To the self righteous family sitting one seat in front of me on the school bus back to the parking lot following the Polar Dash 5k/10k/ half-marathon – When I first saw you, a mother and father in your 50's with what I assume was your fresh from college son, all together wearing your 10k finisher medals, I thought to myself that I hope this is something that I can do with my family when I am your age - But then I heard you speak – "I come up over this hill and there I see all of these large people walking the 5k – why even bother? What are they getting out of it? What a waste of money – they should just go for a walk somewhere" says the dad. The mother replies with "they got a fleece out of the deal" – they all three smugly laughed. The shots about the walkers started in the line waiting for the bus and went on throughout the whole ride - They never even had the decency to look around at who may be overhearing their conversation - I wasn't eavesdropping -- they were sitting in seperate seats and it wasn't quiet. I was on the edge of my seat directly behind them biting my lip as hard as I could. Let me tell you something folks – you are very lucky that I have also decided to be a better person this year because it took all that I had not to interrupt with my 2 cents.
Yep – I walked the Polar Dash 5K on new year's day. Did I want to walk it? Nope – I did because I made a promise to my family that starting that day, I was going to turn my life around – I had a very bad cold and was wheezing without doing anything. Add to that that I am 300 lbs and far from where I want to be - but I got out of bed around 6 am scraped the ice off my car and warmed it up – packed a bag for my three year old – woke her up and carried her to the car, tried to give her a little breakfast and brought her to my brother's place so he could watch her. From there my sister-in-law joined me. She easily could have run the race, but vowed to be there to walk it with me. I completely admit that I'm in the position I am today because for many years, because of all of the effort it took just to get there that day, I would have said forget it, but did I mention that on that same morning, my wife and other daughter were in the Children's hospital of Boston where my 1 year old is recovering from her 4th major open heart surgery in her very short life? She was born with a completely messed up heart and I made a promise to her that now that her "unfixable" heart was in fact now fixed, I will do my best to make sure I don't take the perfectly good heart I was given for granted. So yes, I walked it – the whole damn thing – went through about a half a pack of cough drops along the way and coughed plenty. I did my best to stay out of the runners' way and cheered others on the best I could – I saw many people at different points in their journey – many in a similar place to me, others at the top of their game, and everywhere in between, but I was inspired that day and will not let your self-righteous attitude take that away from me.
To the family on the bus – I'm pretty sure I got more out of that 5k than the three of you did put together – by the way, you got a fleece too and for the record mine doesn't fit so it wasn't for the fleece, and the last I checked, I don't think your 9 - 10 minute per mile pace for a 10k race is going to win you many awards either (that said, I would kill to be able to run that pace at this point, but I will someday again soon) - so I guess the same could be said for you – what really did you get out of it that I didn't? But you see the difference is, I'm not judging you, or I guess at this point I am a little – but I was actually admiring you until I saw/heard the diarrhea spew from your mouths. I plan to keep my eyes open for you at events in the future and the next time, I vow to not bite my tongue – we are all at different points in our journey – its people like you that make those of us trying to turn things around feel awkward and scared to try. But there is a movement out there of people like me that are, despite people like you, taking their lives back (some of us go by Do-lifers) -- I wasn't going to say anything, but it has been eating at me since I got off that bus that I didn't put you in your place and after reading something John Larson of Team Ortho wrote congratulating all of the runners/walkers, I had to say something because the fact that he said walkers reassured me that we, too, were in fact welcomed at the event. I urge others like this family that see people like me at these events as a burden to instead be inspired that we are not giving up. We need all of the help we can get.
Despite the family on the bus, I thought it was a wonderful event and I'll see you at the 7k in March!!
Hey Rich! Congrats on winning the Polar Dash today! Oh yeah, you won! Wish I had been there with you-at the race and on the bus. Maybe the Get Lucky.ReplyDelete
Team Rich all the way! I was in bed while you were doing the 5k, be proud, you're doing great and every day gets better!ReplyDelete
Keep up the hard work buddy and don't pay attention to them! 99% of the people at the run are cheering for guys like us so don't get discouraged by a couple of wanna-be's! Give me a call so we can figure out our weekly schedule!ReplyDelete
"They know not what they do".But I think you did a wonderful thing. I still haven't even walked a race, let alone run one.ReplyDelete
Do NOT give up. This is the start of a journey for you and maybe you will be able to run part of the Get Lucky 7k! There are rude people everywhere - and unfortunately some (but NOT all) people who are more seasoned runners look down upon people who are trying to get into the sport. Don't let these people keep you from forging on in an effort to drop weight and become healthier. Hope to see you in March at the Get Lucky 7k!
Youre the winner in my book!!!! Dont let them stop you!! At my last 5K I had a similar experience. I kept my mouth shut, and the tears freely fell. I actually ran the race, but I was crying for where I had come from, and for all the others who couldnt yet run.ReplyDelete
Kudos to you, Rich. I think that so many people are so absorbed in their own lives and can't comprehend that there are other people with their own sets of circumstances. I feel sad for those people you encountered, honestly. They clearly don't have the self-confidence we have, or they wouldn't have been so judgmental. Generally, people that judgmental don't have a lot of self-confidence or empathy.ReplyDelete
Hey Rich, I am a girl who have lost over 130 lbs and counting. I did so to save me from terrible heart and diabetes related diseases. I walked/ran the 5k course this past weekend too. Even thought I still weight 240lbs and have been practicing the walk to 5k program i didn't feel ready to run the whole thing. I am glad I didn't I fell twice out on the route trying to get out of the way of a few people. WHat those people said not the bus was cruel and selfish. If they had ever ben in our shoes they would have been ashamed. I can tell you this, after I lost the first 100 lbs. I walked my third three day for breast cancer. i would like to put them out on the 20 miles a day course and see if they feel the same about walkers after that. I can honestly say people like them should not be part of races However, I am proud that you did the race and finished. If I could be there with you today I would give you a huge high five and hug. I am glad your youngest is getting the treatment she needs to fix her heart. I think our heart is getting better with each step you take. Much respect and encouragement.ReplyDelete
Love the story Rich, great job biting the tongue. You and your family will be in Pat and my prayers as well your two little angels. HughReplyDelete
Rich~~~You got sooo much more out of the race then they ever could imagine and I am sooo proud of you for making a healthy commitment to yourself and your family. I wonder what they thought of me then, as I was the one walking on the cane. As a half-marathon runner myself, it was humbling to walk a 5k, however, I'm recovering from being struck by a car so I think we are both winners and accomplished a milestone for ourselves. I am registered for the Get Lucky as well and hope to be jogging by that point, however if I'm not you'll have another proud walker and will definitely be cheering you on... Take care and continue in your positive journey and never get discouraged by ugliness.ReplyDelete
Great job! I ran the Polar Dash 5k. I have been running for just about one year and am still new to races. I have heard comments like you posted about. I too have held my tongue but thought of how much more someone who struggles through the races gets out of them then those who are at the front of the pack. Everyone is on their own journey, my journey is usually just to finish and I am so inspired by those people like me who get out there and just go for it!! That is what keeps me running, keeps me inspired. It is people like you to push through and make it to the finish who inspire me!! Way to go!! See you at the Get Lucky!!ReplyDelete
Here is my blog: hopefully I can inspire you too! http://kristyruns.blogspot.com/2012/01/polar-dash-race-update.html?m=1ReplyDelete
I've been the staff "caboose" on several endurance events. I always say those at the back of the pack are the best. They are kind, encouraging to those around them, and - most importantly - they are determined. They are often those who are the most injured and/or most out of shape. But they are also hopeful an committed to doing their best. No matter how hard it is or how long it takes. I'd take the back of the pack over the top finishers any day. While the speedy folks are standing around waiting, or already on their way home, the slower folks are learning that they can do anything. As the quote goes "The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." So good for you, and all of those who have the courage to do these events knowingReplyDelete
...it's about so much more than a race time, a medal or a fleece jacket. Good luck on your 7k. As far as i can tell, your daughters already have a daddy they can be proud of!ReplyDelete
congrats on the run! i was at the polar dash as well and i was WAY more impressed by all of us "average" runners/walkers who had the bravery to start than the super speedy runners who were whizzing by! plus, let's not forget the ridiculous winds we braved :) keep it up and way to start your new year on the right foot!ReplyDelete
I have run off and on for almost 30 years. I am now 40 with 3 kids and a hubby. A hubby who is fast enough to run some races and I who am still happy with running the whole thing (not stopping) which I did at the Polar Dash. But what I always tell my husband is, I get more of a work out I am out there longer!!! Hope to see you at the Get Lucky. One race, one mile, one step at a time, it all makes a difference.ReplyDelete
Good for you!!! And bad for the "perfect" (not really) family. I am a SLOW runner and mother of 4. While my kids were growing up and had a bad tryout of a sport or lost a game I would always say, "It's not about always winning or being on the best team but doing what you like. Look at me, have you ever seen me win a 5K or 10K? But I still do it because I like the challenge." They still talk about that. Your family should be so proud of you.ReplyDelete
Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story with us! Just got a phone call from a friend in NY who is coming here for the lucky 7, thought maybe I should try it in my head but not to her. Too scared! This just changed my mind!ReplyDelete
Rich, thank you for sharing this story. You have inspired and encouraged me at a moment when I need it. I have been running four years, and I am still not fast. Not fast at all. But I am doing it. I am breathing deeply and moving quickly (at least for me) and I am off the couch and doing it. Just like you. The first gentleman is right. You are the winner is this situation. You are doing it for the right reasons,and you are giving people who really need encouragement the kind of courage they need - at least that is what you did for me today. Blessings to you and your family.ReplyDelete
I read this post as a link from my friend Kelly who previously commented. I too am one of the slower ones. I can completely relate, and I've done 5Ks when I've been in poor health, but I still got off my rear and did them. I am proud of you for doing just that as well.ReplyDelete
I hope that family gets their just rewards in some other way some day. Or that you pass them up on your first Polar Dash 10K.
Keep fighting the good fight! You have so many people behind you! I hope to see you at the back of the pack at the 7K. :)
Your story is inspiring! I am sorry that you had to hear those unfriendly comments. My journey has many parallels with the one you are now embarking on. Three years ago I weighed 40 lbs. more than I do now. I started watching what I ate, exercising, and, about 2 1/2 years ago I took up running again, at a very slow pace.
Like you I had a past as an athlete, but had let myself go. If I could give you any advice it would be to keep your goals small, attainable, and frequently set new ones. This will help you build momentum and reduce the risk of injury from doing too much too fast.
With respect to the people who made those comments, channel all of that (potentially negative) energy into motivation toward reaching your goals. You have a beautiful family and I admire your courage to make your journey so public! If you ever need motivation, I'd be happy to help! Best of luck to you!!
P.S. I also ran the Polar Dash 10K this past weekend. I set a PR for myself and finished in the top 15 overall and first in my age group. Toward the end of the race, I had to dodge other runners/walkers on the course. I didn't mind at all! I welcome you and all participants who had the courage and motivation to get out there on a day when it would have been much easy to stay home. I look forward to seeing you at the Get Lucky!!
I had to read this a few times because each time there were different emotional strings that were being yanked on. I was teared up and happy to read that your beautiful baby girl is mending and on her way to being healthy. In return for that gift you are doing what you need to do to try to get healthier so that you can be there for her and your family. That just sort of makes me think that you pretty much ROCK as a daddy and hubby! I get a little disturbed and angry, maybe frustrated even with the people on the bus. People have their opinions, I get that. We all have made comments about others that we probably shouldn't, it's human nature really but some volume control should probably be utelized in some cases.ReplyDelete
I also walked the Polar Dash this year for the first time. I walked the entire thing and had no desire to run it. Ok, that's a lie... there were parts where the music flowing from my iPod put a little pep in my step that almost made me want to run just a little:-) In the past I held back from participating because of people like that. I know that there are probably people that talk and/or snicker when they may see me walking or exercising but most of them will not make it noticable. Hey, if it makes them feel better about themselves to tear me down then go for it. I've been in that position all my life and while I do have all sorts of emotional issues that stem from it, I've also gained a lot from it over the years. If they are going to be brave, stupid or arrogant enough to say things loud enough for me to hear them then... well, then I hope they too also feel better about themselves when they are done. They are most likely unhappy people who need that type of satisfaction and while I wasn't put here on this Earth to be their happy pill for that moment there is a part of me that feels a little sorry for them. Maybe for the same things that you point out about them not appreciating or getting anything out of the experience or maybe because of the fact that it takes them putting down others to feel good about their selves. Either way, I really just find them a waste of my time. Sure what they say that I hear hurts sometimes, even what I don't hear but I see or feel like they are saying hurts. Of course it does, it tears at a little part of me... I wouldn't be human if it didn't. But as they say, "What doesn't kill me makes me stonger." and thier toxic behavior will just poison them so in the long run who really wins the race?
I say you did that day and so did everyone else that participated for the fun, the experience, their health, the charity, because they like to run, like to walk, like to gather with their friends, be part of an event like that, whatever their reasons. Your family wins cause they have you and you are doing what you can to continue to be there for them. Those talking bad, well they just aren't worth the time to explain them away but I thank them for making me stronger and wanting to push myself harder. That just means that I'll keep participating so look out cause someday I may just pass them up:-)
I too will be at the 7K in March. I took a leap & registered & paid for about 14 or so 5Ks so far this year! I'll be walking until I'm ready to feel like I can add some running and I won't be one bit ashamed of it!
High 5, Rich!ReplyDelete
One thing that you have Rich, that this family on the bus will NEVER have...is the beautiful blessing of Gracie...and Lylli...and Carrie...man...it really sucks to be them!!!ReplyDelete