Thursday, 19 April 2012

#62: Things We Said Today

A number of people have recently made comments in that I haven't been blogging very much lately or that my blog posts weren't sufficiently controversial, provocative or downright insulting. I guess that's because I've been spending the majority of my time trying to complete my Master's thesis at U of T as well as doing a helluva lot of running and training for the Goodlife Marathon.

But since the good people (ie you readers) have come to depend on me (and because I'm tapering and have more time on my hands), I feel I should give you what you have come to expect... a good ol' fashioned running rant.

Where shall I begin? How about with something controversial and the 'Athletics Canada' ridiculously tough standards to go to the Olympics. In case you didn't know, in order for a Canadian marathoner to qualify for the games, he/she must run faster than a 2:11:29/2:29:55. This despite the IAAF standard for qualification being a sub 2:15/2:37. Many people think that's just downright unfair. I agree. Kinda. I truly think that the best thing for our country and our sport (and for the games itself!) would be to have as many athletes in as many sports represented in the games as possible. I can only imagine how this might impact children and youth to aspire for greatness and for all people to develop a love and appreciation of sport ( and physical activity generally) that is sorely lacking in the present day. That said, with limited resources and increasing costs, I understand that AC only wants to support and send athletes that have a reasonable shot at success (eg. who place within the top 12-15 overall) and that may even podium/medal (albeit highly unlikely in the marathon). And thus I am torn. Last week, Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene narrowly missed the (Canadian) Olympic standard by posting impressive 2:31 and 2:32 results in Rotterdam. They are thus within  ~3min of our unique standard but also ~5min under the international one. There was subsequently some talk of the Canadian Olympic Committee and AC making a special exception for them and sending them to London anyway, but this may have been a rumour and it doesn't look like an exception will be made afterall. As sad as I am to say it, I have to agree with that. They didn't make the standard; they shouldn't go! Had Wykes not run his 2:10:47 on Sunday but had done a 2:12 instead (even a 2:11:32!), he would NOT have been going to London. Full stop! Nor would Watson who ran 2:13 and is well under the international (2:15) standard. This isn't about gender, equality or fairness; it's about integrity and playing by the rules as written. We set tough standards for a reason (whether it's a good one is debatable) and the athletes know exactly what they need to do to get there... so go do it! All the more impressive then, are the times posted by Reid, Eric and Dylan to get them to the games. They may not medal in London, but they certainly won't disappoint either (top 20 for sure!). I'd even wager to say that Jerome Draytons' 36 year old CND record (2:10:09) is likely to fall. We shall see. In the meantime, to support our Canadian athletes as they prepare for London and make a contribution to Canada's sporting success, please donate here.

Next up: Provocative. Recently, the Globe and Mail asked runners to comment about what 'irks' them most. Naturally, I had some things to say and many of you should not be surprised. Prologue: Yes, I AM an elitist runner. No, I am NOT an elite runner and no, I never will be. But that doesn't mean I don't/can't have the mindset and mentality of one. In short, I run to compete, to be better (ie faster, fitter, further) and always strive to be the best I can be. I am thus completely committed and determined to doing everything possible to make that happen which includes a lot of time, effort, hard-work, sacrifice, and even money (all of which is not available for everyone). If you don't get that or don't like that; than that's perfectly fine, but I really have no interest in what you have to say or what you do as a runner! We runners are not all alike. I value competition, commitment and performance; others don't! But without further comment:

Running Rant: What irks runners? Where do I begin?! Little dogs with lots of bark; big dogs with lots of bite; dogs off leash; dog shit; goose shit; all shit; vomit; clueless kids; clueless parents; clueless pedestrians; cigarette butts; all smokers; most motorists; speedy cyclists (this isn't the Tour!); slow side-walkers; middle of the side-walkers; groups of side-walkers; zig-zaggers; anyone who doesn't walk/run on the RIGHT side of a sidewalk; and of course bicycles on sidewalks!!!; garbage/recycling days (the smell! And bins on the sidewalk); broken glass; garbage; people who run the wrong way or on the inside lane of a track; people who don't know what the word "TRACK!" means; people who cycle on a track, use it walk their dog, themselves or let their kids play on it; joggers with terrible form; overweight joggers with minimalist shoes; fivefingers and barefoot runners/joggers with terrible form; barefoot runners in a race; running a race with an iPod, iPhone or any head-phones; clueless, spaced-out, music blaring, headphone wearing runners; wearing cotton t-shirts and sweat pants to run; wearing the race shirt in the race; not lining up properly in the corrals at a race; runners who go out way too fast in the first km of a race; expensive race fees; useless race medals, souvenirs and waste; race walkers (just run!); space belts in 5 and 10ks; space belts period; camelbacks and backpacks on runners; “running” a race slower than a 6:00/k pace; spitters and snorters; heavy breathers; smelly runners; runners who don't know how to pace themselves; runners who try to speed up and race you on the side-walk; anyone who complains about city marathons; anything to do with Rob Ford and running; and anyone who shouts/yells "Slow down!" "Speed Up" "Run Forrest Run!” or anything ‘clever’ at runners.

And finally, the downright insulting. After coming across a number of blogs and forums specifically for the ultra-running community, I have come to the following conclusion. That being that the vast majority of ultra-'runners' are ageing and over the hill; slightly and perhaps moderately overweight, sluggishly slow and who seem to have way too much time and money for their unnecessarily long forays in the forest. Might I add: "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" Yet, feel free to use rare exceptions (perhaps yourself) to prove me wrong.

Note: It's called a generalization because it is generally true! Eg. The 'opinions' expressed in this blog.

Until next time...Keep running!

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