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Article on Running Plays into Culture Wars (Read 426 times)

    Jeff,

     

    Well put...and good timing. I just finished a conversation regarding the "evils" of competition. All relative to the WSJ article too.

    www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

      Another thing that bothers me about these sorts of articles is that they seem to miss the point of why competition is good -- or at least don't spend enough time thinking about why they want us or our culture to be more competitive.

       .....

      Anyways, the problem with competition going away is not that fields get slower -- it's that we lose a vital aspect of participation. Competition ensures that we participate together -- that we notice each other, that we engage with each other, and that we do so with intent and purpose. That's why we want it.

       

      Jeff,
      I would argue that 'competition' among the 2:36:00 marathon folk and faster has a different value placement than the competition among other ranges.  (I say that with all due respect).  I believe that you can have competition, comraderie, and participation in all speeds within any type of race.

       

      I'm probably one of the typical new competitors within road racing.  About 13 years ago, I decided to get healthy, and began running.  At the time, I didn't really know anybody that ran.  I learned on my own, and didn't have a community like RA to get advice.  My friends were like me (enjoyed tv, watching sports, etc).  I spent the first 8 years running without ever joining a race.

      Over the past 13 years, I've begun to realize that 80+% of my friends are runners, bikers, or swimmers.  Everybody I know is active.  It's not competition that keeps our friendship alive.  It's the mutual joy we have in talking about our hobby.  Many of my friends are from the gym, or people that I've met while running, or biking, or swimming, or at the races.  My community is new.

       

      These new friends of mine that I've met over the past 13 years have a 'pact' with each other to live an active lifestyle for the rest of our lives.  We are a 'band of brothers' that will NOT allow anybody to leave.  We encourage our kids to be active and run races (color runs, tougher mudders, etc.) in order to prevent them from taking a 10 year break from activity and allowing them to leave our 'pact'.

       

      The competition is high because of the new community, but I'm talking about the competition to beat our own respective Personal Records, or our own distance challenges.  We encourage each other and let each other know that we're on track to be able to complete our first marathon, or our sub-3:30 marathon, or our first Ironman.  That is competitive, but it may not match up to others definition of competitive. FWIW, my college sophmore son did a tougher mudder last weekend with 2 of his buddies and has developed his own group within college that work together to remain active.  I hope I passed on a lifestyle of 'activity' to my son.

       

      We all understand that there are different levels of competition (Olympians down to 'color runs').

      The article was crappy, but we shouldn't forget about the value of competition at all levels.

      2014 Goals:

      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

      #2: 365 Hours training

       

         

        My personal take on the 40 -49 being such a competitve age group is that this is the point of life where you have more time to dedicate to yourself. e.g. More time to train

         

        Your kids are more self dependant, your career is underway, you are hopefully financially fit, less worries. I'm 48 and I'm lovin where I'm at right now.

         

        I'm no more committed today than I was in my 30's but I am putting in more training time...cause I can!

         

        THIS^^^^^^^

         

        I see this is true for the women, especially in triathlon. The over 40 ladies nearly always take the top OA places. I'm in my mid forties and can train much more now, but my body seems to be breaking down more then ever. I guess the wisdom hasn't come yet, but the grey hair certainly has.

         

        The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

         

        2014 Goals:

         

        Stay healthy

        Enjoy life

         


        Interval Junkie --Nobby

           THIS^^^^^^^

           

          I see a lot of you point the finger at kids being the main reason people in their mid 20s to mid 30s don't train as hard -- because they don't have the liberty in their schedule.  Yet, I don't see runners w/o kids behaving any differently in those years.  I certainly didn't.

          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

          Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon

             

            I see a lot of you point the finger at kids being the main reason people in their mid 20s to mid 30s don't train as hard -- because they don't have the liberty in their schedule.  Yet, I don't see runners w/o kids behaving any differently in those years.  I certainly didn't.

             

            I think work plays a role too.  I was definately working a lot more nights and weekends in my 30s, not that I don't work some of those now.  As people move into more senior positions, they let the young guys burn the midnight oil.

               

              Jeff,
              I would argue that 'competition' among the 2:36:00 marathon folk and faster has a different value placement than the competition among other ranges.  (I say that with all due respect).  I believe that you can have competition, comraderie, and participation in all speeds within any type of race.

               

              I'm probably one of the typical new competitors within road racing.  About 13 years ago, I decided to get healthy, and began running.  At the time, I didn't really know anybody that ran.  I learned on my own, and didn't have a community like RA to get advice.  My friends were like me (enjoyed tv, watching sports, etc).  I spent the first 8 years running without ever joining a race.

              Over the past 13 years, I've begun to realize that 80+% of my friends are runners, bikers, or swimmers.  Everybody I know is active.  It's not competition that keeps our friendship alive.  It's the mutual joy we have in talking about our hobby.  Many of my friends are from the gym, or people that I've met while running, or biking, or swimming, or at the races.  My community is new.

               

              These new friends of mine that I've met over the past 13 years have a 'pact' with each other to live an active lifestyle for the rest of our lives.  We are a 'band of brothers' that will NOT allow anybody to leave.  We encourage our kids to be active and run races (color runs, tougher mudders, etc.) in order to prevent them from taking a 10 year break from activity and allowing them to leave our 'pact'.

               

              The competition is high because of the new community, but I'm talking about the competition to beat our own respective Personal Records, or our own distance challenges.  We encourage each other and let each other know that we're on track to be able to complete our first marathon, or our sub-3:30 marathon, or our first Ironman.  That is competitive, but it may not match up to others definition of competitive. FWIW, my college sophmore son did a tougher mudder last weekend with 2 of his buddies and has developed his own group within college that work together to remain active.  I hope I passed on a lifestyle of 'activity' to my son.

               

              We all understand that there are different levels of competition (Olympians down to 'color runs').

              The article was crappy, but we shouldn't forget about the value of competition at all levels.

               

              I agree with this 100% except for the part about the different value of competition among 2:36 and faster marathoners. It was a quick thought in what I wrote, but an important one (you eliminated it when you edited what I said). I said: "it seems to me that there is very little necessary association between competitive spirit and race times." -- and this seems to me to be the point you are more expansively making here.

                 I see a lot of you point the finger at kids being the main reason people in their mid 20s to mid 30s don't train as hard -- because they don't have the liberty in their schedule.  Yet, I don't see runners w/o kids behaving any differently in those years.  I certainly didn't.

                 

                When the kids were growing up, I sure wouldn't have been getting up at 5:00 am to run, considering their activities routinely resulted in 11:00 or midnight bedtime for me.  Couldn't have done many evening runs, either.

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


                Fat butt on couch

                   

                  I see a lot of you point the finger at kids being the main reason people in their mid 20s to mid 30s don't train as hard -- because they don't have the liberty in their schedule.  Yet, I don't see runners w/o kids behaving any differently in those years.  I certainly didn't.

                   

                  For me kids made a night and day difference in my training.  Each time we've added one to the litter, I've struggled to find a new schedule that lets it all work and still reliably get my running in.  It's individual but pre-kids I absolutely prioritized running higher.  If I look back at the group of us who ran in college together, there were the guys who quit when they graduated.  Then there was a good number of us that continued to train hard; almost all tapered off right when the first kid arrived.

                   

                  And +1 to TJoseph's comment on work.  The first five years of my career were rough on the training.  Now that I'm a little higher up the food chain and have been able to pick my opportunities a little better, it's already getting easier.

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                    There's only so many hours in a day.  Kids and work and those social activities the spouse drags you to take big slices of a day.

                     

                    I'm one of those that came into running in my 40's. My kids were grown, driving their own cars, doing their own things, and I had time.  I trained with people in their 30's and realized they were all single and childless.  I still train with them, but we're now in our 40's and 50's and they're married but still childless.  New spouses have been added to the training mix.

                     

                    It really hit me when I was putting in 20+ hour ironman training weeks.  No way a normal parent could sink that much time into training.  And those that did struck me as being very selfish with their time.  It's one thing to be a good example, but kids need attention and time, not a mom or dad that is out on the bike 8 hours and running/swimming another 8 hours over a weekend.

                       

                      I see a lot of you point the finger at kids being the main reason people in their mid 20s to mid 30s don't train as hard -- because they don't have the liberty in their schedule.  Yet, I don't see runners w/o kids behaving any differently in those years.  I certainly didn't.

                       

                      Having kids did 2 things for me (well way more than 2, but these are the 2 that are relevant to this discussion).

                       

                      1. It domesticated me, and 'normalized' my schedule. Suddenly I wasn't doing all kinds of things that are counterproductive to running like traveling all the time, going out 5 nights a week, going away skiing every weekend, going on 5 hour mountain bike rides, going on weekend drinking benders, etc. This more domesticated schedule/lifestyle allowed me to build *some* structure around my running, but still seriously limited the amount of time and energy I had to devote to it.

                       

                      2. Then as my kids got older and more self-sufficient--and as others have mentioned, my career became more established--and with more experience at living the structured life of a runner, I found that I could devote more time to training. Slightly more, for now, but more. So net/net for me is my 42 year old self can kick the living crap out of my 30 year old self at every distance from mile to marathon.

                      Runners run.

                         

                        I agree with this 100% except for the part about the different value of competition among 2:36 and faster marathoners. It was a quick thought in what I wrote, but an important one (you eliminated it when you edited what I said). I said: "it seems to me that there is very little necessary association between competitive spirit and race times." -- and this seems to me to be the point you are more expansively making here.

                         

                        My reading comprehension is not perfect.  Sorry. I did reread your post, and missed that portion.

                        But, I thought the overall theme of this thread was that color runs, increased enrollment, etc take away from the competitive of this sport.

                        I'm not sure it does for me.

                        I'm not sure it does for the masses.

                        I think competition within the sport is real high (regardless of the competition among the elite's).

                         

                        Regarding kids.... my 8 years of being inactive were during the first 8 years of my oldest son's life.  There were many reasons why I was inactive then, but having a kid and bills to pay and mouths to feed were all great excuses explanations .

                        2014 Goals:

                        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                        #2: 365 Hours training

                         

                          Here's another reaction:  Race to the Bottom.

                           

                          Yes, since some mass-attendance endurance events don't emphasize winning as much as they did during the days of the Space Race and the Cold War, America's runners are just sort of jogging diffidently anymore as they take selfies and talk in fruity voices about artisanal pickles.

                           

                          Heh.

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

                            As others have said, this author completely missed the point about the large increase in the number of people running races, as well as the increased numbers of females, both of which skew race times.  I don't know if we're getting less competitive or not; however, I've been noticing something lately.

                            I'm a university student., thus, my campus is surrounded by student housing.  One cannot walk around the 3mile radius around campus and not see at least one student running, many more if it's morning or evening.  I'm too lazy to look up the data, but university students are under incredible pressure and have some of the highest rates (if not the highest rates) of mental health problems and suicide.  Seeing as running is a proven stress reliever and is thus good for one's mental health, is it not good that more young people run today than years gone by?  I think most university students are under enough pressure and stress to do well in school in an extremely competitive market-- why should we be pushed to be competitive at a hobby or fitness regime????

                            'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

                             

                            "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

                             

                            "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis

                            lesliel


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