Tuesday, January 4, 2011


One of the truly vexing issues for me as a runner is this ...
As endurance athletes, why are we ridiculed, questioned, and the butt of so many jokes when we are probably doing what all of society SHOULD be doing???
Mmmmmm ... Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger!
Okay - okay, not everyone really NEEDS to run an obscene amount of miles per week, or pedal a bike until their legs fall off, or swim so long they actually start to grow gills ... but come on man!  Is what we do so incredibly out there?  Is taking care of your body really the equivalent of having three heads?  Are we really such unicorns?

Maybe it's different for women, but these are a few of the top comments I usually get when someone finds out I run marathons...
  1. "Are you FREAKIN' CRAZY?"
  2. "Are you terminally ill, you're too skinny?"
  3. "Didn't you hear, you can actually drive 26 miles now?"
  4. "You're not gonna be able to walk when you're old!"
  5. "Nice shorts Lance Armstrong!"
  6. "Run Forrest!"
  7. "You ran 10 what ... MILES???"
  8. "I've got better things to do!"
  9. "Go ahead and run, I'm gonna sleep!"
  10. "Running's for girls!"
Brilliant aren't they!  The point is, why is it such a big deal?  In the testosterone-driven male world, if you are an over-weight, muscle-bound, thick-headed football player - you are a hero.   But if you are a low body-fat, in-shape, fast runner - you get endless prodding.  I know from experience - I was a pretty good high school football player, and college baseball player.  It was a whole different world of respect!  And the girls ... man, they came running! (Okay, I made that up)  But I can tell you from experience, qualifying for the Boston Marathon took more discipline, guts, and back-breaking hard work than I ever experience in one day of football practice. 

The interesting juxtaposition of these two athletes is that the over-weight football player is a snap-shot of where we are as a nation, and the endurance athlete is an example of where we probably SHOULD be.  I love the show "The Biggest Loser".  I love the stories at the end about how getting in shape changed these lives and gave them so much more self-confidence.  These are beautiful people, with beautiful stories.  But their self-worth is hidden or even destroyed under the pounds and years of abuse to their bodies.  The cruel hard fact is, it should have never gotten this far.  There are obviously many reasons people end up on this show including uncontrollable health issues.  However, many of them are simply the result of habits and behavior born out of what is pushed, advertised, and accepted as normal in our society.  It's almost like they are victims.  We are a society of over-sized happy meals, deep-fried everything, and sugar-coated comfort food.  For crying out loud, one of the top sellers at county fairs this summer was the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger ... huh???

I shouldn't be laughed at when I order a salad at lunch.  I shouldn't hear snickers when someone asks me how far I ran this morning.  And I shouldn't have to be embarrassed when running through an intersection in running tights! (Well okay, even as a runner I still think those things look RIDICULOUS!)  Our quest for fitness should be held in higher regard.  Our pursuit of good health without pills or magic potions should be the rule, not the exception.

But as most of you can attest on a daily basis - we don't do this for public acknowledgement or acclaim.  We do it for the sense of accomplishment.  We do it because we physically feel better than ever.  WE DO IT BECAUSE WE ARE RUNNERS!  And no matter how much society tries to throw a wet towel on our journey, we won't be stopped.  Good luck with your training, and be encouraged that when I see you running, I think - man, that's awesome!

Be great today!


  1. "...accepted as normal in our society."
    Couldn't agree with you more.
    I'm always the most sad when I see overweight kids though, knowing that (barring the rare medical condition) they are like that because of their (lack of) parenting.
    In middle school, I was the 2nd fattest kid in my grade. If I was the same kid today, I would be average. Very sad.

  2. This just rocked. What a great post and I face it all day everyday. From Facebook posts of those that don't WANT to get it. It is easier to ridicule then put yourself out there and realize that you are going to run 1/4 of a mile. What they fail to realize is that it starts at 1/4mi and grows and grows and grows and you don't look back. You don't want to go back. Your body feels amazing. You are more creative than ever before. You love waking up feeling great and not dreading the day.

    This is why I run. I run to lead by example and as I tell my wife people will get it in due time or they won't and that is something that I can't control. I can only be an example of what is good and right and they can choose to follow or not.

    Keep up the great work my friend. You are an inspiration to at least one person and that is me.

  3. What a great post to start off the year! That Krispy Creme Hamburger looks gross. I was one of those people that sat on the couch everyday - no more for me. I would never go back to that life. Most people know I run but don't talk to me about it. I think because they feel like they need to do what I do(which may be true) but cannot commit themselves. It's easier for them to make fun about it.

  4. Holy, you're an inspiration! I had the pleasure of visiting your fine state a couple of weeks ago, MO is niiiice. Looking forward to being in on your journey. :)

  5. Good post. People ridicule what they don't understand. As we lead by example hopefully they will begin to understand. My family supports me and that is important. In fact they all run now!

  6. I think the EXACT same thing when I'm driving and see someone running...."man that's awesome" Great post! Now just imagine living in Mississippi - the fattest state in the USA. Fried EVERYTHING! This is why I blog. I'm LONELY in MS! Ha Ha

  7. Amen to this! I just got scoffed at this afternoon for ordering a salad at lunch. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one out there that would rather eat some greens than grease. Hopefully a trend starts developing in the opposite direction of all the fried food sometime soon.


Thanks for stopping by ... your comment's always welcome!