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Last, but not least… June 29, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in running, societal commentary.
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I had a busy morning.  Today was Fargo’s Run or Dye 5k, and a friend came in from out of town to run with me.  It was a very casual race.  No one was timing it, a lot of people were walking, and it was just a lot of fun.  Well, except for the part where I got some dye in my eye and everything on the left was blue.  When I got home, I realized that I was covered in colors from head:

runordye_head

to toe:

runordye_feeet

In fact, I remarked to my friend that I looked like a troll with a funny tan line.  I discovered that, aside from giving great impressions of mammograms, sports bras are also the only thing that keep out powdered dye…well, except for the tiny bit of green that crept in from the top.

(This is the point where I’m going to go from a fun, light-hearted post to something more serious.  Sorry about that…but keep reading.)

I was all excited about my experience and was about to post something about it on a fitness board that I frequent.  When I got there, though, I saw that someone else had said something about how they had done a race today, but at least they weren’t last.

Am I the only one who hates that particular comment?  It makes it sound as though the last person in the race is some sort of loser.  I guess I resent it a bit because I WAS the last person in a race the first time I did a triathlon.  Yes, a triathlon!  I finished a 500m swim, 12 mi bike ride, and 3 mi run.  And I was last.  But I finished a damn triathlon folks!  There’s nothing to be ashamed about there!  I worked my ass off (hopefully a bit literally) in order to get through that experience.  As a friend reminded me on the run portion, I was still moving faster than everyone watching back at the finish line.

Last year, I was reading the times for a 10k I participated in and while I wasn’t last, I was pretty stunned when I saw that the person who did finish last was 80 years old.  You know, somehow that seems a lot more impressive than dragging my then 36-year-old butt across the finish line about 15 minutes ahead.

I’d just ask that we not diss the people who are last.  How about, “I wasn’t fast, but I improved on my time.”  Those people in last place may have been working just as hard (or harder!), may be fighting with medical problems, may have hurt themselves, who knows!  It’s a much better idea to celebrate our accomplishments and not compare ourselves to anyone else…especially the person who has to be the last.  The fact that they were last just means they didn’t quit when they could’ve and made someone else be last.

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Comments»

1. katiedid - June 29, 2013

My sister was going to do that one today! But I think she sat it out and cheered from the sidelines. I can’t remember why – foot injury?

Anyway, I fully agree with you about being last. I used to make this joke until I realized exactly what you outline here.

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mareserinitatis - July 2, 2013

There are few things worse than having to sit out a race due to an injury. 😦

I used to say it a lot myself, but I think it’s because we’re used to thinking in terms of competition with others rather than ourselves. If we change our perspective on this, I think it helps to remember that what we’re saying could be putting someone else down.

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2. Cop Car - June 30, 2013

Hear! Hear! We observers find it so easy to criticize at times – not only in athletic endeavors but in professional and personal endeavors. I, myself, sometimes am disparaging of rock bands and such. I should know better. They are doing what I cannot/could not. Thanks for the reminder. (BTW: You look lovely in colorful dots!)

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mareserinitatis - July 2, 2013

Thanks! I was told that I looked good in green or purple, but not when it’s on my face. 😀

It’s easy to get into a critical mindset. I think a lot of our discourse is colored that way, so it’s hard not to let criticism slip out.

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