mediocrity (Read 450 times)


Right on Hereford...

    What physical traits are you talking about?

     

    Seriously?

     

    What football/basketball/baseball players do you think would dominate world distance running?

    jimmyb


       

      Seriously?

      What football/basketball/baseball players do you think would dominate world distance running?

       

       

      Yes. What do you think are the physical traits of someone destined to be a great runner? Other than one should probably be under a certain weight, and perhaps statistically there is a height range (e.g. 6 feet or less, not sure how many great runners have been above 6 feet as opposed to below. e.g. Robert Cheruiyot is 6'3" and he's pretty darn good with a 2:07 at Boston)  and of course genetically gifted in terms of speed.  I really don't know what the traits are supposed to be other than that.

       

      And yes,I believe there are genetically-gifted runners in many different sports who probably could have been great in the running world, if they chose the sport early on, and trained as a runner (which is is what I meant with my initial post--probable runners). If you start young and train as a football player or baseball player, the training creates a completely different body in terms of composition and weight. There are some really fast players, but they weigh 200+ pounds, even at at 5'8".  Cheruiyot weighs 154 pounds at 6'3"--if he trained as a football player, he'd weigh 210 pounds maybe, and wouldn't be running Boston in 2:07, even though he'd still have the genetic potential to do so..

       

      Isn't it possible some of these genetically gifted pro-players would have had different looking bodies if they chose endurance running in high school? I'm sure some of these players were just as fast and gifted as the greatest XC runners in their state. Just because someone is a great runner, doesn't mean they are going to join the track or XC team. Not when there are so many other attractive choices. In baseball, someone fast like a Rickey Henderson (who weighed 180+ and was that fast) or a Carl Crawford, is it possible? I think it is. Ultimately, this is an imagination game I'm playing, but it's not that far out to think such a thing is likely.

      Log    PRs

        When I was in high school, the guy who held the mile record at our school was also the state wrestling champion for his weight class.

        J-L-C


           

           

          The way I look at the amateur and elite world of running achievement is this: since base running speed is tied to genetics, and the potential speed of each individual runner is different--then the 6 hour marathoner who realizes his or her potential and hits that e.g. ultimate 4:30 marathon after years of training has achieved something equal in triumph and awesomeness as Paula Radcliffe running 2:15:25 or Patrick Macau reaching his 2:03:38.  Both the amateur and the elite worked their tails off and reached their very best within their genetic blessings.

           

           

          Radcliffe and Makau (and virtually every other elite) have devoted every fiber of their being to training and racing, putting in tens of thousands of miles and thousands of hours of strength and conditioning work. Not to mention the personal sacrifices (social life? work? nope!) necessary to ensure adequate recovery. It's paid off for them, obviously, but there are thousands of runners doing similar work and getting results just a bit below that that will never reap such rewards.

           

          So I don't believe anyone running a 4:30 marathon has done anything remotely similar in their quest to run that 4:30. They may have worked "really hard", but they haven't devoted years/decades of their life with that single-minded focus that elites have.  I 100% disagree that it's equal in triumph or awesomeness. It's not in the same ballpark. It's not even the same sport.

            So I don't believe anyone running a 4:30 marathon has done anything remotely similar in their quest to run that 4:30. They may have worked "really hard", but they haven't devoted years/decades of their life with that single-minded focus that elites have.  I 100% disagree that it's equal in triumph or awesomeness. It's not in the same ballpark. It's not even the same sport.

             

            Agreed. We don't need to go nearly as far down the field as 4:30 to say that. To say that both amateur and elite have "worked their tails off and reached their very best within their genetic blessings" sounds nice and egalitarian but it's not close to true. I don't pretend to have worked nearly as hard nor come nearly as close to my genetic potential as the elites who are doing this full time. My 2:49 PR (for which I worked much harder than 95% of recreational runners) was done as a work-a-day hobbyjogger and I don't pretend to have devoted the years and time at the expense of all else I hold dear, the way the true elites do.

             

            I also find the idea the sport hasn't "selected for" the best runners and that the best marathoner in the world might be playing in the NBA or the English Premier League to be completely naive.

             

            As for why our sport praises mediocrity? I don't see that it does. Our sport has grown through mass participation and this participation is often praised (people are often congratulated for finishing etc.) but that's not a bad thing. And the winner still gets the prize. Plus, there are so many good races, track meets, xc meets etc. that haven't become mass participation events that if you don't want to you never have to run one of the big "everyone's a winner" type races. This is a non-topic.

            Runners run.

              This thread on mediocrity has ironically added a little fuel to my fire.

              "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                This thread on mediocrity has ironically added a little fuel to my fire.

                 

                you're not topped off on fuel after last night?

                Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
                jimmyb


                   

                  Radcliffe and Makau (and virtually every other elite) have devoted every fiber of their being to training and racing, putting in tens of thousands of miles and thousands of hours of strength and conditioning work. Not to mention the personal sacrifices (social life? work? nope!) necessary to ensure adequate recovery. It's paid off for them, obviously, but there are thousands of runners doing similar work and getting results just a bit below that that will never reap such rewards.

                   

                  So I don't believe anyone running a 4:30 marathon has done anything remotely similar in their quest to run that 4:30. They may have worked "really hard", but they haven't devoted years/decades of their life with that single-minded focus that elites have.  I 100% disagree that it's equal in triumph or awesomeness. It's not in the same ballpark. It's not even the same sport.

                   

                   

                  Of course they're not in the same league, or the same level of sport. That's not what I wrote about. The individual achievement in relation to ultimate potential is the same.

                   

                  If 4:30 is the best someone could ever possibly do, it is their ultimate potential. Then yes it is equal in triumph and awesomeness, because they reached their limit. Their peak. The best they could ever do. No matter how hard they work the rest of their lives, they will never exceed that performance.

                   

                  How many hours a week does an elite train?

                   

                  I know there are amateur runners who reach their potential that have run more hours per week for just as long, while not having sponsors and support, and working 40 hour weeks and taking care of kids. A 40 year-old amateur whose potential is 4:30 who runs 60 miles per week for 8 years (whose aerobic running is 10:00-11:00 minute miles) is equal to an elite's 120 miles per week for 8 years (running 5-5:30 miles on average), in terms of duration and actual footfalls. Dedication and perseverance is the same.

                  Log    PRs

                     

                    you're not topped off on fuel after last night?

                    Imagination doesn't work by the same mechanism as glycogen; not at all.

                    "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                      Jimmyb, I love ya buddy, but we just finished a thread in which we made wild arguments just for the sake of argument, distorted other people's positions to try to make our points, and did all other sorts of crazy things to feed our own fantasies about the incorrect attitudes of others. (cf. Oscar Pistorius and gun control)

                       

                      Do we have to do it again?

                       

                      Attempts like this to pit one segment of the running population against another are really toxic. It's a pluralistic world. We can all do our own thing without bothering each other, pretending that one approach to running ought to be the only approach, or forcing strange claims that somehow in some world, by some strange twist of rhetorical skill, we can make all levels of performance equal.

                       

                      I think on threads like this we should remember that much (most?) of what we celebrate when we celebrate elite athletic performance is talent itself. The value of a performance is not simply based on a calculus of how much time or work you put into something. Bernard Lagat is not primarily admirable because of his work ethic (though I am sure this is part of the picture.) He is admirable because he is simply brilliant at what he does. Did he earn that brilliance? Of course not--no one could, and that's part of what makes his running so incredible and amazing to see.

                      jimmyb


                        Jimmyb, I love ya buddy, but we just finished a thread in which we made wild arguments just for the sake of argument, distorted other people's positions to try to make our points, and did all other sorts of crazy things to feed our own fantasies about the incorrect attitudes of others. (cf. Oscar Pistorius and gun control)

                         

                        Do we have to do it again?

                         

                        Attempts like this to pit one segment of the running population against another are really toxic. It's a pluralistic world. We can all do our own thing without bothering each other, pretending that one approach to running ought to be the only approach, or forcing strange claims that somehow in some world, by some strange twist of rhetorical skill, we can make all levels of performance equal.

                         

                        I think on threads like this we should remember that much (most?) of what we celebrate when we celebrate elite athletic performance is talent itself. The value of a performance is not simply based on a calculus of how much time or work you put into something. Bernard Lagat is not primarily admirable because of his work ethic (though I am sure this is part of the picture.) He is admirable because he is simply brilliant at what he does. Did he earn that brilliance? Of course not--no one could, and that's part of what makes his running so incredible and amazing to see.

                        I love you, too, Jeff.Cool

                        But you never bring me flowers.....any more....

                         

                        My responses have been about mediocrity and why it seems to exist with American runners in relation to the world stage, although I took my thoughts to the amateur level. Perhaps, that was a digression. I fully undertand, and agree about what you said, that the world celebrates realized talent. The talented ones who worked their tails off to realize potential...I think of Tiger and Jack, MJ's (Air and The King Of Pop), Streep, Nicholson, Eddie Van Halen, Bob Dylan, Montana/Brady/Manning, Ted Williams, The Beatles, etc. They all make/made it look easy, but it took years of hard work to be able to make it look that way.  I guess, being a music and creativity teacher for 20 years like I was, it changed my perspective on worshipping just those who were born with talent. I've seen some kids who had no apparent talent create wonderful bodies of work, and go on to be creative geniuses in other fields due to the hard work they put into creating with a guitar and their voices. They learned to be creative, and that ability can be taken into any medium. The point being, my perspective about potential came from teaching and seeing triumph and awesomeness in kids and adults who seemed to have no talent whatsoever. Seeing a 40 year old student start from scratch, overcome cancer while developing her skill, and going on to produce CD's and books changes a teacher. I think the same way about runners.  Potential is potential. Limits are limits. Triumph is triumph. I celebrate realized potential when I see it. Some of the achievements I've seen runners I know (and ones in these running forums) do, have truly blown me away and inspired me. I can't shut this perception off! Don't want to. I believe it's a focus on the what is good in humanity, and it's not a false rewarding like giving everyone a trophy, even if they slacked and did no work. Laziness and half-assed efforts shouldn't be celebrated.

                         

                        Now, about those flowers...

                        Log    PRs

                          American runners are not mediocre on the world stage at all. In sprints we dominate along with Jamaica and in distance events you could argue the US has had the 3rd best showing in the last bunch of years behind Kenya and Ethiopia, who dominate all.

                          Runners run.

                            Here's yer flowers, Jimmy. To live's to fly. It's a good and true and timeless point -- what we celebrate is not always what's most valuable.

                            jimmyb


                              Here's yer flowers, Jimmy. To live's to fly. It's a good and true and timeless point -- what we celebrate is not always what's most valuable.

                               

                              What a great chorus....thanks.Cool

                              Log    PRs

                                What's special about running is that Average-Jane and Sub-Average Joe can participate in the same race as Radcliffe and Macau.  That wouldn't work so well for pole-vaulting or basketball or....

                                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.