About 18 months ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party.
I’d just run a full marathon that same morning, so felt:
(a) super chuffed with myself for having run a marathon at 62 (as I was then)
(b) super chuffed with myself for putting on my best frock & my dancing shoes, instead of going to bed early, after running a marathon.
At the party, a man I didn’t know, still don’t know, and whose name I never caught, came up to me and said the darnedest thing ever.
”I saw your time for the race today,” he started, and I preened myself for a congratulatory comment.
”You were really really slow.”
WHAT. THE. HELL.
I had NO idea who he was, nor how on earth he knew that I’d run a marathon etc etc, but in the moment, I was so stunned that I just stood there, jaw probably slack, while he continued, “5 hours is really slow.”
If I could have those 2 minutes of my life back, boy, would the conversation have been totally different.
Instead of staring in disbelief at this rude stranger, I’d have said to him something along the lines of “How dare you comment on my marathon time? It is a fabulous achievement and it’s not up for discussion or criticism.”
Or, perhaps, I’d have asked this judge-y man, “Have YOU run a marathon? No, I thought not, So why don’t you shut the **** up”, and I’d have walked away, head held high.
But none of this happened, of course.
I just stood there, staring in disbelief at the rudeness of the man.
His wife – I suppose – piped up, and here the whole thing got weirder:
”Darling, she ran the full this morning. That time was for a full not a half.”
WHO WERE THESE PEOPLE??
HOW DID THEY KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT ME?!
”Oh” says bloke. “A full. 5 hours for a full. Better than 5 for a half,” and off they wandered, having totally messed with my head.
I tell you, that conversation changed me.
It was as though someone had critiscised my children, or told me that my dogs are ugly.
Damn it, how DARE you tell me that I’m a slow runner.
None of your damned business.
Which is why I try never to ask people their finishing times.
I congratulate them on the stupendous feat of finishing a 10K/HM/FM and strive never to ask “What was your time?”
If they want to, they’ll tell me.
We need to celebrate achieving something fantastic, something which is a personal benchmark and who knows the back story?
Where is all this slow-runner talk coming from, do I hear you ask?
Well, for one thing, since I’m easing back into running after over 3 weeks away on a climbing trip, I’m super slow and out of shape myself.
And secondly, this turned up today:
It’s my finisher’s T shirt from the New Delhi Marathon in February, and shows my time.
Yaay! I cracked 5:00 which was my goal and so I, for one, am super happy to have this time on show. Hubby commented that perhaps some people who were disappointed with their time might not want to wear such a T, and perhaps he’s right, but not in my case.
4:50:10 and proud of it and aiming to reduce it next time round 🙂