On the Mend and a Rant about Elites

Saturday I took a chance and I ran.  Outside.  On pavement. 

Saturday was my scheduled 20 mile training run for Philly.  While my recovery from ITBS hasn’t been nearly as fast as I had hoped, I am showing improvement.  I’ve been focusing on keep my right foot straight when I walk (who knew I had such a gimpy gait?).  This new gait kept me pain-free for most of last week.

So Saturday I took a chance.  I swam 1300 yds/meters (I never know what the standard gym pool length is).  And hello?  That’s a HUGE improvement for me.  Remember my panic attacks in the water? 

On the way home from the gym – I decided I’d go for a run.  I packed all of my running stuff (Garmin, heartrate strap, running shoes…) just in case I felt up to it.

I drove to the start of the promenade that runs along the Inner Harbor (from Canton to the Inner Harbor).  And I went for it.

I ran 5 miles.  Pain free. 

I came home, showered, stretched, iced and spent the day doing a happy dance in my head.

My knee was pretty achy yesterday but I continued to ice it on and off all day and stretch it.  I have minimal pain today and even ran on the treadmill for a 1/2 mile at the physical therapist’s office.

I’m still very worried about being able to complete the Philly Marathon.  At this point, I think I’m going to have to employ the Galloway Method (running/walking) because I was pretty winded after a 5 mile run.  I guess that’s what taking 5 weeks off of running will do to you.

And have I mentioned that my ass is killing me?  I mean, it HURTS.  I told my PT this and he said it was a good sign that I was actually engaging my glutes like I’m supposed to.  So hooray for a sore ass.

SO with the NYC Marathon buzz going around, there was an article published in the NY Times recently regarding the popularity of marathons. 

Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?

If you’re not into running, I’m sure this post is uber boring but for those of you following my struggle with training… maybe you’ll find this interesting.

I read the article last week and I’ll admit that it completely killed my spirit.  I haven’t been able to train as I’d hoped due to injury and at this point, unless a miracle happens, I’ll definitely be posting a 5+ hr time on the marathon… maybe even over 6 hours. 

Reading that article and the comments by some of the “elite” runners really hurt my feelings.  How dare they accuse me of not trying.  How dare they belittle my training and my potential accomplishment because I’m slow.

I saw some tweets this morning about the article from runners and “healthy” bloggers and was almost appalled by some of their opinions.  Yes, stopping for lunch midway through a marathon probably isn’t ideal but whose to say that the person wasn’t about to pass out?  Maybe “sport beans” weren’t going to cut it.

My path to becoming a “runner” has been slow.  Its been hard.  But something that I’ve always appreciated was the sense of community I felt amongst other runners around Baltimore.  They didn’t care how slow I was during long runs.  I got tons of encouragement, advice and overall support from everyone (and these were people who have run tons of marathons and even a few ultras).  Even as I cried off and on during the Baltimore Marathon (where I was a volunteer) – I still felt an overwhelming sense of support from the other volunteers (who were also runners) that I was going to get through it.

Anywho – rant over.  It just saddens me that there is this big divide.  I’m trying just as hard as the next guy.  Just because I won’t be as fast as some people doesn’t mean that I’m not busting my ass. 

There were a few comments left on that article that made me feel better this morning and I’ll just say thank you to Greg from NY who wrote:

At the end of the day, we all cover the same course and get to enjoy our own experiences. Don’t diminish other peoples achievements just because you want to keep the bragging rights for yourself. Congratulations to anyone that has finished or is training to finish 26.2 miles. You’re all marathoners in my book.

And to First Timer from VA who wrote (I posted her entire comment because it was just THAT good):

How dare they. I am a first time marathoner and my dream is to finish at the 11 minute pace disrespected in this article. An over five hour finish is much more likely. I have been training for six months specifically for this this event, sacrificing time with friends and family not just to get in the requisite training miles but also in the name of rest and recovery. I have run before dawn, after dark, in the rain, in the hot of summer, in the recent cold spell, in near 100% humidity – you name the conditions and I’ve probably been out there along with the rest of my compatriates in my training program working towards this tremendous life goal. Despite all of the hard work and effort, I have fears that I won’t finish, or that something will happen along the course that I haven’t dealt with in my training and which I won’t know how to deal with, the result being that my finish time will be significantly slower than my goal. A six hour finish, while not my goal, is not out of the realm of possibility for me given the uncertainties that are inherent in any event (remember Chicago 2007 or Richmond 2008?)

To read the snide, dismissive comments of more physically gifted “elite” runners is not only disheartening, but disrespectful to every runner out on the course. It discredits the unbelievably demanding hard work – physical and mental – that we have put in through months and months of training. It discounts the dedication that we have shown, training run after training run, week after week. It belittles the discipline that we’ve had to impose; the willingness to lace up those shoes and hit the roads when really, we just wanted to take a day off; the 4:45am wake up call on a Saturday morning; the 8 – 9 mile run after putting in a full day at the office. It diminishes the support demonstrated by our families and significant others. They too have had to make adjustments in this process when we haven’t been around as much as we used to. And,for those of us in training programs, it disregards the incredible support of our coaches and teammates, fast and slow, who have so supportive and encouraging along this journey.

I do not know how my run will go. I know I will finish, if I have to walk the whole way. And if I do, I will do so with my head held high. I – thanks to the support of many – have earned this.

There were a ton of great comments but those really made my day. 

I’ve been trying to think of a clever shirt to wear (that will clearly have my name displayed, dammit!) during the Philly marathon.  Now I’m thinking it’ll say, “Fuck you, haters.”  It has a nice ring to it.  🙂



Filed under Charm City Kim Runs

5 responses to “On the Mend and a Rant about Elites

  1. you ARE a runner, and a damn good one too! i’m not fast either, but when I run, I feel accomplished. no matter my time or speed. Running is hard for me to do, so when I reach certain goals I’m happy with them because i struggled to get there and made it. YOU are gonna rock this race!

    Thank you! And I’m totally with you… no matter how long it takes me to complete a distance, or even if I had to walk part of it, the fact that I did it makes me feel like I accomplished something.

  2. Kt

    Me not being a runner have total respect for all runners – fast or slow! It’s sad that in any sport, people who really do have their heart in it are dismissed by anyone’s presumptions of what a true athlete should be.

    My thoughts exactly!

  3. To me, 5 miles after 5 weeks off is freaking amazing!

    Wow. That article was harsh. How can they judge anyone’s pace when they have no idea what their story is? And every single one of them has a story.

    Exactly! Perhaps volunteering at a water stop gave me a new perspective but at mile 9.5, the runners, joggers, walkers… they were ALL working hard.

  4. I think the important part happens after the marathon. Will a first timer stick with running. That is where you separate the winners and the pretenders. Running is a lifestyle sport. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, just the fact that you are going out there time and time again.

    Oh, and I like a different marathon plan called the 100 day marathon plan. The workouts have walking in them too.

    That’s a really good point. I agree that running is a lifestyle (one I hope I can stick with!).

    Thanks for the info on the other marathon plan. I’ll check that out!

  5. My aunt is an avid runner and has hurt herself as well. Her first marathon is in Florida this year and she, just like you, is nervous about running in it. She is extremely fit (and fast), but this injury has slowed her pace a lot. She recently began training again, although slower and steadier than she normally trains. She is still surprisingly upbeat and motivated about her marathon run, even though she will not be nearly at the same ranking as she normally would. I love the comment that “Greg from NY” made, that anyone who finished a 26.2 is still a marathoner to him. I agree. Keep up the training and there is no need to ever doubt that you are a great runner!

    Thank you! I appreciate it. I love hearing/reading stories about other runners (and marathon newbies) that are battling injuries but aren’t losing hope.

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