Monday, September 12, 2011

Nice Guys

They say "nice guys finish last".

I bet that's true about 50% of the time.

I mean, let's face it here people.  Not everyone is nice.

So a few weeks ago I volunteered at the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in a hurricane.  True story.  I worked a very well organized water stop with one of my favorite tall weird people.  The last time she & I volunteered together, the weather was a TOTAL FAIL.  So as soon as we saw each other in the dark, we knew the weather was going to be bad.  

There was something that happened that day at the Hurricane Half that I never told you all about.  It's bothered me off and on over the last weeks as I tried to figure out if it was blog worthy.  My 18 miler this weekend made me think that it is.

I've concluded there are different types of runners.

Some would rather take a DNF than go out and not PR ~ never mind finishing last.

Some would gladly run every mile regardless of pace simply because they love it that much, regardless of where they finish in the "pack".

Some will fight for every breath, hating every step they take, with determination and grit, as the pack leaves them.

Well, at PHHM, the girl who ran by the first water stop in last place... was crying.  The police car was idling behind her as she ran through the carnage of empty water cups and windblown volunteers.  Here she was, at mile #2 of a half marathon, and she was crying.

Personally, I don't find half marathons to feel that long any more.  But I remember my first 3... and they felt like ~ well ~ a HALF a freaking MARATHON.  

And those suckers are REALLY long.

I thought, "mentally, that girl has a tough road ahead" as I saw the tears...  I stood there for a nano-second contemplating...

What's a GBA to do?

I mean...  I was wearing running clothes.

I jumped onto the course and fell in beside her.  We ran for a few steps in silence as I listened to her hiccup and sniffle.  First off.  I didn't know what to say because I didn't actually know her.  Secondly, she was obviously feeling badly.  (or, was she feeling bad?)  Finally, I wondered what would make me feel less bad if I was her.... wait a minute.  We're running in a hurricane...

Suddenly she opens up, and gushing tears and words, she explains that she can't believe she's last.  Again.  Why is she last?  "Again?!"

As she finishes telling me how bad she sucks, I cheerfully said to her, "Don't you get it?  You're bad ass.  You're hard core.  The people who would be last didn't come today.  They stayed in bed.  They made excuses.  You are running a Half Marathon in a hurricane because you are AMAZING.  YOU go own YOUR race, and stop worrying about where everyone else is running.  This is YOUR RACE."

I dropped off.  She ran on, and I've often wondered how it went for her.

Saturday I ran MTT.  My posse was strong and secure in their run, and I... well.... go here and read this if you want to see how it went down.  It wasn't pretty.  (it was f'ugly)

I had a moment (or 9) where I wanted to quit.  And then I remembered the PHHM runner and thought, you know what?  I am HARD CORE.  This is MY RUN.  It doesn't matter what ANYONE ELSE IS DOING.


I suffered through and made it to the end.

Would I ever want to repeat that?  No.  No I really wouldn't.

The run was that bad.

But this tragic run made me appreciate that I am the kind of person who would rather suffer through and make it happen, than quit and always wonder if I could've done it.

~savor the run~

I need to add an UPDATE here.  Last week I spotted the Crying Runner running in Richmond.  I recognized her from the PHHM, so I crossed the street and asked how she was, and what she was up to, etc.  She DNF'd at PHHM.  She fell behind the time cut off.  But you want to know why I still admire her?  She was out running again when I saw her, running strong I might add, training for the marathon.  Yup, it turns out she's MTT.


  1. That was us yesterday Ginny. Heather was having a rough time around mile 13, she just couldn't get her head or body into it. My body, just the right leg really, started bailing out on me by mile 15-16 or there abouts. But we were out there, we were being GBA as you would say. The best part, thru all of our pain and suffering, we missed a turn on the way back and wound up running almost 20 miles instead, and we finished that run strong. I think in my head what pushed me to run up Gummy Bear Hill as we call it by the stadium, and it felt really ok, was maybe hearing an announcer someday saying "Danielle Robinson, you are an IronMan".....

  2. Please vote for my mom on her blog......