Guest writer, Margaret Owensby
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Margaret, and I’m a thirty-something married mommy of three. I am considered to be a large woman, due to my weight and stature, and I am a runner. I am a slow interval runner, who primarily runs short distances. Some may call me a jogger, but I still consider myself to be a runner regardless of my usual distances averaging between two and three miles. My long runs are usually a 5k distance that take me about 50 to 52 minutes to complete, and I am often treated differently because of this very fact.
I completed a half-marathon in 2014 (3:38:51 – see? slow), and had every intention of completing in 2015 in under 3 hours and 30 minutes. However, I had two little babies come roaring into my life only two weeks earlier, and was not cleared to walk (let alone run) 13 miles. So now I run short distances, in intervals, whilst pushing either a three year old or twin six month old babies in a stroller. At this point in time and fitness, a 5k is an endurance event for me.
As every runner knows, putting in base miles is absolutely vital when you are training for a race or an event. I get out and run five or six days a week, but I get such an odd reaction from people when they find out I run intervals. I receive a strange combination of scorn and disbelief when I ask questions from running groups and sites about nutrition, and am often told “You don’t need to worry about taking anything with you for such a short run.” My short-term goal of running a 10k is treated as a joke by some, never mind that I might carry some form of equipment. “Who needs a hydration belt for a 5k? Aren’t they ridiculous carrying that?” Before I started pushing the stroller (with all of the pockets and organizers), I carried either a hydration belt or my Orange Mud handheld for every run, if only because I needed a place to store keys/lip balm/money/tissues/mace/or whatever else I felt was necessary. Yet the more accomplished runners did, and still do, make derisive comments about it. Hey, I’ve got a 5k trail race coming up in two weeks, and I’m seriously wishing I had a Hydraquiver to sport. I may possibly want to show it off a bit, and possibly also because I like having a place to carry all my water and such.
In the world of running, distance and/or speed are what most (including me) will strive for. Those of us who run slowly (or intervals, or short distances) are often seen as a joke amongst those who run fast or far. So I have a simple request for all of you most awesome runners out there. Be respectful of your fellow runners. One runner's mile, is another runner's 250k desert run! Those who are slower than you, those who may not run as far as you are out there doing it because they are attempting to make it in to a new pace group, because they are attempting to go longer distances, because they love it. They may never win a prize, or place in the top ten, but most likely they will finish. We are all runners, and we all deserve the love and respect that this community has to offer.
Happy running, y’all!