Monday, December 31, 2012

Running vs. Jogging

Interesting article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer by a high school/running acquaintance of mine:

She starts out by tracing the etymology of the word "jogging," which I find really interesting given my proclivity for language.  The term started out in the 70's with the first running boom as an innocent word to describe the activity of those lunatics in painters' caps and tiny shorts legging it down the sidewalk.  As we see in the article, and in this post of mine from awhile ago, it has since evolved into a bit of an insult.

Yes, this is another post about the age old debate in the running community regarding the use of the word "jog/jogger/jogging."

The author takes issue with faster runners appropriating the word as their own and leaving angsty slowpokes to reckon with the insulting nature of the titular word.  But is this so terrible?

One of the appealing traits of running is its egalitarian nature.  Cheap and simple and capable of doing just about anywhere, running all but demands the participation of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.  This is precisely what differentiates running from every other sport in that it is the only one in which elite professionals literally compete against average Joes just weeks removed from the couch.

Imagine what other sports would be like if they shared this approach.  Professional basketball players would have to worry about ladies in tutus crowding the court.  Professional ice hockey players would share the rink with a guy still two hundred pounds from goal weight.  Even minor league baseball players would see third base being covered by some asshole tweeting from his cell phone.

Is it so terrible to take a semantic stand in order to distance yourself from the hobbyists?  To separate the two into categories of running as competitive sport and running as recreation?

In the end, I think it's less an issue of speed and more an issue of taking the sport seriously.  I doubt most runners would balk at welcoming a 5+ hour marathoner into their ranks as long as he or she is genuinely busting his or her ass in training.  But with the advent of social media, in conjunction with the rise of themed fun runs, comes the worry over the loss of running's competitive edge.  Too many people make the leap too early to the half or the full marathon and congratulate themselves for their grit in completing it instead of racing it.

So what is my personal take?  Well, let's just say I don't call myself a football player because I join the occasional game of pick up football, nor do I call myself a writer because I keep a mediocre blog that no one reads.  I wouldn't call myself a runner if I didn't sign up for the amount of races I did and push myself as hard as I could.

Your turn.  What do you think of the debate?

Friday, December 28, 2012

On the Garmin

I once read a fellow runner's blog entry in which she recapped her first marathon.  She ran a 4:08, as I recall, but claimed she could have broken 4 hours if she had been using a Garmin.  Well no, I thought, if you had run 9 minutes faster, then you would have broken 4 hours.  The Garmin had nothing to do with it.  It only served to reinforce my thoughts on running and how people tend to rely too much on the gear that goes with it.  Worse, I see too many new runners who convince themselves that buying a Garmin makes them a "real" runner.

I try to live simply, and that philosophy extends to my running.  I refuse to spend so much money on such a simple sport, and consequently own very little running gear.  I have two pairs of running shorts - one is just a pair of gym shorts.  I have a few tech shirts culled from past races.  I never get fitted for shoes or get my gait analyzed; I just buy whatever is comfortable and cheap.  I never run with heart monitors, hydration packs, headlamps, music or GPS devices.  My approach seems to be working, which my PR's on the right will show.

I have nothing against any of these things or the people that use them, mind you, but as I have stated before on my blog, these things shouldn't be thought of as the only way to become a faster runner.  Hard work in training will make you better, not a fancy watch the size of a klondike bar.

So guess what I got for Christmas this year:

Not only did I get a new Garmin Forerunner 410 (which appears to have more technology than the original Apollo space program), but I got a Nike +.

Having already set new PR's in various distances in the past two years, including a BQ, I feel like I've proven my point, and I'm kind of looking forward to using these new devices and seeing if they really will make a difference in my quest for a 2nd BQ.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Florida

Stevie is originally from Florida, and her entire family still lives down there, so this year we headed south and spent Christmas with the nutty people I now get to call family.

On Christmas day, the womenfolk posed outside on the front lawn:

Stevie and I posed by her mother's tree:

We made a fire when it got chilly:

And her father went in the pool with his clothes on to retrieve a fallen skewer:

Just another South Floridian Christmas.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Running in Gettysburg

Evergreen Cemetary, Gettysburg, PA
Photo by Stevie
Stevie and I went to Gettysburg this weekend.  Because my mother's side of the family comes from Gettysburg, I've been there more times than I can count.  We went partly to pay respects at my mother's grave just a few days after the 6th anniversary of her death, and partly because Stevie had never been there and we thought it would be a fun weekend away.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast that used to be my great uncle's photography studio just a block from the center of town.  In addition to my mother's grave, we toured the battlefields and the visitors' center (the 128-year-old cyclorama depicting Pickett's Charge is alone worth the $12 admission charge), sampled wine in the birthplace of Jennie Wade (the only civilian to be killed during the battle), and strolled the streets and poked around in the many Civil War themed gift shops.

Downtown Gettysburg

This morning I went on a run through part of the battlefields.  The battlefields of Gettysburg are one of my favorite places to run, given the scenic quality, the empty expanses, and the feeling of running through history, not just the history of my country, but the history of my family as well.  Running forces introspection and reflection, especially in a quiet town like Gettysburg where our nation's fate was once decided, and today's run made me think about family, both past and future:

At my mother's (and grandparents') gravesite

Atop the Pennsylvania Memorial

I think I knew Stevie was the one when I realized how much it hurt that my mother would never get to meet her.  But I'm sure that my mother, ever the history buff, would be happy I brought her out here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jingle Bell 5k

Another Saturday, another 5k.

Arranged to run the the Jingle Bell 5k weeks ago with Suze, so this morning I dragged myself out of bed and headed down to the Cooper River.  Got there super late, as usual, and managed to register and get to the starting line a minute after the start, but wasn't able to find Suze.  Because the race was so big, they offered chip timing so it didn't really matter when I started.

I was hating life already by mile 1.  I wanted nothing more than to finish, and when I finally did I realized I've gotten even slower since the last race.  I finished in a dismal 20:55, so the slowing trend continues.  Just hope this isn't how the rest of my thirties are going to be.

The post race spread was great, with all kinds of food and giveaways.  Also caught up with Suze whom I hadn't seen in awhile now.  Suze is trying to get me to sign up for the Spartan Race next September.  Another mudrun with Suze?!  Count me in!

All in all a fun race that supports the Arthritis Foundation, with plenty of people in Santa outfits and more runners sporting jingle bells than I've ever seen before.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...