Beginners and Beyond

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Dumbfounded after comment from co-worker about running (Read 506 times)


sugnim

    I try not to talk about running at work, but people ask and it is not always possible to politely blow them off.  That said, a couple of co-workers were asking if I was planning to run the local marathon this summer.  I let them know that I'd likely sign up for the half, and so of course they wanted to know how long that is.  I told them, and here was the response that I got:  My co-worker who has breast cancer asked me, "Are you sick?"  I was dumbfounded.  I had no idea what to say or how to respond.  Of course, she meant it in jest, but still, I wasn't sure how to respond.  It was awkward.

      I try not to talk about running at work, but people ask and it is not always possible to politely blow them off.  That said, a couple of co-workers were asking if I was planning to run the local marathon this summer.  I let them know that I'd likely sign up for the half, and so of course they wanted to know how long that is.  I told them, and here was the response that I got:  My co-worker who has breast cancer asked me, "Are you sick?"  I was dumbfounded.  I had no idea what to say or how to respond.  Of course, she meant it in jest, but still, I wasn't sure how to respond.  It was awkward.

       

      Did you take it as if 13 was short or as if you are a wimp for doing 13?

       

      My bro in law asked me if my truck had run out of gas when his mom said that I had run 9 miles the other day.

       

      i think that the co-workers may have been getting at, you are crazy running 13 miles.

      ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

      “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

       

      Tomas

      LRB


      Dreamer

        Sounds like she is trying to live outside of her illness, while maybe those around her are walking on eggshells.

         

        But the question is valid, why in the hell would you want to run for 13.1 miles, when you could drive it 10 times faster?

        MRT: This too shall pass

        xor


          I guess it would depend on whether she was really joking or not.  But I would just answer it honestly.  "nope, I just like to run."

           

          I do occasionally get asked by spectators in ultras "what is this race for? A charity?"  And sometimes they aren't.  Or maybe they are and I don't know.

           

          Anyway, lots of nonrunners seem to think that any and all running events are about raising money for charity.  For older people this goes way way back to March of Dimes walk-a-thons.

           

          Is ok.

           

          BTW, dealing with someone who has cancer can be awkward.  People get really embarrassed and stumble for the right thing to say and all.  Sorry about that.  Dunno about this person to give you any usable feedback regarding how to deal with her.  But for me, it is always interesting when the person I'm talking to stumbles around as if I am not aware that I am sick... like the person who doesn't want to tell you that you have a booger on your nose.

           

          Just B.S.


            Hard to  know how to respond to someone you know is battling cancer. For that one I would not say anything

            or make non committal noises and change the subject..

             

            I have been running since 2000 and it has been part of my life (and hubbys and kids) for so long that if people

            know me at all then they know we run. It's not something new for me so mostly people just don't ask.

             

            However one day I was coming back from a lunch time run. A male and female co-worker from another unit

            ( whom I know but not well) were actually laughing at me as they went out for their smoke break.........not just

            a grin but outright laughing.....normally I would just brush it off but they were being downright rude

             

             

            Then he said "what the heck are you  running from in that get-up, someone chasing you??"

             

            I'm not usually so quick with the retorts but I said "I'm running from obesity and ill health"....how about you??

             

            They immediately stopped laughing and never mentioned my running again.


            sugnim

              She meant it as a joke, as in "you must be sick in the head to voluntarily run 13 miles."  Usually I would joke back and stay on subject, but I couldn't make a joke about illness with someone who honestly is sick.  She is very open about her experience with cancer and the struggles that she faces as a person and a mom of 2 teenage girls.

              LRB


              Dreamer

                She meant it as a joke, as in "you must be sick in the head to voluntarily run 13 miles."  Usually I would joke back and stay on subject, but I couldn't make a joke about illness with someone who honestly is sick.  She is very open about her experience with cancer and the struggles that she faces as a person and a mom of 2 teenage girls.

                She may have not been offended by that.

                MRT: This too shall pass


                The Chairman

                  I mostly get dumb questions.

                   

                  "How many miles do you run?"

                   

                  "What would you need to do to go pro?"

                  xor


                    She meant it as a joke, as in "you must be sick in the head to voluntarily run 13 miles."  Usually I would joke back and stay on subject, but I couldn't make a joke about illness with someone who honestly is sick.  She is very open about her experience with cancer and the struggles that she faces as a person and a mom of 2 teenage girls.

                     

                    Definitely uncomfortable-causing.  But "sick in the head" isn't exactly a joke about health... more about "running is goofy"... I'd just say "yup, I'm messed up.  I like running."   Yup, turning it into a joke about running for good health can be uncomfortable.

                     

                    People are weird.  There's always someone commenting on someone's hobbies.  If you were reading a book at lunch, someone else might joke about THAT.

                     

                    Nakedbabytoes


                    levitation specialist

                      Maybe because a lot of people approach running a half or full as a "bucket list" thing, so maybe it was a joke about that, like are you sick/dying?

                      Or is could be something like, "what are you crazy?!" like sick/demented?

                       

                      But maybe you're just reading too much into it. I do agree sometimes certain words mean a whole other thing when around people affected by them. My son is Autistic and before he came along, I had no issues throwing around certain words or jokes about intelligence/social skills.

                      Yup, not so much now.

                      FlippyNoodle


                      Not a dude

                        She meant it as a joke, as in "you must be sick in the head to voluntarily run 13 miles."  Usually I would joke back and stay on subject, but I couldn't make a joke about illness with someone who honestly is sick.  She is very open about her experience with cancer and the struggles that she faces as a person and a mom of 2 teenage girls.

                         

                        I don't think most people who are ARE sick want to be treated as though they are all the time. I think in this case it would have been perfectly okay to joke as long as you didn't say something assholish like "Maybe so, but at least I don't have cancer!" If she is very open about her experience and everything, she will probably be perfectly okay with being treated normally.

                        Little Blue


                        Grand Master for a day

                          Of course the right response never comes up at the time, but maybe something like "well, I HAVE been told I'm crazy!"

                          Philliefan33


                            Maybe she thought that you run so much that 13.1 miles would be a cakewalk.  Then her "Are you sick?" could be interpreted as "I would expect you to do the full marathon, but you are dropping down to the half....are you ill??"

                             

                            Or maybe not.

                            Future Races:

                            5/4/14:  Bucks County Ten Miler

                            happylily


                              When someone hints that I'm abnormal (as in sick in the head) for wanting to do races such as HMs or marathons, I always smile and reply that they are not as difficult as they appear. And I'm being honest about it. I explain that all it requires is that you build up the mileage to the point of being able to train for an event, then complete a full training cycle for said event. It takes patience and consistency. If you have that, then a half or a full isn't crazy at all. Anyone can do it if they are willing to invest the time necessary for it.

                               

                              I think that this woman was only expressing her admiration for what you are doing. Many people do it this way, with what they see as humor. It is not meant to be a rude comment, nor are they expressing concern about your mental health. :-) You could have said: "As soon as you are feeling better, you should start running too! I can totally see you tackling this type of challenge!"

                              PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                                      Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                              4 years racing, 14 marathons, 14 BQs     

                              PragmaticRnnr


                              Fitness Jogger

                                 I think that this woman was only expressing her admiration for what you are doing. Many people do it this way, with what they see as humor. It is not meant to be a rude comment, nor are they expressing concern about your mental health. :-) You could have said: "As soon as you are feeling better, you should start running too! I can totally see you tackling this type of challenge!"

                                 

                                +1

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