Thursday, October 29, 2009

Unnecessary Issues

Unfortunately, not even the world of fitness/ free time/ age group athletes is free of controversial issues.

So far, I haven't met a person through endurance sports that wasn't pleasant, but when you get into the nitty gritty of things there or certain topics out there, that just get the tempers going. There have been several controversial matters lately, that made the web buzz and now I also want to throw in my two cents... Why? Because this is my blog and I decided so! ;-)

The iPod Discussion!

Superficially, this discussion seem to be black and white. Either you are pro or con using MP3 players while running or cycling on the road. But since this topic is so widely discussed EVERYWHERE, we come to find out that there is a lot of in between as well. For example, only using when training, only when the sun shines, only one ear bud. A lot of races don't allow iPods to be used due to safety concerns and if you don't comply to this rule you are at risk to be DQed if an official sees you. So you either go without player or don't complain if they disqualify you. For me personally, I choose not to use an iPod while running or cycling on the road, because it makes me uncomfortable to be cut off the noises of my surrounding e.g. chasing dogs, approaching cars etc. For others, this is not a concern and that is fine with me too. At the end of the day it's to each it's own.

"Getting chicked"

In case you haven't heard this expression yet: If a girl beats a guy in a race, then he "got chicked". And I see that for some guys, getting chicked is a real problem during a race or a great motivator to go faster. But I also heard several women telling tales that they chicked a guy. I wonder, if this is just a topic for the people that race for podium positions or if this also applies to to mid of the pack people such as myself? Hmmmm... I have to confess that I caught myself thinking a couple of times things like: that girl looks like she is in my age group, I have to try to pass her etc. And I still find great pleasure in the fact that I beat Terry in the tri that we did earlier this year, also with the knowledge that this would be most likely the only time I will be able to beat him... But I never thought of it in terms of to chick him, but more as healthy family rivalry! ;-) But if all of us mid pack people are honest with ourselves, than we have to agree that it doesn't matter how you place compared to others (324th out of 678 or 321st out of 678), as long as you reached the goals that you set for yourself. One eye opener moment in this regard for me was the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K this year in Charleston. My 1st goal for this race was to run it under one hour and my 2nd goal was to improve the 10K time that I ran a month earlier in the Reedy River Run in Greenville. Looking at the results in the paper the next day, I saw that a lot of the 14 and under age grouper are faster than I am and a lot of the 70 and over age grouper are faster than me. But bottom line was, that I reached my 1st goal, but missed my 2nd one and those are the only means of measure for a race that should count for me.

Marathon As Elite Event?

Marathon is defined as "foot race over a course measuring 26 miles and 385 yards (42 kilometers and 195 meters)". The definition doesn't say how fast the distance has to be travelled in order to count as marathon, to travel this distance by foot is defined as a marathon. It makes sense to me to have some sort of cut-off time in a marathon event, because there is just a lot of logistics going into this and the longer they have to close down roads the more expensive the event is going to be for the organizers. But telling people that they didn't really do a marathon only because they didn't make it in a certain time frame? To some runners a 14-minute-mile feels just as hard of an effort as an 8-minute-mile to others, just like the 8-minute-mile participants they put time into their preparation, paid the registration fee and had pre-race jitters. I prefer a person that walks a marathon over a person that stays on the couch any time... Honestly, I admire everyone that even attempts a marathon, just because as of now, I still cannot wrap my mind around the idea of being on my feet for 26.2 miles. Probably this is just mental for me and maybe step by step I will tear down this wall in my head, we'll see.

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