I considered taking a video of myself running around the block specifically for this post so you could see what I am talking about here, but instead I will just attempt to give you a visual. This post is dedicated to all of the slow runners of the world.
I will start with some very important background. I am not a fast runner! In fact, I am one of the slowest runners I know. I am probably one of the slowest runners you know. I grew up a total tomboy! Every single day of my childhood I was out with the boys playing football, basketball, or night games in the park behind our house. I knew as a kid that I was not as fast as the boys, that was a given, but I didn’t have a clue that I was a slow girl! In fact, there were really very few girls on the sports scene until I was in 7th grade.
In 7th grade I guess I wasn’t that slow. I was definitely not as quick and agile as those short, tiny little things, but those tall girls, the ones that were going through their lurpy growth spurts, I could still kinda hang with them….until high school, then all of the sudden I was REALLY slow. My first memory of this sad truth was my first week of high school soccer practice. I remember my 5 foot-nothing assistant coach taking me aside and trying to teach me some running fundamentals. She gave me a rundown of the heel toe strike concept that needed to replace the more prancercise like gate that I had going on. I give my non-sporty, musician parents credit for this problem. She worked with me for a long time. I can see her now shaking her head, walking away, and hoping for the best.
During softball season that same year we all had to do this humiliating speed drill where we started at home and raced a teammate around the bases going in the opposite directions. Genius drill by the way. Somehow I got lined up with the fastest girl on the team. I am sure it was rigged by a couple of the seniors for entertainment purposes. I started at home and took off clockwise toward 3rd base (totally unnatural BTW). By the time I rounded 3rd and headed toward second, my opponent was hitting 2nd base. I am telling you, I am that slow!! By the time I got back to home the whole team was rolling. I believe this was when I got my high school nickname…..SNURT. This name is a combination of the two animals they could not agree I was slower than…..a snail or a turtle.
Luckily for me I could shoot a basketball. My coach often had a rough time with my lack of turbo. Sometimes I’d look over to the sidelines and there he would be with his jaw clench, burying head in hands. He would say “Mandy Hodges! I swear my 7 year old daughter could beat you in a race any day! I am bringing her to practice tomorrow!” He never did. We will never know!
Don’t feel bad for me. This is good stuff! It builds character! I kept my head up and kept running. In fact, a few years ago I even ran a marathon with a couple of my cousins. I say I ran it with them, but they finished at least an hour ahead of me. We were all running on the same course at some point in time, so that means we ran it together, right? Anyway, as I crossed the finish line my family was there to congratulate me on my stellar run. My cousins were in that post marathon rigamortis stage, but I was still feeling pretty strong. My uncle asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was feeling great and that my legs felt really great. He smiled and said, “That is because you have a low impact run. It is kinda like you are walking, but you’re not!”
Like I said, I am not a fast runner!
With that in mind I would like to share one more story with you. My junior year of college I decided to try something I had never done. I signed up to run my very first 5K. I trained a little bit and then just went for it. I did alright. Nothing spectacular. I did toss up my toast at around mile 2, and for some reason when I started to sprint to the finish with about 100 yards to go, I got a bit nauseous and dry heaved all the way to the finish line. I guess it is just a thing I do. Awkward!
I was pulling myself together, cooling down for a few minutes, and devouring a banana and bagel when a girl walked up to me and said, “Hey there! You don’t know me, but I wanted to thank you. This is my very first race and I am not a real great runner. I decided to find someone to pace me at the beginning of the race. I chose you. I really had to push myself to keep up with you and I wanted to thank you because I ran a better race than I would have on my own!”
WHAT? Are you kidding? She ran a better race because of me?!? I would never have imagined that someone was behind me, trying to keep up with me–SNURT!
We do not know the impact that we are having on others. People are watching us. In fact, people are running with us. We are all making a difference in someone’s life. Keep running, even if you are slow runners! It doesn’t matter if you have a “low impact run.” You are still making an impact! Someone out there is running a better race because of you!
Here are two of my favorite running videos: