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Wannabe Elite Road Runners are Nauseating

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 | 11 Comments

You know the type. You find them at the local 5ks and marathons lined up at the front of the pack wearing a brand new foot coffins and a singlet advertising a company they wish would sponsor them.  They scoff at the idea of people running for enjoyment and believe you have no business being out there if you’re not going to place in the top ten.

They post all their race PR’s in the signature lines on their emails and forum posts with the fervor of a grandmother displaying pictures of her grandkids over the davenport.  The PR is clearly their measure of self-worth.

They endlessly talk about their training which is nothing more than running around a track again and again and again. Like we give a shit if you run 2,000 ten meter repeats or a ten mile tempo run.  Here’s a hint- stop being a noodle-armed choir boy and develop the ability to do at least one pushup.  If you get rid of that Kate Moss body type, maybe you’ll be able to stop shopping in the boy’s section at Target.

They often talk about their goal of qualifying for the Olympics in the hopes it will fill some void, to compensate for some inadequacy.  The rest of us want to tell them ‘”If you’re not winning gold, shut the fuck up. The rest of us don’t care.”

Many brag about their college running career, even though they attended a division II school, or as the rest of the world calls it: collegiate minor leagues.  Yes, its impressive you “made the team” along with a slew of others that couldn’t cut it at a real school.

The Point of This Post

By now, you’re either laughing or seething with anger.  Mission accomplished!  My inspiration for this post came from a re-posted link a friend shared with me on Facebook:

Crossfit Versus Ultrarunning: Which is More Nauseating?

As someone interested in both CrossFit (and functional fitness) and ultras, I read it.  I had a good chuckle.  It seemed pretty obvious the author had absolutely no experience with either world other than as an outsider looking in.  From that perspective, some of his comments were fairly accurate.  He was seemed like a typical road runner that does nothing but run.  As such, his criticisms weren’t valid.

Then I read the comments.  As can be expected, some people, both ultrarunners and CrossFitters, responded with anger.  I’ve seen this reaction to similar blog posts before.  Remember the girl that wrote the anti-marathon piece a few months ago?

Here’s the deal- we shouldn’t get overly upset when people outside our community post crap.  Take my rant above.  Should quasi-elite runners be offended?

Absolutely not.

Why?

I’m a mediocre runner at best.  I was never a scholastic or collegiate runner.  I don’t train to be an elite.  I have no aspirations (or ability) to qualify for the Olympics.  My PRs at every distance are laughable.  As such, my opinions of that community are completely invalid.

Tim, the dude that wrote the post, wrote a follow-up on his blog here: http://timtollefson.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/round-2-ultrarunning-vs-fox-news-fight/

I think it was pretty obvious the post was meant to be funny, but FAR too many people took it seriously.  Instead of laughing at his douchiness, he’s been flooded with defensive comments.  Why do we get so defensive, especially when someone from the outside criticizes us?

The beginning of this post was meant to serve a purpose- pointing out that it’s just as easy to use the same tactic to criticize Tim.  I’m pretty sure I could outrun him in a 100 miler through the mountains, do more burpees, and beat his ass in a fist fight.  He did play soccer, after all.  Does any of that make me better?  No, I just have other areas of expertise.

When someone from the outside criticizes what you do, shrug it off.  It’s the criticisms from the inside that should be your focus.  If Tim were either a Crossfitter or an ultrarunner, his opinions would matter.  Since he’s not, chill out and be willing to laugh at yourself.  If needed, take comfort that you’re not limited to drinking beer from cans because the glass bottles are just too heavy.

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11 Comments

  1. Mo
    February 28, 2012

    *(You suck! My pr could kick your pr’s ass! Pushups are for pussies who run slow!)*

  2. You know what happens when you assume...
    February 27, 2012

    Given you’ve been in San Diego, I thought for sure you met some of our local “running celebrities” in the road racing circuit. :)

  3. Barefoot Josh
    February 27, 2012

    I’m going to add a feature to my blog: number of ultra-running crossfitters I’ve made vomit. It will go right above the list of my PRs.

  4. Erik
    February 25, 2012

    I like the idea of competitive burpees, from a spectator perspective.

  5. Colin P
    February 24, 2012

    Actually high end canned beer is pretty darn good! When drunk out of a very heavy pint glass ;-)

  6. Chris
    February 24, 2012

    What Andy said — like the “Marathoning doesn’t make you mother Theresa” post, this just fails at being funny, so it comes across as petty and whiny. Also, I find it an odd angle of attack, since all the ultra-runners I know are WAY more laid back than most casual road-runners (but maybe that’s because I fraternize with the crazy bare-footers).

    Either way, I don’t have my time to get my panties in a know over a silly blog post.

    • Chris
      February 24, 2012

      “panties in a knot” obviously,

  7. Andy
    February 24, 2012

    I think folks got angry at this dude for a few reasons. First is because so many people are so hung up on their own egos that they can’t see how silly they are. Second is because the dude isn’t a good enough writer to pull off what he was trying to do, as he admits in the comments over there. He should have made it funnier if he was trying to be funny. I think people got the vibe that he wasn’t trying to be funny, he was trying to be mean, and when called on being mean, he claimed funny. Whether he was being mean or funny is something only the dude himself can say. There’s so many unkind people on the internet, it’s sort of an assumption that if someone acts like a dick, he must be a dick. Personally, I can’t stand all this making fun of people for the sake of a laugh rubbish, but that’s just me. There’s endless other ways to have fun and/or be critical that don’t leave people feeling like shit. Another reason I think that people are choked at this guy is because he’s taking the piss from outside the scene. People can handle getting ribbed by their friends or peers or whatever, but if a stranger joins in, they get pissed. I can sit around all night with my brother a laugh my ass off while he makes fun of me, but if some random jerk at a bus stop tries the same thing, I’d tell him off. Know what I mean?
    Whatever, it’s all just silly. We all just need to be more like Bill S. Preston, Esq. and “Be excellent to each other.”

  8. Wiglaf
    February 24, 2012

    After spending a significant amount of time and energy in the ultra-long distance hiking crowd, I found yours and Tim’s post absolutely hilarious. People’s preconceptions certainly blind them to empathy or understanding and leave them only their own projections; illusions of their own making. Not to say I’m not guilty of that myself on occasion…

  9. Ash
    February 24, 2012

    Ha! I love it. What a great follow-up to the first post. I’m not surprised some people took offense, though. I wonder if lacking levity is a first-world problem.

  10. Brian G
    February 24, 2012

    This is some funny shit. It’s crazy how some people take themselves *way* too seriously sometimes.

    It’s always good to have a healthy dose of humor to laugh at the foibles of others — including while looking in the mirror and saying out loud “What the hell was I thinking?”