Monday, May 23, 2011

The Measure Of "Fitness"

How do you measure your level of fitness? How do you compare it to the level of fitness of other runners? Do you even care to compare it? I guess I don't really have the answer to these questions, mostly because I really don't care anymore, mostly because I have become happy with my level of "fitness", whatever that is. I guess some measure fitness by speed and looking at some of the runners around me, I guess I can see that they are fit and they are fast. But I also know that if I was pitted against them in, say, a 100K or a 100Mile event, it may then become a run of the tortoise vs. the hare. I am fit, but I am not fast, and I can keep going and going ... just like the Energizer bunny. And the runners with "fast fitness" who don't have "endurance fitness" can and will be hunted down.

I guess the reason that I am even contemplating this and subsequently posting this is in response to a comment that was made to me during a "fun" (not racing) group run this past weekend. A fairly large group of runners gathered for a trail run Saturday morning and not long into the run the group split. The nice thing with these runs is that there are runners of all speeds and you never have to run alone because, it seems, that there is always someone who runs your speed. Which is nice. Our group of four were at the back of the pack, enjoyng our time on the trails, when I jokingly asked "Is that group racing up there or what?" At that time, a faster runner who had started late and then caught up to us stated "They're not racing, they're just more fit". What the hell? Immediately I was insulted. Likely this distracting comment is why I crashed my knee into a large branch while stepping over a down tree.

I know that I am not fast but I have endurance on my side. But just because I am slow, make no mistake, I am fit! As are so many others who run at the back of the pack with me. So to those who say that slower runners are not fit, maybe I will see you toeing the line at the next 100K or longer event. And then I will see you at the finish line ... and perhaps I will be there watching you cross the line after me!


  1. :-)

    this post made smile because I also know what those runners don't...that you'd smoke them in an ultra. When I hear comments like this, I just smile, nod...and do the polite thing. I know why I'm out there, and where I stand with my own fitness level.

    sorry bout your knee.

    looking forward to finger lakes!


  2. Thanks for the good words, John. You got it right ... I know why I am out there and I am so lucky to be able to appreciate the forest, the trail, and my running companions.

    And well, the knee ... just another measure of "fitness" ... crashed it early on, it hurt like hell, and just kept on going. I am so glad that you are able to make it back to the Finger Lakes again this year and that you are tackling VT100 again! Rock on! See you in July.

  3. Love this post, Chris! Perhaps the best part was this: "And the runners with "fast fitness" who don't have "endurance fitness" can and will be hunted down." Can and WILL be hunted down!! I'm not fast but I'm gaining endurance, learning long race strategy, and discovering what you already know: that there's nothing more fun than watching those cocky assholes shoot out at the start and then stepping over their sorry asses as the crawl up a hill at mile 25 or 42. I love drinking a beer at the finish and clapping for them as they drag themselves across the line. And for people like you that have both fast and endurance fitness and kick my ass at races--I drink to you! And in a few weeks, I'll be drinking with you...bring on the 50s!!!!