p pol The Adventures of Carboman: Be A Student Of Our Sport

Friday, January 11, 2008

Be A Student Of Our Sport

Had a good 25K yesterday morning with GL. We started off with quite a few runners but with the exception of Cheang whom I met for the first time who did 30K, and the 2 of us, the others were probably hitting the 20K distance. I arrived a tad late due to the last minute toilet visit at home. My aim was to run at least 25K to get near to next week's 30, and to blood the new rubbers. I also wore the Brooks tights with intention to wear them for race day. In other words, except for the Nike Sphere Dry top, everything else were race oriented. The target pace was 6:20 for me and from the start it was already a challenge with the fast group. I was prepared to be left behind and so I was grateful to be able to have Adam for company at about 6:10 pace. Watching TPC fartleking was such a hoot. Went alone on the Petronas loop and made the last part of the journey with Adam and GL. Reached the car park in 2 hours flat for a hydration stop and continued another 5K using the Carcosa-Deer Park-Mosque route. I'm beginning to like this route and my future 30s could be built around this rather than looping around Hartamas.

My holidaying Aunt dropped by the house with her family yesterday around noon, joined by a couple more Uncles and their own families. The plan was to go to the Yong Tau Foo eatery in Serdang, apparently a famous one. If you're without a maid and living with 2 kids below 5, the result is an organized mess of a house. After a while you give up trying to clear up after the 2 tornadoes. But I digress. When they were given the tour of the house, they noticed the medals hanging from the wall and asked me about them - whether they were mine, for what events, how far is a marathon distance, whether the medals were winner medals and if any of them were made of precious metals! OK, some questions were in jest but in general most were made intelligently. And with that statement I hope I don't make it look as if my very successful relatives sounded naive. What I'm saying is that these are typical questions that we runners get and should make it a point to answer. No matter how trivial it is, it's our responsibility to explain as simply and concisely to non-runners as patiently as we can (not a great virtue of mine considering I'm one who handles sarcasm with more sarcasm) about our sport. Don't go into VO2Max or training concepts or any technical aspect of running - many runners don't even understand that, what more non-runners.

Simulated questions and answers I would use. Note: There are no correct/wrong answers, just remember to keep it simple.
Q: Why do you run?
A: It's fun, healthy, no monthly subscriptions, good stress relief

Q: So what do you do? Just go out and run?
A: Yup, as simple as that. Go real slow when starting out. Benefits are aplenty. Insert weight management benefits as it's easy to grasp.

Actual question asked yesterday:
Q: What's your longest distance covered
A: 50K though that's for a walking event. 42K in running.

Q: How long is a marathon?
A: 42K (which resulted in a wide eyed response)

Q: So which distance do you like the most?
A: 42K (which got me an admiring nod!)

Q: Are those winners' medals?
A: Some are positional (eg top 100) medals while most are finishers'.

I was lucky I didn't get the question many would've felt insulted: "If you didn't win, why continue to run/train so hard?". If I'd gotten that question, I'd have replied "Because it's an accomplishment just to finish" or "My competition is myself". If it gets stickier, I'd just flash a smile!

On the food side of things, the Yong Tau Foo was reasonably good. We were lucky the weather wasn't too hot, else we would've been fried under the zinc roofed shack. After lunch, it was back at home and while the whole household had their siesta, I managed to finish off James Mangold's excellent "3:10 to Yuma" headed by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. I'm lousy at movie reviews so I'll just ask you to seriously consider watching this movie not about running a 3:10 marathon to Yuma but about Bale's character to deliver Crowe's gangster onto the 3:10 train for a $200 reward. Underlining the adventure drama is the need for Bale's character to live up to his son's expectations, while trying to save his ranch. Very poignant, very exciting. The day wasn't over yet. We left for a colleague's new home at 6pm and dinner thereafter and only got home at 10pm. After putting the kids to bed, my wife and I watched the Farrelly Brothers' crazy comedy "The Heartbreak Kid". I knew the moment I hit the sack that I won't be able to wake up early today for the morning run. Whatever it is, I need to cover at least 6K of easy running this evening.

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  • Jamie I couldn't agree more that we need to take the time to patiently answer even though sometimes the questions are asked in jest. In the end I always find that there is some admiration from them. Btw, how many medals do you have in your collection by now? Hmmmmm maybe I could have a corner in my new place to display them when I shift in a couple of months... even though mine is just a meager collection of 17 medals.

    By Blogger Dinesh, at 9:07 AM  

  • I've learnt to use this reply too "Because it's an accomplishment just to finish" when I get asked THE question.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:40 PM  

  • DK: Just counted them - 38 assorted medals. Never one to keep track unlike you-know-who.

    Haza: Keeping it simple will avoid raising the stress levels associated with answering non-runners. As long as we don't justify our actions, we avoid being preachy etc... thus lesser stress - only runners understand the whys.

    By Blogger Carboman, at 9:12 PM  

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