Running quote of the week

“We run because it makes us feel like winners, no matter how slow or how fast we go.” – Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc, Running for Dummies

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The schadenfreude of running haters

Today's run (treadmill): 26 minutes

I've been a fan of the NY Times Well blog for years, especially the articles written by Gina Kolata (I wonder how many times people have teased her about her name). The Well covers the subjects of health and science and it often focuses on the subject of running.

Yesterday's column was entitled, "Recipe for Resentment: Claims of Running Prowess" and it was about the fact that non-runners often view runners in a negative way. Quoting Dr. Paul Thompson, a cardiologist and exercise researcher at Hartford Hospital, “people love to find studies that support the bias that too much exercise is bad.” In the story, the writer says, "Running appears so easy — anyone can run, it seems. Anyone can finish a marathon, even Oprah Winfrey did it. So those who do not run can feel a little defensive."

Many years ago I practiced a form of Okinawan karate called Uechi-Ryu and reached the rank of black belt. I found that some people (males in my age group, mostly) liked to disparage both my abilities and the usefulness of my skills. One co-worker used to pretend to shoot me with his finger as if it were an imaginary gun. It was his way of suggesting that karate is an ineffective form of self defense. I finally asked him if he'd like to see what I could do to him with my finger. That ended  that, but I always felt bad when those conversations happened.

I'll concede that I can talk at length about running technique, experiences and performance. It's energizing to relate with others who feel the same way. But for those who don't know the difference between a foot pod and a fartlek, running talk can sound pretty boring. I'm fortunate that most of the people in my life support my running and the worst anyone ever says about it is that running hurts their knees. I've learned enough to keep my mouth shut rather than lecture them on how mid-foot running will solve that problem for them.

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