Wednesday, April 27, 2011

in defense of running

The 2005 Runbutans
To put this all into context, it all started with this post where Freddy talks about running and marathons and why they're over-rated. Recently, this same exact post was re-visited here. I'm not going to lie. I didn't really appreciate it the first time around. With that, I posted the following response (which no one really cared about):
Marathoner or CrossFitter or both, it all comes down to different strokes for different folks! Don't let the fatty fool you, I ran a marathon five years ago and it was a great experience because it showed me the different ways in which I could push my body. In fact, whenever we're doing a tough WOD (e.g. Mr. Josh) and I want to throw in the towel, there's always a voice inside me that says, "Come on Joanne, you've run a marathon in dead heat of Maui, you can do this!" There is just something about finishing a marathon that continues to be meaningful to me today. 
Also, I ran the marathon to raise money for a charity that was near and dear to my heart. At the time, it wasn't about health. It was about pushing my body in the name of something beyond me. Training for the marathon also provided me the chance to get to know SF and Berkeley in ways that I wouldn't have. Running is a great way to explore your neighborhood, appreciate nature, and such. It's as fulfilling as you make it. 
I agree that long distance running isn't ideal for most. Marathon training tore up my feet! Shortly after finishing the marathon, a friend sent me an article about a long-term study done on marathoners and ultra-marathoners. It stated that these athletes were more prone to heart failure because the body isn't meant to handle that stress. It also stated that such athletes tended to develop mental "issues" later on in life. Something about oxygen to the brain. I'm not saying that the article was 100% correct, but it was enough for me to re-think running. 
I have great respect for runners and athletes from all walks of life. Do what you love and what adds to your life. At the time, long distance running worked for me. Currently, CrossFit works. At another point in my life, something else may work. I decide the destiny and parameters of my fitness. No one else does.
In re-visiting the debate, I certainly do not like it any better the second time around. There is a difference between a perceived standard of fitness versus someone setting a personal goal for him or herself. Also, it's unfair to post two opposing bodies to represent the variety of athletes that run (both short and long distances).  Alas, this time, I decided to just shut up... for the time being. Luckily, my gal pal Lori chimed in as a voice of reason. Here's what she had to say:
When I first started at OW, don't know if anyone remembers, I couldn't even run a 400 without stopping! With just the training at OW I completed a 5K in good time and now am training for a 1/2 marathon. OW rocks! 
I actually hate running and now realize I hate it because it is all mental and in my head. Everytime I lace up the shoes for a run, I convince myself that I can't do it or that I will be bored to death....but I push myself to do it to break that mental barrier. The more "running fit" I become the more I am enjoy it and being outdoors and the more rewarding it is becoming hitting new PR's both on distance and quickness. 
I think Crossfit and distance running is a perfect combo...why not? win! Plus you get to buy all kinds of shoes! 
Also, thanks Angela! :)
In short, every sport or athletic skill has its value. Though I've declared time and time again that I'm not interested in doing another marathon, I make this claim having given it a fair shot. For now, marathons have no future with me. But I commend anyone who is willing to take on the challenge. It's a different experience and one that I continue to value. Unlike some, I don't think it's fair to disregard a sport without having gone through the experience first (cough cough. comments section. cough cough.). It's just plain unfair. To those who claim that anyone can do a marathon, DO IT. Then talk your shit.

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