Monday, November 06, 2006


This will probably come as a surprise but my wife always tells me, “It’s not your message, it’s your tone.” And she’s not talking about my blog.

I thought I’d address this whole “Elitist” title that keeps getting thrown around. Whether it’s on my blog, another blog or some message board, it always reminds me of people using the “Race Card.” Don’t agree with someone. Oh, they’re faster than you. They must be an elitist. From what I can gather on, they can’t even agree on what it means to be elite, let alone elitist.

It’s no secret that I aspire to get faster. Heck, I can’t think of a single runner I’ve met in the last 27 years who hasn’t felt the same way.

I’ve been slow before. I remember running a 99 minute 10 mile race and being happy that I broke 100 minutes. However, I’ve never been fast. None of my PRs are anything special. I’ve never won a race or been the best runner on a team.

What I lack in speed, I make up for in passion. Whether it’s my own running, seeing friends succeed, learning about the history of the sport, etc. I enjoy it all. It’s the most basic sport out there yet there’s so much to it.

As I was thinking back to all the runners I’ve met over the years, I couldn’t think of a single runner who has wished harm upon their competition. In fact, runners seem to encourage their competition to run their best. They even go so far as to share their running “secrets.”

Believe me; you don’t have to be an elite runner to share knowledge with one another. If that were the case I’d say it’s a good thing all the teachers and coaches in this country are elite. I’d hate to have someone who’s only in, say the top 5%, sharing their knowledge and passion as they teach our children.

It’s not like running knowledge is what’s keeping me from being elite. And it’s not like elites are elite because of their vast running knowledge.

I’ll try to work on my tone, but my message will still be the same; work hard, push yourself, run more than ever before, ask questions and share your experiences. You will improve. So if I have something to share that I think will help, I will. If you have something you think we help me, go ahead and comment. With that said, here’s an article I’ve read recently that I really like.

As for my current training, on Saturday the girls took turns riding in the jogger for 5 miles and then I added 2 miles by myself. That gave me 40 miles for the week. Sunday I ran 8 miles at around 7:30-7:45 pace, which is pretty quick for a solo run for me. I seem to be letting the pace flow more during this base-building period than in the past. If I feel good I just go with it. This morning I ran 8 miles at about 8:20 pace.

Quote of the day;

“To run is to live. Everything else is just waiting.” – Mark Hanson in The Complete Book of Running


mouse said...

you need the "RBF Elitist" tag on your website. :) I know a girl who can hook you up with one of those...

Eric said...

I'm assuming that first paragraph was sarcasm.

Something about the tone of this entry makes me think that making excuses is the closest you ever get to apologizing for doing something obnoxious.

'Passion' is what leads to the good things that you do. Interviewing local runners, for example. Or a near-PR effort in tough conditions. 'Passion' is not a reason, and certainly not an excuse, to make someone feel stupid or foolish about something they invest a great deal of time, effort, and ego into. One crass comment could take someone to a place that 'sorry' doesn't fix. Unless you are asked, I can't see any reason why it's your business to offer criticism where none is being requested.

I don't think anyone disagrees that any kind of workout after a goal race is useless for the preceding goal race. It's disingenuous of you to frame your entire 'elitist' argument on that basis. What people disagree with you about is whether you should be cursing out other bloggers for training in a way that doesn't make sense to you. To throw around 'race card' comparisons and claiming that the word 'elitist' can be defined to infinite degrees are just meaningless distractions.

Here's a card you can play. It's called the sympathy card. "I've never won a race or been the best runner on my team." So, is that why you do it? Some kind of compensation mechanism?

"I was slower once, too!" likewise gives you no license to criticise. Because you can identify with 'slow' means you can spout expletives at 'slow' people? Just another excuse to do so.

As I think back to those three runners you recently interviewed, I can't imagine that any of them wouldn't be embarrassed for you right now. Your lack of humility is unbelieveable in comparison.

Chad said...

Eric, I've already apologized to RR regarding my last post. This post has nothing to do with that other than the fact that the term "elitist" was thrown out in some comments. So I wasn't "framing my entire elitist argument on that."

Mike said...

Scrolling, scrolling. Hmmm, don't see that mentioned apology on your blog anywhere. I think a good place for it would be right below the offense. Since the offense was public, I think any revocation should be also.

As far as other comments calling you "elitist", I think it was just a polite substitution for another word.

I too enjoy your interviews and many of the quotations on your blog, so when you say something that stands in such stark contrast to the norm I feel obligated to point it out.

As far as your snarky one line rebuttals go to anyone who questions you, I find them amusing in the same way I've found George W. Bush's campaigning amusing during the last week. It's your blog so it's certainly your right, but you might consider reading them back to hear how they come off.

Chad said...

Hey Mike, did you check the comments at all?

Thanks you for pointing out the stark contrasts. I'm glad you are amused.

Mike said...

Was this the apology?
" Sorry if you think I ratted you out."

That's not an apology for something YOU did, it's an apology for how someone else took it. Two different things.

Here's what it comes down to for me: If you took an individual run of mine and made a public issue of it on your blog it would tick me off. Leave a comment (you can leave out the tired WTF's???? while you're at it) on my blog or email me and leave it at that.

How would you like it I took public issue with your true level of commitment to become the best runner you could be on MY blog? Imagine me posting with a link to you each time I read you slept in, skipped a day, wimped out on a workout, cut a long run short or god forbid did a workout I didn't agree with? Wouldn't be much fun for you (or for me if the situation were reversed).

I read the post and yes, I read the comments. Perhaps it's too much to ask that we respect each other (within this blogging community), but here I am asking you to do just that.

Eric said...

I don't see any apology, but I do see you apologizing for her feelings toward you. "Sorry if you think I ratted you out."

That's not an apology. The apology was what you allegedly sent to RR privately because you are too proud to publicly acknowledge the fact that you humiliated someone as an exercise in stroking your own ego.

And don't forget, you're not apologizing for questioning someone's training. The apology is for the obnoxious, self-aggrandizing tone of your question. You tend to get wrapped up in your excuses, so I just want to make it clear. Again.

Thomas said...

When you started that paragraph with the words "This next topic will probably piss people off, ..." you couldn't have been more right, I guess.

I really like your blog, your posts are highly informational, you know an awful lot about running, and your passion for running clearly shows through.

But I agree with your wife. There is definitely room for improvement with the way you're saying things, and "naming and shaming" RR wasn't called for. If you had an issue with my training and linked to me in such a criticising way, I'd be ticked off, too.

I gather you sent an email to RR and apologised, and she accepted that. I don't see the need for you to repeat anything else in public, and I presume the whole affair is closed now. I'll definitely continue reading your blog, and it's still one of my favourites, but I guess there is a lesson there for everyone who wants to be a bit too outspoken from time to time.

Chad said...

Lance, interesting comparison.

Thomas, good points and very well said.

Triseverance said...

Sometimes we all need to humble ourseslves and realize maybe we stepped over a line. I have done this in the past and I am sure that we all have.

Assuming your apology to RR was made and accepted I think you had made peace with the issue. Why then this post? Eat your humble pie, be a better person, and let it go. However to do that you need to realize that it was not the tone of that post that was read wrong, it was very much the message and the action that was at issue, or at least what I took issue with. Also the acknowledgement should be here on the blog, at least if you truly mean it.

But it is not my intent or desire to pile on. You have a ton of good stuff going on here lets not lose sight of that.

As to my elitist comment, Mike nailed that one, no need for a thread on let's run. I don't care how fast you are, but I get the impression that is the running world you aspire to. It was my way of tweaking you, seems like it worked. I apologize, it was over the top and a bit mean spirited.

A Deal Or No Deal said...

I guess I'm in the minority here. It's nice to see someone in the mass of running blogs say something other than "I ran 8 miles today!!" and "good job!!!!!!". On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have used the letters W, T and F to express my puzzlement. This post, then, seems to be about spot on.

SRR said...

Boys, boys, are much too kind. And for all your support and kind words of defending me I thank you! :-)

I will end Zeke with one last thing...Next time you care to question my training program you might want to consider questioning Hall Higdon INSTEAD OF ME, because he was the plan I followed for the Chicago Marathon. But probably the next thing out of your "prick" mouth will be that Hal can't take me to a sub 4 hour marathon. Isn't that right Zeke?

Chad said...

I believe I did question Hal's program, numerous times. In my first response to Bob's comment, the email I sent to you, etc. But whatever...

Yes I could have been more tactful in asking you to clarify his program. I'm truly sorry about that. And I'm sorry it came across as if I were criticizing you.

Personally I think you could break 4 hours with any plan out there, but you have to make it happen.

"Nice job" with the name calling.

Chelle said...

Is this what happens to runners once their marathons are over with? Everybody bump up their mileage by 30% this month and then we can all be happy and collegial again.