Sunday, February 05, 2006

Deep Thoughts

When you are not heaving and hurling your way through a run, you can actually think. This morning, I thought these thoughts:


  • Figured out that my niece should be teaching French at a private school instead of current job which is under-using her talents, because I know what's best for other people;
  • Composed entire post to Mr. Right, telling him off (p.s., this is an imaginary person);
  • Composed blog post about the guy who lost 72 lbs and ran Miami Disney and got flack from some elite runners because he got a mention in the press even though it took him six hours, whereas the winners apparently didn't get enough press, and explain to elite runners (cuz they are so reading this right now) that, though this is totally unfair, their victory is not as newsworthy as is the guy who lost 72 lbs and ran a marathon. Because that is unusual. Explain what is news and what isn't. Especially in a country of overweight people;
  • Remember to tell everyone that I signed up for audible.com so that I can download books on tape for the weekly ride to and from Charlottesville to visit my mother (first download: "The Lighthouse," by P.D. James (totally addictive, btw)) and whoo-hoo, for $22 join-up fee, I got an i-pod shuffle thrown in! Wonder what the catch is;
  • Started worrying about very strange comment that I left on Noames's site, quoting a WWII song, "I'll Be Seeing You," which I thought appropriate since she is leaving for SENEGAL. Wonder what people will make of it (song is now also on my personal internal i-pod);
  • Also on my personal, internal i-pod is "Wall of Death"—you know, that ride at the fair where you are standing upright and whirled in a circle and centrifical (or is it centrifugal?) force pushes you against the edge until you puke? There's a song about it, and it's in my head;
  • Tell people that all hills in Bethesda are fake. They are merely overpasses;
  • There are birds here. Lots of birds, despite evil highways;
  • Trees starting to bloom. That will be bad when winter comes;
  • Write about fixing things versus throwing them out. Fixed watch instead of replacing it. Of course now it doesn't beep. Which is why I ran longer than I was supposed to;
  • Blog about why I can't write;
  • Blog about smiling at 50 people every day; tried this on run; smiled at six people; felt stupid; but got six smiles back, and one "way to go." Hmm. Something to this;
  • Bex. Tell everyone that Bex is my coach, so if they don't like my training program, they should write to her;
  • Fear. Blog about fear.

And that people, is what easy running leads to.

53 comments:

21st Century Mom said...

Oh my - I hardly know where to start this response.

First of all, bitchy elite runners should just shut their yaps. They think they own the damned world and have zero appreciation for casual athletes. To them I say pbffft!

Second of all, you can write. In fact you do write and quite a few people read what you have to say - nuff said.

Third of all - could you sign the note to Mr. Right from both of us? Thank you.

Fourth of all - I wish I had known you were doing audible because I would have had you use me as a referral -they give out goodies for that. The shuffle is great and the only 'catch' is that they get you addicted to audio books so that you subscribe for life.

Fifth - 50 people is too many. Six sounds manageable.

Sixth - damn I'm opinionated! I think it must be time for bed.

susie said...

Easy running. Don't you love it? And all those thoughts. Where else could you solve all the problems of the universe? And why didn't I know about audible's offer *before* I bought another Shuffle? I may join anyway. I have news for you--will email tonight.

nancytoby said...

Ewww, I followed those links about the Miami runner and now I feel like I stepped in dog poop. What ugliness people display in their superiority over people with higher body fat levels. Ugh.

Jamy said...

Thanks for the link!

It's 50 people a week, which is a lot more manageable. Not that I manage it.

jcerunner said...

I like to say hi with my hand to all the runers I find during my traning. It's a "tradition" that my uncle told me twenty years ago running with him one day in Madrid. I think it's something to encourage the other runner and also positive for you when the "salutation" comes back.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Damn, now how did you remember all that to include in your post?

I always think of a million things I want to write, and what I will post about, and darned if I actually capture any of that in my post.

And amen, sister, on the press issue! And you so can write, which is why I've been lurking on your site for the last two months.

Bolder said...

oh man, that's a wack of deep thoughts for a monday.

must.ice.noggin.

Anonymous said...

Why descend to the depths of those so-called elite runners on this blog. I just hate it when people on blogs express feeling towards others that they would never say to their faces and for that matter dont even feel. Does 20th century mom really feel that way about faster runners? I'm sure at the local 5K she is plenty nice to everyone and doesnt go up to the winner and go 'pft.' The reverse is also true - never seen a faster runner tell a slower one that they suck after a race at the refreshment table. Glad I got that off my chest. Now to get back to Entertainment tonight!

Dirk D

21st Century Mom said...

Dirk,

Yes I have seen elite runners be flat out mean to not so elite runners. I've seen it on the internet and I've seen it up close and in person. It takes the form of yelling at someone and telling them to stay the eff out of the way. They care not that a person might just have completed his or her first run ever and be feeling really proud and accomplished.

I can assure you that I have no problem telling them off right to their faces. I don't, however, run around the internet picking fights.

16th century luddite said...

"First of all, bitchy elite runners should just shut their yaps. They think they own the damned world and have zero appreciation for casual athletes. To them I say pbffft!"

Good on you. That's a sure-fire way for "casual athletes" to earn the respect of those nearer to the front of the pack than they: Call them "bitchy," tell them to shut up, accuse them of arrogance, and offer them an intellectually profound razzing sound. You left out "Their moms dress them funny," though.

There was nothing I saw on the "elite" blog remotely approaching the level of spite exhibited here. Something to think about the next time you're parked in your glass-walled living room with an armload of stones.

16th century luddite said...

"the guy who lost 72 lbs and ran Disney and got flack from elite runners because he got a mention in the press even though it took him six hours, whereas the winners apparently didn't get enough press, and explain to elite runners (cuz they are so reading this right now) that, though this is totally unfair, their victory is not as newsworthy as is the guy who lost 72 lbs and ran a marathon. Because that is unusual. Explain what is news and what isn't. Especially in a country of overweight people"

I have to hand it to you for producing something so stupid it's almost beyond the reach of criticism.

First of all, what makes you think any of the guy's critics were elite runners? Were they bragging about or even mentioning their times? (That's a rhetorical question.)

Second, why should someone who eats his way into Fat City and diets his way back to near-normal size receive extra credit as compared to someone with the discipline to remain thin throughout her life? There were undoubtedly plenty of people far in front of your hero who were also once fat, including a lot of the top finishers. Should sports reporters go out of their way to seek out people who have overcome adversity of their own creation? Nah. I think it's sufficient to treat a footrace as a footrace and cover it accordingly. Radical, eh?

Third, if you believe that the coverage of Former Fat Guy is "unfair," why do you fault these non-elite elite runners for apparently believing the same thing?

"Yes I have seen elite runners be flat out mean to not so elite runners. I've seen it on the internet and I've seen it up close and in person. It takes the form of yelling at someone and telling them to stay the eff out of the way. They care not that a person might just have completed his or her first run ever and be feeling really proud and accomplished."

Did you grow up isolated from social norms? If someone's unnecessarily in my way when I'm running a race, I don't care if he's just rescued a hundred cats stranded in a hundred trees, he's gonna get yelled at. And that applies whether he won the race or whether he's a big fat slug. If that makes me mean, I'll wear the label with pride.

Ron S. said...

Today is February 7, so that can only mean one thing--Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday My Bloody-Footed Running Friend, Happy Birthday to You!

Bex said...

Whoa. A lot of aggro here. But I do have to say there are good points made on both sides. And rude behavior is the province of both fast and slow runners.

But what's most important today: Happy Birthday, Jeanne! I will hoist an appletini to you later today.

Lara said...

You can run, you can write, and you sure can rabble-rouse! Happy birthday chickie!

13th century thumbscew said...
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a.maria said...

happy happy birthday birthday! much love comin at ya!

a.maria said...

16th century luddite...

.."why should someone who eats his way into Fat City and diets his way back to near-normal size receive extra credit as compared to someone with the discipline to remain thin throughout her life?"...

because more than likely, the person who has "had the discipline to remain thin her whole life" hasn't had to work at it as much as the person who at one time weighed 200+ pounds... or the person who is just perpetually 10 pounds overweight and no matter what he/she does, just can't seem to get over that hurdle.....

sure, absolutely, elite runners have their own set of trials and tribulations, nobody is taking that away from them, but being a "near normal sized" person isn't one of them.... and if the news wants to make a big deal of the fact that someone had the discipline to lose weight and run a marathon.... why is that a bad thing? if it encourages or inspires just one other person to do the same, then good on that reporter.

Anonymous said...

Most here are missing the point. 21st CM, I'm on your side but youre way out of line. I run about 15 miles/week, go to the odd exercise class at the Y, and have a family. I went thru that whole blog thread looking for where folks thought the 'elites' were fat-haters, slow-runner-haters, and I dont see it. The original author went out of his way to praise the Tony guy for his achivement. He was just jesting at the fact that his buddy (a doctor with a family - imagine that lifestyle) won the masters title in a race of 15,000 yet was listed in an article below Tony. The main line of criticism was from "Dawn" who turned out to the main actress in this blog. In any case, as a rec runner and a masters runner at that, I see the competitive guys train at our local track whilst I walk and jog about lane 7. To infer that they somehow effortlessly perambulate due to a genetic gift does them a disservice. They work hard at it and in all likelyhood deserve higher recognition in the press coverage of a race than someone who lost a lot of weight.

Running is a unique sport in that even us slowpokes can line up against the world record holder of the marathon and be in the same race. If you are in his way, he has every right to yell about it though common courtesy should avoid F-bombs. You cant enter the tour de france on your huffy or race in the Indy 500 in your minivan.

I notice Jeanne did a charity run at the MCM. I hope she is not from the infamous Jean's Marines, the ones wwho cut the course. ha.

Why cant everyone just get along?

Dirk D

ali said...

Happy Birthday!

I love this post, it is amazing what goes through your mind on a run, and you remember it, I can't remember a thought 5 seconds after I've had it!

21st Century Mom said...

" I don't care if he's just rescued a hundred cats stranded in a hundred trees, he's gonna get yelled at."

Thank you for making my point.

To everyone else, in all fairness I didn't read 'the' blog in question - my comment was more general. I'll admit to over snarkification but how my comments managed to get so many panties in a twist is beyond me. Then again, some of them came from a guy who freely admits that he would yell at someone rather than politely calling out "passing on the left - please move over".

Happy Birthday Jeanne!! For your birthday I give you readership and your 15 minutes!

Bolder said...

Happy B-day!!!!!!

21st Century Mom said...

PS - I said "bitchy" elite runners,not "all" elite runners. Clearly there is an asumption that I think all=bitchy. I do not.

I now turn you back to Jeanne, our regularly scheduled blogger.

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

You know, I think you should go out on a limb and write something controversial. :)

(geez, you sure know how to shake up a room)

16th Century luddite said...

a.maria: You make some good points but they aren't germane to the issue that sparked this little imbroglio. Sports journalism isn't about everyday Joes and Janes and their overcoming of problems. That sort of fluff is more suitable for the "Health and Family" section or its equivalent. I don't care myself how much coverage the winners of marathons *don't* get, or how much Weight Watchers types *do* get, but I have to admit running is about the only sport that allows for so many stories about people irrelevant to the central competition.

21st Century Mom: As you freely admit to ignorance of the dialogue that precipitated this, to shooting from the hip, and to generalizing, please don't confuse anything I write with assent, because you're comically off-base.

I didn't say what I would yell at someone for being in my way, I just said I'd yell. I also said I'm an equal-opportunity "aggressor," thereby deflating your caricature of the arrogant elite runner.

I'd be interested in your experiences with "bitchy" elite runners. I've seen a few jerks at road races but they weren't the ones near the front. Maybe you invite scorn somehow? Or imagine things?

Once again, if you think you have scored some sort of point by getting me or anyone to admit to getting irritated at oblivious interlopers on the course and responding accordingly, you're wrong. But if it's important to you to believe that those with more talent or dedication are avaricious about it, I won't try to stop you.

plods said...

Happy Birthday Jeanne!!

Jack said...

A. Marie is spreading the word -> Happy Birthday!!

craig said...

What a great sense of humor. Your post made my day. Especially the second item. I turn 49 at the end of the month. Hope you have a good one.

Kim said...

Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday Dear Jeanne! Happy Birthday to You! And many more....

Okolo said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Tom said...

Little Miss Runner Pants instructed that we stop by and wish you a happy birthday. So, Happy Birthday! (I debated using the "Merry Christmas" line a la Frosty the Snowman, but figured it might not be funny).

As for your post, any elite runner complaining about the penguins getting press should simply be ignored. They get their recognition in the form of checks, free race entry, FREE SHOES, personal tables with their drinks, front corral starting, and on, and on, and on. And most know that. What do they care if someone gets a salute for doing something neat.

Most the elite runners I've had the chance to meet were pretty cool, even offering some humorous notes aimed at helping me do better.

tallgirl said...

Holy blogging, batman! What an interesting discussion. All I have to say is that I respect anyone who can run a marathon. Doctor with a family who won the masters competition - wow. Man who lost 72 pounds - wow again. It's all great. I'm a recovering high jumper myself, and I'm training for my first 10K. 26 miles seems like an eternity. Kudos to all those who can do it - no matter how much you weigh, how fast you run, or how many kittens you saved in the process.

21st Century Mom said...
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16th Century luddite said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
21st Century Mom said...

dude - chill out. You have put a tone in my post that was never intended. Now please quit dirtying up Jeanne's blog. It's her birthday - the best present you could give her would be to quit posting all this vitriolic nonesense.

Anonymous said...

no one on the evil elitist blog linked above was complaining about penguins getting press?

"In other words, I found it hilarious that Mike's win was "notable," but possibly less so than the exploits of someone whose finishing time was almost 200 minutes slower. I mean, I understand what Tony went to Disney to do, but it's still a race, even if the powers that be treat it as more of a mammoth, shuffling carnival of profit-taking."

Quoted from eliterunning.com

brent d. said...

Wow... I don't think I even want to get into the middle of this interesting discussion. =)

I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!! Isn't this your 23rd?

16th Century luddite said...
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Susan said...

happy happy birthday you runner you!

Rae said...

WHOA! Who knew??? HAPPY Birthday!! I hope it's a great one and it certainly seems exciting!!

Personally, my race is always against myself.

Nic said...

Happy Birthday! I hope the DC running scene continues to treat you well this next year!

Oh and you are right about Bethesda. After moving to San Francisco from DC, I really miss what I used to think what was a big hill. Rock Creek Parkway to Calvert Street? Mole hill. Total mole hill!

susie said...

Oooh, how did I not know it was your birthday???? Man, you sure know how to stir up trouble:) At least you'll have something to talk about over those drinks!! Happy Happy Jeanne:)

Bex said...

Oooh, this discussion is getting good! Love the controversy. I suggest we get all the players in a room, arm them with whiffle bats, then pummel the heck out of each other. I'll be the ref. The last ones standing have to run a 10-miler on hills, barefoot.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

I'm late...happy happy birthday!

and of course you're "exceedingly verbose," little miss Aquarius :)

Simba's Mom said...

Happy Birthday Jeanne!!!!!

walchka said...

It's a bit late, but Happy Birthday!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Happy Birthday... And just so ya all know I am NOT the Dawn that was so argumentative in that post. I only saw the post last night and chose to remain silent.

The Running Red Sox Fan said...

Happy Happy Birthday!!!

kemibe said...

Wow. I have to echo 21CM's "Oh my - I hardly know where to start this response," albeit for different reasons.

Unfortunately, Jeanne is (unintentionally, I'm sure) propagating several mistruths here. One is that the people involved in the offending posts and comment streams are elite runners (relatively accomplished, in many cases, but not top-tier). Another is that anyone was making fun of Tony Jasica's efforts or suggesting that he didn't deserve recognition for same. A third -- and a corollary to #2, I suppose -- is that some participants in the thread were claiming that elites didn't get enough recognition.

I can understand why the gut reaction of a slower runner to my initial post might have been of the "who-is-he-to-make-fun-of-a six-hour-marathon?" variety. But I went out of my way to explain the exact source of my initial amusement at the post-Disney Tampa Bay Tribune article, and it seems that some would rather cling to their spite than accept the fact that few if any faster runners have any quarrel with slower ones. That's a shame.

Perhaps it doesn't matter now, but I think it's important that people not view elite runners as contrarian or arrogant. Almost without exception, they are not. But many slower runners are understandably intimidated by them, only to find upon encountering them outside of the racing environment that they're usually thoughtful and humble (if driven) people.

"Anonymous" quoted from my blog:

"In other words, I found it hilarious that Mike's win was 'notable,' but possibly less so than the exploits of someone whose finishing time was almost 200 minutes slower. I mean, I understand what Tony went to Disney to do, but it's still a race, even if the powers that be treat it as more of a mammoth, shuffling carnival of profit-taking."

If you are so sensitive as to interpret this as even the mildest "complaint," I honestly wonder how you make it through day-to-day life without imploding. I never used the word "penguin," although had I done so I would only have been using a term coined and embraced by those who fit the description.

I suspect most of the discord here stems from misunderstandings (several of you seem to have accepted Jeanne's proclamations at face value rather than actually read the pertinent material), but there may be those who would earnestly argue that weight-loss stories merit just as much attention in the context of covering an athletic event as do accounts of what goes on in the front of the pack. To them I'll only say that there is certainly a wide range of opinions out there.

Tom, I hope you're better at calling the play-by-play inside the Beltway than you are at analyzing elite-level distance running. You intimate that fastest runners' placement nearer to starting lines than slower runners is some sort of perk, as if there's a reasonable alternative that's been considered and discarded. And to hear you tell it, the perks that top runners do sometimes get (e.g., shoes, comp entries) magically fall into their laps. It may surprise you to know that things like shoe contracts and prize money are, like much in life, earned on merit.

I don't know what the missing posts said, so perhaps I am being repetitive. Regardless, I hope people here, including Jeanne herself, have a better understanding of the entire blown-out-of-proportion "incident."

Happy running.

jeanne said...

And let's PLEASE let Kemibe have the last word here on this discussion, as stimulating, entertaining and provactive as it was.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Let's just say it was an ... interesting day!!

psbowe said...

Happy be-late birthday! what a list!

Noames said...

Wow. I can't believe I missed this whole thing. You're like a for real blogger, Ms. Jeanne, with your 50 comments, and people flaming each other, and all the rest. It's kind of a neat birthday present, actually.

Also, happy belated birthday. Sorry I missed it!

David said...

I have to weigh in.
Where the heck is the comment of a newspaper editor? It is the editors who pick story scope. The ordinary story of the race winners and contenders is one story; likely only read by the participants and their friends and family. Supporting writers take the tangential approach to write whatever curiously unusal story presents itself; and that appeals to a wider readership.
I'm not surprised at all at the story. It's meant to be evocative and perhaps compelling.

Danny said...

uh... can i pretend i didn't read the last 50 comments?

happy birthday!