Several people have asked me that question in the last week or two, so I wanted to address it here on the blog. I want to be absolutely clear.
As long as I have anything to say about it, no one is too slow for Frost Toes.
Like anyone, I really admire fast runners. I am absolutely in awe of runners like Bryan Glass, who won last year's Frostbite Festival 10-mile race in 53:19. That's about a 5:20 pace for 10 miles over hills.
But I have no less respect for any of the 207 runners who finished behind Bryan. Every one of them finished a very challenging 10-mile course. Every one of them finished.
A couple of years ago I was running with someone who said, "I'm here to complete, not to compete." I really liked that thought until later, when I realized that completing is actually a competition for many of us. To complete a specific distance, each of us has to compete with ourselves. Each of us has to fight with the inertia that would keep us from putting on our running shoes and heading out the door.
That is the major competition for so many of us: Can I win the fight with myself just to get out of a warm bed on a cold November Saturday morning?
But I always feel that my biggest competition is me. Can I run the Frostbite faster this year than last year? Can I get in better shape, so I don't feel completely drained at the end of 10 miles? Can I run hills better this year? Even with intense training, I may discover that the answer may be a resounding no, but the effort is always worth it.
So I don't care how slow you are, you're welcome to run with the Frost Toes. If a 15 minute pace is the best you can do, come on along; there's probably someone else who runs that pace and worrying that they're too slow.
As long as you're willing to compete with yourself with a goal of completing the Frostbite 10 miles, you are a Frost Toe.