This post from Fitness Magazine is great. Reminds me of the expression "One man's trash is another's treasure." Or in this case - "one woman's run is another's jog." It's so easy to get discouraged when you're running lap 2 and people are finishing up or you're coming in off the bike into T2 and people are wandering around with medals.
But whatever you do you should be proud of it and not let anyone discourage you from trying your best. I've felt discouraged. You encourage a friend to sign up for a race and without trying she runs an eight minute mile while you've been out every week doing tempos, sprints, long runs, going to classes and all in all feeling like you're killing yourself and 10:30 is your best for a 10K - it's easy to let your spirits plummet. However you should always be proud of your workout/race. I had an instructor who ended every class with that mantra and it always made you feel good and know that as long as you were going all out that was what mattered. In my bootcamp class there are multiple levels and I always try to impress upon them that whatever they are doing - as long as they are giving 100% - that's all that matters. You may feel like a weakly next to the woman doing full pushups if you're on your knees but if you always said you'd never do pushups - it's a step up right.
I may never "place" in a triathlon but I can keep improving and seeing myself as I'd like to and if I can step it up to 10 minutes or just below - it's not a good day, it's a great day! Wanted to share this article from the fitterati because I felt the same way and I am sure it may encourage my fellow "slow" runners to keep on getting better (and maybe faster) and it may encourage someone to take up running or a triathlon. You deserve your finish and your competitor medal and have pride in your accomplishment.