Weekly Roundup: November 22, 2019

It’s beginning to look a lot like the off-season! The interwebs is full of off-season running tips this week, whilst I’m finally ramping up for my next FKT attempt in December. If you have FOMO, hit me up and I’ll tell you about how you can virtually join or support the next speed record attempt.

Mary Cain’s disclosure about Salazar et al. has rocked the running world, and folx are finally talking openly about what has simmering for decades. Our own Caraway wrote about it on Monday, and Lauren Fleshman wrote about it for the New York Times. One of my frustrations about coverage is how often these pieces are showing up in the “opinion” sections of newspapers. When will women’s truth(s) be considered Facts, or, at least, factual enough to be included in the regular section of the Sports page?

Jordan Hasay
Jordan Hasay in the 2017 Boston Marathon. Source: Gr5 [CC BY-SA 4.0)]
Midweek, news broke from Runner’s World that Jordan Hasay was going to be “kinda”-coached by former Nike athlete Paula Radcliffe. In that same interview, Hasay explained that she had seen Salazar’s obsession with Cain’s weight but that she didn’t think he was trying to cause the harms Cain expressed. Her words were chillingly reminiscent of another hedge: “I sympathize with both sides.”

Now, I want to respect Hasay’s autonomy, agency and voice. As such, this is her opinion, and it is one that I find deeply problematic because it dismisses Cain and others’ allegations as unexpected or unintended consequences of some acceptable coaching behaviors. Just because Salazar didn’t specifically tell Cain to cut herself does not mean that it is totally fine that he created a culture that was so negative, terrible, and toxic that this was her response. There are not “very fine people on both sides,” mmkay?

However, I also want to remind everyone that Hasay is still caught up in the same toxic culture that Mary Cain was. If you’ll remember, Cain even sought to come back to the NOP at one point. This is how deeply a toxic culture can impact someone’s sense of self-worth—when you are told that the only way to be successful and the only way that you have value is when you are connected to a certain team or a certain coach, it is not unexpected that one might do what they can to stay there or want to come back. Hasay is still there, caught up in that same web. It’s not unexpected that she would have this response. That doesn’t make her comments okay, but let’s not vilify her without acknowledging that this is further systemic evidence of a deeply broken system.

Speaking of broken systems, more news regarding the IAAF regulations regarding “acceptable” hormone levels for women. Those arbitrary levels have far reaching negative consequences, as described in this article: DSD athlete Annet Negesa – “My family miss me, but if I go back to Uganda I may lose my life.” The question of defining womanhood by testosterone levels is not just ridiculous and anti-science, it is also a human rights issue. The IAAF is on the wrong side of history.

For more about Cain and all of the women’s running news check out the Fast Women newsletter, plus check a bonus supersized recap of the 50-mile championships from irunfar. EPIC.

I loved this review of running “myths” from Corinne Malcom at irunfar. None of them were necessarily new news but a good reminder and a strong recap of the science with citations. Swoon. The myths busted include 180 steps per minute as the perfect cadence, only needing six hours of sleep, and lost fitness and rest.

And from Hannah Irwin and Fast Running, a semi-ode to cross country running. It’s tough, but everyone should try it? Or, at least, that was my takeaway.

Finally, particularly appropriate at this time of the year, burnout and running less. Sometimes one needs to run less simply because life is busy. And that’s completely okay. No guilt. Related, from Zoe Romm, running isn’t therapy. I’ve long been concerned about folx (and books) referring to running as therapy, and while it certainly can help, it’s not the same thing at all.

I’m prioritizing quality over quantity in these roundups, but I might be missing some important links and/or news! What’d I miss? Next week, I’ll be taking a hiatus, so have a wonderful holiday week, and if I may be so bold, opt outside.

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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