Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dean Karnazes and J.K. Rowling

First let me address my morning road run. It was good to be back doing some longer stuff on my hometown roads of Cumberland, Maine. This morning's run took me from my house to Twin Brook where I ran through the park to the other side and came home. This run in total is 10.25 miles with some good rolling hills thrown in for good measure.

The first 8 miles were spent listening to my favorite Podcasts, and The Competitors Radio Show (although I am going to have to give Steve Runner's Podcast a listen after he gave a shout out to my buddy Jamie on his 8/8/07 show). Of course the topic of a couple of the shows I listened to was Dean Karnazes. More on that later. As this was an easy run after yesterday's tempo run and tomorrow's longer run at Pineland, this first 8 miles was at just under an 8:00/mile pace. Very comfortable with an average heart rate around 145 bpm.

And then my iPod came to the new Bad Religion (don't let the name scare you - they really are nice guys) album and things got interesting. As my pace increased with the tempo of the music, I noticed a few guys about a quarter mile ahead of me on inline skis (like cross country skis bred with roller blades). Then my competitive side kicked in and I thought, "How cool would it be to catch these guys with the mechanical advantage?" I kicked it into high gear and caught then after about a three quarters of a mile of hilly roads and a pace of around 6:15/mile which I had to hold after passing then lest I look like a jerk. So the last two miles were spent at this pace (with a Max HR of 189!) until deliverance came in the form of my wife running with my two kids in the jogging stroller. I least I thought it was going to be deliverance; she did a really professional hand off of the stroller to me and kept on running. So I joined her with me pushing the kids and seeing black spots like I was going to pass out as the roller ski guys approach and laughed at me...

All in all I got in about 12.5 miles, the last couple pushing my kids. I figure they will play into my Western States 100 (if lucky) training as I run hill repeats pushing them!

Secondly, Dean Karnazes. So the interview with him was as expected; him defending his love of running against all his critics while pleading not guilty to self promotion. I say who cares if he is self-promoting. Don't we all do that in some form or fashion and if anyone was to tell us all you had to do to make money and do what you loved was to run long distances, get ripped muscles, shave your legs, look good for a camera, and write one heck of a great book, wouldn't you? As for the ESPY for Best Outdoor Athlete, many, including Scott Jurek (who I think is the Best Ultrarunner) argues Dean should be ashamed for accepting this award (and many others he has been given) and I have read that many other ultrarunners and bloggers feel the same way. To them I say shame on you. Didn't your parents teach you better? What would the everyone else who is not an ultrarunning purist think of Dean if he said no. Besides, the award is for Best Outdoor Athlete and not best runner, ultrarunner, quickest runner or anything specific to running. It was for Outdoor Athlete.

Let's take this argument one step farther. J.K. Rowling. She is the reason that 99% of the world right now is cooped up in their house and not talking to their neighbors, and generally disregarding all norms of social behavior, as they read her latest book. Is she the best writer out there? She sure does sell a lot of books. Many more than the more literary writers out there. She has won a ton of awards but are there better written books out there? Sure. What she does is make big tomes accessible and easy to read and enjoyable. She writes escapist fantasy, which is apparently what the world needs right now. She has brought more families together reading than I would argue any other in our lifetime. For that she deserves a nobel prize for something. She's not the best but she reaches many. Dean does the same thing. He put a face to ultrarunning, but more importantly he put a face to what we can do as endurance animals and showed us that anything is possible if we really want it. Like J.K.Rowling and reading, Dean did that for getting people outdoors and running. For that both he and J.K.Rowling should receive many more awards!

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you read this. I am curious what others think (Jamie, even though I know what you think, I still want to hear from you!!!).


Jamie said...

Hee hee, you KNOW what I think! I always look forward to these debates during our training runs. Good run this morning (Sunday). Sorry I crapped out early. I think I need to up the iron intake as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment. Heck, if I can ever figure out a way to get paid to run, then I will be there.

Hopefully you and Ian got a lot longer run in than did Jamie or I. As Jamie downs the iron pills, I will be downing the anti-inflammatory drugs.

Blaine Moore said...

I think that the DK and JK analogy is a very apt one. Of course, I am not really bothered by Karnazes because I find him to be a fairly humorous individual, and funny people are hard to hate.

atrunaway said...

Great blog, UF, I laughed at the skater and stroller story.