I just discovered the most fantastic web-comic, Questionable Content. It's about romance, Indy-rock and little quirky robots! Highly recommended. Also in the realm of comedy, yesterday the special edition of Bobcat Goldthwait's Windy City Heat, which may be one of the funniest flicks I've ever seen, was released. I caught this show a couple years ago on Comedy Central, at about 3 a.m., with some law school friends after we'd been bar-hopping through the Upper West Side "Frat-ties." If true, this movie shows one of the best practical jokes of all time. Treat yourself; I know I am. As far as stupid moves averted, a car dealership in Ohio has decided to pull its "Jihad" promotion, where on "Fatwa Fridays" sales reps would give play swords to kids . . . only in Ohio could someone think this was a good idea.
In running news, this article entitled "Running with Slowpokes: How sluggish newbies ruined the marathon" has caused quite a bit of consternation among blogers: here, here and here. While the consternation over elitism is admirable and I certainly have praised 5 hour marathoners, I think it misses the article's point:
Today, the great majority of marathon runners set out simply to finish. That sets the bar so low that everyone comes out a winner. Big-city marathons these days feel more like circuses than races, with runners of variable skill levels—some outfitted in wacky costumes—crawling toward the finish line. The marathon has transformed from an elite athletic contest to something closer to sky diving or visiting the Grand Canyon. When a newbie marathoner crosses the finish line, he's less likely to check his time than to shout, "Only 33 more things to do before I die!"With this assessment I agree wholeheartedly. It's a race. By adults. This isn't second-grade P.E. where we all get ribbons (Oh Wait! We do!) Everyone is not a winner, even if you finish. How do I determine if someone's a winner? This is personal, from my viewpoint it's whether the marathon effort you just made was your best effort. That's it. Did you do your best -- just like in the old saw: If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. As a corrollary, if worth doing, it's worth preparing for. If you half-assed the training, you're not a winner. If you don't try to determine how successful you can be, not a winner. If you slam the wall, well . . . depends on whether you were trying to push the envelope or did zero pacing strategy. In the latter case, not a winner. If it's worth doing . . .
I ran a 3:22 in my first marathon. In the race, I did my best. My training was half-assed. I had more time than I do now, but trained half as much simply because of lack of motivation. Although I'm glad to have done the event, I find that time somewhat . . . embarrassing. I didn't do my best; I could have done better. It grates on my self-respect.
A couple of the Flyers and I had a conversation on the "just to finish" goal over the weekend. I maintained, and still do, that it's a stupid goal. If you have serious doubt about your ability to finish the marathon, you shouldn't be doing it. Run a Half. Run a 10K. Run whatever you can finish and can give your best effort in. The marathon's not for everyone. Moreover, I found that thinking "just to finish" was acceptable in my first marathon gave me a mental 'out' to shirk on training. That's an 'out' that I happily took when it was "too hot," or "too cold," or "too windy," or I was just "too tired." However, when the bar's set below mediocrity, what's the point in pushing yourself into discomfort? Anyone can finish, if they go slow enough. It doesn't take that much effort for the human body to cover 26.2 miles. That's a fact, Jack.
So, I wholeheartedly agree in this effort to strike at personal medicrity. Challenge yourself. That challenge is certainly personal and even if it's six hours or five or whatever, that you put forth your best effort is something to be proud of. An accomplishment that moves us beyond ourselves . . . victoria ad gloriam, gloria ad imortalitatem. The issue, I think, if for no other reason than self-respect should not be "did I finish," but "did I give it all I had?"
Tuesday: 8.15 miles in 61:04 (7:30 avg.) with 5X600@2:15, 2:14, 2:09, 2:09, 2:05
Wednesday: 11.25 miles in 1:28:30 (7:52)
Thursday: 6.1 miles in 46:56 (7:42)