On Saturday, around the 12-mile mark of the Charleston Half Marathon, I passed two runners. One of the gentlemen was talking continuously, as the other politely listened, offering brief words of affirmation. The "talker," spoke about his previous week's race, how he ran slower than expected, and offered a litany of excuses for his current race pace. You see, he had been sick, bronchitis, I believe was the ailment. What's more he had been sick over the Holiday season. He would have run faster today, but...
My pace quickened. I could no longer listen.
So, borrowing words from the chapter of the same name from my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice For Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," www.muldowneyrunning.com, let's talk about excuses.
Let's break down "excuse makers" onto two groups:
First, we have the 'ex-Phenom.'
You know who I'm talking about. The person at the Christmas party, wedding, or other social event who engages you in conversation. You tell them about your half marathon, and they go on to tell you about how they ran a 4-minute mile in high school. You marvel at that statement as you stare at their belly and their several chins. "Oh, I gave it up because I'm too busy."
Wait a second.
And you're NOT too busy.
How 'bout, "I quit because I don't want to ruin my knees."
Ah, that extra hundred pounds is going to ruin your knees faster than a running regimen.
There's "I don't want to get too skinny"
"I get bored when I run."
"I'm more of a sprinter."
"I don't like to sweat."
It's got make you feel pretty good. You've overcome all of those formidable obstacles. You train and you race
If you've been at this running game long enough, you have learned an indisputable fact.
Runner's are full of excuses!
Some runners are able to rattle off excuses before, after, and as in the aforementioned story, even DURING a race.
Here are some of my favorites.
"I was just running this race as a workout."
This somehow implies that, if I beat you, it is a hollow victory. After all, YOU were only running the race as a workout. As my friend of 37 years, Brian Tonitis says, "When you pay the entry fee, it counts."
"Oh man, I was partying until (insert time) last night."
In the words of Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does." Enough said about that lame excuse.
The, "I've been injured, sick, my parakeet's is ill" body of excuses once again implies that, if the excuse-maker were healthy, you'd be nowhere near him at the finish line.
Here's a good one,
"I was catching up to you in the last mile."
What does that mean?
Fact of the matter is: You didn't succeed buddy.
And finally, the mathematically-challenged.
"I was on a sub-3-hour pace at 15-miles."
A marathon is 26.2 miles and you ran a 3:15.
As most of us know, when it comes to race-day excuses, there should be no excuses. On race day, only your feet should do the talking.
Ok, let's keep this going.
Email or message me the favorite excuse you've heard during your time as a runner. I'll compile them, and we'll have fun with the excuses in a future blog.
I have to stop now.
I think I have a hangnail!