Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Catching up, and why I hate Blogging

I keep telling you - and myself - that I'm going to be better about this. I really mean to. But, it's a struggle. And I think I've got an idea why. You see, for the most part, I can't understand why ANYONE blogs. Most blogs - it seems to be - are either self-congratulatory puff, self-disclosuring emotional exibitionism, or political pontification designed to stir things up.

Case in point: I don't even remember they guy's name - and I probably wouldn't included it if I did - but this guy on starts into the whole runners and joggers nonsense and then mentions me BY NAME. Good grief. And, of course, the guy doesn't have his facts right, bemoans American distance running FORGETTING that Deena just broke the American women's marathon record and that - oh by the way - Ryan Hall just broke the American Olympic trials marathon record.

Anyway, it just wears me out.

THEN, a guy who I THOUGHT I admired, Martin Dugard, takes off on the whole "slow runners are destroying the marathon" nonsense on AGAIN, without having his facts straight. And THIS guy busts me by name but says he's NEVER read anything by me. Oh for Pete's SAKE.

So, I just don't get it. And I'm having a hard time wanting to clutter up the Web with MORE of what's WRONG.

THAT SAID: Since I was last here I've been to San Francisco for the Nike Women's marathon. It's a wonderful event. There's not that much more to say. If you haven't done it yet. Just Do It - to coin a phrase.

Since I wasn't running the event I had a chance to get out and do a little "exploring". I always run along the Embarcadero, but ususally run towards Fisherman's Wharf. This time, I went under the Oakland bridge and headed out that way. MUCH to my surprise I found myself running around AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. What a COOL looking park. I grew up watching baseball in Wrigley Field and like smaller ball parks.

The photo is where kayakers sit and wait for home run balls to come out of the park. Only in San Francisco.

Then it was off to the Marine Corps Marathon. For reasons that are STILL unclear to me, I decided to ride my motorcycle to Washington, DC. I knew I was going to spend a week with my son and his family, and then head to Randleman, NC to meet with the folks at the Victory Junction Gang Camp. SOMEHOW, I thought riding would be a good idea. I'd forgotten just how COLD it gets in late October and early November.

The grandkids - Ray, Hunter, and Siena - got a kick out of sitting on the bike. It reminded me of what my son's mom once told me - that Terry didn't need a bad influence in his life - he had ME. I don't know that I'm a bad influence, I'm just trying to be who I am and let the chips fall where they fall.

And, of course, I was there for Halloween. What a hoot. MAYBE the kids understand what's going on, but I doubt it. I think it's the parents having most of the fun. Hunter had his chicken suit on which, when you pressed a button, actually PLAYED the "Chicken Dance". We must have had him do the dance 50 times. It was great.

I'm home for a few weeks, so I WILL Blog again NO LATER THAN Tuesday.

Waddle on,


Anonymous said...

John -

Quite frankly, if all sports were to be 'elite' sports, and only the best were allowed to do it, the sport would die out quickly.

Is professional football marred by the saturday afternoon game that the 20's and 30's crowd does in the park? I think not. In fact, the slow runners make the accomplishments of the fast ones that much better. Deena might have set a record, but you know if you take her time for the marathon - you have my 1/2 marathon time! It makes it that much more enjoyable to read.
So blog on, and let those other people have their say. But remember, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
All the best - here's to the slowpokes who had the courage to TRY and to SUCCEED!
Jen P.

Jessie said...

I too was infuriated by the Salon article. "The marathon was no longer a competition. It was a self-improvement exercise." My thought on the matter is, if Americans want to get off their couches and onto the roads and trails, then all the better for them! And if they're doing it to train for distance training, rather than just silly miles around the block, then all the better.

Every runner doesn't have to be an elite racer. I agree with Jen P. The elites give something for us Waddlers something to aspire to. Thanks for your inspiration, John.

Wes said...


Step into my circle of blogger friends. Then, you will understand.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping the Waddlers up front and personal. I have enjoyed all the inspiration you have provided and I really enjoy inspiring others to reach past their comfort zones!

Don't get the blogging either but love to read yours!

Heather S. said...

In any marathon there's like, what, 20 people who can reasonably expect to win? Beyond that it's not a competition and never has been. It's all about individuals pushing themselves to see what they can accomplish. It's like that for the fast runners, the slow runners and everyone in between. So pfthbt.

Jen -- TNT Jax said...

If you stop blogging, then "they" win! It would be like quitting running because of those with the "elite-only" mindset. So I'm glad to see you'll blog and waddle on! :)

Lani said...

As a first-time marathon finisher (NYC last weekend), I'm glad they let slow people RUN them. I finished in 6 1/2 hours, and I'm perfectly happy with that time. And I'm glad I had the opportunity!

Thanks so much for your wonderful blogs! I always enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, Thanks for your blog. I enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog entry John; I occasionally lament the slow runners in front of me. Like in New York last weekend. But honestly, my only problem is that the race officials don't get people queued up a little better. I think there is room for everybody. I compliment anyone that gets off the couch and gets out there to enjoy my favorite participation sport. Thank you for your blog, and your inspiration. I enjoy it. Steve - Phoenix

Mary Gee said...

I am a slow runner and I appreciate you and everyone else who tells me that what matters is that I show up and am willing to try.

I LOVE to blog because I have learned so much from other bloggers. And they have encouraged me a lot! Blogging has also motivated me to do things I would not have otherwise done... the accountability to my readers... it is a good thing.

Eileen said...

John - I can't even imagine your frustration with people abusing you in posts and articles. It must be very tough to deal with, and I'm sure that kills your blog joy.

However, there are people who are inspired by your ...(cough) weekly posts. For the penguins, those souls who have found a joy in running without the natural abilities to even dream about an age group medal, who have enjoyed all of your books and wait avidly for the monthly runner's world article, your continued stories of struggles and joys are a constant reminder to us that we are not alone in our OWN running struggles and joys. I go to your website (and Jenny's!) daily and hope that there's a blog so that I can learn a new tidbit, take a deep breath when I've had a bad run, or reiterate to myself that I run for me - not for a PR, or a distance record - for me. You help me remember the joy when it is hidden behind my fears and doubts.

Don't let other people negatively impact the genuine support that you provide to your Penguin Brigade - See you in Tucson on St. Patty's Day. I'll be in the back!

fatmantrying said...

We have something they don't and it eats 'em up.

These are the people who aren't typically happy with their performance.

When they see us, their first reaction is... "I'd quit before I'd do that."

And then it hits them... they know they quit all too often every day and they despise that side of themselves.

They see the "no retreat, no surrender" in us and it just eats 'em up.

Look for it in all their various rants, it's jealousy.

L said...

I'll probably always be slow. You're an inspiration and I may run a marathon some day. Slowy.

Tom said...

You've inaccurately assessed blogging. It serves the very human need and interest for people to have a voice and to connect.

And runners are the best bloggers of all because we love to talk about running, connect with runners, and encourage and support each other.

Reading other runners' blogs will show you they are not as you describe them.

Blogs create running conversations and build running communities!

Preacher Caleb said...

John -

I know you probably don't read these comments but in case you do I write. My wife read your book “The Courage to Start” and began running about 6 months ago. My wife is a penguin. She runs, but not fast. She runs but often times stops to walk for awhile.

A few months ago she ran her first 5K and did it in about 36 minutes or so. She really wanted me to come watch her cross the finish line. I’m not a morning person at all!!! I was super hesitant. In fact, I slept through the alarm she set for me and woke up later realizing I had only 20 minutes to get out there. Long story short I made it there and watched her cross the finish line – it was amazing! She really did it. Up to that point I didn’t realize what she was doing and the commitment she was making.

The next week I was online reading and decided to try a couch potato to 5K running schedule. Up to that point I NEVER ran over a mile in my life. The only reason I ran a mile before was because we were required to run one every week in Junior High and when I ran it I hated every minute of it!!! Once I started running using a schedule and for the first time realized that you build up running by run/walking (isn’t it amazing that they never teach you that in PE they just say RUN!!!) it was exciting. I’m more of a natural runner than my wife but not fast by any means.

This Thanksgiving my wife and I ran our first 5K together (my first 5K) and it was a lot of fun. I ran it in 25:36 after 8 weeks of training and my wife ran it in 38 minutes or so. It was a huge accomplishment for her over her last 5K. It was an accomplishment because she ran the entire race without walking – that was her goal for the race. What’s even more exciting is that her brother-in-law ran with her the entire time. He started running over a year ago after taking a bet from our brother-in-law to lose 100 pounds in 8 months and if he did he would pay him $1,000. He got the $1,000 and had to use it all to buy new clothes! 

You have inspired a whole family of people to start running. We all run at different paces and in different places. We are all successful runners not because of how fast we run but because we run… or waddle. For every nano-brain commentator that wants to complain about people like my wife running in their blessed races there are millions of husbands like me who are waiting at the finish line with a huge smile on their face because our wives did it no matter how slow it was.

The point of all of this is don’t stop doing what you’re doing. In fact, don’t even read their stuff anymore!!! That’s like watching Main Stream media to get objective news when our men and women are doing a great job in Iraq and they suddenly have gone silent about what’s going on over there when we are being successful. Besides who gave them the right to write? Shouldn’t that be left to the people who are PHD’s in English and Literature – think about it… and then BLOG!

Keep on Blogging as you Waddle!
Caleb O’Hara

anonymous in seattle said...

John, I just have to let you know that you have been such an inspiration to me. I've read two of your books and visit your website often. I just started running almost 3 months ago and really, if it wasn't for you I know I would have given up by now. I am progressing excrutiatingly slow! It's horrid! but that doesn't change the fact that my dream is to some day run a marathon. You are such an inspiration and help me to know that no matter how slow I am I'm still a runner!

Thank you so much.

26 - PT - TWO said...

To Jessie: I tend to think a lot of the articles that disrespect slower runners are written by people who never ran a step in their lives. Marathoners get disrespected a lot, in general. I'm sure a lot of that is jealousy on the part of the people doing the disrespecting! Why, I remember watching a sports show once where the commentators referred (to the elite marathoners) as "nuts." Maybe they meant "nuts" with some admiration, but I kind of doubt it. The commentator just didn't "get it."

The last couple years of running have been disappointing for me, through my own lack of hard work. Although I've got a nose-to-the-grindstone mentality about training and picking my races in 2008, I'm still not the runner I used to be. Some of the nicest people I've met are penguins - and I've met a lot of penguins lately. It's nice to see people who aren't stuck to the time on their watch and who just say "don't worry, chill out, and have fun."

So waddle on and have fun, I say! We could all stand to do more of that!

pretentiously academian said...

Hey John,

I heard you speak at the Team In Training dinner for the San Fran marathon... My cousin ran the marathon (her first!) and I watched and got totally inspired to run myself.

I'm now reading your book The Courage to Start. I just wanted to say thanks for your writing, speaking & inspiring. Keep it up! (The blogging counts as inspiring others, too.) You rock.

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