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Author Topic: Endorsement Rules Discussion  (Read 36257 times)
Davy Crockett
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« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2009, 10:35:58 am »

Well said Marion....I have the same thoughts.
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Maurine Lee
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« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2009, 10:51:31 am »

Some elite runners have no idea of how hard it is for a non-elite to even gain some ground.  Whie I know I have the ability to go faster and farther if I push myself, I will never, ever, ever be an elite runner because I haven't been given the natural abilities that will allow me to reach that level.

As a definite non-elite, I find that each marathon and ultra marathon I complete are a victory because it means I have pushed my body past the point a normal person can and I have conquered the demons that tell me to not work out or to quit when it hurts. 

Marion and I were just talking about my decision to 'pace' her in the UVM tomorrow instead of pushing myself so that I can help her get through her first marathon.  While some people would feel that not doing your best in every race is a cop out, I find that I can learn something in each race.  Some I choose to push, some I choose to finish as a long training run, some I choose to try different methods in.

One of my proudest minutes was winning my Age Group in a 5K on New Years Eve.  Even though I was the only person in my age group, I busted my butt in that race and felt I earned that award.  However, under these standards I would not even be considered as having put forth effort worth consideration and I can only say that I disagree with standards like this and probably would not compete in races that are so elitist because of the way they remind me of being in an abusive marriage where nothing I did was ever considered good enough.
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Maurine Lee
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« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2009, 11:55:03 am »

> Not everyone enters a race to win. Not everyone even enters a race to do their best.

I understand what you are saying and agree with one exception.   It bugs me that people enter races without the intention to properly train.  In a race that is limited in size, requiring lottery, this takes away a slot from someone who is willing to put in the effort.  This can be seen more dramtically in ultras, such as Wasatch 100.  Some people are just happy to go 50 miles or less and quit without the proper training.   I realize that you usually have to DNF ultras to get to the point that you finish them, but they should go test out their fitness on other races that don't have such restrictions.   I have not idea if this translates into similar concerns for marathons since I rarely run those races.

So, your shoddy car is parked in a premire slot that causes a shiny car to be parked out in the alley.

Now this I totally agree with.  I think you should train for and be ready for every race you run in and not go in thinking you will pull out if it gets too tough.  Particularly with races that have limited entries - it is a waste of time to register and then not give it your best intentions of completing the race.  I would rather DNS a race than DNF (not counting injuries) if I couldn't complete the distance.
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Sasha Pachev
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« Reply #63 on: June 12, 2009, 12:17:57 pm »

Maurine:

We have a better idea than you think. I am racing this weekend knowing in advance I have next to zero chance for third.  The only way this can happen is if there are no shows, royal blowups, or injuries with a DNF while I run a perfect race.  Ezekiel Ruto has never blown up as far as I know. Shin does not blow up either, not royally, like he needs to to be in my reach. William Tete might blow up, I do not know, but again a 2:17 guy would need to blow up royally or be extremely out of shape to become accessible. Seth can blow up, but he needs to blow up royally for me to get him. He's done it only once after not eating or sleeping for a couple of days before a race.  If Jeff does not blow up, I am toast as well, and we have worked diligently to avoid his blow up.

I will probably finish 7 minutes out of money. That might not seem like a lot, but it is very difficult, next to impossible to cover at that level. It is much easier to shave off an hour for somebody who runs 4:00 off 30 miles a week than 7 minutes for somebody who runs 2:30 off 90 miles a week. A slower runner has more fixable things to fix while a faster runner does not have that luxury, every minute of improvement comes with blood, it requires a serious training/recovery breakthrough.

The story gets more interesting. Seth and Ezekiel will skin me. Hobbie Call will skin both of them. Josh Rohatinsky will skin Hobbie. Ryan Hall will skin Josh. And Sammi Wanjiru will skin Ryan. And then Sammi Wanjiru is not safe himself, there is always somebody out there than can come out of nowhere, you get outkicked and your pay goes down. You blow up, and you do not have a pay. You get injured, and you do not have a pay for a long time. Never look up thinking that grass is greener for somebody who stands a rung or even several rungs up a ladder.

You may have noticed the frequent use of the term "blow up". It illustrates the grim reality of racing. It is not your textbook fairy tale with heroes winning against the odds by working hard and having a positive attitude. A commentary from LetsRun.Com during Boston is revealing: "Maybe Hall isn't finished. He's right with Cheruiyot and Merga is known for blowing it too early.", and "Ryan Hall is 24 seconds back of Merga. If Merga blows up, Hall could do it!!" Note that they did not say "If Hall makes a heroic effort and increases the pace he could do it!" Because Hall was already making a heroic effort and going as fast as his body was capable of that late in the race. Being outclassed by a rather small margin his only hope was the competitor's poor performance.

So faster runners do know very well what it feels like to be outclassed, perhaps a whole lot better than the slower ones, and  have to learn to humbly accept the reality of the predicament.

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Kelli
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« Reply #64 on: June 16, 2009, 07:59:20 pm »

I have been following this discussion since day #1 and have kept quite because I am very non-confrontational.  I have discussed it with many bloggers in person and with many in my running group who either have never blogged here or who have stopped.  So, I am just going to put in a very quick 2 cents.  I feel like these rules eliminate 95% of the people who blog here (I know you like numbers Sasha, so you can give me an exact percent).  I think everyone is trying to improve.  Some work really hard every day, some do not have the time but give it what they can, and some are just not quite ready to give so much of their life over to running at this point (it is not high on the priority list, although the desire is there).  But setting a standard that has to be met to get a monetary award seems silly to me.  I have read in so many places where you (Sasha) have discussed how some people are just born with the ability and the physiology to run fast and others were not so blessed.  You have this uncanny ability to look at someone's training and race times and be able to predict maximum potential, and I think you are usually right.  Last September you told me that within 2 years you thought I could run a 3:05 marathon if I started training more consistently and you gave me some tips.  I kind of laughed it off out loud, but in my head I thought, "I wonder???"  So, less than a year later I have cut 12 minutes off my marathon just through being more consistent and upping miles.  I am at a point where I have to decide if I want to go for it and push my body that hard and aim for that 3:05 or if I want to not feel pain and just enjoy the ride, the exercise, the runner's high, whatever.  I have to say that reading all of this is disheartening and discouraging.  To me a 3:05 would be amazing, but to you a 3:05 is considered barely more than jogging.  I would have to bust my rear end to get that 3:05 and push my body to limits I am not sure I want to, but then why would I bother if that is never really good enough to be considered a runner?  Much less to be considered a very good and respected runner?

I run with men and women 2-3 days a week who range in ages from 25 to well over 50.  We all run together, we do the same work-outs, we all push as hard as we can for our bodies (and for the day or week or even month we have had).  None of us finish together, but we wait for everyone (we call it regrouping).  We respect the effort that every runner puts in, whether it is a 5 hour marathon finish, a sub 3 marathon, or everything in between.  We are a community of runners who enjoy each others company, enjoy pushing each other, enjoy racing, and just plain like to help each other out.  I have often wondered why our 3 speediest runners do not find a new group that is faster, but I am so thankful that they do not and that they stick around to push us and teach us a thing or two, and support us every step of the way.  And they often comment that WE, the weaker runners in the group, push them and that is why they keep coming back.  Isn't this what we all want?

And I would like to add just one confrontational item:  you better believe I deserve the money or the trophy or the medal or the plant if I just so happen to win a race!  It is not my fault if I am the fastest person who shows up.  I did not go out and Tanya Harding all of the other "real" runners into not showing up.  If I am there and I win, give me my prize!  If I do not win, you better believe I will be cheering the loudest for the winner (even though I may be miles behind!)  I am proud of my accomplishments irregardless of who I beat and who beats me.  Everyone likes a little recognition for what they do, and everyone deserves it whether they are in the front, the back, the middle, or on the golf cart injured because 99% of the world is at home on the couch!

That's all, I am done.  Love you all, really. Kiss
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Dallen
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« Reply #65 on: June 16, 2009, 08:48:48 pm »

Thanks Kelli. We need more of the mid-packers to voice thieir opinions.

Also, 3:05 is not jogging. Even if you were a guy.
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Sasha Pachev
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« Reply #66 on: June 17, 2009, 08:46:51 am »

Kelli:

Have you actually read the rules? In what way do they eliminate 95% of the runners? I do not ask the race director to set a time standard for entry, I only ask them to give comp entries to the ones who meet the standard if they want their race to be promoted on the blog and receive other assistance from me. I also ask them to reward performance above random luck, but nowhere do the rules say that rewards cannot be given unless certain performance standards are met.

In my races I do require a time standard for cash awards.  I do so because the money comes out of my pocket, and I have only so much of it. When I have only $200 total to give,  I want to make it count. When I have more, I could lower the standard some, but there will still be a standard. I do not understand why people complain about time standard for cash. They have to run a time standard just to get into Boston, and nobody complains.
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Sasha Pachev
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« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2009, 12:55:49 pm »

Kelli:

You do raise a good point, though, that there is not a whole lot of reason for a woman to work to improve from 3:26 to 3:05. With 3:05 you will get a few comps, including St. George, and you will pick up some cash in marathons here and there, but there is not a whole lot of reward for getting faster at that level. You already have a BQ, your neighbors and friends already think you are amazing and will have next to zero appreciation for the meaning of the improvement once it happens. You should actually be interested in promoting the Endorsement Rules - they will guarantee you a comp in every endorsed race if you go under 3:10.

Even worse, for a woman to improve from 3:40 to 3:20 or for a man from 3:10 to 2:50 there is absolutely no incentive in the current award system. You already have a BQ, you are already getting you age division award plaques, your neighbors and friends already think you are amazing, but you are too slow for comps in the few races that do care about having a fast field, and you are a far cry from prize money.  You improve 20 minutes, and you are still too slow for comps, still too slow for prize money,  the age division plaques are still the same, and your neighbors and friends have no clue about the meaning of that 20 minute improvement.

Could race directors do something about it? Sure, if they cared. E.g. give a discounted entry fee by $1 a minute faster than BQ or progressively if you meet certain reasonable standards. Or have separate raffles for different finishing time brackets. Or a million other things if they understood and valued the principle of rewarding a performance. But they do not care enough. Probably because runners do not care enough.
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Jon Allen
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« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2009, 01:18:13 pm »

I would like to improve my marathon PR from 2:39 to 2:35 or even sub-2:30.  Why?  Not to help me get comps or to win prize money.  I have one reason only:  personal satisfaction. 

And I personally believe that that is the reason most runners try to improve their times.  Seeking acceptance or validation for my improved times from my family, friends, neighbors, race directors, or anyone else is meaningless.  External rewards are fleeting and will leave you wanting more.  Personal satisfaction comes from within and can never be taken away from me (and the enjoyment I get from the runs).  That is why I run and why I want to improve- because I can take satisfaction from knowing that I did the hard work and can be proud of what I accomplished.  And that is regardless of if I am a first time 5k finisher or the world record marathon holder, or if I lost those 5 extra pounds or just can say that I didn't sit on my butt all day watching TV. 

I am proud of each and every runner and all that you accomplish.  Good job.
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Paul Petersen
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« Reply #69 on: June 17, 2009, 01:47:10 pm »

Don't forget the other reason to keep trying to get faster: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
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Sasha Pachev
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« Reply #70 on: June 17, 2009, 01:48:09 pm »

Jon:

Good point. Ultimately that is why we run. If you do not have the internal drive, you will not run well regardless of the reward. However, let me ask you, pick a pursuit that is somewhere on the level of spitting cherry seeds for distance that you enjoy, if you do not enjoy spitting cherry seeds for distance that much. Would you invest into it as much as you do into running and why?

I suppose the answer is no. And the reason is that because the society does not value that skill as it does your ability to run (not that it values your ability to run that much anyway, but it is a whole lot more than your ability to spit cherry seeds). Running means something to you to a great extent because it means something to society, enough people consider it beneficial to your health, and ability to run long and fast a worthwhile accomplishment. If running meant to the people you associate with as little as spitting cherry seeds you would not run an hour a day or more six days a week.

Thus the internal drive in good measure is a product of the environment you are in. I would compare your own drive to a seed, and the environment to the soil. If we want the seeds to grow, the soil needs to be fertilized, and the seeds need to be watered. Currently, the way races are set up, and the way running is viewed in general, it is a desert. Only the toughest plants can grow in it. If you are still running, consider yourself a cactus.
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Michelle Lowry
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« Reply #71 on: June 17, 2009, 08:02:34 pm »

Kelli - I would love to see you get a 3:05, and while your non-running friends wouldn't know the difference, your blogging friends would, and we're the only ones who count, right?
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Cheryl Keith
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« Reply #72 on: June 21, 2009, 10:53:38 am »

Plus, Kelli, with that time, you'd be queen of the Bingham Butt Kickers, and that's saying a lot!
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Davy Crockett
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« Reply #73 on: June 26, 2009, 11:57:08 am »

To me, this recent discussion is disturbing -- that running motivation comes from money or praise of the world.   Neither enters into my motivation for running at all.  Don't teach others that we should cultivate a running culture that embraces this.

I never expect to win a dime from my races or any comp entries.   Yes, I got invited to be on the Runner's Corner Ultra team based on my contribution to the sport, and if they want to give me free stuff in exchange to wear their shirt, fine.  But all this money award talk is silly.  Go get sponsored, go do paid-online training, publish articles in magazines for fees (I do), whatever, but keep the money-mongering away from local runners.   Reserving cash-awards for only those who perform above a standard is elitist, reserving it only for your buddies.  If you can't afford it, don't offer it to anyone and just let people run.   Hey, but they are your races.   Just don't be surprised if very thoughtful runners choose not to run your races because of the principles you are promoting.

Folks, if improving your marathon time by 15 minutes is pointless because you get no rewards or praise, go find much more satisfying running activities to do with your time than chasing marathon minutes.  Push your limits in other ways.  Discover ultras, trail running and other events.  You will discover there is a running world beyond the track and city pavement and that your can still push yourselves to new limits that you thought were not possible.  Throw away the watch and discover nature.
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Sasha Pachev
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« Reply #74 on: June 26, 2009, 12:14:48 pm »

I suppose some people do not get it and never will.
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