Wednesday, 18 November 2009


A customer came in to my bike shop today in search of a stem that would allow him to sit up higher than he is now, in an effort to relieve some of the neck/back pain he experiences after almost every ride he takes. Remember, we're talking about battling actual pain here. I pointed him in the direction of our wall-o-stems and he found one that fit the bill. He showed it to me, I confirmed it should do what he wanted it to, then he waffled. He was most worried about what other cyclists would say about the stem, as he has a "really nice" bike and this particular stem was "kinda dorky".

My stepson and I went on a bike ride together on Monday of this week. It must be said here that I am what some have called a "gearhead". I have all the bells and whistles...sweat-wicking jerseys, cool new Lake shoes, a Garmin 305 with cadence sensor, a beautiful, stealthy matt-black Giant OCR machine, and credit cards for easy access to post-ride refreshment. The boy chooses to ride, despite the fact that I have built him a sleek, similar-to-mine, stealthy, aluminum bicycle, an old, steel Univega 12 speed, that doesn't even have a "granny gear" that would give him, at least, the option of going uphill without pushing his heartbeat into the "danger, danger, Will Robinson" zone. He also rides in jeans, a button-up regular shirt, and battered running shoes. To other "serious" cyclists, he probably looks like a "dork".

The difference between the two is that...only one of them gives a flyin' rat's patooty about the dork label. This got me to thinking about those of us who run...long...and slow.

Perhaps you read it. There was a recent article in the New York Times about whether or not us "plodders" belong in official marathon events. For your perusal, that stoopid piece of drivel is here. I have toyed with responding to this piece of crap but, thankfully, do not have to. My friend Jewelz has done so, with eloquence. I can add nothing more to what she has posted here...after she mastered the NYC Marathon course, slowly...but SURELY, earlier this month. Then, out of the blue, my friend Kari struck similar notes in her most recent blog post, when she spoke of just getting out there when you feel like... just getting out there.

The way this stuff played out? My bike shop customer ended up buying his "dorky" stem. Despite my near-pathological aversion to ever being called a "salesman", I convinced him to take this health-improving little piece of hardware home for his own physical good. I thoroughly expect a "thumbs up" report from him soon, despite of what his "friends" may say. My stepson pretty much mapped out our ride course on Monday, and it included some serious hills. Despite my "gear", he kicked my butt. I am glad he waited for me at the top. Because he did, I sprang for the "afters" .

And then, there's this. If anyone of you out there is dreaming of running a marathon, but thinking you just can't commit, because you'll be slow, or your friends or family, or both, won't get it, or they'll think you're NUTZ...or that you won't be considered a serious runner because you walked a bit, or took a bit "too long", NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

For those of you training for your first marathon (my favourite people on the planet)...good on 'ya! It's a big deal, no matter how long you take. It's about the distance, and your resolve...not about the time. It's NOT about looking "cool" when you cross the finish line. You probably won't. I never have.

Gotta run!


Ian Charters said...

"It's about the distance, and your resolve...not about the time. It's NOT about looking "cool" when you cross the finish line. You probably won't. I never have"

Me neither and more people should know and understand it.

Karoline Steckley said...

I'm a dork. I admit it. But that's cool! Thanks for the shoutout! I'm about to throw on the VFFs (speaking of people thinking we're nutz) for a little "corsetta" with the dog.

TP said...

Always a good read! Big smiles today, brother.

Melissa Cunningham said...

LOL!!! yup,just call me a dork and roll me down a hill...
always fun reading your blogs!

ShutUpandRun said...

I'm with ya. After getting injured trying to be fast and pushing myself too much I will do things differently this time around. The point is to be out there doing what you love and if you lose that b/c you care too much what people think then, what's the point, really?

Marathon Maritza said...

Well said! It's about getting out there, not the gear, the outfit, your time.

That article made me angry. What's better, sitting on the couch being obese like 65% of America? Many people work VERY HARD for 6/7/8 hour's not like they are out for a stroll. We should be more supportive as a society in general.

Then again, I'm preaching to the choir, right?

Another great post!

melissa said...

Here I am "queen dork". I am always thining other runners look so much cooler than me!

LongRunr said...

The overall winner of the 2007 Ironman Louisville, KY walked every aid station from the 16mi mark on during the run and came from behind to win. Nothing wrong w/ a little walking. Finishing and the heart and guts that get one there regardless of the pace or what others think is all that matters. I'm just as proud of my 5:30 marathon as I am of my 2:46 and everyone of them in between...

rUntoNamAste said...

lol @ 'stoopid'. Love that word.
In my yoga class last night my teacher said-

"Cheetah, fastest animal on earth live about 15 year.
But turtle, very slow animal live for 500 year. Patience is key for survival. Be patient."

Live to run another day, runners!

TokyoRacer said...

Good on ya, Michael. Hey, I lost your address. Email me at so we can decide where to meet.