Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Wise Man

My mother always said something along the lines of..."A man is often wise until he speaks."

Everybody is an expert. We have become a society of Google 'Know it alls' where everyone has an opinion on something and the right to propagate their opinion. I am getting tired of this. I know there is some irony in this as I am blogging and sharing my opinion but let me explain. When I write I write about what I know. I write about running and training from my own perspective in relation to how I live my life. If I were to comment as an expert I would draw on my extensive education in kinesiology, Science, History, English and Occupational Therapy to come to a conclusion. I would not comment on astrophysics as I have no idea about such a topic.

If I had a dime for every overweight, inactive person who told me, as a matter of a fact, that I would have bad knees from running I would be a rich man. The circumstance that your uncle chuck started running after 10 years sitting on the chesterfield and then got bad knees after running 40 miles a week for 4 weeks does not make you an expert. Uncle Chuck has bad knees because he was inactive for 10 years. And the overweight person has a much higher risk of having osteoarthritis at the knee joint then I ever will. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that running has a direct causative effect for knee injuries. There is actually evidence to suggest the contrary. Running does not cause bad knees. Overweight Olive with all the opinions, you are wrong.

Of concern to me is the growing trend of citing regular people in newspapers as experts or the trend to run a poll asking opinions on topical subjects such as the health care system or global warming. I have nothing against regular people, quite the contrary, I think they can be wonderful (I almost blogged today about how I am having an amazing day today except for when people got in my way, ha ha!). Just because you are between the ages of 18 and 60 and live in Canada does not mean you know anything about global warming. A survey that reports on the front page of the newspaper that 60% of Canadians believe in global warming does not make global warming a true occurrence. It is the researchers and scientists that show us, with empirical evidence, that global warming is a reality. It is the melting glaciers, fried coral reefs, extensive drought and fucked up weather patterns amongst other things that is leading experts to conclude that the world is heating up at alarming rates. One could survey Canadian children between the ages of 1 and 6 and find that maybe 90% of them believe that Santa Clause squished down their chimney and placed all their gifts under the tree. This does not actually make Santa real.
People seem to have an opinion on everything, especially online news. I find the comment section both enlightening and also aggravating. Everyone is an armchair expert. I was reading an article this morning on the giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy. Our Canadian skier skied out of course and crashed with minor injuries, though not as severe as the other 5 Canadian skiers who have had their Olympic dreams destroyed due to injury. One comment was something like, "Canadian skiers should not be racing leading up to the Olympics, they should be going down Whister all day." To the uneducated person who has no idea how to train for an event this may make sense, but it is wrong. One can be the best athlete in the world but if they do not know how to compete then they are nothing. To learn to compete one must compete. Success breeds success and confidence comes from winning. Besides, there are inherent risks in training as evidenced by Kelly Vanderbeek's crash in Val D'isere training.

I have been to a few parties etc. over the years when people, upon hearing I am a runner, have gone on to tell me how to train and that I run too much etc. I have even had someone tell me I am too skinny to be a runner and that their buddy ran the Sun Run in 28 minutes the previous year and she only started running a couple months before the event. When I respond with "she? What is her name because I am sure I know her?" They will give me the name of some random woman who may be able to run 1:28.00 for 10 km. When I kindly try to explain that 28 minutes over 10km for a woman is world champion level the person will at first look perplexed then comment "wow she really is fast, I had no idea!" Further to this I will clarify that you are wrong, your female friend did not run 28 minutes for 10 km at the Sun Run and your advice on running was both misinformed and stupid. Just because you have a friend that runs does not make you an expert on running. Just because you went to gym class does not mean you are an expert in exercise physiology. Just because you are fat and ran for three weeks with knee pain does not mean running causes knee pain. You were wise until I heard you speak.

Today was my long run day and despite the rain I had a great run with a couple of exceptions. First, and this is a general shout out to Vancouverites, make room on the trails! Let's get closer this holiday season and start taking up less room. Grab the hand of your loved one or walk arm in arm and get out of my way. Two people should not take up an entire 5 foot wide path. Second, take your dogs and shove them. I came very close to a severe injury today when two large dogs collided into me. When on a long run every muscle in my body tightens up. Any push or jolt can cause spasm or injury. After the collision I stopped to stretch my battered leg and see where the dead beat owners were. Of course they were unapologetic and thought it was quite comical. I mean come on, everyone knows the ideal place to have a hunting dog is in a downtown Vancouver, 400 square foot condo. I think it is cruel and unusual to have a beautiful hunting dog who wants to run locked in a condo. A dog that loves to run belongs somewhere where it can run without intruding on other people's access to the trails of the city. If you cannot control your dog, which is 100% inappropriate for the city, I should not get injured as a result. I must have been in the mood to run because within the next few miles of this scary incident I had a smile back on my face as I floated the last miles home.

I guess I better do some research on the appropriateness of dogs to cramped indoor environments. Pot calling kettle black?

Sunday: 15 miles

Happy Training!

1 comment:

  1. Assume nobody to be wise (unless they've proven otherwise). Then you can only be enlightened, and never disappointed!