Tuesday, August 6, 2013

There's Only Room for One Judge Judy

By: Jennifer

You know you have plenty of room to improve when you write about what not to do because you’re the one doing it.
I confess, I am a judgy runner, and I hate it. I underestimate my fellow runners almost daily, when I should be giving them every opportunity to be great where they are, or better yet, surprise me with something more.
The past 5 Monday nights, I have had the privilege to run with a group of women training for a 5K coming up in September. For some reason, I quickly assumed that every woman out there who doesn’t look like a super-star athlete is training for their very first 5K. But as I meet, talk with, and run with these women, I find they have been doing 5Ks for years. I learn that they have had bad injuries and are easing their way back into the sport, like a smart runner should do. I hear stories of previous half marathons or being in training for an upcoming half. I hear a mom proudly say she does 5ks so that she and her young son can do them together.
I’m only embarrassing myself with my own hypocrisy when I presume that because someone looks a certain way or has registered for a certain race that I can assume their running resume. Not only that, but I had a dose of my own medicine last week as well. I was taking part in a group run, running on sore legs, having started off too fast, in 6 o'clock heat. I was struggling. I knew it, and apparently others could see it too. Someone passed me asking if this was my first time out there. Whether or not that comment meant first time running with that group or first time running ever, it hurt a lot to to be on the receiving end of it. I know I'm being a little sensitive, but it just supports my point that being a judgy runner is for the prideful, and it prevents those who do it from learning from and being encouraged by their fellow runner.
We're in this together. We all started somewhere, and no one has had an easy time doing it. There's not a single runner I couldn't sit down to coffee with and not relate to something involved in their running career. You're hard long run of 15 miles is someone else's hard long run of 3. We all struggle. We all fail. We all conquer.
Take some time and let another runner surprise you this week. Share with us what you find out about someone!


  1. :(

    I'm glad that you're admitting this and making a commitment to changing your ways. I'm still new to running (just over 6 months in) and am coming back from a tonsillectomy, which has really cramped my training. My big fear is other runners looking at me struggling and thinking it's because it's my first time out or because I don't take my running seriously, when, in fact, I'm hurting, having a hard time breathing and struggling to keep myself properly fueled and hydrated in the Florida heat and humidity - all side effects of my surgery. I had an awful time at my race on Friday night and it was embarrassing, because over a month ago, I could have done so much better.

    In my short time running, I've been so encouraged by so many people, and it made me feel so much better about myself and my efforts. It's hard hearing that there are people who do judge. I am always so happy for and inspired by my running friends, even when they leave me in the dust.

  2. I hate underestimating people. And I loved being surprised by what my fellow runners can do when I hear their stories. I'm quickly learning how every time I assume something about a runner, I'm taking away their story. I can't imagine even imagine running in FL in the summer, but you are obviously a strong runner to be back out there regaining your strength in that heat and humidity. And just like you said, I am encouraged by YOU to hear your story. THAT's exactly what I'm talking about by letting other runners surprise you with what they can do!