Monday, September 26, 2011

Aren't you just doing what you're supposed to be doing?

When I was a kid, my parents weren't much for rewards or hoopla.
You got an A on the test?  "Nice job."

You graduated high school?  "That's exactly what you were supposed to do.  I worked and I supported you, you went to school.  Why would I buy you a present?"

I don't think I was pressured a ton to be perfect, growing up, but the general expectations to work hard, get a good job, and don't expect the world to hand you things were there.  And I am grateful to my parents for that.
I like to think it's given me a realistic, if somewhat cynical view when it comes to the things I spend my time on (running, work, etc.).

I run because I like it (possibly even love it?), and I have the free time and disposable income to do it.  It's healthy and I'm ok at it.  But just like graduating high school, I don't deserve any presents for logging miles.

Running is not a job (unless you're an elite, in which case, hey, give me training advice!).  It's ain't charity work (unless you're like Ali and it is) and  in the grand scheme of difficulties in life, it's not all that hard.  It doesn't make me better than anyone, more determined or more successful.

It's mah hobby.  Kinda like pottery is for someone else.  That might be kind of offensive to a hardcore runner, but I guarantee you there's some old dude that feels just as passionate about makin' his pots as you do about your long run.

Which is why I'd like to present a dictionary of terms.
Why yes, you may call me Mr. Webster! 

He never thought he'd be on a HL blog
Inspiring People (adj., n. adv.):  Extraordinary people who inspire.
Good Examples:  Ghandi, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa.
Bad Examples:  You, running 25 miles last week.
Possible Exceptions:  Life changing running that involves losing 100+ pounds.

Busy Day (n.):  A day with a lot of responsibilities to attend to.
Good Examples:  Soldier's day while doing tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Bad Examples:  Trip to Lululemon, spin class, and blogging.

Hills (n.):  An incline you go up or down.  (It's harder to go up.  Very easy to go down.)
Good Examples: Badwater ultramarathon.  Pikes Peak ascent.
Bad Examples:  20 foot incline at mile 8.

Healthy Diet (n.):  A healthy, nutritional way of living.
Good Example:  Whole grains, protein, vegetables, occasional treats.
Bad Example:  Cookies and kale.

Long Run (n.) :  Training run for a marathon.
Good Example:  Running 20 miles.
Bad Example:  Running 20 miles as fast as possible.
Bonus Bad Example:  Predicting marathon time off raced 20 miler.

Elite Athlete (n.):  A top athlete.
Good Examples: Kara Goucher or Shalene Flanagan. 
Bad Examples:  Me, running a 3:35 at Boston. 

Free Time (n.):  Time spent doing activities of your own choice.
Good Examples: Exercising and writing thoughts on the internet.

Chip Time (n.):  Time accurately recorded by an electronic device in a reputable race (see "USATF Sanctioned Course" below).
Good Examples:  "Chip Time xx:xx, Gun Time xx:xx"
Bad Examples:  "I'm pretty sure I crossed the line about 10 seconds sooner than my chip time."

USATF Sanctioned Course (n.):  A course that has been accurately measured to determine that the advertised distance is correct.
Good Example:  "I ran a half marathon.  That's 13.1 miles."
Bad Example:  "My $150 GPS device said the course was .3 miles long.  So my Garmin pace was..."
*Edit from original post :
Here is a very technical article on calibrated courses.     USATF adds 1 meter per km in the measurement.  So yes, you're right,  if you ran a 10k, you possibly ran 10 extra meters.   Or .0062 of a mile extra.

Zebra (n.):  Animal for whom stripes are always in style.  I just figured I should finish my dictionary terms with something that started with a "Z".


  1. since i can't go to lululemon or spin class and don't have a blog is my day automatically busy?

    you know some ppl pay like $400 for their garmins, those might be more accurate than the USATF measurements!

  2. I love the pot man! He is so adorable! Thanks for the reminder that hobbies are hobbies. I think it is easy to get too caught up in things and forget what is really important in life sometimes. Happy Tuesday!

  3. I love this dictionary. Should be right next to the OED on every blogger's bookshelf.

  4. Love this post. It's important not to take ourselves too seriously. If you're an H&F blogger, consider yourself privileged.

    I hate it when I tell people I ran a certain time according to my watch, and then have the results say something slower. It's such a small, inconsequential amount of time, no one cares. I'm still eons away from being anything special. Still I don't want people thinking I'm being less than honest, so I feel the need to explain. Yep, that's me taking myself too seriously! I fel dumb when I go back and read that stuff.

  5. soooo true. i especially like the "zebra" entry :) except that i'm pretty sure that when i run 25 miles a week i'm inspiring... or not. but i do agree - running AND blogging are my hobbies. though i do wish someone would pay me for them.

  6. Actually, I think you're wrong on the certified course thing. As I understand it, what a certified course means is that it's AT LEAST as far as the certified distance. A course can be a certified 10k but actually be longer than that (even if you run the tangents, which also add distance on a curvy route) if they move the start line back, etc.

    I used to run a certified 5k every year and the measuring started from the first left turn, but they never put the starting line there b/c they didn't want people lining up on that street, so it was actually a block and a half away from the turn. And the start at the corner was the certified finish too, but we still had to go back the 1.5 blocks, so the course was long, but still certified.

    But I get your point either way!

  7. I was just thinking along these lines last night. I am so glad you blogged it so I don't have to. I'ma jus gonna copy/paste this onto my site... m'kay? This and A's lesson in how to spectate correctly.

  8. ha ha thanks for all of the clarification. It is a good reminder to not take myself too seriously. When your hobby starts to trump your education and job that is when it is a good time to remember it is just a hobby. :)

  9. This is brills. I'm dying. All of this is just perfect. More candid discussions about running rule-benders soon.

  10. haha! love this post! and definitely learned something. like maybe i should actually believe the course lengths ;)

  11. This post makes me smile ;)

  12. Amen, sister!! I will probably link to this sometime in the near future. This is my favorite quote: "Running is not a job (unless you're an elite, in which case, hey, give me training advice!). It's ain't charity work (unless you're like Ali and it is) and in the grand scheme of difficulties in life, it's not all that hard. It doesn't make me better than anyone, more determined or more successful."

  13. LOOOVES IT. I'm laughing like a fool.

    I'd like to talk about the 20 mile training run one. Everyone keeps saying, oh your marathon's going to be so fast, look at your training runs...but I do these runs while having conversations with other runners, which makes the time go by so quickly and makes me forget that it's uncomfortable. I know that it is going to be SO MUCH harder on marathon day because I'm not going to have the comfort of my little bubble group. AND we always stop for a minute at the water stations to eat gummy bears and I think my garmin drops those stand still times from the watch and it's def not going to drop a water break during the marathon. So there is no way to predict how the actual day is going to turn out.

    I also would like to think about the garmin one too....I always see people talking about how their garmins don't match up with the time chip. I think it's useful for people to think about these nuggets of info, but people should not get upset if they are a little off. Perhaps they should learn a little more about taking the short route of a course.

  14. OK but I can't judge those garmin people...I realized that I've never had this issue before because my garmin has always matched. I've only done two races w/my garmin before-- a 5k and 8k.

    So maybe I would be annoyed if I had a problem? Eh, don't know. We'll find out over a longer course probably.

  15. Haha! I always compare garmin distance to race distance. And I don't care! Seriously, though, if it's really off then I feel like I've been robbed of my 5-10 seconds per mile, which, yes is not nearly close to even local elite, but it's still significant to me. Not to anyone else.