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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Better to Finish Dead Last than to Give Up

Today was a pretty standard training day for me. 4000 yards worth of Masters Swim followed by a 12 mile run in Central Park. It was a gloriously clear and sunny morning and the run was uneventful. My body is starting to feel the effects of training hard again, but the feeling is more satisfying than anything.

Later in the day, I did some supplemental bike riding with my 5 year old son. Those 3 miles of riding were more thrilling for me than any race I’ve done. Here is a training summary before I get to some remaining items on my mind:

Masters Swim: 4000 yards in approximately 1:13:00

Run -
Distance: 12M
Time: 1:36:00
HR: 147/164
Central Park Upper 5M Loop 1 time: 40:29
Central Park Upper 5M Loop 2 time: 38:41

On to other items –

It appears that I am stirring things up on my Tri Club’s discussion board. I responded to a couple of postings and certain people took my messages the wrong way. For my response to the posting about a group ride being cancelled (see Abuse Ride), I received the following response:

I just want to say Charles I think your email was a little harsh!!! We have a lot of people just getting back into their training and they don't need to feel bad about not wanting to train in the rain or for canceling rides do to bad weather conditions, whether its good for race day or not. Thank you

Oh please… There was nothing so bad about what I posted. Fortunately, someone came to my defense:

In mild defense of Charles: it's probably a good idea to be prepared for all conditions...and riding in the rain is one of them. I just hate to get my bike all crudded up and have to take it apart and clean it...and leading a pack of beginner riders on wet roads, during the 5 borough bicycle tour, seemed like a perfect storm (so to speak) of hazardous conditions.

I also couldn’t let that response go unanswered. Here was my retort:

I am sorry if my email was harsh. It was meant more to inspire than to criticize. I do understand people's desires not to ride in foul weather, especially if they are beginners.

However, the ride was for Intermediate riders, not beginners and it was completely cancelled. If people didn't want to show up because of bad weather, then that is their prerogative. What if others wanted to go? I just don’t think the ride should have been cancelled. Adjustments to the planned ride could have been made to accommodate the bad weather conditions.

Later this week another message was posted that I felt compelled to reply to. The posting went like this:

Subject: Alley Park Duathlon - Queens, NY
Posted: May 3 2005 8:43PM
is anyone doing this race? it's a 3mile Run/ 18mile Bike/ 3mile Run duathlon. Since i'm new to multi-sports this seems achievable to me. if you are not embarrassed by someone who may come in second to last (notice not DEAD LAST) i am planning on doing it and we can go together.

This is a favorite topic of mine. I have no fear of finishing last. In fact I stand a much greater capacity and chance to finish last in a race, than I will ever have of finishing first. Here was my reply:

I would rather be dead last and finish, than to quit and post a DNF because I gave up. Good luck at Alley Park! You will do great.

Of course, someone took this message the wrong way. The person proceeded to disagree with me and write a lecturing message about DNF’ing if you are injured, sick, etc. and the stigma associated with posting a DNF. I would post the whole ridiculous message here, but the more I read it, the more I didn’t want to have such blather posted on my blog.

This person missed the whole point of what the original message was about. The original poster was concerned about being embarrassed with a poor performance. The only thing in my opinion you should be embarrassed about is quitting just because you think you are doing poorly. One of the people I will admire for all time is Luvsanlkhundeg Otgonbayar, the 22 year old female marathoner who finished dead last, over 30 minutes after the previous finisher at the 2004 Athens Olympics Marathon. Now that in my opinion takes a tremendous amount of guts to do, especially being on a world stage. I only hope that I have so much courage if I am doing that badly in such a public forum. I replied as such in another retort.

I am feeling very feisty lately. However, the person who started the discussion later sent me an email thanking me for my second reply.


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