Friday, October 5, 2012

Fitness Friday: The Real Deal

This morning as I was drinking my coffee, I opened up the November 2012 issue of Runner's World magazine that came yesterday.  I started flipping pages because I didn't really have time to sit and read page-by-page like I normally would and I came across an article about Luc Carl. The article's title "Bottle Rocket" and tagline "Luc Carl used to be a lot of things: Boozer, Smoker, Lady Gaga's boyfriend. Then he discovered running" intrigued me.  I had no idea who Luc Carl was so maybe it was the Gaga connection that drew me in, but in any case, I started reading.

Luc Carl came into running like a lot of us do. Overweight, getting older, and realizing that "this is enough".  I give him a ton of credit.  He started running in February 2008, has now lost 55 pounds, written a book (that I might want to read since it's full of my favorite expletives), and is getting ready to run his 6th marathon - the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.  That's hugely commendable.  Props to Mr. Carl.

What struck me in the article and has been marinating in my brain all morning were a few sentences the article's author, Mark Remy, used to describe Luc Carl and his book.
"Carl...devotes just one chapter to running, and his advice boils down to, "Just put your {expletive} shoes on and go" - but make no mistake. Luc Carl is the real deal. He broke four hours in his first marathon...His goal is 3:19..."
The Real Deal

Does this mean that those of us who run a 33 minute 5k, a 3 hour half marathon, or a 5:27 full marathon are NOT "the real deal"?  Maybe I'm taking this personally or overreacting, but for a magazine that typically does a great job at promoting and supporting runners of all abilities, this phrase hurt.  I'm as much "the real deal" as anyone else who gets out there and puts one foot in front of another. It's taken me a long time to be able to say that. Implying you must run a sub-4 hour marathon or better to be "the real deal" is insensitive.  I'm sure Mr. Remy didn't intend to hurt anyone's feelings and it's probably my own insecurities coming into play here, but the words stung.  Do a search for the defnition of a "runner". There is NOTHING that indicates a particular pace or finishing time defines a runner. You are simply a "person who runs". 

So remember - if you are getting out there, trying your best, and putting one foot in front of the other (no matter how fast or slow you go), you are a runner. And I'm proud of you.

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