The back of the pack
Dorothy HarrisFall is right around the corner. Do you believe me? Of course it's still nearly 90 degrees and those of us that have been around here a while know we may still have a hurricane or two or three before things cool off. But, truly, fall is slipping in once again.
Published: September 6, 2012
Published: September 6, 2012
I can tell fall is coming by all the races being added to my calendar. Benefit runs start popping up all over the county, offering an opportunity to donate to worthy causes while you exercise.
It seems like runners are in two camps among the folks I know. You are either a diehard, which means you don't feel like you are gonna die when you run; your body is hard, fit, fast and lean. The other camp, where I spend the majority of my time, are folks that run because it feels good most of the time, it lets you keep wearing those favorite jeans, or you hope to maintain the level of fitness you have right now.
That's the beauty of running, jogging or even shuffling. You don't have to be super fit or very fast to gain great health benefits. You don't have to be a natural born winner, a competitive spirit or a gym rat. You can participate now, as you are, without feeling like you won't fit in.
Anyone can run, and honestly they do. If you come to one of the benefit races, have no doubt you'll see super-fit folks in bright-colored spandex that perfectly coordinates with their shoes and IPods. You'll also see people in gym shorts, old T-shirts and running shoes. You'll see moms with kids in baby joggers and strollers. You'll see people in walking attire. You'll probably even see me, not running faster than 32 minutes because I just don't seem to be able to do so.
What I'm really telling you is there's no excuse not to join us. All you need is to tie on a pair of good running shoes and come get started. Don't worry about being the very last person, because chances are really good this will never happen. Just as there's always someone richer, prettier and thinner than you out there, there's always someone faster and slower. Both of them always show up, always.
The mid-packers, where I tend to hang out, are a jovial bunch. We try to be friendly and supportive. Sometimes we don't manage this really well because we are trying to breath, too. We'll smile at you though and be polite if we actually manage to pass you. We often entertain the children of the fast people when they first get started. We know that after a few races, even these little kids will be blowing our doors off, but that's OK. We feel like we helped them on their journey. If nothing else, we provided parental support in their first few races.
Here in the back, we don't mind if you walk a bit. Heck, we're often glad to join you so we can catch our breath, too. We are happy to have a conversation if it means a few extra minutes of walking on those really humid race days. You can tell us about your shin splints, hip flexors and tendonitis. Believe me, we understand, and we might even have a good tip for you on recovery.
Running is a sport for all. You don't have to be fast, you don't have to go far, but you do have to go. So come join us, there's plenty of room in the back of the pack.