"Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water."
W. C. Fields
You know what really annoys me? If you’re thinking cold weather, then you’re right but it’s not the topic of this post. You may also be thinking erectile dysfunction commercials or the New York Yankees or the lady with 45 items in the self-scan lane at the grocery store and those are all good guesses but perhaps you should stop with the incessant guessing and let me tell you what it is before I add “incessant guessing” to the list. Actually, the list changes constantly. Some are running related and some are not. Some directly affect me, some peripherally have an affect on my universe, and some just adversely get my attention.
CHEATING IN RACES - Ok, we all know about Rosie Ruiz and how she jumped into the Boston Marathon in 1980 and WINNING (after taking a subway to the 25 mile mark). Her defense that she ran the whole race..."I woke up with alot of energy!".
And possibly you heard about "Jean's Marines", a group of charity runners who were caught cutting the course by 3-4 miles during the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon. Their Coach's defense that she told them to do so..."I didn't want them to miss out on getting a medal".
Well, apparently, God forgot to break the Cheater's Mold because last week at the Klieder Marathon in England, Rob Sloan I guess didn't like his race place at the 20 mile mark, SO HE TOOK A BUS to a few hundred yards from the finish and crossed the finish line in 3rd place. The real 3rd place finisher told him he never passed him. Ol' Rob's defense..."Oh yes I did!". He was telling the truth - only he did it in a bus!!
I won't say in the middle of a tough trail ultra the thought of "I'll bet this other trail will get me to the finish quicker" doesn't cross my mind, but it's in the same category of "If I fudge on my tax return, I'll pay less". Nice thought, but it will never happen.
WHINING ABOUT A RACE COURSE AFTER THE RACE - When I coach marathon runners, I'm always asked what's the top key pearls of wisdom I can bestow on them. Well, there's always be consistent in your training. Then there's try to eat more healthy food than crap. And one that I try to pound in them is LEARN THE COURSE! You should know that course backwards and forwards, up, down and sideways...uphills, downhills, port-a-potties, what the aid stations are serving. I swear, little bothers me more than to hear complaints about "I didn't know it was hilly", or "I didn't know they would serve Prune Juice instead of Gatorade", or "That course had more turns than I expected". C'mon people, study the course, then shut the hell up and get to the finish line!
COMPLAINING ABOUT CHARITY RUNNERS - As most of you know, I was a TNT Run Coach for 15 years and so, I have a personal dog in this fight. I wrote about TNT back in RUNNING WITH AL in September '10 and how much using this vehicle, or any other charity, does so much good that goes WAY past any personal achievements. Sure, most charity runners are new to the sport and don't know all the etiquette of the road, but if there are charity walkers ahead of you and they spread across part of the road, GO AROUND THEM!! I've seen runners go through them and yell at them to get to the side or to the back of the starters. While this is true of where they should be, if they want the whole road and they're raising money for someone less fortunate than themselves, especially a child, I'll gladly give them the road, give them a pat on the back, and take the sidewalk myself.
SHORT RACES THAT ARE CALLED MARATHONS - A marathon is 26.2 miles long. It usually takes 4-5 months to train to finish one of these in fairly good shape. Now, I'm not taking anything away from the effort that's put into training for your first 5k or 10k, but please don't call it a marathon, or mini-marathon, or (I actually saw this) a 5 Mile marathon. I hate to sound pompous, but after training thousands of runners to go the 26 miles, I think they earned the title of marathoner. Either you ran a full marathon or you didn't. Simple. Got to respect the distance man.
5 HOUR ENERGY DRINKS - You know, those teeny, tiny, little bottles at the checkout register of your favorite gas station or convenience store. How did these vessels of energy heresy force themselves into a multi-billion dollar industry? Ok, if some office worker needs an afternoon kick to stay awake on his stimulating job, call it like it is...it has caffeine and a ton of other STIMULANTS to get you going, but don't use it in a race because you think it's magic energy. There's NO energy there, just an artificial swat in the pants. Assuming running consumes basically 100 calories/mile, no matter how fast you run, a marathon will eat up 2600 calories. Now, look at the label for 5 Hour Energy. How many calories? 4. No, I didn't forget any zeroes. Since calories are the standard measure of energy fuels, there are two ways to regarding this product. Either (1) it will give you enough energy to run 1/650th of five hours, or 27 seconds, or (2) to consume enough of this drink to sustain your pace for 5 hours (instead of drinking legitimate athletic energy drinks), you'd need to chug 667 of these expensive little bottles in the course of your run. How 'bout just trying to train for a marathon instead of looking for magic. W.C. Fields was right and somebody is making a mint off of some suckers. I just get myself frosted when somebody's trying to take advantage of runners.
There, I feel better. Blew off some steam and got my blood pressure down. I'll have to do this again someday. Meanwhile, I'm going to summon my inner 2 hour energy and go for a run. I'll see you on the roads - AL
"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world"
16 hours ago