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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Expectations are Relative

Recently I was searching for something on the web and stumbled across a post by Nate Jenkins titled "5253 miles to nowhere". Now I don't know Nate personally and have never met him. I do know he's a local guy (Lowell) and what I'd call an very accomplished runner. I think he describes himself as a professional road racer. Anyways, the post was both interesting and a little sad. Here's a guy who ran over 5,000 miles in 2008, averaged 100 miles a week, and appeared disappointed in nearly every race he ran. He ranked his performance on each race from worst (what he called pathetic) to best. In fact, pathetic was used 5 times, and ****ty was used 5 times to describe his results.
A few of his pathetic (worst) and ****ty results:
  • 31:24 10k
  • 1:07 half marathon
  • 2:25 marathon
At first glance, not exactly results to be disappointed with....unless you're a professional runner I guess. My good races would probably be suicidal for Nate but for me they're results I'm proud of.

I love to run (in case you didn't know) but I don't ever want to get to the point in my life that running causes so much disappointment. If that's the life of a professional runner then count me out (ok, I wasn't really 'in'). I'm perfectly happy with my middle of the pack, weekend warrior status. When all else fails, lower the bar :-)
Now get out there and enjoy yourself!

7 comments:

Jim Johnson said...

Nate is super intense and just that...a pro runner... so he needs to cash at big events in order to stay afloat and make it all worth while... For the amount of work and time and effort he puts into all his mileage, training, cross training, therapy, etc. he has much higher expectations than most of us...I agree, I'd take his s**tty times any day...but that's all relative... There are plenty of people out there that would take my crummy times too... (but that doesn't stop me from ranting about it when I run bad :) ). With Nate, I've reached out before and tried to chime in with my 2 cents, but in the end the kid knows way more about running/racing/training that just about anyone I know, so I let him go with it... I do think he's a bit hard on himself for sure...but when he runs a good race, he knows it...Last November (after his 7th place finish at the trials) everyone started to pay attention to Nate and it was well deserved... Now that he's under the microscope, he's extra hard on himself and has even higher expectations than before... I give him some slack though because he's a fellow UML guy :). I'm with you though... the pro runner life just ain't for me either... not that I have a choice in the matter though :). Like your blog by the way.

- JJ

Jim Hansen said...

Yeah Steve, I think he really wanted do well after the Olympic Trials Marathon. He ran 2:14 and something. Great Run! I think I have read he has had hip or hamstring problems since then. I'd send him some info on some of the stuff I have tried, but I don't think he like to hear from a scrub. I am sure he felt he was ready to continue with that huge result and the year has gone poorly for him. He is a hard core old school runner and it would be good if he could find his form. He has run the Millenium Mile and won the Hollis downhill 5k. I think I have read before that he has done some training in Mine Falls. He gutted out the NYC marathon when he probably should not have run or finished.
Jim

Jim Hansen said...

Oh yeah, running causes a lot of disappointment in my life too (I am no where near a pro) but I enjoy the challenge of overcoming the disapointments. I bet when Nate gets himself healthy he'll put up another huge race.

Jim Hansen said...

One more:
Here is Nate (red shirt at end of clip) cheering at the Olympic Trials Women's Marathon. I was talking to him briefly when I was watching the race.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PjKxWq3yxI

Steve W said...

Thanks for the insight Jim. I'd take your crummy times as well :-)
Rant away, I have my moments too.
Steve

Steve W said...

JH, I was initially amazed someone could run 5,000+ miles in a year. Quite impressive. But it was his personal assessment that I found a little sad. We all have expectations of ourselves or goals we'd like to Achieve. I personally get more disappointed when I can't run as opposed to when I run poorly. Part of that may be an age thing as well :-)

Jim Johnson said...

It's funny...I didn't notice until after, that your post was called 'Expectations are Relative'...that kinda sums it up pretty well :)...I should have looked at that before I posted :).