I was reading this extremely informative article, based on scientific evidence, about the 25 Rules of Running. It used running terms that were alien to me (but I’m now using them in conversations because it makes me seem cleverer than others) advising me how to train, eat, pace etc. But, whilst reading it, I asked myself the question, “why does none of this apply to me?” (Knowing that all of it should apply to me, but I’m just too ignorant and according to me, only the Edward Long-Socks follow these rules). By the way, that will be the last time I say “according to me”, otherwise this piece will be scattered with those three words. More about Edward Long-Socks later.
I therefore decided to write my own version of the 25 Rules of Running. You may call it, an opinion piece, because that sounds ingenious. Before I start, let me just mention, that in my world, there are 3 groups of runners (if you had to group them by their running times), i.e. the Edward Long-Socks, the Demi-gods and the Uncomfortably Slow-runners (sometimes referred to as back-markers by the other 2 groups, but we all know that they don’t have a clue). Whilst, we’re on this point, wasn’t it just sweet (read: condescending) when Ryan Sandes (he’s an archetypal Edward Long-Sock) said back-markers are the real runners, because they spend double the time on the road than us!? However, within these groups, one gets multiple sub-segments, which, in some cases transcend groups (have I mentioned before that this is highly scientific, based on mathematical algorithms, and cannot be disputed?).
Also, I enjoy compartmentalising (stereotyping) people, hence, if by now you have not been offended, wait, the best is to come and you will be offended somehow, even I am offended by some of these statements.
And the final word on the introduction, in the original 25 Rules of Running, they mention an exception to each rule. I don’t because there aren’t exceptions, it’s black or white and a rule is a rule. The moment you create grey areas (exceptions) you allow space for anarchy, the shit hits the fan and runners get killed by fellow runners (typically by slitting their throats with that damn hard tinfoil back cover that hold the cramp pills). That’s just as it is (a direct translation from Afrikaans’ “dis hoe dit is”). I haven’t seen it, but I have dreamt of it. I haven’t heard of it either, but I know it must be true.
- Rule 1: Edward Long-Socks, the Demi-gods and US-runners
These are three groups of runners (based on their run times). Edward Long-Socks are commonly referred to as the professionals (or wannabe professionals – the ones that have been told by their parents that they are special, but we all know they are pretty useless and should rather settle on being a demi-god). Edward Long-Socks are aptly named after the compression socks they wear (at first I thought it was rugby socks, but then I realised they’re too thin and small to play rugby and even some women wear them, and we all know, women don’t play rugby). As a runner in the US-group (Uncomfortably Slow), I have one rule (no, I actually have shitloads of rules, but this is one of them), the moment I’m on the road and I see an Edward Long-Socks close to me, I know I’m running too fast and I should seriously consider slowing down. I am saying “consider” because, as an US-group runner, I also see the opportunity to let the testosterone glow a bit and try to keep up for at least 10 meters, where after I don’t have a choice but to slow down! These are the runners who actually start at the front of the race (they always look so stressed, because they can’t afford a poor start (as if that makes a difference over 42.2km!)), weigh less than 40kgs (man or woman), run a marathon in my half-marathon time, and warm-up by running up and down the road, before the race! I don’t understand the last one, because we are about to run 42.2kms and Mr Long-Socks is warming up by running 5kms at 3min/km BEFORE the race – I forgot to mention that the Edward Long-Socks aren’t the cleverest of human beings. Before I forget, the female version of the Edward Long-Socks wear a tank top (normally a Nedbank or KPMG one) because they have an 8-pack tummy that they need to show off. I think they may as well not wear a tank top because their boobs have evaporated from too much running, but that’s me.
The demi-gods are those runners that are slower than the Long-Socks, but faster than US (DUH! Did you think I’m going to come up with a clever explanation?) I admire and despise the demi-gods. I wanted to be a demi-god, but it doesn’t look like too much fun, so I have decided not to aim for it. Demi-gods can be anus holes, especially if they say they’re worried about not qualifying for Oceans or Comrades. FFS, they have no clue what it means to worry about not qualifying – that is a feeling reserved for US-runners. Maybe they’re not anus holes, maybe they translate “not running a sub-4 hour marathon” as “not qualifying”? No, they’re anus holes. But I wish I could be like them (with the fun that exists within the US-group). The demi-gods rock up for a 10km race, finish it in 45 minutes, drink a beer, eat some shit at the Club gazebo, chat to their fellow demi-gods (always comparing running times in a special language only they understand), check their Facebook timeline and then run back against the traffic to meet up with their US friend that’s still struggling at the 8km mark, looking like a prawn at a ultra-endurance swimming event. Demi-gods always smile during a race, I’m convinced it’s a fake smile, like Phil Michelson has at the Masters, and I firmly believe that the demi-gods use cocaine every day to keep up with the pace they’re running at. They even have time to take a selfie during the race. I wish I could be like them. A demi-god will say something stupid like “I am doing a LSD run this weekend at about 6:15 min/km”. Then I’m like, Piss Off you anus hole. Did I mention demi-gods are anus holes? I wish I could be a demi-god, even without the “perceived” fun in the US-group.
50% of people in a race are in the US-group – statistics have shown this. We are not back markers, we are the second half. Full stop. We are slow though. Conditions have to be perfect for an US-runner to run a sub-2 hour half marathon (or sub 4:30 marathon), i.e. below 20.35 degrees Celsius (The Sport Science’s research, not mine), a tail wind all the way, maximum elevation gain of circa 5 meters over 21/42 kms – if the race is called “Fast and Flat” we’re in for a good time! I have mentioned that it’s fun in the US-group, but I was lying. All the agony happens in the US-group. If a demi-god tells you his/her race was tough, take that and multiply it by 1034, then you’ll know how a good race feels for an US-runner. When an US-runner do an LSD, they make sure the S in LSD gets enough attention, I am sure an Edward Long-Sock can walk as fast as an US on a long run, with the difference that they’ll actually look better, their 8 packs will be moving briskly from left to right, US runners’ 8 packs were downed the previous evening. People gather in front of the TV at the end of May to watch Comrades and at some point (typically after their afternoon nap at about 5pm), they’ll switch on the TV to see if the thing (Big C) is still on and you’ll hear statements from grandpa such as “If that guy can do it….blah blah blah”. It is at this point where you know you’re watching an US runner. US runners don’t look like runners, they look like everyday people. The live among the rest of the population, they inspire others not to run, and they’re used to others saying “how come your knees have not fallen off yet” or “you’re not built for this” or “shouldn’t you rather cycle”. People are insensitive, I know, because, I am. I wish I could be a demi-god. But, US runners will be back next Saturday and the Saturday thereafter. All cyclists are US-runners that couldn’t stand the heat and got out of the kitchen (Sport Science’s research, not mine)
PS: Don’t expect any of the other 24 rules to be as elaborate as the first one. I have ADD and will not be able to keep up with the pace (a running trait), which means as I get to number 6 or so, it’ll be short and sweet. I know myself (another running trait). Also, if you felt like I’m referring to you, I probably am, so just keep your panties on.