Friday, April 22, 2011

Boston 2011: A Postscript

POSTSCRIPT, dateline 4/21/2011, F.M.S. Studios: My last post about the non-World Record World Record at the 2011 Boston Marathon generated some interesting comments. First of all, how dare you be more interesting in the comments than I am in the original post. Don’t you know the proper rules of etiquette when dealing with a host? If my post is going to be hastily conceived and sophomoric, your comments should be ill-considered, poorly researched and, at most, freshmanic. Secondly, I know my own special brand of snark isn’t always detectable by the naked eye upon read through. I operate on an entirely different snark plain than most. It can be easily confused for serious opinion when just the opposite was intended.

To be clear: Having run the challenging Boston course, I can say, from firsthand experience, that the net downhill is not much of a benefit. It’s not like the course starts on higher ground and just gradually slopes gently down to the finish. There are hills. And bumps. And slopes. And general dipsy-doos through-out the entire 26.2 miles. Even though you end on lower ground than you started, your quads and calves have run a gauntlet of torque and submission. It’s fair to say that the Boston course keeps you on your toes with its different challenges on different parts of the course. For comparison, I’ve run Chicago. Chicago is largely flat. It is a much easier course that, I do believe, QUALIFIES for world record time ratification. How can an easier course qualify when a universally accepted tougher course cannot?

I also realize there are rules, regulations, qualifications and governing bodies that have measuring devises and satellites and guys on bikes with chalk rollers that control all of this and that the serious elite marathoners know this in advance. Or should. Still, my point was that, somewhere along the way, COMMON SENSE must prevail. Boston is, perhaps arguably, the premier marathon event in the world. Certainly one of a very few, anyhow. How can a time run on its course NOT be a World Record qualifier?? Have you ever heard ANYONE suggest that Boston is an easy course? Just the opposite, in fact. Isn’t that actually part of its allure besides the tradition?

So, my basic issue was not that this was a surprise to any of the winners despite my playful wording. It WAS a surprise to me however. Important People with Titles and a part of a Governing Body can point out stats and measurements and net downgrades and tailwinds all they want. I’m talking about COMMON SENSE here. And, look, my COMMON SENSE has way more bolded, capitalized letters than your Governing Body. Every race course is different. Every course presents its own challenges. Some are easier than others. Heck, some are specifically advertised to let you know that it is “the easiest course to qualify for Boston.” Obviously, not every course can be ratified for a world record just because it is 26.2 miles for, as Vava observes, someone will go out and establish a marathon descending Mt. Everest or, as I’d call it, “The Tuck and Roll Marathon”.

But wouldn’t common sense tell you that THOSE are the races NOT to qualify? Those are operating beyond the fair spirit of the athletic event and record books. Sheesh, let’s have a bit of COMMON SENSE and get Boston ratified already. There is nothing intrinsically “easy” that should prevent Boston from qualifying for a world record.

Descending off my soap box….before my ALL CAps key fails. oops, look at that, it already did.

happy trails.


Why are mile repeats so hard? Things are slowly rounding into form. You can’t force speed into a place that doesn’t fit….I know this even as I bang my square legs around the oval track. Ugh.

3x1600m (800m cool downs) at 6:00, 5:59, 6:00 respectively. The hopes for 5:55’s died by 800 meters.

Maybe I made my legs trapezoidal as they start on their journey from square to round to fit in the speed oval. More banging away to come…what comes after trapezoid. Rhombus? Or vice versa?


David said...

Snark plain? Maybe snark average. Or snark mediocre. Usually your snark is meh.

Ohhhhh, snark plane....

Now I get it.

Yeah, as I recall from my American education, the Snark plane is orthogonal to the Intellectually satisfying plane.

Running Through Phoenix said...

Ah Nitmos.... It really comes down to the fabric of the street surface itself. Boston streets are paved with over 200 years of ersatz patriotic detritus and, on top of that, a heck of a lot of synthetic shoe material which creates an unfair 'cushiony' track. MA needs to get on the ball with street cleaning and the BM will surely be ratified once that is done. Capital letters notwithstanding. As my word verification attests: We need to acathify Boston now!

Ainsley Drew said...

Uh, Nitmos? I need your help. I've been running again. And my toenails are already falling off. Help me, Nitmos Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.

Aka Alice said...

"... there are rules, regulations, qualifications and governing bodies that have measuring devises..."

That's what she said...


Oh wait, were you writing about some race?

Vava said...

I'm with you all the way on this issue. In a nice bit of timely reading I just finished the bit in Tom Derderian's book on the history of the Boston Marathon where the course for the BAA Marathon was deemed unworthy of world record attempts. The BAA official that attended the meeting where this was passed walked out of the room and simply said, "We lost! I can't believe we lost!"

Mutai is the fastest marathoner in the world. Period. He wasn't wearing a special Speedo polyurethane suit like so many swimmers who set world records prior to 2010 and are now back in the middle of the pack where they belong. Neither was the guy who finished just mere seconds behind him. Anybody who understands the most simple history of the marathon will know this to be true no matter what some pencil pushers say.

Your mile repeats still seem awesome to me. And you're going to get faster!? Amazing. Keep it up!

Charlotte said...

Not having run either Chicago or Boston, I will just agree with whatever you say (I'm awesome, right?) But the tuck-and-roll marathon has got to the best idea I've heard all day! Let's do it! You first.