When is a PR not a PR?

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This topic contains 33 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  ed 10 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #10185

    Okay, so I grant that it should come as no surprise that runners would be likely to have no better a moral compass than the general population does, especially given that they are not any more intelligent than the general population, but the latter is a topic for another time. We have all noted that runners will use PEDs to cheat as much as any other athlete. There have also been notable instances of runners (not just race winners, either) cutting race courses.

    However, the point of reference here looks a bit beyond that, it goes to statements made on a certain (lesser) internet running message board. A while ago, there was a lengthy thread there in which numerous posters vacuously and self-righteously insisted that “runners do not cheat!” Since that time, though, I have seen other threads which, to me, squarely contradict that view. What I have seen are threads started by runners who live and race in my area to report on their races, and I routinely see claims of setting PRs on courses that in no way resemble record-worthy courses. These include courses for a marathon that drops 1000+ feet between the start and finish, a half-marathon that drops 1000 feet, a 10K that drops 600 feet, and a mile that drops 180 feet. Perhaps considering only record-worthy courses as defined by governing authorities as counting for venues to set PRs is a bit strict, but the above race courses are clearly way more than a little aided. To wit, I could jibe with a PR from John Hancock BAA, but not one from St. George.  When I first moved here, I was told of a certain 5K race course that was all downhill and was alleged to yield performances that are roughly equal to those done at sea level. It was never billed as a PR course, though, and I have never heard of anyone claiming a PR from that race. I could not say that any runner I know would claim a PR on a course that has a very obviously aiding amount of downhill in it, such as those referenced above.  While acknowledging that the altitude does of course play a role in running performance here, I still would never claim a PR from a significantly downhill course regardless of location. How could one be sure that the descent does not give back more than the altitude takes away, especially if there are no real climbs on the course?  This would be roughly equivalent to claiming a PR from a flat course that is widely considered to be (if not obviously) short of the claimed distance.

    What sets apart runners who have no problem claiming PRs on courses where gravity (or a short course) clearly aids performances?  Do they even realize that claiming a PR on such a course is as honest as taking PEDs before running a flat course – or cutting the course – and claiming that the performance is honest and all one's own?  Does it betray a dilettante's perspective, perhaps a level of naiveté resulting from little real interaction with the running community?  Or do they know it yet exist in a state of denial about it?

  • #25916

    I ran a half marathon where several faster runners mentioned they had all gotten GREAT PR's as they skipped going aound the loop at a turn-around point where the correct path tok you around a building, they simple cut across the front of the building where the back' loop paralleled the 'out' loop… now they only cu about two blocks off the entire route (.25 according to their GPS) and were very happy to tell each other they had run well… whatever… what will they do for the next race? the Richmond (VA) marathon caught an age group runner who cut across the course (from approx.20-23 mile markers)the last year I ran that and figured it out as his splits were unreal (and he missed a mat at mile 21)…

    why would you do that? not sure… but I think that these people start believing their own publicity at some point…sad

  • #25917

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    When is a PR not a PR? I think most of us know honestly when we run a PR and we don't. A couple of years ago, when I ran a 13-something “5K” race, it was obvious I didn't run a PR. Even this year, when I was 10 seconds short of my 8K PR, I knew that wasn't a legit time because it was about 1/4 mile short. As for downhill courses, my 8K PR comes from a course that would not be considered legitimate for records. It's a bit downhill, I don't know if it's enough to disqualify it, but the finish line is too far from the start line. However, I feel it's legitimate. I wouldn't want to accept it as a PR if I felt the course aided me. That would just be dishonest.

    I don't know if the people who do that are simply being dishonest like a drug cheat or honestly don't understand how a course can aid a performance. I'm sure there are some of both type at the site you mention. Either way, we know what the truth is for ourselves and that's what matters. For example, I'm not a 13-something 5K runner and I'm not someone who ran a 26:27 8K this year. If they can live with themselves for being so dishonest, so be it.

  • #25918

    I have had guys tell me they have ran 4:08 and even 4:02 in the mile based on some quazi workout the coach had them run.  Okay.  Seriously, I never heard of you.  This is fairly common.  I also hear what people estimate they could have run over a certain distance.  It is a bit harder when your actually doing it.  I was a hack at ultras, but I actually knew I had to post a time at Nationals to be considered.  Get this, you have to actually have a time run over a certified course, with marshalls, and a USATF membership.  I wasn't fast, but I couldn't just talk about what was possible.  Everthing appears possible with the number 2 pencil and paper.

    At first, this Bolt character surprised me, but when he said it was about obtaining the gold medal and not time I embraced this.  He's out to beat people.  I like that.

  • #25919

    The same person who claimed the above-mentioned 10K and 1 mile PRs is now claiming a marathon “PR” on a course that drops 2000', bettering a “PR” set on a course that drops over 1700'.  Absolutely ridiculous.  If improvement through training cannot be had, do it with the help of gravity.  I figure this runner is not even as good as the previous claimed PR.  What next, find a marathon course that drops 3000' just to keep the pseudoPRs coming?

  • #25920

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Wasn't it Seb Coe who once said about a runner who was talking up a downhill road mile performance “I could run a mile that fast also, if I jumped off a cliff.” If the course your “PR” is from doesn't pass the sniff test, then all of your PRs are questionable. Of course, whether or not you count that PR is on your conscience alone.

  • #25921

    Certainly, and if you are self-important enough to blab publicly about it and I happen to notice then I might just mock you.  8)

  • #25922

    ed
    Participant

    I might aim or hope for a certain time – but in reality I look to see what percentage of the field I beat.  I think the more I look at it that way – the better my training will go.

    PR times are so dependant on a large number of uncontrolled factors that I do not put much stock in them.  maybe that is because I suck 😉

  • #25923

    Oh, I hear ya.  I look to move up in the field and, at the very least, not fall any further towards the back of it.  Men, women, children, all fair game — bodies standing between me and the finish or trying to come between me and the finish.  The time and the place (overall, age group, whatever) are nothing more than ways to quantify how I finished relative to how I prepared and felt going in and to how I executed on the course as well as to whoever else showed up and how prepared they were, etc.  Mere numbers – influenced (both positively and negatively) by multiple variables – they do not convey my mindset or how much I enjoyed not just pushing myself but also competing with everyone who was around me, a real connection with fellow competitors instead of a disconnect into multiple simultaneous time trials focused in on Garmin or Polar governors. 

    I know I have expressed previously my view that records are overrated.  The chasing of records has led to a watering-down of competition in order to set up rabbited 'races' devoid of competitors who might also challenge the record being attempted or employ tactics that could throw off the desired even pacing.  It has also contributed to the doping culture in the sport.  This also goes down the line, as I have seen even runners of modest talent levels going to extremes all in the name of running a faster time to boast about.  This could also lead to accepting underperforming, as it is not a mere time goal that can push one beyond mental barriers to the highest heights of performance but rather fellow competitors (hence the elites' employment of rabbits). 

    This also leads to watering down competitiveness on a broader scale.  As more runners with talent become self-absorbed into their 'own race' the result will be fewer who will issue or even step up to challenges present in the form of fellow competitors.  A competitive runner heading into the final mile or homestretch of a race will start to push to pass people in the rush of adrenaline that comes as the finish line nears, yet if all he is met with are those content to keep their noses to their wrists so that they ensure they maintain the 'right' pace or heart rate and not throw off an attempt to notch an almighty PR instead of thinking to themselves, “screw that, there is no way I am letting this person get past me at this point,” then the fewer remaining competitive runners will be robbed of the advantage of being pushed by fellow competitors.

  • #25924

    ed
    Participant

    Very well said –

    I do believe that the desire to have the fastest times have indeed contributed to the doping problem.  But the real contributor to the doping problem is the MONEY.

  • #25925

    Absolutely, money has driven the hype for records, whether it be meet promoters back in the day looking to increase gate receipts through advertising a record attempt (and then slipping the athletes a tidy sum under the table) or athletes in more modern times looking to collect sponsor bonuses by setting records.  Doping has simply been an obvious means to that end.

  • #25926

    GTF-
    for years I've considered St. George as I've looked at the times of female runners that have run times like mine and then go run that marathon and lo and behond they get an OTQ.  Of course many will tell me that the altitude slows them down and so it is indeed comparable to other marathons.  I have no idea.  After running Boston, personally, I think it was harder than the topography shows, so maybe St George isn't as easy as it looks either.  I'll probably never know.

  • #25927

    There have been interesting discussions of the legitimacy of St. George elsewhere:
    https://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=1802833&page=0
    https://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?board=1&id=2155371&thread=2155020
    No, I do not post as “Avacado's Number” (nor “Dubious Brothers”) though it would be a fair guess that I tend to agree with the views he states.
    Apparently last year there was a tailwind for St. George.  Here are some numbers for comparison:
    2nd Place: Paul Petersen 2:18:0
    Other 2007 Marathon: Ogden 2:26:24

    3rd place: Sean Sundwall 2:18:55
    Other 2007 Marathon: Eugene 2:29:18

    4th Place: David Danley 2:19:33
    Other 2007 Marathons: R&R 2:27:50; SLC 2:39:12; Grandma's 2:30:12

    6th Place: Nicholas McCombs 2:20:49
    Other 2007 Marathon: SLC 2:30:10

    7th Place: Logan Fielding 2:21:45
    Other 2007 Marathons: Top of Utah 2:39:22; Ogden 2:55:18

    “Jayhawk”
    Fastest “regular” course 7th Marathon – Kansas City Marathon 2:49:35 1986
    Fastest “aided” course 11th Marathon – St. George Marathon 2:39:24 1990

    Not everyone who runs significantly faster there than anywhere else necessarily trains at altitude, including the 18 OT qualifiers from last year.  If a person is reasonably well-trained (i.e. not those who try to wring marathon fitness out of <60 mpw) and executes smartly then the advantage from a drop of 1000+ feet should overcome the disadvantage of thinner air, especially if that training addresses the specific demands of the course.  For those who train at altitude, the potential advantage just becomes greater.  For John Hancock BAA, the answer is "it depends."  If there is a tailwind or no wind and weather is otherwise decent, then the course is aided.  If there is a headwind and/or it is warm I suppose the only advantage might be over a flat course with a headwind and/or warm temperatures.  Witness the greats from the past (in a time before Bank of America Chicago and Flora London had surpassed John Hancock BAA as major marathons) who never ran faster anywhere else than they did in Boston: https://web.archive.org/web/20100505125051/http://www.usatf.org:80/statistics/all-time/Marathon/men.asp
    It appears that 1975, 1979, 1982, 1983, and 1994 may have all been tailwind years.

    I believe that for the 2012 OT marathon (at least for the men) performances from courses like St. George and Tucson will not be accepted.  I am unsure yet how extensive that list of races will be, though I would be surprised if John Hancock BAA were to be included.  I would like to see USATF go further and include a net altitude loss limit for course certification, if not a start/finish separation limit.  Once these kinds of races lose their course certification and thus are no longer allowed for John Hancock BAA qualifiers then they will dry up and blow away.

  • #25928
  • #25929

    ed
    Participant

    That course looks like it would trash the quads from miles 10-18.  But right near the “wall” comes a gentle downhill to ease you right on in.

    What a bunch of hooey.

  • #25930

    It would only trash the quads if one does not train to prepare for the downhill or if one follows a reckless race plan. 

  • #25931

    Found another bogus course:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120623112832/http://www.poconomarathon.org:80/coursemap.html

    exactly. last year's female winner qualified with a 2:45 and then ran a 2:58 at the trials which all her previous times are 2:55-2:58.

    yeah, I'm a little green knowing that with a little aid……just maybe

  • #25932

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    yeah, I'm a little green knowing that with a little aid……just maybe

    But you're the kind of person who would have at least a bit of mixed feelings about doing such a thing, feeling that it would be a dishonest way to get in or to set a so-called PR.

  • #25933

    The whole, “This course has too much downhill.” is crazy.  If that is the case do I toss out all of my times on courses with some serious uphills?  Check out the elevations for Breakers, Charlotte, NC, ING Georgia, and Atlanta (Thanksgiving Day).  Should I just toss out my times because they are “too hard”?  Under the logic that something is “too easy” you would have to do that right?

    My PR is in Chicago.  So are a lot of people's PR.  Do I toss that out because it is a flat course and faster than my third best time that is in Georgia where you suffer through hills that last over a mile? 

    Some course's go uphill, some go downhill, some are flat.  If you don't like one of those options, well, don't run on that course.  But don't try to tell someone their time doesn't count because of a downhil, or wind.  If you do, be prepared to allow them to toss out a bad time because the course was more uphill or into the wind.

  • #25934

    FWIW: In trail running, we just go by courses, rather than distance, which is seldom accurately known also. Sometimes the direction and year for the time are specified since courses may not be symmetrical and alternate directions. Some years are muddier or softer snow than others.

    I've seen the same thing among road runners to some extent. Equinox times are considered separate from NYCM times are considered separate from Chicago times are considered separate from St. George or Tucson (think that's downhill, iirc). PR's (a “personal” record) may have mental asterisks beside them. I can see the concern about courses for BQ and OTQ times, but I've also seen marginal (as far as BQ or OTQ) runners go for the downhill courses and not be able to PR since they weren't adequately trained for the downhill. (I'm just going by what I read since I haven't done a road race.)

  • #25935

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Some course's go uphill, some go downhill, some are flat.  If you don't like one of those options, well, don't run on that course.  But don't try to tell someone their time doesn't count because of a downhil, or wind.  If you do, be prepared to allow them to toss out a bad time because the course was more uphill or into the wind.

    Well, first, let's remember that we've all probably seen some people who have claimed to “PR” on ridiculously downhill courses explain away a slower time by using the difficulty of a course. They try to have it both ways. If a course impeded their performance, the course was the reason for the performance. If a course aided their performance, it wasn't a factor. Second, I don't think it's unreasonable to say your time was a bit off because of the difficulty of the course. People do it all the time. I've done it myself. This is why, as AKTrail mentioned, some of us think of course PRs and not just distance PRs. Third, there are accepted definitions of “aided”. Flat is not one of those definitions. A significant decline in elevation is.

    Of course, in the end, PRs are personal. How you keep your PRs doesn't bother me in the least (unless – as one person once did – you try to discredit me by claiming you're a superior runner because your PR of 2:38 from St. George is faster than my PR of 2:40 from Chicago). I may form an opinion based on whether you consider a performance on such a course as a PR but I will also hold no grudge if you form an opinion based on the fact that I consider my Chicago performance a PR.

  • #25936

    ed
    Participant

    I believe that official records cannot be set on courses that are significant downhills for the same reasons that sprints cannot have a certain level of tail wind.  Big downhills are a joke for record purposes – for me personally.  That would be the same as looking for races with simple competition and thinking about how great you did compared to others.  Race against yourself – to learn your true greatness.

  • #25937

    The whole, “This course has too much downhill.” is crazy.  If that is the case do I toss out all of my times on courses with some serious uphills?  Check out the elevations for Breakers, Charlotte, NC, ING Georgia, and Atlanta (Thanksgiving Day).  Should I just toss out my times because they are “too hard”?  Under the logic that something is “too easy” you would have to do that right?

    My PR is in Chicago.  So are a lot of people's PR.  Do I toss that out because it is a flat course and faster than my third best time that is in Georgia where you suffer through hills that last over a mile? 

    Some course's go uphill, some go downhill, some are flat.  If you don't like one of those options, well, don't run on that course.  But don't try to tell someone their time doesn't count because of a downhil, or wind.  If you do, be prepared to allow them to toss out a bad time because the course was more uphill or into the wind.

    You do what you want to do, the only ultimate judge of whether or not a performance is legit in your perception is your own conscience, really.  You do not have to count a supposed PR from a course that offers hindrance, either.  It is an individual choice.  You also choose where you run your races.  If you never choose to run on a favorable course (as opposed to an aided one or a hindering one) then that is on you.  I have heard of long-time runners who claim 10K PRs from Bolder Boulder — that just tells me that they did not get race-ready as well and/or did not seek out a race on a course that is flatter/more favorable and/or is at lower elevation. 

    However, that is a different subject from claiming performances that are obviously aided.  This is why sprints and jumps with huge tailwinds do not count yet those with headwinds do, why performances recorded with detectable levels of PEDs in the body do not count yet those run with love-handles on a clean body do, why Rosie Ruiz's Boston win did not count and why Salazar's apparent WR in NYC did not count yet those run on intentionally long courses do, etc.  If Ben Johnson were to go around (today) claiming that his PR in the 100m is 9.79 then any knowledgeable person would consider him a delusional kook, and rightly so.  Nobody has stated that an aided time does not count, just that it is aided and clearly a performance that is as much a representation of legitimate personal ability and work through training and preparation as any performance run on short courses, or by cutting the course, or with the help of PEDs, etc.  Count whatever one wishes, but when one goes around making public claims of a personal best from an aided performance then one opens oneself up to questioning and ridicule. 

    This message also highlights how silly it is to place so much emphasis on time.  A PR might be soft because it was run on a course that featured twenty turns and three bridges or hills and then is taken down on a course that features only eight turns and one bridge or hill.  The course (and weather) variability in itself can affect performance in terms of time more than most people realize.  This is also why mile splits mean very little, it is hard to tell exactly what people see in recording every mile split on a road course.  One mile could be flat with no turns and then the next mile could climb slightly, have two turns, and head into the wind.  If there is a 15-second slowdown from one mile to the next, what does it really mean?  Is it time to panic and get all worried that oxygen debt and/or significant fatigue is setting in?  Do any of the splits really show how much you were pushing yourself and trying to hold off, stay with, and pass other runners?  It is interesting to often see race reports posted on the web with essentially zero mention of the actual race.  Was it really a race or was it a mass time trial?  Why bother entering a race if not to race?  I digress.

    I ran a race on Saturday that was tougher and hillier than about any 8K anywhere, compounded with warm conditions.  My mile splits on that day (recorded only to compare to future runs on that exact course) varied by over a minute.  If I never ran (or had never run) 8K on another course then I would have no problem claiming that performance as a PR.  However, if I hunted down and ran an 8K on a course that dropped even 200' (let alone 800') between the start and the finish then I would realize that gravity aided that performance to no insignificant degree and could not count it as a PR.  That is how my ethical code runs, and I have to wonder about the ethics of those who would have no problem with claiming obviously aided PRs, as with the Ben Johnson example above.  (Of course if one keeps it to oneself then nobody is the wiser.  However, if one is telling it to others then that goes well beyond and is a different matter.)  If you would publicly claim a PR from an aided course, then would you take PEDs to get a PR?  Would you claim a PR from a course that is clearly short of the claimed distance?  Would you cut a course to get a PR?  Why or why not and what is the difference?

  • #25938

    I don't know, a PR is, by definition, a personal record.  If a course is certified to be a particular distance and I run a time better than any time I've run at that distance, then that is my new PR.  I don't see the value in labeling a course to be too easy, or aided, as it refers to a PR.  That would imply that there is a course at X altitude with Y increase/decrease in elevation and with z number of turns, any course with greater or lesser values for these variable would either be easier or more difficult.  However, we never run only against the course, there are ohter runners that can slow us down or carry us along, the weather on race day is never constant and as in the case of Boston, Chicago and any number of other races, the crowd can help you along.  I guess my contention is that some courses certainly appear easier on paper, but at the end of the day we still have to run the distance.  The comparison to the Ben Johnson 100m is a little unfair as the outside variables are minimal in comparison to a marathon.  My marathon PR was set at Napa earlier this spring on a sunny, windy day with temps from the 50s to high 60s.  Three years ago, I ran the sme course 1/2 hour slower on a colder, windier, rainy day.  Some days the course helps, some days it hurts.  I will always consider this spring's time as my best even though conditions were favorable to running a good time.  To put myself in that position I still had to do all the training and preperation to run 26.2.  The results were in my hands, good time or not.  If the question is whether a time run on a course that is deemed to be favorable should count towards a Olympic Trials Qualifier then maybe their should be a list of courses that the US Olympic Committee deems suitable for the standard.  Until then (or maybe such a list already exists), the debate sounds a little righteous to me.  Feel free to tell me that I am way off base as I am sure I don't know all the facts.

  • #25939

    Certainly a PR is personal, but by the same token personal would also imply done entirely through one's own efforts, without forethought to aiding variables.  If there is an aid from gravity then it is not really personal, is it?  It would be the personal + gravity record.  Which is fine, as it is at least honest.  The comparison to Ben Johnson is based on the fact that his 9.79 was proven to be aided (plus he admitted that it was aided).  It would be the equivalent of putting him in a downhill lane while everyone else ran in a flat lane. 

    As stated previously, there is a fairly wide margin between even a course like Boston (which, while not acceptable for world records, is not automatically a PR course for everyone and anyone) and courses like Pocono, St. George, Tucson, Colorado/Ft. Collins, etc.  A huge margin of separation.  Outside factors can always play a role, but for any given race the course profile is a known, static factor and the fact remains that more often than not a course that drops as much as St. George will yield performances that could never be touched on a record-worthy course, all other things being equal.  If running a course like St. George is not aid above and beyond what a course like Chicago offers, then why not run St. George in reverse?  Letting gravity aid a performance is hardly much different than letting PEDs or a short course aid a performance.  If one would seek out a course where gravity would contribute positively to a new PR, then what is stopping anyone from hitting GNC or a Mexican pharmacy for PEDs in the quest for a new PR?  It is not as if anyone is going to bother testing 2:30+ marathoners for PEDs.  It is the same level of integrity from my point of view.  If a person runs a 3:20 at St. George yet cannot break 3:35 on any other course before or after that performance at St. George, then is that person really a 3:20 marathoner?  It is not something I am implying anyone should take issue with or lose sleep over, it is a conceptual question. 

    To provide a parallel, consider Deeja Youngquist.  She ran 1:12 and 2:29 within a year prior to getting suspended for rEPO violation in December 2004.  Only her performances from March 2004 through the end of her suspension (December 2006) were disqualified.  However, since the end of her suspension she has only run 2:43 (2006) and 2:36 (2007), the latter of which was run at (go figure) St. George and which (go figure) got her trip to Boston paid for while the former mark would not have.  If she cannot even break 2:40 on a legit course post-drug suspension, chances are she is not only not a 2:29 marathoner but also possibly not even a 2:36 marathoner.  (She ran 2:34 in the OT in April 2004, less than a month after her positive sample was taken.)  Beyond the issues of taking prizes and bonuses that rightfully belonged to others (or at least did not rightfully belong to her), what performance should Youngquist be able to honestly claim as truly her best, as in a performance she honestly ran herself with no external aid?  (Yes, I understand that rEPO works internally.)

    The aforementioned 180'-drop mile was truly the first time I had ever seen anyone claim a mile PR from an aided course.  Downhill miles are nothing new, it is just that any performance from them always came with the disclaimer “downhill mile PR, my actual mile PR is [some slower time].”  At least there used to be a certain baseline in the sport regarding the limit of integrity and a level playing field from the top all the way down.  Now it reads more like a situational ethics or relativism charade.  Sort of like grade inflation or recalibrating clothing sizes, something to boost self-esteem when all that has really happened is adjusting the metrics to accommodate increased mediocrity.  Perhaps this whole phenomenon of aided course set-ups is just an outgrowth or side-effect of the 'win at all costs' entitlement mentality that has seeped through from other sectors.

  • #25940

    ed
    Participant

    Some of this “any course even steep downhills can be a PR” comes from the same line of thought in T-Ball where no scores are kept because “they are all winners” ::)  It is crap!!  I have lost every race that I have entered – so what –  I get better nearly every race and I take pride in that.

  • #25941

    To play devil's advocate some more here is a question.

    How do you guys feel about the technology that is put into modern footware?  Clearly, it aides in helping you run faster.  Some people here even wear racing flats.  So is that cheating?  Do you think you can

    I would also like to point out that running on a flat course is a massive advantage.  My PR is at Chicago and is 20 minutes faster than what I have been running on hilly courses.  That and I run in hills ever single day and I can tell you flat is significantly faster and a bigtime advantage.

  • #25942

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    How do you guys feel about the technology that is put into modern footware?  Clearly, it aides in helping you run faster.  Some people here even wear racing flats.  So is that cheating?

    I'd question how much shoe technology really is an advantage but, as long as it doesn't directly aid you as some spring loaded shoes which are banned do, it's not an aid.

    I know some might disagree with me but I honestly do not believe wearing shoes offers a performance benefit over barefoot running. All the shoes do is protect your feet from surfaces that might be hazardous to your feet, they don't in and of themselves make one run faster as using gravity as an aid on a downhill course does.

    I would also like to point out that running on a flat course is a massive advantage.  My PR is at Chicago and is 20 minutes faster than what I have been running on hilly courses.  That and I run in hills ever single day and I can tell you flat is significantly faster and a bigtime advantage.

    I would argue that running on the flat is not an aid at all but that running on a hilly course is a detriment. There's a big difference between choosing a course that does not disadvantage you by not forcing you to work against gravity and choosing a course that offers advantages by letting you use gravity in your favor.

    In the end, I suppose we could all say that you have to choose some arbitrary point to decide where aid ends and detriment begins. Isn't the most common sense point on the spectrum one that involves little to no elevation change?

  • #25943

    ed
    Participant

    As a HR professional – I would be wary of hiring an individual that believes he or she is good because they competed in an event that was in true honesty below them.  This in my interviewing experience is an underachiever – a person that sets lower goals for themselves and is dependent upon somewhat less than deserved recognition.  I once, and only once, started to look for races with slow times/ few in my age group to see if I could score in my age group. BUT – then I thought – so what – I would still suck in the real world. 

    I look to always try to beat myself – and relish in the fact that I could earn a recognizable finish one day.

  • #25944

    As a HR professional – I would be wary of hiring an individual that believes he or she is good because they competed in an event that was in true honesty below them.  This in my interviewing experience is an underachiever – a person that sets lower goals for themselves and is dependent upon somewhat less than deserved recognition.  I once, and only once, started to look for races with slow times/ few in my age group to see if I could score in my age group. BUT – then I thought – so what – I would still suck in the real world. 

    I look to always try to beat myself – and relish in the fact that I could earn a recognizable finish one day.

    well, honestly, I have to disagree to a high degree on at least one statement.  Why would you suck in the real world, when you are constantly trying to improve yourself?

  • #25945

    ed
    Participant

    Personally – getting better is great and all – BUT – Not finishing in the top 10% of a good field of runners keeps me in my place.  Sure I usually finish in the top 25% of a good field – but that means there are plenty of people ahead of me. 

    That does leave a question though, one that I do not have an answer for.  At what point would I no longer suck?  Top 10%, top 5% – medal in my age group – I do not know.

  • #25946

    Personally – getting better is great and all – BUT – Not finishing in the top 10% of a good field of runners keeps me in my place.  Sure I usually finish in the top 25% of a good field – but that means there are plenty of people ahead of me. 

    That does leave a question though, one that I do not have an answer for.  At what point would I no longer suck?  Top 10%, top 5% – medal in my age group – I do not know.

    you no longer suck when you believe it.  Anyone can find themselves finishing dead last, it depends on who shows up.

  • #25947

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I think what Ed's getting at is that he's by no means an elite just because he could find an easy race and win it. This is what I've said for years about myself as a personal reminder after doing some small tune-up event and winning it. Winning against weak competition doesn't make you any more elite than finishing in the middle of a loaded race.

    I don't think Ed really thinks he sucks, just that he knows where he fits into the grand scheme of things, just as I believe most if not all of us here do. I don't know of anyone here who wouldn't say that, while there may be many runners who are slower than us, there are also many who are faster than us.

  • #25948

    ed
    Participant

    Exactly Ryan –

    Don't get me wrong Sue – I am proud of what I can do.  Thanks for the kind words of encouragement and support. 

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