The Joys and Perils of a Common Name

500px-Hello_my_name_is_sticker.svgI have a relatively common name.  I don’t just mean my first name, I mean my first and last name.  Joys of Irish heritage.  But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all.  It’s kind of nice to know that I’m a little bit harder to hunt down on Google.  Sure, you’ll find me if you search my name, but you’ll find a lot of other people too.  (And some of those people are talented!  I don’t mind being associate with them.)

My email address is just my name.  Which means that I’m constantly getting misdirected emails.  Invites to parties, family photos, birthday wishes, even medical records at one point (that was a fun one to straighten out).  Thanks to these misdirected emails, I’ve gotten in touch with Me’s in Illinois (near my hometown, which is weird), New York, Colorado, and here in DC.  There’s also a Me in Rhode Island, but I can never get off her email lists.  Her kid seems pretty athletic though, from what I can tell.

I’ve also met another Me thanks to running.  Other Megan is pretty nice, which is good, because I don’t need anyone out there ruining our name.  We’re both running Space Coast this weekend and while pulling up my bib number, I discovered THERE IS A THIRD ONE.  That’s right.  In a race with… I don’t know, 7000 runners (based on last year’s finishers, anyway) there are THREE of us with the same name.  Maybe the odds aren’t that slim, but I find it amusing.

Of course, it’s also raised some interesting points.  Space Coast is currently on year three of a five year series.  And as will happen in a situation like that, some people are trying to cheat the system to get the bonus medals.  I will admit, I want all five space shuttle medals because I love the space program.  The bonus medals are just a bonus, but I’d be pushing to do all of these races even without them.  So as people on the internet will do, they’ve started looking at finisher times.  And since there were two Me’s running, that raised suspicions.  Then my times looked even more suspicious.

Why?  Because I had a really crappy race the first year I ran it.  I woke up that morning with a crazy headache and felt like crap.  But I wanted that bling, so I slogged through it.  Finished in 3:39:29.  And I felt pretty good by the end, so I consider it a win.  Last year was significantly better and I ran a 2:56:18, which is on the faster end of my total races.

And then a friend told me people were discussing my race times in a Facebook group.  Of course, the accusation was that I hadn’t run it the second year, that I had gotten myself a ringer.  (Which, if I was going to get a ringer, it would be someone way faster than someone running a 2:56 half.)  So I showed up and said “What’s up, yo?”  And pretty quickly, people shut up.  I wasn’t worried about the accusations, because I had photos.  I had a string of race results in Athlinks that showed I was clearly capable of the faster race.  No big deal.

It definitely made for an interesting conversation.  “Yes, I share a name with another runner (or five).  Yes, I had a better race this year.  Yes, we’re both planning to do all five years, so get over it.”

Sometimes I think people on the internet need better hobbies.

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