Monday, January 20, 2014

The Critics

People often criticize my dedication and success in running. Putting it out there through Facebook posts, Tweets, my blog, my old 26.2 bumper sticker, running on the roads in all weather conditions, taking up the treadmills at the gyms for long periods of time, and so on, it’s only natural that people are going to have something to say when it comes to what I love to do. Here are some of my favorite critiques from the critics over the years:

“Wow, you must spend a lot more time out there than me if you run that fast.”

“Oh, well it makes sense that you can do that because you don’t have kids. Wait ‘til you have kids!”

“You should really be spending more time at bars than running. You probably haven’t met the right guy because you dedicate so much of your time to running.”

“I feel like you’re always so busy with running and you never make time for me.”  

“I eat whatever I want whenever I want. Life is too short to be so picky about your diet. “Real” girls just eat what they want.”

“Runners are so selfish.”

“Oh, you ran a race? So, why don’t you go post about it all over Facebook?” **one of my favorite passive aggressive critiques**

“You’re running another marathon??? Didn’t you already run one this year? Isn’t that bad for you?”

“Why aren’t you drinking tonight? Oh, you don’t want to be hung over for your run tomorrow? GOOD FOR YOU!” **another one of my fav. passive aggressive critiques 

“You know you are destroying your joints with all of that running! My aunt’s friend’s cousin’s brother’s grandpa just had knee surgery for the fourth time because of all of the running he did.”

****the female up-down eye scan as I am wearing tennis shoes with jeans or flip-flops with dress pants or a skirt****

“I can’t believe you write all of that stuff in your blog! Aren’t you embarrassed?”

“So, are you seeing anyone? Oh no? So, it’s just you and your running shoes!...?”

“I mean, I know I have issues. But, I see you on the treadmill and I’ve seen you running outside. You’ve got REAL problems.”

“You know, you’re missing out on life by running so much…?”

The list can go on, but I think you get the gist. It is cracking me up reflecting on some of these comments! I have found the best way to deal with the critics is to consider the source, which on most occasions leads me to just letting what they say go, and to maintain confidence in myself and what I choose to do! I used to get fired up, and would go on and on trying to defend myself and my dedication. I would get so so SO angry by the things some of these critics would say.  But, truth be told, my anger came because of my own interpretation of the things others what say, regardless of what the critics intent was. Further truth be told, I was angry on the surface, but deep down I was just really really REALLY hurt on the inside.  I would take each critique inward, would reflect on what others would say, and consequently would feel guilty about the time I dedicated to running. I would even feel a bit nauseous about some of my accomplishments, asking myself if it was all really worth it. I know that is ridiculous, but it can be hard to block out the things that people say and it can be easy to interpret critiques, especially ignorant ones, in a negative way. Considering there are other goals I have for my life besides running that I would still like to achieve, the criticism hit "soft spots" with me. This made it hard to stay positive and focused at times.

Fortunately, I have had time to step away from running and reflect on the question, “Has it all been really worth it?” Now, I have a REALLY definitive answer that I have full confidence in that I would shout from a mountain top if I could (but all I have is this blog page) and here it is: every single accomplishment and every millisecond I spent running was 110% worth it!!! Running has not taken away from my ability to achieve my other goals; it will just make me that much more prepared for all of the challenges and new goals to come my way when the time is right to accomplish them!

Being a successful marathon runner and teacher, two of my greatest passions outside of my family, are both very VERY physical and require an enormous amount of energy and focus. This inevitably makes other areas of my life suffer. But, overtime I have come to realize that the trade-off is necessary. I am a human being, after all! I cannot expect to be perfect in all aspects of my life. The good that comes out of my dedication to running and teaching has been powerful beyond words, and I do not need to defend it to anybody! What I have learned is that those who really matter understand me for whom I am and respect me for what I do. I am grateful to have people who are okay with going to Bravo for Happy Hour on Friday nights and who don’t get mad at me for being overly anal about eating early. I am grateful to have people who laugh at my “crazy” diet (even my three year old nephew Tommy is starting to jump in) and the mileage I run in a week. No one in my family offers me food without sarcastically saying, “well, it’s not whole wheat but…” or greets me without asking, “so, did you run here?” It makes me smile and warms my heart, because all of the teasing is out of love. Those are the critics who matter the most. The rest of the critics are just saying words, whether it’s out of jealousy, misunderstanding, or just their opinion, and at the core does not matter one bit. Plus, the trade-off I am experiencing now is temporary. As I get older, things in my life will change, and my priorities will change, too.

What I have learned most from all the critics is the one who is most significant: ME! What REALLY matters is how you feel about YOU. As my dear student and Wigs For Kids inspiration Annie said, “If you love yourself, the hate of others becomes insignificant.” The funny thing is the people who really “hate” you or strongly dislike you are probably people who do not really know you at all! So, with that being said, forget the haters. You really have to love yourself and be confident in the decisions that you make. Someone is always going to be disappointed by what you do, so it is pointless to try to live your life trying not to disappoint people. You have to listen to your heart, do what you feel is right, and have faith that the people who love you will support you no matter what!

All right, all right. Enough about the lovers and the haters!  Week 2 of my Glass City Marathon training went pretty well despite some GI issues. I had a stomach bug that lead to the “runs” (sorry for the overshare) but I powered through to complete each workout despite the pain! I did speed work on Monday (6X3:00@6:30-6:25ish pace) and Wednesday (pace booster for 30 minutes @7:10-6:55ish pace). I recovered with cross training on Tuesday and 5 easy (…ehhhhh with major belly pain and had to take a potty break midway through…) on Thursday. I finished it off with a pretty solid 13 miler on the treadmill on Saturday despite residual belly pain that crept up on me at mile 8. I totaled just under 37 miles this week. The belly pain definitely made for some mental struggle and it was definitely a tough week, but I got through it! I am just happy I managed to check each workout off the list!

On to week 3! 14 weeks to go!!! Love it or hate it, I CANNOT wait for the Glass City Marathon the spring!!! WOO WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! :-D


  1. I get the one about kids a lot and it pisses me off, if I want to keep it as a hobby I'll find the time and obviously I know they'll be changes then. The knees one is a favorite of mine, I roll my eyes because new studies suggest that they have nothing in common! muahahahahah!
    lol but I like the "oh just you and your running shoes" that's a good one.
    If there are any haters in our family I vote we run to the next gathering!
    I will always love running, I loved it growing up and I loved it when I met my husband doing it. If it wasn't for running, how would we have met?

  2. AMEN, Cuz!!! And EXACTLY! Do what you love and who might meet WHO you love!

    ...and let's def. run to our next family gathering!!! HAHA :-D

  3. I know it is not the same, but when I talk passionately about a good book I have read I get similar comments. Like I could be doing something more useful with my time. Others say they don't have time to read - implying that they are out doing worthwhile things with their time. I say if it is a passion there will be time. Anyone who is following their passion is a happier person-- no matter what the passion. Mine are family, teaching and reading. Everyone knows yours. No need to hide, excuse, or explain. Just being happy with yourself is explanation enough. More people admire you than criticize you!

    1. I love your perspective, Rose! I completely agree and your comment is in line with my new post!!!!