Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mt. Runmore

I was batting the idea around the other day about creating an inspirational poster containing the legends of running. Something like Mt. Rushmore but with the heads of the top American distance runners past and present. I even had a spectacularly clever title: Mt. Runmore. (See how I traded out the ‘sh’ for an ‘n’. Clever, right?)

I sat down at my desk all excited with crisp, clean drawing pad and a freshly sharpened charcoal pencil. I was about to make my mark on the world. This poster would appear in school gyms, athletic stores, and homes through out the running community. It would be spectacular. It was only then I remembered that I have almost no discernible ability to draw. Crap.

So I watched a rerun of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with my kids instead.

But, I thought, at least I can get a blog post out of the idea. If Vanilla can get a post out about his magical ability to own two similar watches, I can certainly dump this brain trash onto the net. It won’t be the masterpiece I initially envisioned but a post is a post. This blog is kind of like the Cliff Notes of my running life anyhow. Plus, if anyone else comes up with something similar in the future making tons of money, I’ll be able to reference back to this as grounds for my law suit.

I’ve seen many references to the “running Gods” in various posts and articles. No, no they weren’t talking about me (blushing). More like a non-defined group of accomplished runners who transcend us mere mortals and have somehow unlocked the secret to effortless, record setting running.

We have current Olympians Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Brian Sell.

There’s legendary distance runners and coaches Hal Higdon, Dick Beardsley, Pete Pfitzinger, Jack Daniels, Jeff Galloway, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Bill Bowerman.

There’s the James Dean of the sport: Steve Prefontaine.

Of course, distance running involves more than just marathoning. You’ve got ultra marathoners, like Dean Karnazes, 5k, 10k, 15k, and half marathon specialists. There’s a wealth of folks to chose from in races of all distances.

What makes a running God? Is it collecting first place awards like Pam Anderson collects alcoholic, has been rocker husbands? Is it someone who grabs a monumental but, ultimately, one time historic victory? For example, I doubt ANY of these runner’s listed above won the 35-39 year old age group at the Legend 10 Mile Trail run held in Lansing, MI last August. Does that mean THEY shouldn’t be on Mt. Runmore but whoever did win that age group in that race on that day should be? Maybe. It’s open for debate.

So, who’s on your Mt. Runmore? Who epitomizes distance running to you? Who inspires you? Who doesn’t care and would really just like to hear more about this History of Farting book I referenced awhile back?

If and when we get around to building this important monument, I promise not to locate it in one of the Dakotas (not sure which one). Really, folks, one of the Dakotas? That’s where you build Mt. Rushmore?? I guess the only way I’ll see it is if they create a Mt. Rushmore Marathon some day. And, even then, the swag must really be worth it. (Here’s to dreaming of a medal with all 4 presidential busts on it. Pretty clunky…but clunky chic.)

Happy trails.

By the way, you don't know how close I came to employing my spectacular Photo Shop skills again and superimposing my own running legends heads over the presidents on the photo above. Remember the Beardsley Monster Photo Shop? Yeah, you were in for more of that.

Incidentally, I should let you all know that I received an email from both Dick and Jill Beardsley recently saying they had viewed my depiction of him as a Gu shooting, Heartbreak Hill stalking, lizard monster and thought it was funny. Whew! All along I thought it was a possibility he might eventually see the photo once my blog became bigger than the Beatles (and by "bigger than the Beatles" I, of course mean, bigger than the band Nu Shooz. They were a real band. Look it up.)

I was prepared to challenge the old man to a run off if he had issues with it. How fast could he be these days? Turns out, pretty darn fast. He's in his early 50's and still rockin' out sub 2:50 marathons. Good thing it didn't come to that. I would have had to resort to a defense I do a lot in life: cowering.

Check out his foundation when you have some time.

But he's still my nemesis. I will be back to tango on Heartbreak.

Last night I actually made it to the track for some 800's !! Due to the hurdles piled in lane 1, my 800's were more like 853's according to online science nerd calculator.

Total run effort including cool downs:

4.91 miles
32:10 time
6:33 pace

3 x 853's = 2:54, 3:04, 3:06.


Danielle in Iowa in Ireland said...

Actually, they do have a marathon with a medal with the presidents on it...

nwgdc said...

dick beardsley emailed you!? do you realize you were moments away from death? consider yourself lucky he didn't come through your monitor and pummel you.

Ian said...

Actually, I thought that my 2 Garmins post was quite relevant and refreshing as compared to some of the other posts I throw up.

B. Kramer said...

Does the Striding Man on the Johnnie Walker bottle count as a running god?

Anonymous said...

Johnny Kelly
Frank Shorter
Joan Benoit

Then we can wait another 30 years to decide if we want Scott Jurek, Ryan Hall or Deena Kastor's mug to go with the other three.

Anonymous said...

just saying hi and that I, as always, loved your post.
you dont want my answer to the question :)


Meg said...

I was debating running Legend this year, but after reading your post I might not. There's not even a chance of doing it just to place in my age group. With last year's field I'd still come in 6th.

Tall Girl Running said...

I get brilliant thoughts like that every once in awhile. Fortunately, I can get them to go away by watching Drake and Josh with the chilluns. Whew!... crisis averted.

Marcy said...

Oooooooooo look at Vanilla with the sass!

Did you say something about a fart book? I'm all up on that :P

Triseverance said...

Was there Jack Daniels in that post somewhere?? Noticed that you are reading slash, good choice.
On a side note, your blog is quickly becoming a must read for me.

Triseverance said...

On a side note I was trying to delete nwgdc's double post on my blog and accidently deleted your comment. Just wanted to clear that up. Thanks for your support!

jen said...

I'd go with Deena, Paula Radcliffe, and Join Benoit-Samulson.. and ... me! :) Why not.

thebets said...

Why don't you just scrap your idea for a mt. runmore marathon and just organize a marathon around your construction zone of a neighborhood, employing all of the obstacle course maneuvers and "family" race tactics. The winner (a.k.a. runner with the most smack downs and black eyes inflicted)would get a giant medal of your mug. It would save you a trip to the "dakotas."

P.O.M. said...

I vote fart book.
How is the Slash book coming along?

Your dog is the cutest little bun ever!

Anonymous said...

If you would like to come and run the actual Mt Rushmore Marathon this year and get a finisher medal with the 4 president you can. If you come next year you can even see Dick Beardsly and get a Mt Rushmore Marathon finisher medal at the same event. Are you Ready for a Monumental Challenge?

Anonymous said...

I am the fart queen!! I must have that book! (and yes I'm proud, atleast i'm queen of something...not to mention I am working on POSITIVE self chatter).

I have a long list, but right now Kathrine Switzer is at the top of my inspiration list!

sRod said...

Looks like everyone has called out my picks--including the Johnnie Walker dude.

Scott said...

I'm partial to the Connecticut guys: Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot, John J. Kelly...