Monday, October 15, 2012

Drunk on marathon chatter

After the CM12 I decided it would be best to take the week off. 

NO running.
NO cross training.
NO yoga.
NO biking.

Just eating my weight in junk all week as I watch trashy TV that has turned my mind into goop.

If there is anything important to take away from this year, for me it is that rest cannot be overrated and sometimes you've got to loose a bit of the fitness you've worked so hard to gain to keep healthy long-term. Even though I didn't "race" the marathon and felt great afterwards, I still ran 26.2 miles on cement roads that my body isn't used to pounding it out on. 

Thank you marathonfoto

As I've spent most of the week on a marathon high embracing the miles I ran with my hubby, I have found it very difficult to enjoy what we just did together. While I am nothing short of amazed that my man went from barely being able to run pain free a year ago to finishing a marathon last week, that great memory has slowly been tampered with by others as the week has clipped on.

This moment comes in a close 2nd to our wedding.

Practically every conversation I've had with people this week has somehow involved a bit of marathon talk...

What was your finish time? 
When did D hit the wall? 
Where did you guys place? 
Is he going to try to qualify for Boston? Are you?
How did you fuel? 
What's next on the race schedule?
Whens the next marathon?
Why would you run it for fun and not race? And you started in wave 2?
You're taking a full week off after the race? Why?

By nature it seems like most runners are competitive narcissistic people. We boast about our accomplishments to one another where it sometimes feels like there will always be another runner in the background just waiting to trump what you just did and measure themselves up against you. If I had a nickle for every time this week where someone asked me about the marathon to only cut me off and tell me how awesome their race was either this year or in the past, I most likely wouldn't have to work until January.

Sometimes all the marathon chatter is just nauseating

Boston Qualifiers
PR's
New goals and another race medal

They are all awesome, and people should be proud of their achievements. But not every race NEEDS to be a PR and believe it or not, Boston is just another race that really isn't any more special than others.
(I'm sure there are plenty of people who disagree with me here, just how I feel)

In my personal opinion, the sport of running these days seems to brew a lot more egotistical egg-headed average athletes that are drunk on the stats their Garmin shoots out to them than there were 16 years ago when I started the sport without a watch or technical fabrics. We all at times seem to be a bit confused and tend to forget that the real athletes are already finished, recovered, showered, and on their way back home by the time most of us actually cross the finish line of a marathon.

I believe that D and I crossed the half way point when the clock for wave 1 of the CM12 was at 2:22.

I have NO shame in the fact that I just ran a marathon in 3:56:21, that I didn't race it, took a week off after it, have no commitments to ANY future races at this time, and no idea when I will run marathon #8 and go for that sub 3:05 finish.

Or that I'm a heel striker.
Which by some people's standards makes me an awful human being

Critique me if you wish, but this is the way my body wants to run.
That's the long and short of it because it is what it is.
And I'm not changing the way I run because it may bother you.
I love running and coaching because it has become so accessible to anyone and everyone, it just gets annoying to me when normal folks get confused thinking that they are Khalid Khannouchi when the majority of us are just mid packers with the dream of becoming front runners.

Myself included.

Besides, it's just running.

46 comments:

  1. You deserve rest! And life's all about rest and being sure to enjoy friends, family...and things besides one area only....which is why pumpkin flavored things have a special place in my heart ;)

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  2. I LOVE this post.

    From one no-shame heel striker to another.

    LOVE.

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    1. OWN IT GIRL! Still moving right? I don't really get why people think there is a right and wrong way to run. Yes we all are made up of the same parts, but some peoples bodies biomechanically just work differently. That's my non scientific opinion.

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    2. I read somewhere (don't remember where) that there is not one right way to run. Everyone's body naturally runs the right way for them. So we shouldn't try to correct what comes naturally. Some elites have some pretty "bad" form, but it seems to be working.

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  3. Aw, Britt, I sat nodding my head the whole way thru this read. Right on girlie! I'm running a Half for fun this weekend... seriously, no goal - except to get my friend thru her first 13.1. Sometimes we just need to ENJOY the run, which is why we run, right?

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  4. Love this post! So true! I was WAY behind you and still am amazed that I started/finished. I kept telling myself this week that it was about the journey, friends I made and the obstacles that were overcome to just get to the start line. Every time I had the reaction of "you were out there that long?!" -- I would think to myself "and least I was out there and doing something for others" (ran for a charity).

    Hope you enjoyed your week off! :)

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  5. Seriously, you took the words right out of my mouth. I just spewed word vomit so similar to this, i think we are the same person. Thank you for writing that. Definitely keeping this as a favorite and I plan on going to back to read whenever i need a reality check.

    you're awesome

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  6. Blech. I stopped caring about stats long ago. Sorry people are so into comparisons/trumping. Feeling great is what it's all about, whatever the pace.

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  7. Great post:) you read, I had a great run this weekend, but the funny thing is that the PR of it was in the back of my mind...I can't handle the pressure of all the questions and comments on my running - I have learned a lot this year, like you, about rest and more importantly running and feeling strong and present- no matter what the pace or finish time. I am guilty of the marathon chatter and craze, and it's important to be proud of your accomplishments, but at the same time respecting other runners space, time and accomplishments. And, I am an avid heal striker as well - and do not anticipate it changing anytime soon!:)

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  8. Applause all around! One of the reasons I actually started cutting back from running with a group so much was all the chatter about PRs and training and "when would I be back" from my weird hip issue. There is more to life than that! I'll run a race and be happy that I can run at all. I don't need all the other stuff.

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  9. You are getting my high five from Maryland! Amen, sister. Somewhere along the line, the idea of just running b/c we love it has gone out the window.

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  10. I remember being a runner when running wasn't "cool" 10+ years ago. I remember when there weren't any sparkly skirts, Lululemon, tutus, disney races, gu, honey stingers, nuun or cute workout clothes and I ran because it was a challenge and because my dad ran. While I'm happy more people are getting out there, I'm not liking the direction the sport is going. Every race need not be a Pr or BQ.

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  11. "They are all awesome, and people should be proud of their achievements. But not every race NEEDS to be a PR and believe it or not, Boston is just another race that really isn't any more special than others." Agree. Completely agree.

    So it looks like I'm going to disagree with you a little bit now.

    In this post and your race report, you make sure you know the reader KNOWS that you are fast by mentioning "going for the sub-3:05 marathon" somewhere in each post. I'm glad you supported your husband on his race and that rocks, but I think this post comes from a different hurt place inside of you than people trying to trump you...almost like you are a little sad that you didn't compete for yourself.

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    1. Maybe it reads that way, bu I'm not sad I didn't race. Instead I had an awesome time hanging with him that I most likely wouldn't have had otherwise. There will always be another race to go for the PR or a new goal, and that's what I was trying to make a point of here. Yes, I do still have that goal on the top of my unfinished business list and I'm more than okay with that and I have rementioned my goal quite a bit lately. But that's for me as affirmation that my goals are still there.

      Maybe that's annoying to readers, which I completely understand. But what I don't want to do is to make it seem like life is over because I've made some mistakes this year. Goals sometimes aren't on a realistic timeline, and mine weren't. But that doesn't mean I, or anyone else in a similar situation, have to give up. And I'm not giving up on that, if anything my last marathon experience only made me more eager for the chance to chase that goal down when the time is right.

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  12. "Which by some people's standards makes me an awful human being"

    Laughed out loud. Great post, heel striker.

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  13. You were high on life after this race -- don't let all of the banter get you down. You had an amazing race and loved every minute of it. THAT is what running is all about. If we were always chasing PRs, when would we have the chance for great races like this one?

    And why do people have opinions about other people's run form? Ridiculous. I'm sure those heel strike haters would cringe if they saw the way I over-supinate. :)

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  14. It is just running and I run for the joy of it. I found joy in the Twin Cities Marathon (I also found a shitty time), but I'll remember the race forever. Good post, Britt!

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  15. This post made me feel sad :( At first I though it was a typo that you'd found it difficult to enjoy your post week marathon triumph celebration but as I read on I realized it wasn't. Honestly, I think a lot of how we react to others comes from ourselves and our own feelings. I haven't followed your blog for long but I can see you're a talent runner who is maybe having some issues? Who cares what anyone says, you got to run with your hubbie and you enjoyed it (apart from watching him suffer) that's yours, no one can touch it. I think it's WAY easier to go out there and be the fastest you, its harder to have the balls to go out there and not race, have a different agenda. I guess we care about what others will think. In the words of Dr Phils dad (yes I am about to quote Dr Phil's dad :D) 'you wouldn't worry about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did'! Also, maybe avoid all of the idiot commenters in future, that will help too ;)
    Now, when are you going to go for that marathon PR? JOKING!!!! :)

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    1. Thanks Vicky. But I don't think I have issues any more severe than anyone else. It's not about caring what others think, I'm just irked that my husband accomplished something great and there are people there to discredit that. Just couldn't bite my tounge and be polite about it anymore. Runners just have ungodly egos sometimes where it's difficult for them to stop talking about themselves, which I'm sure I'm guilt of too.

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  16. I love it. I totally agree on every point! I ran a marathon last week and didn't run at all. I definitely ate too much, but come my 1/2 this weekend I felt refreshed and ready to burn off those calories I ate throughout the week!

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  17. "We all at times seem to be a bit confused and tend to forget that the real athletes are already finished, recovered, showered, and on their way back home by the time most of us actually cross the finish line of a marathon."

    I gotta take issue with that statement Britt - I agree with almost everything else you said, but in my mind, everyone who runs a marathon, whether they finish in 2:05 or 6:05, is an athlete...a REAL athlete. I didn't place anywhere near the top of the race, but I trained my ass off for this thing and I'm proud of what I did out there...and I know I'm not alone there. Meb Kefezighi once said that he has a lot of respect for people who take 3, 4 or 5 hours+ to finish a marathon because if it took him that long, he wouldn't do it. He recognizes that for people who are slower than him, which is 99.999% of the world's marathoning population, it takes a special kind of mental endurance which he doesn't have. Not everyone is blessed with the genetics that allow them to run a "fast" marathon, but that doesn't make them any less an athlete for completing one.

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    1. She is not discrediting what you or anyone else did. You are just reading too much into it. It's obvious that she meant professional athletes. They are the ones that are competing to win the race. You are just competing against yourself. There is a big difference, that was the point. Sub-elite athletes should be running for fun and personal best, not to brag and be negatively competitive.

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    2. Maybe I should have used the word professional and not athlete. Seeing now that my choice of words does make me seem like a bit of an elitist ass. Not trying to discredit any runners here by saying they aren't athletes, because I do think they are. I have plenty of respect for those folks, and I'm sure moving for 6 hours isn't a walk in the park. I think everyone deserves the chance to be proud of their accomplishments, and finish time doesn't make finishing a marathon in 6 hours any less of an achievement than finishing in 3.

      My issue is that many of us average runners are just tending to make it so serious, like it's all business. Unlike elite athletes, our livelihoods do not depend on our race performances where we don't need to be putting that amount of pressure there and instead it should be fun. Seeing some people take it so seriously where they hold that same expectation for others is just a major buzz kill in my opinion.

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  18. Well written and worded. Running isn't about just enjoyment anymore, rather it's about being better than the last person or last race time. People should measure they're great times of running by the satisfaction they got out of it, rather how hard they gave sometimes.

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  19. haha great post. I know what you mean about lots of questions from others about races when you see them. But I think most people are just curious about how the race went and everything. I haven't done a race since Dec 2010 and I miss the questions from people and telling them about it.

    Also, I've stopped telling people my race times at all unless they ask me, because really why tell people at all? Race times are useless for others to compare against, because they are personal. It's like telling someone how much you make - either them or you will feel bad about the answer. The only people who I do tell are my running buddies and people who might want to know.

    And hopefully you don't feel any regret for not racing Chicago - since I think you could have PRd considering you have been running well and the conditions were perfect it sounds like (cold). I bet you'll PR in your next marathon.

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    1. Never thought about it that way Nelly, but that's a good point about race times being like salary. No regrets here! There will always be another time to go for a PR, and I don't want to rush myself into trying to make that opportunity fit into a 12 month calendar.

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  20. Lots of truth here. I have witnessed some people who are just way too competitive and it does bother me because I am a firm believer in competing with myself and nobody else. We all have different abilities and to me a 10 minute PR is just as exciting if you ran a 5:00 marathon or a 3:30 marathon because it's an achievement. We all have goals but sometimes I am grateful that I can run and I try to put all of that aside. I felt you were very genuine about running with your hubby and I think it is an awesome thing that you did. To me, you sounded like you had a renewed love for running and were looking forward to getting back into things.

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  21. I too have had mixed feeling since Chicago...Although this was my first, I now find myself wondering if it was my last because I pushed TOO hard during training and hurt myself.
    I am still too 'off' to even think of redepmtion. And to the person who asked just two days after the marathon, "WHY would someone run 26.2 miles, what, for a sticker on their car?" I had to bite my tongue. People really need to learn to keep their mouths shut.
    Great post Britt, and way to support your hub.

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    1. Wow, someone really thinks we just do it for a sticker on our car??? Haha, that's hilarious! I feel kind of bad for that person.

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  22. Thank you!!!! I am a slow assed half marathoner who only wants to get faster so I don't have to worry about when they're closing up the finish line. I want my money's worth out of that course, so I high five every single kid and thank every single volunteer and stop to take pictures and talk and I've even been known to sing mid race.

    I don't need people encouraging me to try harder. I am trying plenty hard. Trying to enjoy my life. I don't need to run Boston, because I don't like Boston as a city. What I need is my daily allotment of Vitamin Mileage to chase the Depression Monster away. And my slow ass sparkles for most of those miles.

    Love this post. It made me a follower.

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  23. I ran the chicago half with my brother and it was the first time I ran for someone else and not for my own time. It was one of the best race experiences I ever had. I enjoyed myself, there was no pressure, and it felt great to be there for someone I love. I think sometimes we have to be so goal focused that we forget what it means to run a race for anything else but the chip time.

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  24. Great post! You definitely deserve rest so enjoy it while it lasts. One of the best things I heard with regards to running form is to not over-think it. There is no "right" way to run and while a mid-foot strike works for some it may not work for others. I found that the more I actively think about my running form while running, the more random aches I experience!

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  25. It can be frustrating when people (other runners) cut you off immediately and go into their great race, but I think there are so few people that actually run, that when we find someone who knows what PR stands for and understands what a certain pace is, we get overly excited. I mean it's probably why many of us blog about it, right? It's not like I want to brag about myself, but it's nice to share a part of yourself with others that also understand the difficulty surrounding the accomplishment and/or disappointment of training and racing.

    Oh, and I definitely take issue with heel strike. You, evil, evil, person you! :P Congrats to you and the hubby!

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  26. Such a good post, and good comments too. I was just telling a friend the other day how annoyed I was when someone was telling me their sad story about their slow half and it was a time 20 mins faster than my PR. It's okay to want to PR and it's okay to want to run for fun. It is NOT okay to cut people off when they are talking about something, whether you asked them about it or not, just to be a competitive ass.

    I hardly talk about my running to anyone, because I feel this way - people either don't care or they want to make me feel bad. Of course, I have many friends who lift me up, but geez... so many people just don't THINK before they talk!!!

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  27. I agree with you 100%. Marathon chatter is nauseating! No matter what time or place you finished in, it looked like you and your husband had fun. That is the most important thing. Great job. :-)

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  28. I ran my first half marathon over a week ago. I'm just happy that I survived it. I had no injuries, and I trained for it properly. But AFTER, EVERYONE I know...even people that are not "runners" asked me what my time was. I felt like I had to apologize for myself. I have some super competitive friends and I really couldn't even talk about my race because I felt unworthy. I feel a lot better now after reading this post. Thanks for writing this, it had to be said by someone.

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  29. Great post!!! I sometimes get sad when beginner runner's feel they are so slow and therefore not considered "real runners". It takes a while to convince them from the opposite,but it is important to me that they realize that no matter how fast, as long as you go out there and run, you are a runner!

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  30. who are these people saying these things to you...I want to slap them! taking a week off is AMAZING and you acknowledging that you needed a week off is HUGE! I am so stinkin proud of you for taking time to reflect/soak in the events of running Chicago, and the past year...it's the crazies who try to run the day after a marathon that need to be questioned (me...i try to, I am stupid!)
    you are so inspiring, and understand so much about smart-running!
    I hope you are feeling great post-marathon and continuing to enjoy the post-marathon feelings!
    xoxo!

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  31. I just stumbled upon your blog on Twitter and I'm so glad I did. I needed to read this post, especially today. I just did the Nike Women's Marathon on Sunday and have taken the entire week off of running, I did crosstrain but that's neither here nor there. Anyways, I was supposed to pace a half marathon this morning but decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to risk an injury for another pacing opportunity. I totally agree with everything you just said. I think running can get annoyingly competitive. I also agree about Boston...I ran it this year and I'm sure it was because of the heat but I did not like it and don't care to ever do it again. I think the fact that you ran with your husband is AWESOME!! I don't think we need to "race" every race that we do. That's why I have loved being a pacer, it totally takes the pressure off and I can go and enjoy a run without feeling like I have to PR. Running should be enjoyable and truth be told the times I have "raced" haven't been all that enjoyable. Sorry for all the babble, I just really enjoyed your post :)

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  32. I know I'm late to the game for this post...actually read it a while ago and just came across it again. I giggle that people possibly criticize you heel strike when you are one of the fastest ladies in the CHI. Doesn't really matter how you run when you run that fast.

    I'm struggling back from injury and it's a real struggle. The 5K is a struggle. Trying to get my weight off is a struggle. I'd love to have battle wounds from CM12 but had to sit it out this year. My dreams don't include a BQ or being a front runner, I just want to be healthy and run as hard as I can at any moment. You won't hear a lot of talk of PRs from me because its been a long time since I've seen one. Possibly the best days are over for me in terms of "fast times" but I run for love of it and can't wait to be strong enough to start adding a little distance to my runs and also be able to run up a slight incline without dying.

    I hope you are recovered and feeling good now. Enoy the journey.

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  33. Wow you put everything in this post perfectly!! Success is personal and it isn't defined by improvements. You rocked that race with your husband and grew as a couple through the journey to get there, not only the race. Even if it wasnt a PR for both of you it was a huge success and should be a great memory for both of you!! Hope you enjoyed your rest week :)

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    1. indeed i did! several days off always makes my legs feel a bit more peppy!

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  34. LUV this post!! it is so grating sometimes listening to people prattle on if they all they do is talk about their times, their total miles, and just keep trying to one-up everyone else. i guess it's just i am not the kind of person who ever goes around bragging, i mean i tend to think that u can just let the times speak for themselves. if someone asks me, fine, but then i don't go around name-dropping or time-dropping for the sake of trying to make myself feel better/faster. i could go on a rant here, but i'll cut short, and just say that the competitive thing with miles/times is one of the biggest reasons i'll never do that dailymile or something similar. i run for myself and not that i don't like PR's (umm, we all do) i don't want to hear it from people if it's in the tone of bragging...there is a difference between being happy/excited over a time/performance/progress and for which i'm ALL about giving people props. the bragging stuff tho, is just nauseating. sorry for my epic comment rant! lol.

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