In my humble opinion there are two kinds of fast people. The first are gifted through breeding or training early in life, they have never known slow as many of us know slow. They have athletically gifted parents or started swim team at 5 and running track at 10. Speed is what they know and they are unable to comprehend slow. They do not understand going slow is not a choice. They don’t believe a 13 minute pace IS running. They don’t consider us athletes. They assume those of us who are slow lack training, desire or fortitude. They are wrong.
I heard someone say the other day they felt sorry for slow people. On behalf of my slow sisters and brothers we don’t want your pity. What we would like is your encouragement and understanding. Some of us come upon our lack of speed honestly. We didn’t have active parents or the encouragement and funds to be on a swim team or go to a school that even had a track. Of course it is true anybody can run but not everybody BELIEVES they can or has someone else believe they can. Please keep in mind a great deal of us came into the sport of triathlon or any sport for that matter, later in life.
We want you to understand a lot of us train just as hard and just as long as you do. The assumption is if we only trained more we too would be fast. This is where the second kind of fast people come in. I know athletes who started running as adults and shave a minute per mile off their pace every year. That is awesome and inspiring but not reality for everyone. Those who were not always fast understand those of us who are slow. They cheer the loudest for us on the run course or at the finish line. They have raced a 5K at a 12:30 pace, they know what a 15 mph bike average feels like. They worked hard, some harder than others and the speed came. They know what it is like to be slow and they appreciate the speed they have. These are generous athletes and great friends willing to spend their time and share their knowledge with their slower fellow athletes.
I am slow. Like most athletes I work at staying consistent but am not always successful. When I miss one week of training I suffer and lose fitness at an alarming rate. I get injured every single year. I want to get faster, I want my runs and bikes to be less painful.
So what am I going to do about it? I know I am not going to change the minds of the super fast they are going to believe if I only trained 20 hours a week and lost 20 pounds I would be faster and maybe they are right but at what cost? What I will do is work hard, be consistent, follow a plan, enjoy the journey and maybe, some day, the speed will come.