UPCOMING EVENTS for 2016: Puerto Rico Marathon (March), Virginia/Pennsylvania Marathon Double (April), Cedro Peak Ultra 45k (April), Quicksilver 50k (May) NUT 50k (June) Lake Tahoe Trail 50K (July), Cloudsplitter 55K (October)

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure. This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, and triathlete. Along the way I've cried, laughed, fallen, gotten up, lost, won, hallucinated, been dehydrated, DNF'ed, and been DFL.
I also swear. Alot.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't give me your elitist crap.

Dear Adrienne and Julia,

As the daughter, wife, and mother of current and former military personnel, I believe in your right to say anything you want, about anything you think.

But that also means I also have the right to call you an elitist jerk.

Who are you to scoff and my finishing time and tell me I didn't finish?  I was up and on my feet and I went the distance.  Moreover, I carried more weight and was working at it longer--making me a stronger endurance athlete than you.

My youngest son joined cross country in his sophomore year at school, to improve his running speed.  Why?  Because his parents, neither of them elite runners, had joined the world endurance sports, including traithlon, marathons, and ultras, and they looked like they were having fun, and he wanted to try it, too.  He would not have done that if we had just been exercising.  It was going to these events and seeing people finish that inspired him.  Then, he noticed that he was more fit and slimmer when he ran.  So he runs now.  This chain of events started because he saw his mother running in races.  He liked the social aspect of it.  He enjoyed being part of a community.

Who knows how many potential elite runners might exist in someone, but because you discourage them from trying, they will never try...never get better.  Who knows how many people you discourage in your daily life - if you're willing to say that publicly, who knows what you say to those around you on a day-to-day basis.

As a former educator, and parent, I'm stunned that you are each apparently involved in the field of education, stunned and saddened.  I note that Adrienne runs a local track club.  Does she turn people away who don't meet her expectations?

You can sit on your laurels and feel threatened that others are participating in your sport, or you can be happy that people are endeavoring to be fit and healthy and try something they've never tried before...and then to try and try again to get better at it.

That's all I have to say to Julie (whose email may or may not be jgiven@explorelearning.com) and Adrienne (whose email may or may not be crosscountry@cnr.edu). 

Other than, girls, seriously.  Get over yourself.

...

37 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for saying exactly what I felt when I read that article. I read too much crap like that, telling me I have no place trying to run a marathon. Cripes, I've apparently had no place trying to run any of the 31 marathons I've completed since I didn't meet their time standards at a single one.

    The only good thing is that people who scoff at my performance are finished and gone by the time I cross the line. Their derision will not ruin anything for me.

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  2. Bravo! Well said!

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  3. The irony, of course, is that many sub-3:00 marathoners look with scorn and contempt on the 4:00 marathoners - it is an absurd thing to begin making these comparisons! That said, the need to reopen courses to traffic is a real one, and there are safety issues too - I do understand why races have to have cutoffs!

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  4. Terrible (the column, not you).

    Last weekend I was escorted by the bike medics as I crossed the finish line of one of a 22K trail race. Not because I was ill or injured, but because I slowed down and ran sensibly (I am 23 weeks pregnant) and was dead last.

    It reminds me of a race here 4 years ago. There were runners that were fast, but then blew it on race day by overdoing it, not hydrating or taking in proper nutrition. Sure, they crossed the finish line before me, but lost control of their bowels, bladders and were carted off in ambulances. Who had a better day - me the plodder or the unconscious guy on the stretcher hooked up to an IV?

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  5. You are right on! That article so enraged me, that for the first time in my life I made a comment and even registered online with the NY Times just so I could do it. Those women better not run into us "back of the packers" anytime soon, they'll get such an earful that they won't know what to do with it. To say back of pack runners don't deserve the same medal and t-shirt they get? That medal and t-shirt probably means more to the back of the packer than to them! UGH!!!

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  6. I was dead last at my last ultra, and I think I got more cheers and well wishes from the aid station workers than anyone else. And not all fast runners are dismissive of us slower finishers. My brother (a sub 3:00 marathoner) is my biggest fan.

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  7. You go, gurrrrlllllll! {high five}!!

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  8. Your post prompted me to find the NYT article. I read most of the comments too. My theory is that the writer found a rare bird - two runners willing to go on record criticizing other runners. My experience has been that runners are so supportive of others, no matter their abilities, because runners know how hard it is to train and accomplish these goals.

    Don't you feel sorry for those beotches in the article. I do. They must be some sorry saps, total pricks, if their racing experience is diminished in any way by others who don't compete at your same level. Can you imagine how they live their lives? They are probably miserable people constantly looking for glory and confirmation.

    Two cheers for all the people out there, at any size, at any speed, willing to go the distance!

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  9. That rocks Misty! Great letter..

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  10. I hadn't seen that article until you linked to it. Wow. You said what I felt. I can't imagine ever feeling that way about a sport I participate in where I'm faster than most others. What difference should it make to them how many people finish behind them? Shouldn't they be happy because it makes them look even better in the rankings? I love the mention of the sticker at the end “I’m slow. I know. Get over it.” Tempted to put it on a shirt for my upcoming ironman..

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  11. Ugh! I run into these sorts of people in person from time to time. I've often wondered if these 'elite' folks could keep up the intensity that I have to for the amount of time I have to in order to finish an endurance event. I seriously don't understand the 'elitist' attitude and hope I never do!

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  12. One point that DP and I were making earlier is that they should be grateful for all the participants - because of the increased participation, there are more events, and they are better supported.

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  13. Oooh, I have a Ph.D. and two Masters degrees. Everyone else should get the hell out of school and let us serious people study :-)

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  14. Whoa, that article seriously pissed me off. We just had a similar comment on our forum. The comment was made by a young runner who was frustrated with people putting themselves in the wrong corral at the start, but he made themistake of calling them 'slow, fat people.' The group tore him a new asshole.
    (Ultimately, the kid who wrote that turned out to be one of the sweetest guys who made a bad choice of words.)
    Anyway, out here in Hampton Roads VA, we have plenty of slow pokes and plenty who are getting faster. We all get along with our elites just fine.
    I am also surprised that an educator would say something like that. I wonder who all the fast people are that hate seeing us there.
    Now I'm just getting more angry, so I will stop here. grrrrr. -Judy

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  15. I find it amusing that one of the women they quote in the article ran a 4:05 marathon. I'd like to point out that's 2 hours behind the elite men finish, or roughly twice as slow.

    But she can run it -- and so can the last person who finishes in 8:03 -- and they're ALL marathoners.

    Geesh. Anyone who has the courage to toe the line should be applauded, not dissed in the NY Times.

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  16. I HATE HATE HATE this whole attitude the elite runners get. I was running in the park by my house, and little boy saw me and said "look dad...there's another runner". The dad's response..."no son...she's too slow to be a runner". I almost turned around and shoved my foot up his butt I was so angry.

    Who cares how fast you run, it's just wonderful you're doing it.

    Argh. Rage after reading that article!!!!

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  17. I don't understand the attitude of those beotches. Really. So some of us are slow. Who cares? Maybe someday we'll be faster than you? Derriding slow runners who are trying is like telling a struggling second-grader that he is stupid and should just give up. How dare they??~! BTW I would also like to point out that 4:05 isn't fast enough to have such a self-congratulatory attiude. Your sh*t still stinks.

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  18. "BTW I would also like to point out that 4:05 isn't fast enough to have such a self-congratulatory attiude"

    That last comment made me think. I looked it up and that 4"05 is too slow to qualify her for Boston. I guess she should pack it in.

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  19. I read that article earlier today at work and I've been thinking about it ever since. I'm so happy to see you calling those bitches out... My first marathon ever is NYC in a week (gasp!) and I'm pretty sure I'm able to finish, but would be THRILLED to do it under 5:30. Who is anyone to tell me I'm not running it properly when I've used a sensible plan, I've put in the miles, and I'm moving at a challenging clip (for ME) for 26.2 miles? Suck it, skanks.

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  20. Thank you. Nothing like an article such as that to make you want to go out and "walk" a marathon just to spite them.

    I hate elitism on any level. No one has the market cornered on running, you (meaning Julia & Adrienne nd their I'll) don't own the rights to running and you certainly don't get to decide who runs where and when. It gives me great pleasure to know that "slow" runners will continue to be a thorn in their side when it's marathon time.

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  21. That's why I love triathlon so much. Most triathletes cheer the final finisher and encourage everyone along the way.

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  22. Thank you!!! I was ranting to my husband about the article on the way to the train this morning (and he was agreeing) - good grief why would these people even care? Purity of the marathon my ass - that was probably one of the excuses to keep women out (in addition to bogus medical junk) - how would they feel if women were still barred just because we're generally "slower" than men, even at the elite level. It's not like they even know the people behind them are in the race - it's not like we get to the water stop or the food ahead of them, we don't take away their awards, and we fund lots of goodies and bigger expos. I'd be THRILLED to finish in 4:05 (I'd be a lot closer to BQing) but I'm still trying even though I'm much slower. Do these people really think they have the right to tell someone not as genetically blessed as they are, or an injured veteran, or a cancer patient/survivor that they aren't marathoners just because they're not as fast?! My thoughts this morning were "who died and made you God that you think you can judge people like this"...this afternoon it was more "so what, do you quit whatever you try if you don't meet someone else's arbitrary standard?" Learn some respect and compassion - us slower folk often have to work a lot harder to get there at all, let alone finish in a time that would destroy *their* egos. ARGH. And boo hiss to the NYT for choosing to write this hackneyed article on this overdone topic (tho at least they talked to the Penguin and he made some good points)- up to 400 comments now on their site.

    Thank goodness these people are not representative of the kind, generous, supportive and respectful attitude of the runners (and volunteers) I see at races and out and about.

    And the "I'm slow. I know. Get over it." is also a slogan on some of the Penguin (John Bingham) gear at onemoremile.net - they have entertaining slogans on their stuff. Others are "You don't have to go fast, you just have to go" and "This IS my race pace".

    Proud to be doing the best I can even as I try to get faster and stronger, and happy to support others doing the same - I honor your efforts!

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  23. Les we forget, our human bodies are designed to run. We are made to outrun nearly all prey -- at a whopping 4 to 6 mph

    http://discovermagazine.com/2006/may/tramps-like-us/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

    We may not qualify for Boston, but we will feed our tribes.

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  24. As someone who has always struggled with my weight and gotten fit purely out of my own desire too I hate that elitist bull shit. I've lost count of the number of Running and biking clubs I have left because of the little cliques and 'you aren't good enough' attitude.

    Well said on behalf of all of us!

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  25. I, like Ana, find triathlon to be a more supportive sport. Maybe because there are fewer people still doing tri's?

    I do, however, completely understand why the fast people get PO'd when the slower people place themselves near the front.

    And I do think course cut off times are necessary.

    I really, truly wish I were fast. However, though I can be relatively VERY speedy over about 50-100m, anything further, nope. (HS sports: discus, shot put, high jump, and 400m relay. All requiring explosive speed, not anything endurance related. And I love doing short intervals.)

    The fastest mile pace I've ever done is about 7:45 min mile over 2 miles. That was when I was 20 years old, running twice daily, and weighed about 125# (at 5'5.5"). Now, at 42, with quite a bit more weight? nope.

    Shoot, I'd be thrilled to get my 10k time under an hour. (Haven't done that since my early 20s either.)

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  26. I was speechless reading this and had to reply. This one really was personal.

    Critics need to allow newcomers to enter this "tribe" of fitness and fun. I am slow(get over it)and frequently get left behind in a race. I started this campaign 18 months ago, always finishing toward the back. I am plus sized and endure sarcastic comments alot(ask her if perhaps she would like some chocolate cake)..I am thinking to myself, Really could go for some cheesecake ...or (I thought this was a running race.)... Yet again thinking to myself, Silly I am running, this IS my pace... It is always shocking to hear people comment about a persons size or speed. Yet I still go on and finish. Yes I said Finish the race.

    You inspire so many of us to overcome their insecurities and "try". Both, you and your husband's blogs have helped me realize opportunities to be fit and healthy. I am passing your gift onto people in my workplace to encourage them to "try" new things. People create so many excuses for themselves. Even the critics have excuses. Always in denial.

    You really never know what you are capable of till you try.

    Thank you for your dedication and passion of your sport.

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  27. What idiots!!! Thanks for sharing the article.

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  28. why do people care so much about who is behind them? i bet they bitch and moan about people not getting fit, too.

    how is their attitude different from "women shouldn't run marathons" of yesteryear?

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  29. you know, someone in the NYT comments posted that a look on athlinks puts adriene's 1985 NY marathon at 5:49...awfully close to the 6 hour finishing time she dared to call a "joke." i'm tempted to email her...we should ALL call her out on THAT one! http://www.athlinks.com/myresults.aspx?rid=25910826

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  30. One of my Daily Mile friends posted the article and I had the displeasure of reading it today. I tell ya, the nerve of some people.

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  31. Jeeeez. At the end of the day aren't the only places that matter 1st, 2nd and 3rd? So how is 302rd really that much better 407th? You need me and my 5 hour marathon to make your 4 hour marathon look good, because neither of us look good to the 2:10 group.

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  32. wooooooohoooooo!

    as another back of the packer, ROCK ON! I am about to do my 4th half marathon and I walk the whole damn thing and I feel like a winner when I cross the line!

    I did a 1/2 in September at the Philadelphia Distance Run and the course support for the back of the packers was offensive -- truly horrible - I paid what the rest did, I put in the training that everyone else did and frankly, I had to slog a lot more weight and a lot more time out there and I deserve to feel as good about myself as someone who finished in 1:20 - I challenge them to spend 3:47 out on a course like that and then tell me how you feel!

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  33. Okay, so seriously. The number of marathon finishers went from 143,000 people to 425,000 people in the US -- in a country of 304 million people (2008) and 231 million (1980). So, in 1980, 0.06% of the population finished a marathon and in 2008, 0.14% of the population finished a marathon.

    Are we seriously arguing about whether we're cooler than 0.08% more of the population (that's assuming that most of that 0.08% is evil slowbies)? Get over yourselves.

    It's HARD to walk a marathon. It's also hard to run a marathon. 26.2 is far to go, no matter how you slice it. Cutoff times do have to logistically exist (for the reasons outlined in the article), but those are based on LOGIC not on wanting to feel superior to others.

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  34. FYI...i did sent a very short email just making sure adrienne knew her marathon times were on athlinks, and this was the response: "You are right. -- the words in the article are mine but the context is off balance -- lots and lots of what I said was not mentioned. I regret my words were not used in the manner in which they were intended.
    Best regards,
    Adrienne" Just thought i'd pass that along, though i do wonder in what context those words WERE meant.

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  35. Right on. We're all running together in this pastime; there's no need for elitist crap getting in the way of health and enjoyment.

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