For a long time however, especially during the height of my "running career" (I use running and career both loosely here) I wasn't so comfortable with being dubbed "slow". I've been given advice on how to elongate my stride and increase my foot turn over, but the fact is running faster is something I had to learn to not care about. I have no grand illusions of winning races versus enjoying participating in them, but I always made excuses for my slow pace. I was embarrassed by my finish times for years and constantly felt like I had no right to compete along side elite runners and marathoners who were in the same race events as I was. It took the likes of stumbling upon John Bingham and his penguin philosophy for me to be ok with being a slow runner. Thanks to John and the Penguin Brigade, I realized that no matter how slow or poor the results, a runner is a runner. Frankly, the finish line is the same, no matter when you cross it. Now, when people comment on my slow finish times, I usually state that I'm still lapping everyone who's sitting on their couch at home and am met with a smile and recognition of truth.
Despite society's drive for perfection, that fact is if you draw, paint or sing, you're an artist. If you run, you're a runner. If you exercise, you're an athlete. Don't let someone else's standards tell you that you're not "good" enough to be exactly who and what it is you are. Step up and own it. I am a runner. I am slow. I am a proud Penguin and even have the medal to prove it.
The below is from John Bingham's website, and yes, I've had some of these happen to me! Read on and laugh...
You might be a Penguin if...
...you have to politely (for the third time) tell the men in the police car moving behind you that no you do not wish for a ride.
...you wear your jog bra on top of your singlet. This is especially true if you are male.
...during a race, you keep turning around to see if there is still anybody behind you.
...the rest of the pack is out of sight before you have run 100 yards.
...you meet both the hare and the tortoise running back towards you doing their cool-down after a race
...the only reason you don't drop out of a race is that you are embarrassed that the police in the car behind you (closing the course) will see you.
...as you are rounding the corner onto Main Street and the finish line, you overhear the announcer on a microphone to the crowd of 500 saying "We are assured the young lady is coming in!" (Oh well, at least I was young).
...you recognize all the regular runners on your favorite route from behind.
...you get passed on the uphill by a runner pushing a double baby jog stroller.
...you shoot a 24-shot roll of film during a marathon.
...you make arrangements for a late checkout at the hotel.
...you are more worried about the porta-potty lines than the start line.
...your support crew talks about meeting you for supper, not lunch.
...you have to memorize the route because you know that you will lose the back of the pack.
...the truck picking up the cones is pressing on your behind. (Don't laugh - this actually happened to me!)
...as you pass a course volunteer they ask you, "How many are behind you yet?" and you say "Behind me? Behind? Gosh... I think two... Unless they turned around!"
...the awards ceremony is over before you cross the finish line.