Are you a “just”-ifier?
Do you put the word “just” in front of your race if you haven’t registered for the longest distance at an event weekend? When friends ask you what race you’re doing, do you say “just” the half marathon?
Maybe you use “just” in front of your pace. You say I’m “just” a race walker, or I’m “just” a back of the packer.
Or, maybe you use the word “only” to describe your weekend. I’m “only” doing the 10K. I’m “only” in one race this weekend. I “only” run a 12-minute mile. I’m “only” doing 15 half marathons this year.
We need to stop using these self-limiting descriptors. Your races are an accomplishment, no matter the distance or pace.
The negative impact of using “just” and “only” in front of a race distance really struck me when friends were making plans for the 2016 Walt Disney Marathon Weekend. A friend said she was “only” doing Goofy (as opposed to the Dopey Challenge of four races). Since when is doing a half and full marathon on consecutive days not a huge personal accomplishment?
When another friend was asked about her half marathon history, she said she is “just” a walker. Yet, she’s finished over 50 half marathons. Is that accomplishment diminished by her walking them?
A half marathon finisher is a finisher, whether you are a race walker, a run/walker or a fast runner. Whether you’re doing 5Ks every weekend or a marathon a month, you are completing what you set out to do.
Think about how silly this sounds in other roles. Would author say she “only” wrote one book when introducing herself? She’s an author whether she published one work or five.
Each distance is great for its own reasons. Some people love 5Ks and 10Ks because they are speedy races for them. Other people love the challenge of a marathon because training for one gives them endurance and discipline. Not wanting to or not having the capability to do certain distances does not make a runner “less than” another runner.
The most important thing is to find the races and the distances you prefer, and then to celebrate what you have achieved.