks who are at the back of the pack! Thank you to each of you who shared your stories, encouraged others and met your goal! So the next time you happen by a race like this, stay back and cheer on those in the back! They are true heroes!