Don’t Call me a Slow Mother Runner!

I started running in 2008. I joined a running club with my hubby (this was in the pre-kid era) and essentially learned the basics of running. Up to that point, I didn’t understand things like pacing, training and, like many, the term fartlek made me giggle (ok, it still makes me giggle). We both completed the clinic and ran our first race, a 10k. I was elated that I had accomplished such a feat and so proud of myself!

Awkward action shot! (I still have and wear that shirt btw…it has the stench to prove it)

Gradually I worked my way up to a half marathon distance and finally ran a race last year, which was such a highlight for me. The sense of accomplishment still resonates with me because it was something I never dreamed I’d be able to do.

Someone can smell a free pancake breakfast…

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fast runner. I’d say that at my best, I’m middle of the pack. It’s never really bothered me  because my focus was on endurance and finishing the race on my own two feet rather than being dragged across the finish line by the kind folks who clean up the pylons at the end of the race.

I’ve had a few people laugh at me and call my running slow in the past and lately, I have to be perfectly honest: it’s begun to sting a bit. I know it’s all in good fun but suddenly, I’m not laughing anymore. I’ve accomplished a lot with my running. Not in terms of speed but in terms of finishing the race. I shouldn’t be any less proud of myself because I didn’t finish first.

I will even do a fun run on New Year’s Day if it means I get free coffee and cinnamon buns after.

While this whole debate was raging in my head, I happened upon a blog post by Ted Spiker over at Runner’s World. I knew I had found my next mission: He started the Sub-Club: a place for runners like me who want to break the 30 minute mark in a 5k. For runners like me who aren’t the fastest but who are determined and dedicated to doing what we love even if we aren’t leading the pack. For runners like me who love to support and encourage each other at every step, mile and finish line out there. I’m thankful for this group because it’s full of big puffy hearted love and respect for our fellow runners, humor and honesty.

Those few moments of doubt are long gone. I’m still going to run my half marathon in October and I’m going to get to my sub-30 goal some day. My running has a focus and a purpose and neither revolve around being the best or the fastest. Rather, they revolve around doing something I love doing in my own way and in my own time.

Unless there comes a day that they run out of free pancakes before I get to the finish line.


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Stephanie is a Canadian Mom of 3, Runner, Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC), Christ-follower and all around reeker of awesomeness. When she's not chasing after her kids, you can find her dreaming big dreams and bringing them to life.

21 Responses to Don’t Call me a Slow Mother Runner!

  1. I’m middle of the pack, too, and I’m perfectly ok with that! Nothing wrong with that – although I do hope to break 30min for a 5k sometime soon, too!

  2. This is such a wonderful post! I am also a “slow” runner and often end up in the back of the pack. My dream running goals are the same sub 30 min 5k and a sub 2:30 half. And it BOTHERS the FRACK out of me when people call me slow. I have worked just as hard (sometimes even harder) than those that are at the front of the pack.

  3. I’m always at the tailend of the pack, and it doesn’t bother me. Once a group of “older” ladies wearing skirts ran laps around me but I kept going. I never stop. This year I decided that I was making a lifestyle change and I’m sticking with it. You ladies inspire this beginner. I hope to run a half marathon soon.

    Hugs and Mocha,

  4. Love this post! Twice I’ve had someone say something like “oh you look like you’d be faster than that…” to me after I had a race I was proud of. And at first it bugged me but I just remind myself that running is my hobby. And I may not be the fastest runner but I love it. I don’t want to turn it into some stressful quest to be faster. If I get faster, that will be awesome (I too, am very close to the sub 30 club – I missed it by seconds in my last 5K) but if not, whatevs. :)

  5. I have my first 5k in two days. I probably won’t be able to finish the whole run while jogging even. Actually I’m sure that there will be people walking as fast as I “run” lol. I think people just don’t think before they speak because even if you’re “slow”, you are still working your butt off to get moving and keep going.

  6. The thing about us mid-pack and back-of-the-pack runners is that we get more bang for our buck by staying on the course longer. (borrowed from John Bingham)

  7. No matter how slow we are we’re still way ahead from those couch dwelling potatoes… keep training and we will reach the goal Sub-30 sooner or later

  8. I’ve been meaning to come back and comment on this for days.

    I’m middle of the pack (or more towards the back), too. I loved that article about how to break the 30:00 5K and that’s totally my goal this summer. Although I haven’t yet picked out the race that I’m going to shoot for.

    I’m all about the pancakes.

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