Walkers vs. Runners

I have a bug bear.  But before I tell you what it is, this post is not to attack anyone personally, it is based on my own experiences and feelings at various run/walk events over the last few months.  Right, diplomacy aside, here goes a bit of a history before a lot of whine:

I started walking in July this year.  It was a very emotional day for me the first time I achieved my first medal.  It had been years since I did any exercise whatsoever, and after a gruelling trek uphill for 5 km, I had blood, sweat and yes, tears, leaking out of my pores.  I couldn’t walk for 2 days afterwards, and every time I moved, my calf muscles screamed in agony.  In fact, it was so bad, Jon got to witness the very special sight of me going down our stairs at home, on my bum.

My exercise journey came after a very personal conversation and wake-up call, and I decided that being 47 kg overweight was not okay any longer.  Yes, that is not a typo, 47 kg overweight if I go by the recommended weight for my height.

47 kg is what I weighed in high school.  I should be around 60 kg in order to have a healthy BMI.  So, being a short person, 47 kg was slightly underweight at the time.  So effectively, my aim in July was to begin the journey of getting somewhere near half the woman I was.  Literally.

It took me 9 years to put all this additional weight on, and I want to be able to lose the weight in a healthy, stable and responsible way.  So cutting out carbs, limiting myself to ONE cheat day per week, and doing a lot more exercise seemed like a good idea to get started with.  And it’s working!  Today I am 17kg down from where I was in February this year.  It’s been a slow process, much slower than I would’ve liked to be honest, but I also haven’t been as disciplined as I probably could’ve been, either, so fair is fair.

Walking, for me, is a mission.  I still hate it mostly.  I still try and talk myself out of it every Friday, the night before my first weekend event.  I still make excuses that Jon has learnt to laugh off.  I haven’t achieved the high that most people talk about.  Especially the “runners high” that Jon always jokes about having.  I don’t necessarily have fun on the walks I do, unless I have a really good partner.  So essentially, what I’m trying to say is that despite all of the above, walking is a mission.  But I still do it.  Because I need to.  But also, because I cannot run, for a few reasons,

a) my boobs are my biggest (lol, pun) problem – they really hurt if I run

b) I was born with a hole in my heart and need to avoid too much cardio

c) when I run, everything jiggles.  Everything.  My skin goes blotchy and because of the circulation I itch everywhere and then start swelling like some kind of animal

And so I chose walking.  On one of my first few walks, I met the runner dude who would be the first to mess with my vibe.  Aside from sniggers at my slow pace, he then felt the need as he jogged on past me to shout out “if you hurry up slightly, you might get there before next Christmas!”.  I actually froze in place with my jaw wide open and just glared holes into the back of his stupid running body with my invisible lazer-beam eyeballs.  WHAT THE ACTUAL?

The second time I felt the hate was when I emailed about a certain race and was told that if I couldn’t bother to be fit enough to run a full 5km, I wasn’t welcome to join.

Since then, at every event I attend (usually on Saturdays, sometimes on Sundays) I’ve felt like I’m the lower class citizen because my body isn’t cool enough to join in with the all high and mighty runners.  We get smaller medals (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT???) if we get medals at all, and our lanes are much narrower at the finish lines.  We walkers get glared at by spectators because whyaretheynotrunningtothefinishtobettertheirtimeomg.

We walkers get looked down and frowned upon by runners.  Because “if I can do it, you can too”.  And then of course, there’s always the token small group of dudes who spot the whales in their unnatural habitat, oh look, isn’t it cute?*  And don’t even get me started on the assumption that because I am “just a walker”, I should get out of your way so you can run on past me, on the wings of unicorn-flavoured air clouds.  I paid for my number and license too, dude.  I have a right to be here too.  You are not better than me.  YOU get out of MY way.

Some runners have made my walking journey horrible.  Not all of them, but often enough to make me resent the whole sport sometimes.  Often enough some runners make me feel like I’m a wannabe when I’m looking at shoes for walking and the shop attendant sniggers and asks me why I bother.  Fuck you, buddy.

I’m not doing it to be part of the runners club, or to talk about running for HOURS ON END at the finish line, or to competitively compare fitness results and timings.  I’m doing it for me.  I’m doing it for my future.  I’m doing it despite hating most of every step I take.  I’m doing it instead of sleeping in over the weekends.  I’m not doing it for your snide remarks and holier-than-though opinions on how much better I’d do if I just “run a little bit”.

I’m up every Saturday and Sunday at the crack of dawn because I want fitness.  I want weight loss.  I want a healthier lifestyle.  I want the fun that Jon and I have together when we both do an event.  I want the camaradie I feel on the road when I see other walkers battle and we pull each other up the hills [high 5 to the chick in Rivonia, we conquered that hill together, miss!].  I want the feeling of accomplishment at the end of an event, when my cheeks are red and my lungs are puffing.

I don’t plan on becoming a runner any time soon.  I’m a walker.  And I’m proud of it.  So next time you see a walker on the road, don’t assume that you are better than them, or that they are any less determined than you are.  Be nice.  Be a sport, if you will.

Basically, don’t be a shit, it could make such a difference.  I know it certainly would for me.

*A comment I once overheard, verbatim.

28 comments

  1. Po says:

    It really disgusts me how people with low self-esteem scrabble around so desperately to feel superior off the backs of other people. Fuck them Sheebee, and never give up!

  2. MeeA says:

    I also feel like a total spaz when I go to Park Run. But I’m well past giving a fuck what the “elite” of the runners think when I walk most of the way.
    Keep walking, chick. And let me know when there are events happening – I’d be happy to walk them with you. 🙂

    • Shebee says:

      MeeA, I’m gonna take you up on that! A friend of ours, Tami, brings her dogs which also makes Delta a lot more fun. Funnily enough, the first dude I spoke about made the comment at Delta – put me off it for a few weeks, actually. Fucker.

  3. NickiD says:

    Fuck those a-holes! Really! You’re doing it for YOU and you’re doing a freaking amazing job of it too! 17kg is a massive loss – keep it up lady! xxx

  4. Kevin says:

    I understand your frustration, and I’m glad you mention that these are only a few of the runners you encounter.

    They are very douchey, and they exist everywhere. These are the runners who have failed to realise that there is ALWAYS somebody better, and ALWAYS somebody worse than they are.

    Whether you’re running or walking, you are competing with yourself. You may not be competing for time, but you are for weight loss. When you look on the scale and go “flip, I lost 1KG last week!”, you are competing, and you are — as Charlie Sheen would say — winning.

    I am an out-and-out runner, but I would never EVER belittle a walker or a slow runner. Runners’ banter is for when you are in the company of competitive runners. Positive, motivational conversation is for all the other times.

    I think Po sums it up perfectly – fuck them. Don’t let it get to you – do your own thing, at your own pace, and remember – walking at ANY pace is still faster than sitting on the couch.

  5. Charmskool says:

    As a fellow walker (and at the moment fellow limper due to 3 surgeries on my knee and ankle) I sooooo understand how you feel. I was doing a 15km walk to Camps Bay one Sunday morning (on my own – not a “race”) and a runner came up behind me and physically pushed me off the pavement into the street so as not to have to break his stride while passing me – I HAD stepped to one side to let him pass but apparently that wasn’t enough. So now I just think “F YOU you arseholes” and plod on undaunted. I know the feeling of struggling with weight and having health reasons (and boobs) which prevent one from running and I applaud you – very loudly – for your amazing and wonderful achievement. You go girl!!!!!

  6. Dale Ferreira says:

    I’ve gotten to know you now, and have seen the change it has made. It’s been ridiculous. Sometimes though, we are very sensitive to things around us that aren’t really happening.

    I am so proud that you are doing this!

    I like when people call me fat, I can run/walk, the shit out of them. Nobody knows the pain of the 4 o’clock get up and the post run/walk pride (euphoria) we feel like us runners/Walkers.

    I know that a lot of people have the utmost respect for anyone making a healthy choice. If they don’t have that respect.

    “THEY ARE WHORES AND NEED TO GO BACK TO WHORE ISLAND.”

  7. Cath says:

    I think Dale just won an award for that whore island comment. In fact, you did, Dale. And I give you kudos over the internetz.

    Sheena, I’m proud of you. You know, I KNOW, how insane this all seems – to me, you’re the girl I had to poke out of bed with coffee and by throwing a 3 year old at you (yes, really, peeps)…so for you to be doing this is INCREDIBLE. And fuck them hobags with their douchey splatspeak.

    17 kilos. Is a FUCKLOAD. And you have every reason to be proud.

    Also, lastly, haters gonna hate, and walkers gonna walk. So like, show them a *handsign* and remember this…whilst you may be walking behind them, you’re still lapping every single person on the couch.

    Love you X

  8. MeganTS says:

    how fucking rude.

    well done you. i totally sympathise on the boob issue. i’d knock myself the fuck out if i tried to run. if the fate of the free world depended on me running, we’d all be commies.

    keep at it. 17kg’s is amazing!

  9. Dawn says:

    I don’t see what their problem is, you’re off the couch —- so that’s 1 step ahead of me 😉

    Well done, and keep doing it.. and get a tazer for when they’re fuckers. 😀

  10. Mia says:

    Awesome! Just awesome. I’ll come with you next time and walk the shit out of what ever race well be doing. Non-runners unite.

  11. Guy says:

    Step one get a Bull terrier pup.
    Step two Walk with it, first you will walk a little faster because you don’t take Bull Terriers for a walk, they take you for a walk. Also those pesky runners, muggers and other fuckwads will cross the road when they get near you.

  12. Tara says:

    I have huge respect for anyone who gets off their butt to do something for themselves and for their health. If you walk 1km or sprint finish 27; who cares? You still did better than the dude who sits on the couch and says ‘yeah tomorrow’.

    As for the petty runners, stuff them. Walk with an iPod, walk with a mate. Join an organisation which has like-minded people (there must be walking clubs out there? If not…start one!).

    The most important approach for me with exercise is simply not to care what others think. Oh so you’re sniggering and my jiggly bits? Yes they are amusing aren’t they? And all this AFTER my 38E boobs have been…restrained….but 2 sports bras. Yes two. I can’t do situps properly thanks to an op earlier this year and yes there’s the stupid bimbo who’s far too thin and wearing makeup at the gym sniggering at me. Whatever, the fact that I can sort of do one at all is pretty damn cool.

    17kg is like…a small child. Dude. That’s freaking amazing!

    • Shebee says:

      You have 38E boobs, dude? I have big boobs too! Where do you buy your bras from? Seriously. Email me if you want to take this offline, I’m very curious about bras, I have to have mine made!

  13. Louisa says:

    You do your thing Sheena!
    I only run for spiders – fact.
    I’d go walking with you anyday too. (And let me just say that if someone tries to push me around while I’m at it they’ll be picking pavement out of their scabs for weeks – it’s a refelx thing).

  14. alida says:

    First off: well done lady on everything you’re doing for yourself. Fuck them. Seriously. Fuck. Them.

    I run. And when I say I run I mean I trundle along at whatever pace is comfortable for the day and walk as soon as I feel like it. Sometimes my runs end up being my walks. Sometimes and very seldomly I feel that runners high and then I run. But mostly I trundle and walk. I’ve had snide comments with my personal favourite being “you’re so tall you should be able to go much faster”. Should? Really? Fuck them Sheena. You’re doing this for you.

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