Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RunnerRant! Time for a rant!

There is an article going around that I have gone back and forth about responding to. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the need to respond, I mean, my page is called "RunnerRANT" so it's time for my first, official rant! I will start off by saying, I have always felt like runners, as a group, are the people I feel most comfortable around. We usually inspire and motivate each other, we are a community that doesn't judge each others "times" or "distances". We are there to encourage and celebrate our victories together.
This authors reasons why she will NOT be running a marathon in  2015  (or so it sounds, ever) followed by my responses..
  • OPRAH: Ever since Oprah ran the Marine Corps Marathon (with her time of 4:29:20) in 1994, marathons have been about completion. According to “How Oprah Ruined the Marathon,” Edward McClelland’s 2007 article in Salon, the queen of daytime television ushered in a new era of populist racing. Forget a competitive time—the point of running 26.2 miles could simply be … to finish? For better or for worse, I’m a perfectionist, an all-or-nothing gal, who wants to go big or go home. I’m not going big with a marathon so … I’ll stay home."
I was under the impression that anyone could run a marathon as long as they met the time cut off of (usually) 6 or 7 hours. I didn't realize you had to be a competitive Olympian to attempt to run a full marathon.  It sounds like maybe you are too scared to fail so you won't even try to run a marathon. That's sad to me. You claim to be a perfectionist, and a distance runner so my guess is you don't do any form of racing because you can't always be first place? Also, how dare you judge and attack everyone who runs a marathon "just to finish",  if only you knew how hard it actually is to push those physical and mental boundaries to JUST FINISH.  
  • THE ME-ME-ME SHOW: Just like that pesky friend who’s always announcing her new-found pescatarianism (minus oil, minus dairy, plus chia), the hobby marathoner just rubs me the wrong way! From her Facebook posts about the amazing sights she sees on her long run, to the adoption of idiosyncratic lingo, to the epic race-day dramas (fueling stations! strains!): call me a scrooge, but all that attention just cramps my running style.
Talk about judgmental. GEEZ! How does "all that attention" on another person cramp your running style? The two having nothing to do with each other?  It sounds like you need to rethink your reasons for running. You very much focus on other people being proud of their accomplishments, and talking about it so much that it actually "cramps your running style?". So far the reasons for YOU not running a marathon all are because of other people. Why don't YOU really want to challenge yourself and your "perfectionist" running abilities? Don't you want the challenge? To see what you are capable of?  I love reading other peoples experiences with different marathons. I can learn from their mistakes, gain wisdom from their experience, and hopefully become a better runner from it. Believe it or not, I actually GO OUT OF MY WAY to read those "annoying" facebook posts and search the web for blog posts so I better know what to expect from each race.  
  • NOTHING TO PROVE: Eight years ago, though, I had a different idea. I’ve always been a distance runner, so one summer I toyed with the idea of training. Slowly, slowly, I upped my six miles to seven to eight to nine to ten; for a couple weeks, I ran a comfortable fourteen. And then, it hit me. Fourteen miles took up two hours of my day. I’d put in the miles, felt good, but for what? I could imagine myself tacking another twelve-with-change onto that.
First I will say, being a "distance" runner is going to have a different definition to everyone. You claim to be a distance runner and mentioned that you run 6 mile runs... Personally, my short easy runs are 5-8 miles and my longer "distance runs" range from 15-22 miles (and beyond!). Anything under 10 I don't even fuel for or think much about, it's just another run. Claiming to be a distance runner puts a lot of pressure on yourself I don't even think you realize, then you follow it up with only running 6 miles, and bashing on people who run marathons or farther. Oh boy you are sure opening a can of worms here. I think you hit 14 miles and got scared that you couldn't run another 12 miles. I think that's why you wrote this article to start with, I think that's why you are so intimidated or offended by "marathoners". Why else would you openly attack a group of runners, a group from your "running community?" Doesn't make sense to me. We should be encouraging people to continue pushing themselves forward, not being complacent and under attack if they decide they want to push their limitations. 
  • KNEES AND HEART: Only maybe is extreme distance racing beneficial for either.
Seriously? I don't even know what you are trying to say here?  "Only maybe is extreme distance racing beneficial for either?" I think this naive and confusing statement speaks for itself.
  • THE JOYS OF MODERATION: Yes, all-or-nothing is great, but, contradictorily, I’m also a happy passenger on the moderation train. Maybe it’s the prospect of turning thirty in a month, but I want to be able to run for a long, long time. I’m happy to pace myself now to ensure I can run just as well later.
Yes you do contradict yourself, several times actually. I have never been on the "moderation train". I was raised to always do your best, and continue trying to be better. I have applied this to all aspects of my life, sometimes I fail but I can always feel good because I tried. I  know a lot of distance runners who are still running marathons and Ultras well into their 60s and 70s. As with everything else in life, it gets harder as you get older, but you still get it done. I, also will be thirty in a month and I have never been more motivated and inspired to push myself beyond the limitations I have previously set. I never thought I would actually run a marathon, and last year, even with three small kids and a full time job, I decide that was exactly what I was going to do. I trained, I ran, I completed, and I have never learned more about myself than I did during that process. This season, I chose to run a marathon each month of "season". My reasoning is my business and no one else's. If you feel the need to judge those of us that like to push our limitations than as I said before, I just feel sorry for you. I would applaud your 6 mile runs if you posted about them, and I think most of the running community would because that is exactly what we are, a community. Why on earth are you writing for runners world magazine if you don't like to read about people's runs? 

I'm tired of people feeling the need to judge people, put people down and assume they know anything when they really know nothing.  I feel like most people need to mind their own business and start focusing more inward than on everyone else. If you put the effort into yourself, think about how great you could be! This is just my two-cents. I hope this author is able to be open-minded  to everyone's responses that she has been getting, and realizes that she attacked a large community of people by making the accusations she made about why people run marathons, of course people are going to feel the need to respond.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with her statements? Disagree? 


  1. You are right on! I laughed when I first read her post about the 6 mile long run.....

  2. Thanks Sarah, I was so frustrated when I read her post. We are all entitled to our own opinions but I don't think we should be putting other people down and judging them in the process.