Monday, October 6, 2014

Serious Question: Couch to 5K edition

So, in case it's not obvious by my post title, I'm doing Couch to 5k in my town. So far, I love it.

Because I'm seriously, really, honestly trying to make an effort to be more sensitive to the feelings of others and not be such a dickface, I have a question to those of us who are, um, not the most physically fit.

Would it bother you, if you were huffing and puffing along the track and someone said you were inspirational?

No, seriously. Would it bother you? If some thin, athletic person said this to you would you think they were being condescending? Would it make you feel bad or good?

What if the person who said it to you was not that thin or athletic? What if it was just some regular or chubby person who wasn't fast or anything, just was maybe faster than you? Would that bother you?

If you've been out there, busting your proverbial and literal ass for months and you've just NOW gotten to the point that you can walk a 19 minute mile and there is literally no way the person talking to you could possibly know that about you, would this statement bother you?

None of this is from any type of personal experience that I've had. Let me make that 100% clear. I'm really just curious. 

I've read a bunch of those "Dear Fat Girl at the gym" kind of blog posts (and their rebuttals, which generally contain more profanity), and I'm trying to see both sides.

So. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

If someone who knows me and my struggles says I am inspirational, that's one thing. If someone just sees me and says it, that is most likely condescending because they are likely to be making assumptions about me. There are cases where that may not be true - if I'm huffing and puffing and the effort required is clearly high and I keep going and they notice, well, that's not condescending, that's encouraging. But mostly, commenting on someone else (even if well-intentioned) is based on making assumptions about someone's fitness, health, and other things that can be really rude assumptions. That is where the 'Fat Girl At the Gym' and 'Runner At The Track' letters come from and they are almost always rude.

Tamar said...

Gnggh. I'm not sure I'd ever call someone 'inspirational'. I do tend to smile and say nice things to runners who have their faces contorted in the oh-God-I-am-dying purple-faced grimace because I personally like it when people say nice things to ME when I'm suffering during a run and really badly want to stop. I especially like it in 5k races when people shout 'Doing good!' or 'Nearly there!' even when they're plainly telling terrible lies.

But 'You inspire me, slow person, with all you have to overcome!'? Uh.

Anonymous said...

Truth: Any time I'm in the car and I see someone who is not the "typical" athletic skinny runner I always yell "YOU GO GIRL!!!!" (and maybe fist pump a few times). With absolutely zero condescension.

Running saved my life. I'm not super skinny or crazy fit, but through running I'm finally at a place where I don't hate the way I look. This wasn't always the case...and I know the struggle is while I don't have the courage to actually open the window before yelling, I'm ALWAYS cheering for anyone who is brave enough to get out there and start the journey...the beginning is always the only gets easier.

So this is me, NOT condescedingly, fist pumping and mentally yelling "YOU GO GIRL!!!" This is the beginning of something awesome :).

Bethany said...

My first response would probably be along the lines of "Are you f'n kidding me?" But that is because I am a horrible, pessimistic person who doesn't want strangers making judgements about her (good or bad).