I love this time of year! As the fall marathon dates creep ever closer, suddenly everyone enters the Severe Panic Attack Zone (excellent acronym). Suddenly, things that no one really gives a flying rip about most of the year become topics of inane scrutiny. And as we reach our highest-mileage weeks or enter into the unparalleled arena of self-absorption also known as The Taper, who can resist returning to topics that have been worn out and beaten within an inch of their unimportant lives? Here are some of my fave dead horse topics, complete with my extremely important opinions:
Real Runners Don’t Race With Music. Next to the running skirt debate, this topic works people into a greater state of apoplexy than any other important debate. Apparently, something as harmless as enjoying a perky tune or two en route to 26.2 miles is terribly upsetting to some. It suggests that somebody isn’t taking the race seriously enough and that there might be a terribly inappropriate moment of fun… even at mile 23.
Yes, yes, we all know that the U.S. Association of Running Doofwads (or whatever it is) passed the law against running with any electronic devices during races due to the number of disasters caused by people running with cake mixers, box fans, and the like. Unfortunately, this also ruled out all portable musical devices. Sorrow.
Psssst….Deep, dark secret time….I like racing with music! I’ve only stopped wearing music in races recently due to my own spineless wishy-washy (I’ve always hated that phrase, and yet I’ve just used it. How wishy-washy can you get?) paranoia of being looked at as not being a “real” runner. But the fact is, I prefer hearing music over Mr. I-Can’t-Stop-Breathing-Like-a-Horse-Right -on-Your-Shoulder. As delightful as it is to hear “YOU”RE ALMOST THERE!!” screamed from the sidelines 20 times before I’ve even reached mile 15 of a marathon, I, oddly enough, find Lenny Kravitz singing “Bring It On” to be more inspirational.
The argument goes that one can’t really focus on the race with the distraction of music. Hello? I find the exact opposite to be true. The music blanks out the distractions. That includes things like a blister the size of Paraguay on my right foot or the distinct sensation of having cinderblocks in my quads at mile 24. I still say that I would not have qualified for Boston by more than 18 minutes if I hadn’t had a nice array of cheeseball tunes choreographed for the last 6.2 miles. Music, in fact, distracts me from the distractions.
I’m not entirely sure what that last sentence really means.
In any event, I’m carrying music in my next marathon. It’s either that or a cake mixer.
Runs Under 20 Are Not Long Runs. Unless You Do Numerous 20-plus-Mile Runs, You Will Fail. Ah yes, this boring and tiresome debate gets placed under the microscope right about this exact time every year. Why? you may ask. Isn’t it obvious? Because everyone is either biting their nails to the nub with worry over having not run enough OR they’re nearly peeing their pants with nervousness over the possibility of over-training. And now it’s too late to do anything about it. HA HA HA HA! (Sorry. Outburst.)
As much as it pains me to say it, I think you can get away with no 20-mile runs and still do well in a marathon. It pains me because I force myself to do at least a few 20+ every marathon season anyway. Apparently, I have absolutely no regard for my own opinion on this matter. But the fact is, the fastest marathon I ever ran was on long runs no greater than 16-17 miles. However, that was nearly 20 years ago, and now I can’t convince myself that it was my training, not youth, that gave me that time. And I’m too afraid to try a marathon on 16-mile long runs now.
So, mostly, I stress over overtraining chiefly because I’m too scared to be brave. I’m so freaking wishy-washy.
Tapering Is Overrated. Please. You finally get a chance to actually sleep past 5:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings and live, if briefly and awkwardly, like a normal person. You can go a whole week without uttering things like “Was that a pace run or a tempo run?” or “Well, my heart rate monitor says…” You get to eat Pop Tarts and drink Yazoo Beer—Possibly, hopefully, in tandem. You get to enjoy phantom pains all over your body. You have an excuse to be the world’s biggest ass to those you love the most.
How can anything like that be rated too highly?
Happy marathoning everyone!!