Friday, December 21, 2012


Umm, wow. I haven't blogged since November! Oops. I promise I'm running. A lot!

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about running. Even runners have ideas that aren't always true about stuff they haven't experienced. This week someone said something about ultra running on a running forum I'm on. I was offended by it and my feelings were hurt. To quote, she said: "I know I want to be faster, but I want it to be EASY. Apparently these are not compatible goals, lol. Maybe I should be an ultra runner instead of a marathoner." Ummm, wow. So running an ultra marathon is easy? Of course I understood what she meant. Yes, the pace is generally much more relaxed in an ultra vs something shorter. What she doesn't get is that running slower over a longer period of time is not easier than running faster for a shorter period. It's just different. She was talking about heart rate and that if you are running slower, your heart rate is typically lower. Well, maybe. But when you are going slower because there are 50 billion rocks and a ton of hills I don't really know if that is true. Trust me, when I walk up a really steep hill with big rocks my heart rate is pretty high. There are people that run 100 mile races. I think a vast majority of them walk a lot. Do you think there is anything easy about that race? Definitely not. And had I run 100 miles or even attempted it you can bet I would have been far more upset by that comment. What an undertaking! To insinuate that because it is slower it is easier diminishes the accomplishment.

The fact is, there is nothing remotely easy about running long distances. I suppose you get to a point where it isn't quite as hard, but it isn't easy. When you get comfortable you strive for more. You try to run faster or you do a tougher race. I don't think any runner should ever look at what someone else is doing it and judge it in any way. The trail I run on a lot is really tough. It's technical and hilly and just plain hard. Does that mean I think someone that runs a paved running trail has it easier than me? No, I do not. I think they are doing what they want to and are probably a heck of a lot smarter than me.

I guess I think people shouldn't judge what they don't know. To me, running a marathon on the road is not the least bit appealing. It's not because I think running 31 miles on dirt is easier. It's because that's what I prefer. Heck, I would prefer to run 20 miles on the trail vs 2 on the treadmill. Anyway, I have a lot of random thoughts rolling around in my brain about this. Mostly, I just think people should be more careful about what they say. You can't always know what will offend someone and what won't and you can't always even worry about it. However, if you are on a forum full of runners and insinuate that any type of running is easier than another it's a pretty good bet someone is going to be offended.

I'm running a bunch this weekend and then will likely take a week off. We are going to Wyoming during the holidays and as much as I would like to run there I will likely wimp out in the cold and wind and not run at all. We'll see though.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



  1. From just her statement alone, I am not sure what she meant.
    1. Did she mean maybe she should just quit trying to be faster since it was not easy, and focus on going longer? That is exactly what I did when I was killing myself trying to PR at every race I did. In most if not all ultras, I don't "race" them. I focus on running "comfortable"--finding that perfect pace that I can settle in on, and maintain.
    2. Since most ultras are on trailz or at least non-paved surfaces, they are easier for me to recover from. Road running means the same pounding on the joints over and over. Trail running is a hop, a lunge, a skip, a few quick strides, a walk uphill, a screaming pace downhill, and all of my legs and joints get equal work, and I bounce back quicker. So in that respect, trail running is easier for me than road running, and a trail 50K is easier than a road marathon.
    3. Maybe she meant that her same perceived effort in a smaller field (10,000 people at a road marathon vs 200 at a trail ultra) would net her a higher placing. 3rd place female in a 50K might be 55th female in a road marathon.
    4. Or maybe she is just a jerk.

    For me, I am sticking with the trailz.

  2. Each person runs their own race. Except for me of course, I run to the fridge. If you choose to run say, 7.5 miles, it is your race. You run the track or trail you have set for yourself. You have timed yourself and have marked that time in your running notebook. I assume you don't have Garfield on the cover of the notebook. From there, every day you try to push yourself. Over the course of a month and a half you were able to shave 45 seconds off of your best time. You are running for the sake of running. If others choose to test themselves with a half marathon track or with a lesser track of 5 miles it doesn't mean one is more elite than the other. It is a choice of what tracks are near your house and what body type you possess. My particular body type involves copious amounts of cheddar cheese. Have a great holiday in Wyoming!