Those that matter don’t mind …

I went for a short, slow run on Mother’s Day – my first in two weeks after a nasty sprained ankle and four days on crutches. I saw four other moms out with their little ones and cheerfully greeted each of them, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

One of them was running along as her little guy peddled up ahead and then circled back to keep pace – she was clearly new to running and moving steadily along at about a 12:00/mile pace. I wanted to give her a high five and tell her that she was doing amazingly well, to stick with it, and that I – a complete stranger – was proud of her. Now, not everyone is from Iowa, so not everyone appreciate this, so I just wished her a Happy Mother’s Day and gave her a big smile.

But it really made me think: those who care the most about our running – our families and friends – don’t mind at all if you run fast or slow, one mile or ten, and how you look when you’re doing it. Neither do those complete strangers who cheer you on at a race or those who tell you how great you look at mile 10 of a half-marathon. It’s what makes our running community great: there are so many people who don’t know you, but who want to see you do well.

“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” This is something a friend of mine posted on social media a while ago and it changed my life. I stopped caring what other people thought of me, unless it was someone that truly mattered to me. And I stopped trying to please someone simply because they don’t agree with me. But there’s one exception: when another runner – one I don’t know – cheers me on at a race or tells me “looking good” when they pass me on the trail.

That’s not to say your “those who matter” don’t want to see you run faster, stronger, farther. They do, if those are your goals – but they will not care about you any more for those seconds you cut each mile, how quickly you can bound up a hill, or the number of miles you run in a week.

“Those who matter” love you, no matter what. So forget calling yourself “slow” or “fat” or “old.” Call yourself loved.

About Kelly Barten (1152 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

5 Comments on Those that matter don’t mind …

  1. I agree 100%–that’s why I love the running community. I used to fence competitively, and you have to beat someone to win. But with running, you can focus on getting your PR, no matter who else is there. And there is this incredible camaraderie in the running community that is just amazing. No matter how fast are slow you are, I think that runners really just respect each other because they all showed up and are doing it.

  2. Love this post! The running community is amazing and supportive of all types of runners; I can always count on a smile, wave, and “good morning: from a fellow runner (complete stranger). And you’re right on with the supportiveness of family. They’re proud of you just for getting out there and supportive on days when you can’t or just need a rest.

  3. Candice Adelson // May 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM //

    Enjoyed the article, but as someone who is not new to running and who strives for a 12:00 min / mile pace I was offended that you assumed the woman you saw running is new to running. She may be a long time runner who is just slow (like me).

    • Hi Candice,

      I also run a 12:00 mile sometimes! This woman appeared to be new to running to me, not because of her pace, but because she seemed really self-conscious, really overdressed for the weather, and wasn’t sure what to do when bikes passed her. I guess I didn’t make that very clear!

  4. Wow – awesome post. This is why we love you Kelly! Thank you for all you do. I find myself at least giving a smile or wave now to passing runners. 🙂

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