Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"You Think You're Better Than Me?"

I've been hearing weird rumblings lately from people I know (& like) that I'm not a very good runner, that I'm slow, that "I run a 5K at xx:xx pace & his 100 miler was run at xx:xx. That's SOOO slow!" Even, "That 100 miler he ran was an easy one. There are some in the Rocky Mountains that are a lot harder." Geez... Let me state this loud & clear: I AM NOT A GREAT RUNNER. I do what I can.

See that's what I like about ultrarunning. It's relaxed. Sure there are people who are very competitive & the elite athletes in the sport are extremely talented & put forth a great deal of effort to get where they are. One look at Anton Krupika's blog would tell you he's serious about his training! BUT, while I consider myself serious about my training & have clearly defined goals, what I like about ultrarunning is that it's fun. Plain & simple. I do it because it's fun. I do it to prove to myself I can acheive a goal, but that goal is rarely meeting a certain time. With the uncertainty of courses I run, how good of a measure is time? If I wanted to still be obsessed with shaving seconds off my 5K times, my training would be a lot different. I got tired of that, so I don't do it anymore. Got tired of pouting for weeks about being 2 minutes slower than my marathon PR. It wasn't fun. You get to relax and enjoy the experience a whole lot more with ultrarunning. I don't remember 5K road races being very fun, per se. I spent 4 months in 2003 to break 19. In about 6 races, I ran 19:06, 19:04, 19:08... until finally, I ran 18:58. I felt like I accomplished something but I can't say it was fun.

That got me to thinking... my running & non-running friends must get tired of hearing about my fantastical running adventures. I get the feeling that people think I'm better than them because I can cover very long distances. I DO NOT. If I could run a 16:30 5K, wow... I only wish. I'm slow. I run what I like to run & try to have fun doing it. My hat's off to fast 5K folks, 1st time marathoners, etc., etc. A friend of mine is running his first 1/2 marathon in a week or two. He thought I was mocking him when he told me about it & I reacted with a, "Wow! That's great!" I was genuinely excited about it, but he thought I was belittling him for "just running a 1/2 marathon." No way, Disco Dave.

Now having said all of that, I will be pushing it at the Buncombe Trail 34 miler in 2 weeks. I realized the other day it's been a very long time since I've gone all out in a race. Viewed them more as training days with aid stations and maybe a new shirt. I'm not building up to anything at the moment, and I'll go hard. It's been a really long time... I guess since last March.

As an Earth Day aside, I ordered a pair of END Stumptown 10 oz. shoes yesterday. This is a very small startup company based out of Portland who makes more environmentally-friendly trail shoes. I've seen a few reviews out there, but I plan on reviewing them after I get a few run in them.


Moss Man said...

I was looking at the Stumptowns too. I'd like to hear what you think about them. I know what you mean about ultra runners thinking their better than other runners and I don't think its true either. 99% of the ultra community is very humble, non-competitive and supportive of all runners. True, what we do is pretty far removed from they guys and gals chasing down 5K PR's, but I can't imagine most middle to back of the pack ultra people putting down 5K-marathon runners. Most ultra people are retired 5K runners who couldn't handle the pressure of running fast! Good analysis.

Jason said...

Hey Coach - I will be running the Buncombe run in ten days from now as well. I have put in some trail training, but not real sure what to expect from myself after 26.2. I appreciate your comments. I think my first 5k was just as meaningful as my first marathon at the time. Bring on the buzz of 34 miles! I will be taking it easy on Sunday for sure. Gook luck.