Respect The Distance ….

With the popularity of the internet, social media and blog-o-mania, it is easier than ever to “see” what people are doing, what challenges they are currently tackling and discover events which we previously didn’t even know existed.  This can be both exciting and inspirational to many but I fear that for some, it leaves them feeling sad, empty, guilty and possibly like they aren’t doing enough. 

I think it’s important in my life, to constantly take a step back and look at my activities.  Am I pushing my limits?  Am I pushing within reason?  Am I physically cable of achieving my goals as they sit now, with the current amount of time that I have for workouts, with the current family schedule, with my current workload and commute?  If I’m honest, I always know the answer and this is why I have limits.  Personal limits.  I respect each and every distance that I tackle from the 5K up.  I also respect the choices that others make as to what distance can work for them.  Any goal one chooses to tackle WILL be hard, if they push.  I’m am constantly in awe of the difficulty of the 5K distance.  It is really hard  for me to “try” to run fast.  It is hard to stay in it and keep pushing when the body is ready to back down.  I made a shirt a few years back (logo below) to remind myself that if I’m pushing, EACH and EVERY distance I tackle is hard and deserves respect.  I don’t consider any distance to be insignificant.


I frequently get angry irritated when I hear someone say “just a 5K” or just a “half marathon”.  Statements like those are arrogant and have no place in a fitness environment.  Fitness is empowering, makes people feel good, helps people improve their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.  Most of us run races to test ourselves at our distance of choice.  Sometimes, we participate for fun and fitness without any intent to push our limits.  Whatever our reason, the choice is personal and we need to respect one another and their choice of distance.  One is not a better athlete because they tackle a longer distance, they are just a different type of athlete.  Endurance means a different thing for each and every person.  In fact, I know plenty 5K specialists who have daily workout routines which I could never endure.  I respect that.  So please, if you want to tackle a 5K or color run or mud run or charity walk or sprint triathlon, don’t feel as if it’s insignificant compared to the goals of another because that is not the case.  Respect the distance.  Put in the training.  Go out and reap the reward of the race/event regardless of how long it will take to complete. 

Don’t let what any other person has done distract you or lessen your will to achieve your goals.  Don’t feel as if the achievement of another makes your achievement insignificant.  We develop our own goals for our own personal reasons.  Chase YOUR dream at whatever distance you can manage.   And please, always remember to respect the distance, yours and everyone else’s.

No limit to Distance To chase your dreams

** Respect The Distance ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

29 thoughts on “Respect The Distance ….

  1. Thanks for that, i needed to read something like that today. I find myself saying “JUST” a lot. It’s just a 5k, or I JuST ran 3 miles. I’m actually currently doing a training plan for a 5k. I never intended to mean “JUST a 5k” in a negative way, but I agree that wording can make others feel bad. Half marathons are more my thing, but 5k’s could be more of another person’s thing. Truthfully, just because I prefer my half marathon distance over the 5k and 10k, doesn’t mean I’m not going to get my butt kicked when I go do that 5k I’m training for.

    But I’d also like to point out the opposite direction. There’s a line you wrote, “Respect the distance. Put in the training.” I agree. I’ve been currently battling a moral dilemma. To make a long story short: Recently a friend of mine decided do an ultra without the proper training or planning. Yes it’s for a good cause, but I was met with criticism because I was the only one looking at it from the slightly negative angle. I became the bad guy because I warned of negative effects of trying to run an ultra without ever running more than 15 miles. Respecting the distance is important in reverse too.

    • I really think that proper training for any distance is important. While I understand that some hold a level of fitness that doesn’t require training for a 5K, longer distances like the half, marathon and ultra distances really need some advanced planning. For safety reasons. I’m all for encouraging one to try new things and push their limits (within reason) but I also think that being smart is very important.

      On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:17 AM, TooTallFritz

  2. So true Amanda. Let me say it, I hate the short distance races. Why? Cause frankly, I don’t like to run that fast. I’d rather run a half marathon and take in the views, chat it up with runners, and push endurance rather than speed. Everyone is different. The key is to find your passion (whatever sport that is) and ENJOY the journey, whatever distance that may be. Although it is hard to separate yourself from what others are doing. After reading you and Kelly’s Ironman recaps, it had me thinking TRI during my morning run (which I had told myself was off the table this year…) sigh.

    • I absolutely understand what you are saying. For a fleeting moment this spring, I considered signing up for IM Louisville. The full 140.6. OMGosh, what the heck was I thinking? I DO NOT have time for that. I don’t have time to train the way I want for the half distance. It’s super hard to not get caught up in what others are doings. I have to put my blinders on sometimes and remind myself that I can only do what I (and the family) can manage.

      On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:27 AM, TooTallFritz

  3. I was just saying this to a friend. I am training for my first Full Marathon and I haven’t missed one cross train or one run. 7 weeks of hitting every workout and run when my mind says…”take it easy today…”. I told my friend those exact words that “I respect” the Marathon too much to miss a training run. Of course not all my runs have been wonderful or on pace but the have been done and I have have enjoyed putting in the work and I try to be in the moment. I am not the fastest or greatest runner but I respect the effort that ALL runners put into their personal goals. When people tell me they are training for their “first” 5K I applaud them and wish them the very best!!

    • Great attitude! And the marathon is hard, for everybody, regardless of how nonchalant they may seem. The training, those crappy runs that you are experiencing right now, will prepare you to endure the marathon. You can do it!!

      On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:52 AM, TooTallFritz

    • When it hit the 10 mile sign of the run on Sunday, I “may” have screamed, “5K, baby!! Who can’t run a 5K?” LOL! But that was to try to get everyone pumped up around me. It was a bit of a death march during the run portion of the 70.3. People were just melted, tired and ready to be done. So sometimes, we need to put it in perspective compared to the overall distance. I get that.

  4. I guess I have used that reference “just a 5k” but it never has been from the perspective to be demeaning to anyone…more just reference to my own inabilities to do well at that race distance. Distance isn’t the sole factor…rather intensity has to be considered also. You are right there are some very good runners that specialize at 5k distance. They have what it takes to run in that uncomfortable feeling zone of intensity…in that 90-100% HRmax zone.

    I don’t have what it takes…both mentally and physically to endure that kind of intensity for more than a few minutes or couple laps around the track. Running an “all-out” mile is pure terror…and sustaining 90-95% HRmax over 5k distance…torture…impossible to hold. It takes a special kind of person and runner to run those 5ks fast and hard.

    So…when I say just a 5k or say I don’t like running 5k’s…it is simply that I don’t have the skill and ability to do them well in terms of intensity and speed. I can cover the distance and maybe run it comfortably hard in the 85-90% zone, then maybe run all-out the last tenth. But for me there is no challenge simply in running 3.1 miles…the challenge is in terms of speed and intensity.

    So I congratulate anyone that has that “moxy” to run the 5k as it was intended to….fast and “puke-your-guts-out” hard. And certainly congratulations to anyone first starting out running and/or in losing weight and improving health…where 5k or 3.11-mi can well seem like a marathon. Besides…why worry or be irritated by words of others…intent is not always explicit in words when it comes to communicating meaning…just do your own thing to the best of your ability within your own comfort or uncomfort zone as you choose. Be happy that you just do it…whatever the distance…whatever the time….just do something!

    So when you hear me say…”just a 5k” be assured…the above is really my intention.

  5. 1 reason I left Daily Mile during my Ironman training was the fact that you constantly “see” everyones workouts…to the last microscopic detail….and I’m not sure how much is even true really….but it messes with my mind. I was always comparing myself, no matter how much I know better. I knew training for 140.6 I needed to get rid of that stressor…

    And I agree 100% with you….each distance has it’s skill level and is damn HARD if done right. Craps, the 1600 is sheer brutality…don’t ask me to do it “right”…when I have to do 5ks as time trials for training zones its misery….gimme a nice 13.1 any day, but someone else may not feel that way. Same in the pool and on the bike….but I’m better suited for distance and now that my kids are grown I can do it…
    Not everyone can…time, obligations, physiology…

    We’re all different and all in different places…
    AND…that is perfectly 100% OK!
    what do they say, “bloom where you are planted!”

  6. Amen, Amanda! Shoot, I know of plenty of “milers” who train at a far greater mileage per week than myself and most marathoners. When someone tells me they “only did the 5k” at an event, my usual response is to say how damn hard 5k’s are! In all seriousness I find them SO MUCH more difficult physically and mentally than a half-marathon!

  7. I really needed to read your comments today…. I find myself telling people about my TRI in 9 days and end up saying its only a small town TRI but when I add up the miles that I am required to do, I am amazed that this 55+ year old body can do the distance…. 875 meter swim, 16 miles bike and a 5k…. If you had asked me 19 months ago if I would even attempt a TRI, I would have been rolling on the ground laughing! Now I have many 5k’s, several 8k’s, a Half and in 9 days 2 TRIs under my belt….. with most of the training done on my own or with my dog Mischief. Again, Amanda, thanks for putting things like this out there!!!!

  8. Great post! I’m pretty sure that I have put down my own run of the day because it was fairly short – what I should be doing is just being happy that I’m able to log miles!
    Thanks for the reminder!!

  9. Similarly, I get annoyed by some when they talk about race times. I am by no means fast when it comes to serious runners, but I know that I am fast to some, so I try to be sensitive when it comes to talking about my race times. Maybe I was disappionted in my time at a race, or I think it was “slow” but to someone else, a sub-30 5K or sub-10 paced half IS fast. So if I’m putting down those times as “so slow,” I think that’s just rude. Likewise, I get annoyed when faster (than me) runners complain about their slow times. Some of them do it in a way that doesn’t bug me, but some do bug me. I get that they are capable of better times, and maybe they bonked or whatever, but be tactful about it.

    • Ah, very good point. I am super guilty of this. Just can’t quite wrap my head around my new pace zone. Thank you, I’ll be more sensitive in the future.

      Sent from my iPhone

  10. I used to say just a half all the time because I thought people doing the full deserved so much more respect! Then I realized how much work goes in to running ANY race and we all deserve to own the work we’ve done…of course I still bow down to you ironmen folks 🙂

  11. Thanks for the important post.
    I would add that folks who say that they don’t like the 5k or the Sprint Triathlon because they have to go fast have missed the point as well. People “race” or “participate” at the rate that they need to . My sister once said she did not like Sprints because she felt she had to really go as fast as she could the whole time. Hell, I’m just trying to cross the finish line. To hear someone say that they feel they have to go superfast makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, pushing enough, or trying hard enough.
    I’m an “old woman” who has never run (except in softball and one idiotic season of track–where I chose shotput, disc, and long jump to avoid running). I read it takes 9 years for an older body to become a runner. I’m not anywhere near that 9 years yet and I’m almost 50.
    Respect the distance. Respect the speed. Respect the effort. My all out is someone else’s recovery. I’m okay with that. I need to be okay with someone else’s speed, too. Don’t I? 😉

    Thanks for a great post!

    • I certainly remember how hard it was to start back up after my foot injury last year. I still remember the day that I got to run a full mile and I absolutely remember how hard it was for me. To be honest, I still haven’t found my pre injury rhythm! I also vividly remember how difficult it was coming back after childbirth. Starting over is humbling, exhausting and requires a lot of determination BUT it can be done and you’ll be back before you know it!

      Sent from my iPhone

  12. I have this internal struggle that when there is a race with multiple distances, I feel like a failure if I do not pick the furthest option. By no means am I a fast runner (5+ hr marathoner on a good day). I cannot tell you how much I envy those at the split point of races who choose the respectable distance while I curse myself as I hobble with hip pain the “x” amount of miles left. By no means do I ever discourage any of my running friends and family. I want them to succeed with their journey, whether it be one block or miles. Every step counts and I am there to cheer them on! MY mind just needs to come to terms with MY body. Someday before I am no longer able to walk, I hope. 🙂

    • Isn’t that one of the hardest things, accepting ourselves & the body, run speed, etc that we are given? You’re doing great, don’t feel guilty, pick the distance you WANT to run!

      Sent from my iPhone

  13. I just have to say that I love this post. Thanks. 🙂 Confession: I am one of those people that say “it is just a 5K” but I don’t mean it in a demeaning way. It is more for me to remind myself that I can do it so it is more of a motivation. However, “just a 5K” is still a big deal!

  14. “One is not a better athlete because they tackle a longer distance, they are just a different type of athlete.”

    Very well said Amanda, great post! – Simone

  15. Great points Amanda! I feel like too often people forget what it feels like to just be starting out as a runner and how hard it is to conquer certain distances and time goals.

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