We have to talk about pace – again.

I have been quietly seething about 2 running related things. Sometimes it takes me a while to realise just how pissed off I am with something but today I realised that I have been seething for a little while.

I think I probably realised because I was quite happy with my pace today. We went for a run at Bolton Abbey. My watch didn’t play. It wouldn’t lock onto satellites and wouldn’t let me start the timer. So the stats from the run are from Kath’s watch – but we ran the same course, started at the same time and finished at the same time which means I ran 4.5 miles in 59.38 on a hilly course. That’s elapsed time not some funny strava hocus pocus which measures the moving time. The previous best elapsed time on that route is 1.03.33 (and spookily a moving time of 59.38). So yeah, I was pleased that the watch confirmed that the route had taken just under an hour. Very pleased indeed. The average pace was 13.20 minutes per mile. Most people would call that slow. I have called that slow, but for this route, on this day, I was bloody happy with that.

This afternoon our new wall planner for training plans and races came so we were putting on the runs we’ve booked in pen and ones we’re thinking about in pencil. A couple of weeks or so ago we had looked at the Haspa Hamburg Half Marathon which would be at the end of April 2018. It’s a nice route, we could stay at my Dad’s and combine the run with a family visit. It’s been ages since we’ve been to Hamburg. It would be fun. Well I thought it would be fun until I saw that the time limit is two and a half hours. TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Two and a half hours from gun time, too – not from when you cross the start line. That’s 11.27 minute miles – not just once but for 13.1 miles consistently and if you can sustain that you’ll still come last(ish). So to make sure of finishing within the time I’d basically have to run 2 minutes per mile faster than I did today. Maybe this shouldn’t piss me off. Maybe that’s fine. Half marathons are for people who can, you know, actually run. But it does piss me off. Half marathons shouldn’t be so bloody elitist. There is no reason to have that cut off time as far as I can see. The marathon runners use some of the same route so it needs to stay open anyway. The marathon starts later so the finish etc all needs to still be open – and if it’s a different finish, well then maybe the route needs to be different so that it is the same finish. Would it really be such a big deal to stay open for longer? I mean really? And how much longer? Well, until the last person has finished might be an idea. Or at the very least let people complete the course on the pavement – here the info actually says you will be asked to move off the course and remove your running number and can’t complete. Gee thanks.

Anyway, that made me think of something I saw the other day on my run. The one where I ran to Bingley 5 Rise Locks and Kath went a bit further – actually I don’t think I blogged about it in any detail. While I was waiting for her to come back a group of school kids arrived on the canal. I paid no attention for some time, trying to block out the constant noise from the little voices. However, it went quiet which made me look up and they’d all disappeared for a little run down the canal. Fine. Then they obviously came back because the volume went up again. I was getting a little cold so I was pacing up and down. One of the teachers said, ‘right, last interval’ and then looked at the last 3 or 4 kids who had only just made it back and said ‘Well you just run as far as you can and we’ll collect you on the way back’. It was so dismissive. He then set off with the front runners, another teacher went with a middle lot and the teacher who was obviously meant to be the back marker couldn’t even be bothered to run with the slow kids. He just sent them on their way and then played on his phone. They didn’t go far before the first of the fast kids were coming back at them and the teacher turned them around and said something – no idea what but the body language of the slow kids changed as they plodded their way back to us and were overtaken by the kids who had run further than them. They hated it. I could see how much they hated it. I felt like giving the teachers a mouthful. I really did. Everything they said and did must just have been so demotivating for those slow kids. They were ignored and  dismissed, nobody said ‘well done’ when they got back to the group, nobody asked how far they’d got, nobody acknowledged their effort (and they had put in some considerable effort judging by their colour and huffing and puffing). The teachers were all engaging with the faster runners and as I decided not to wait any longer but let Kath catch up with me and therefore started my little jog past the group, two of the teachers gave me the same look they’d given the slow kids. I smiled at them, because of course, I am a slow kid and in my own small way I wanted them to know that slow kids have just as much of a right to be doing their thing. Over the last few days though I keep coming back to that dismissive tone of ‘just run as far as you can and we’ll collect you on our way back’. Kath was collecting me on the way back but our conversation had been entirely different in tone. It made me feel good about running my distance and allowing her to run hers. It acknowledged that we could both push ourselves a little that way and as soon as she caught up with me we had a conversation about our respective runs.

The teachers and the other kids just didn’t seem to think that those 3 or 4 slower kids were worth their time or acknowledgement. How dare they be so dismissive.

How dare they.

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