I have been thinking a lot lately about the word JUST. I’ve heard it all too often in the last few weeks and until now it has been a word that infuriated me. Specifically someone who told me that my race was JUST a half marathon. I cannot begin to tell you how mad that made me. How dare you belittle my race, my accomplishment, my goal. This from a multi-marathoner who used to be just a half marathoner. I instantly saw red and truthfully it took me DAYS to calm down. I turned to my Twitter friends for support and although I got what I was looking for, I also got truth. The truth that they too, as multi-marathoners and even just runners, have referred to smaller distances using the word JUST. It’s just a 5K, just a 10K, just a half marathon. As angry as I was at the inference of my proverbial fitness plate being “JUST” I had to concede that I understand it. When you have conquered a race or even a goal for that matter and have moved on to bigger goals, the former becomes “JUST” because you came, you saw, you conquered it. It’s no longer in the unreachable or unknown bucket. I realized last night as I said I was going for a run. JUST 3 miles. There it was…the “JUST” and I had crossed over.
I too have now knowingly used the word but as several explained it to me, I didn’t mean it in a negative or derogatory manner. I used it to describe an accomplishment that was easy for me, attainable and part of my routine. I now understand how one word can be cutting and harmless at the same time. It’s like sour patch kids! Sour AND Sweet! How absolutely irritating and innocent it is at the same time. I can tell you that it’s something that I will think about going forward before it slips out of my mouth. I’ll remember how hard I wanted to punch that person in the face when it came out of their mouth before it slips out of mine. There are people including my friend Patty who just passed away 9/30, who can’t run. Some can’t walk. Others can’t breathe while resting. Some can’t see. Some are deaf. I am lucky to have all my senses and a strong Ukranian body and will to boot! Being on the receiving end of things like the use of the word JUST, that give you an appreciation for how easily you can un-inspire or anger someone without meaning to. It is a good lesson for staying humble even when you feel superior to the world because you’ve done things that many have not. It’s hard not to feel invincible and hard not to succumb to a certain level of ignorance once you are there.
So I will say I apologize for getting so angry. I understand now the intent with which it was most likely said. With that said I wish others including the one who initiated the JUST rant within me would take a moment to swallow a dose of humility and caution with the words they choose when speaking. RANT OVER