I am a below-average runner.

This weekend I will be in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon. At 13.1 miles (21km) it will be the longest competitive running I’ve done1.

And I will be below average. Not even average—below average.

This is a difficult concept for me to get my head around. This thing, this running that I’ve been doing for 3½ years and 1000+ miles now, I haven’t gotten much better at since I started. I can run for longer distances2, but my pace has remained almost unchanged.

I can drag myself to the middle of the pack for shorter distances, such as the Gate River Run 15K, but in this race I will most likely finish about ¾ back. I’ll be in the slowest handful for my age+gender class—well to the right of the curve.

I don’t stomach mediocrity in myself lightly. It takes a good long while to come to terms with it. I have not made a conscious decision to be a below average runner, and yet here I am.

I do know that I have trained and trained and trained. I have put in a serious, undeniable effort. This Sunday, I will continue this effort and push to meet my time goal, even as all of my training says I won’t match it. I feel comfortable with what I have put into it.

But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy with where I am.

So I will continue. I will train, and I will train correctly.


  1. For extremely liberal definitions of “compete”
  2. For a definition of “longer” that would be laughable in most other contexts