Running from the Facts: "Shitting in our own nests" edition

Running's Wokesters continue to flip the game board rather than admit to being losers, while running's invertebrates keep letting it happen

Today’s complaints are a reminder that the distance-running media is now solely in the hands of people who are actively degrading the sport and its image. These are simpering, posturing shitweasels whose behavior, if you zoom out a little, neatly explains humankind’s worldwide collection of elegantly designed and constructed thermonuclear weapons—now inexplicably sitting idle and gathering dust despite a spectacular array of worthy targets—and historical propensity for defaulting to the sword whenever enough jabbering commoners simply become too goddamned annoying for the Bourgeoisie to bear.

Some of these malevolent actors are channeling personal and mental problems into widely distributed columns and posts in a way that portrays the running environment as far less unwelcome than it is, or at least was before the mass-grievance club came blubbering and waddling onto the scene. Others—while apparently unbothered by the sudden normalization of racism and sexism (not the kind you’re used to hearing about), obvious cheating, baseless whining, and lying in all its forms by running-media principals and the dingbats they promote—are not active participants in the grievance wars, but willingly continue to accept paychecks in positions that require that they smile and nod as they contribute in various ways to this “new normal.”

Part of this new normal includes a small army of cavorting, greed-driven quasi-fitness types who attract and retain sponsors despite their only verifiable form of exercise being lying and spewing empty bravado in defense of that lying. This would be bad enough on its own, but is inexcusable in an age of much-”celebrated” but poorly paid track athletes.

Two primary groups refuse to acknowledge that women, people of color, fat people, transgender people, and members of other groups historically marginalized and aggrieved to varying degrees are just as capable of dishonesty, narcissism, opportunism, and behaving like assholes in general as everyone else—especially in cultural settings that makes these attributes easy to monetize: White Wokesters and “oppressed” people with those ostensibly unwelcome traits. But since so many American political liberals now belong to at least one of these two groups, with running being particularly hard-hit thanks to its selecting for overeducated but underinformed whiners, the openly racist view that people of color are somehow incapable of the same transgressions, the same human failings, as whites—who are inherently and irrevocably bad—has become very popular, even though no one actually believes this.

Since I feel no obligation to apologize for either speculating or insulting people, I trust my readers (the kind courageous enough to interact with me) to correct me if I have somehow strayed below. But it’s hard to stray in any material way here; these “Running from the Facts” mysteries are never difficult to unravel. When villains hunted down by the Scooby Doo gang express frustration at being nabbed, the young children the show was designed for understand that this frustration has nothing to do with anything the Scoobsters have actually done wrong, other than bogart a few joints. Wokism is, by design, a childish, reality-shunning movement, so Wokester-villains responding in juvenile ways shouldn’t be surprising anymore.

  • At some point in recent weeks, I became the subject of a goofy sub rosa cancellation process that may still be underway.

    This page, accessible from my ancient beast of a personal site, links to the forty-five or so articles I wrote for Competitor Running and its direct media descendant, Podium Runner, between 2011 and 2020. I discovered recently that the most recent ten pieces of the batch, assigned and edited by Jonathan Beverly over a ten-month period ending last fall, had been removed from the Podium Runner site. The rest, which I believe were all assigned and edited by Mario Fraioli before he set sail for The Morning Shakeout and other independent enterprises, were and are still live except for those in the five-part “Volume Control” series. I updated the dead links to point to Internet Archive snapshots, which took about ten minutes.

    My author bio page, which I’ve never bothered linking to and was probably generated by a script, was scrubbed from the site as well, also under the radar.

    I don’t blame anyone at their end for wanting nothing to do with me—the feeling’s obviously mutual—or for wanting to waggle a passive-aggressive middle-finger my way, especially now that all of the sputtering minds at Outside and Pocket Outdoor Media are operating as one throbbing and syphilitic Wokish organ across town.

    But I’m really not sure how this move is supposed to either materially sting me or discourage me from writing just the kinds of posts that have made me a persona non grata among Wokish miscreants in the first place. I got a flat fee for writing each of those pieces, and the only beneficiary of clicks now is Podium Runner, or more generally, Outside (the post-acquisition corporate name for the aforementioned diseased media organ). And it probably took longer for the people who decided this was a good idea— hunched over mobile devices, I’d bet, and mutually ignoring why I suddenly went insane and decided to start criticizing the sport’s flagrant liars last year—to figure out how to do “erase” these articles than it did for me to “replace” them.

    Also, I don’t think I have to pat myself on the back, or even approve of my own writing work at all, to confidently propose that deleting those articles has incrementally diminished the quality of the material available on the Podium Runner site; the bar is so low now as to be indistinguishable from the inside rail of a running track. For example, can anyone come up with a defensible reason for this article’s existence, or even determine what David Roche is trying to do here other than write his way up to 800 words to collect a couple hundred clams? What exactly goes through an experienced editor’s mind when electing to add the following wisdom to the clickable online canon?

    “In coaching, my wife Megan and I rarely program specific “moderate” days because these grey-area runs can be counterproductive when they are inefficient, like when completed on sore legs or during periods of high life stress. That is why doing moderate running all the time can be so negative — if an athlete feels like crap and forces the pace, it becomes a hard run that can tear them down. Instead, we use the looser term ‘easy/moderate.’”

    Among the articles Podium Runner deleted are this one about three “permanently” retired elites—two of them women, it now seems not only pertinent but vital to point out— who returned to enjoy productive masters careers, and this one quoting some top (male and female!) coaches on how to best interpret a training log. The rest are boilerplate training pieces, but the people I interviewed for these two are not just random Wokish bozos whose nom de plume is surviving, say, being female or fat since birth in a world in which gonads are arbitrary anyway. They dedicated their time and wisdom and weren’t paid for stories that have now been poofed, to me another good reason to question whether a desire to tickle the underside of my balls again is really worth whatever giggles this gesture produced.

    Biased though I may be, any review of the respective consequences to me and to Podium Runner does not seem to favor the publication and its corporate pimps. Perhaps they think I see myself as a resentful outsider, excluded without his permission and bitterly looking in with his face pressed to the windowpane. If so, it’s not my bare face that’s mashed against the glass, pimples and all, and I like to think the difference isn’t subtle.

    I never made my living from writing about running and never intended to, but like as not, I and my presence remain. I wrote those articles in good faith and not solely for personal gain, so I’ll keep updating the links if my presence on the live site continues to vanish, Marty McFly-style. But this will be my only mention of Podium Runner’s move unless I get the clarity I’m not seeking from these “I’ll show you—I’ll hurt me!” operators directly.

  • Speaking of David Roche, Women’s Running used the same “Hard-easy is great, which is why you need more of ‘moderate’” article—which includes the advice ”if you’re after mental toughness through increased discomfort, you could just stick your finger in the trash compactor”— in its “Training” section. In fact, about two-thirds of the “Training” content on Women’s Running appears to have been contributed by men, with the other sections written by women and focusing on the primary message of how expendable men are in running thanks to the emergence of so many powerful and knowledgeable women. And speaking of Mario Fraioli, Women’s Running has taken an article he wrote about mile training for Competitor Running around eight years ago and stuck it behind a paywall.

    These harpies aren’t just laughably hypocritical buffoons; they’re lazy as hell, too. Remember, the Wokish taking ownership of Outside means that they can publish anything previously in Competitor Running and simply post a new date as if the piece itself is new. Meanwhile, all sorts of women are offering up real, useful training advice. If even I know where a lot of them are, why the hell can’t Women’s Running find them?

    A garbage editorial approach is suitable for a set of publications that represent the verbal equivalent of landfills and leach-fields, but it still really, really stinks.

  • Speaking of Women’s Running and powerful women who kind-of-sort-of want to see men disappear from running with a *poof*, yet enjoy our* training ideas so much that they even try to charge for them without paying us, this grievance chain on Twitter—and yeah, I couldn’t do this “job” without seeing what the harpies are up to there—reaches well into the Stroutosphere. Note the appearance of other “I’ve never been more out of shape, which is why I position myself as an authority on running” types like Jen A. Miller.

    I completely understand the sense of not being able to do or be who you want, but I am utterly alien to the idea of juxtaposing “This is who were are!” stories about strength and superiority that are plainly false or aspirational and “This is who I am!” tweets and Instagram stories about pain and insecurity that are plainly true and unfolding in real time.

    If people really want relief or pity, or simply want to feel less anxious and depressed, then they should stop Woke-washing their own miseries and pretending that sadness over a failed relationship or an expanding caboose is rooted in some kind of broader “-ism.” The same batch of people were irritated about men, women, or the world’s unfairness generally well before George Floyd was murdered, and it’s time for folks to stop milking that and related issues to assuage their own egos or consciences.

  • Speaking of the wrong people to be giving broad advice, don’t tell runners that what they’re doing is effective—that’s the perfect way to discourage them!

    As always with clickbait headlines, the jokes write themselves here; We Need to Stop Telling Sentries “You Look Alert” comes to mind, though I await your vastly superior efforts.

    The idea that Lauren Fleshman would ever balk at a compliment—direct, oblique, gushing or incidental—is right up there with the least believable of the knee-slapper claims I’ve seen by running principals in recent years, many of them coming from Fleshman herself. Lauren, you know we* still love you, which should count for something even if we will never love you nearly as much as you love you.

    I’m not linking to the story itself, because it might trigger people with strong urge to scream STOP PROJECTING YOUR INSECURRITIES ONTO EVERYONE ELSE. If you are in fact the sort of person who genuinely dislikes being complimented, don’t worry—people will give up eventually.

  • Speaking of runner bodies, Chris Chavez, who helped foment a bizarre resolution on the part of running commentators to basically avoid physical descriptions of athletes in a sport already regarded as a joke, seems to enjoy putting his own non-athletic (by pure performance standards) body front and center. He recently insisted on getting his ass kicked in a mile by a 57-year-old with hair halfway to the moon, with this being streamed to viewers who tuned in to watch an elite track meet. Then he led off his weekly newsletter with a series of sandpaper-against-the-eyeballs paragraphs about this face-off. I have a good idea of what Erin Strout must have privately thought of this, and if I’m right, I agree with her here. This is a waste of promotional resources.

    ”Ah, what’s the harm,” you might say. “Fuck you,” is what I might say in return, because according to Chavez and many of his peers, everything they say is harmful is immediately harmful, even when it never happened. So I’ll decide, at times randomly, what’s stupid and lame to include in track-meet webcast and what isn’t.

    It’s disturbing—and probably surprises Chavez himself to this day as much as it pleases him—that one accusatory burst of cuntistry, a single wail of a rage-tweet, has basically changed the way people below a certain age are willing to offer commentary on live events. In a sport not followed by many people, and by fewer and fewer people over fifty, this doesn’t take much. They’re the ones doing most of the promotion and streaming, and also the ones who purportedly want people outside of running to develop an interest in it.

    Help me square these things, please! Because all of it looks suspiciously like people who care chiefly, if not entirely, about how they look within running, not how their efforts make running appear to the general public (see: Iron Law of Institutions). Yes, this is an attention-grab among individuals, and if basically making an obvious dick of yourself somehow earns you respect within your peer group, why stop?

  • Speaking of naked self-interest, Lindsay Crouse, who would be in a psychiatric institution if anyone really cared about her, still has her fabricated comeback story pinned to her Twitter profile. She has also contributed to a new, brief, and very stupid New York Times presentation about dieting. But rather than review that one, to maximally depress myself, I instead dug up a podcast Crouse did with Kara Goucher and Shanna somebody a year ago. I didn’t listen to it, just seized on this text:

    Not only does Crouse show no integrity in her work, but she even brags about how much of it she has. And because running is as laden with credulous idiots like Goucher as any other sector of life, here we are.

  • Speaking of the oblivious support of undisguised, untrammeled narcissism, Latoya Shauntay Snell, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Influencer1, is on a rampage, though she’s as careful as ever to shout into a void rather than confront what her critics actually say about her. And man, is she ugly, inside and out.

    Below is Snell’s sole response to the things I’ve written about her. The thing is, she must have made it after she blocked me, meaning that someone else had to tell me it even existed. Therefore, she was hiding from me, but signaling my existence to her army of dumbass followers—an effective move, when the person you’ve blocked and are raving “at” is concerned about the impact of your bluster.

    I’m no more interested in a dialogue with this professional troll than she is in chatting it up with me, albeit not for the same reasons. I do want her to know that I’m immune to her bully tactics and will simply call her what she is: A lying buffoon and a nasty, bullying human being. The rest of the world can gawp approvingly if it wants to, as I have no more respect for admirers of freaks like this than I do the perpetrators themselves. Running is now a carnival of jizzwads, and I would be alarmed if I had the broad approval of anyone whose head is stuck deep in the stink of it.

    Snell has also expanded her bullshitting skill-set to being queer or one of the letters in LGBTQ. She is disgusting but perfect example of what “citizen running” is about these days. Rather than a bunch of people triumphing over a lack of natural ability and getting stuff done anyway, it’s a bunch of people laying on the couch and dreaming about getting stuff done, and being praised for being the same ass-dragging swine they’ve always been whole projecting obvious cross-eyed fantasies about slaying their weaselly demons. Snell’s Instagram profile looks like Stanley Kubrick’s idea for a Halloween lingerie catalog, a grotesque museum of needlessly exposed and shiftless flesh.

    You can see that Goucher has hitched her wagon to Snell’s slag-train of a star, too. She has never struck me as being very discerning, and on top of that, she’s a retired runner but a young person, so she needs to find ways to afford paying the property taxes on a house worth close to $3 million and rapidly rising. Apparently, she’ll do whatever she thinks she needs to do keep herself looking marketable (see also: Lauren Fleshman). In the process, here, sadly, she’s adding her “big” name to an even bigger heap of bullshit.

  • Speaking of the slothful-yet-prosperous, it’s taken me some time to appreciate how much content-swiping goes on between people in the running media, to include podcasters. This is because I don’t always notice when a given article includes a link to a given story or even remember where I first saw something mentioned; if my own material were at all shareable, maybe I’d have picked up on this sooner. Also, some “newsletters,” like the Fast-Women one, are usually nothing more than collections of links to other people’s work, sometimes tempered with clucky but poorly clarified disapproval. Others, like The Morning Shakeout, go onto more detail and introduce things others aren’t yet aware of or on top of.

    For now, I’m not going to say exactly where I’ve seen apparent purloining and use-without-attribution, but keep a close eye on Outside Online’s favorite jizzwad, Martin Fritz Huber. The kid of tripe he writes is almost always coupled to laziness and other adverse qualities, but he’s not the only one, and Fraioli is not the only victim.

    I know none of you grisly shitweasels care to improve yourselves, but be aware that this is something else I’m watching for.

  • And finally, speaking—with grave, unquestionable authority—of what we need to stop doing, it’s treating any of this nonsense as if it is sincere. If you need an unassailable illustration of this, it’s The Wokish celebrating pro runner Nikki Hiltz’s whimsical, occasional self-identification as “just a guy being a dude”—that is, someone to be unconditionally maligned in the eyes of Wokism, especially since her transformation presumably left her white.

For those who don’t understand analogies, or raccoons, those animals are known for, among other niceties, shitting and pissing in their own nests. They can present a cute enough exterior to children or the otherwise inexperienced, but wiser folks understand that they are both diseased and, for all their hissing, usually run away when even farcically challenged. (That said, as with most mammals, it’s inadvisable to mess with a mother raccoon near her young; I’m not sure how protective Wokish mothers are.)

Wokesters are like people who stand in a line with their dicks flapping in the breeze, but because that’s not asinine enough, occasionally turn into the wind to piss in unison, paying a price for none of it because of the sheer size of the cult and the breadth and depth of the river of urine.

I will always have a small audience, but that’s not a concern because all of the people I want to be aware of my work here continue to signal that they are in fact keenly attuned to it. And were I to confront any one of them singly, in person, with the question “Why did you say, transmit, or otherwise underwrite this damaging thing that you knew was false?”, my interlocutor would either offer a glazed, half-guilty stare over my shoulder or simply run away in shame.

So, like I said, fuck ‘em all. Whether any of them puts the brakes on any of this as a result remains a somewhat open question, but the in-group consensus already seems to be in on that one.

In theory, they could take direct aim at me and refute my various accusations, which are clearly bothersome. If I’m consequential enough to formally cancel in any way, then so is what I’m saying, regardless of the size of my audience. Yet it’s nothing put passive-aggressive swipes like the one Podium Runner just took, all the way down.

One problem the Wokish face, and most of them know it, is that the policies and ideas they push are things Americans at large overwhelmingly reject, even if the harpies have the running media itself in a vise-like twat-hold. For example, Democrats as a whole are the only anti-science demographic when it comes to transgender athletes:

But overall, why should they feel constrained, other than by the remnants of their consciences? In a social climate in which Apple shamelessly decided to pull this move, where are the guardrails? Unless you’re in a position to just tell these people “Suck my balls,” which can be laden with pitfalls for people leading normal lives or without balls, you’ll just be in the path of this cultural trash-avalanche yourself eventually.

Lies are lies, and the same reflexive property applies to scientific and other demonstrable facts. That so many people disagree about the basic rules of discourse and basic reality, and are agitating successfully for the squandering of limited promotional and financial resources on absolutely the wrong things for running and its people—fast and slow—as a whole, troubles me more deeply than any personal aspects of this do. I am confident that I’ll stand by every word I’ve written in five years, even if I may inevitably regret some of the granular barbs. Maybe. (Hey, at least you get something unique here, not just results you can get elsewhere and a list of links to the work of others.)

I regret almost every non-personal relationship I have forged in running. If I as a freelancer was supposed to treat Erin Strout or anyone else as a “colleague” no matter what they say or do, then what am I to think of an editor I like, such as Jonathan Beverly, becoming an actual colleague of Molly Mirhashem and the rest of the shitweasels at Outside, along with people claiming that running is a locus of “white supremacy”? All of the Wokish and those they have engulfed are either literal or spiritual colleagues now, and they are entirely welcome to sole possession of the merry mess they’re making.

I mentioned that all of this is a reminder that running, a broader “thing,” sucks. The Wokish are insisting this is so; I’m merely agreeing with them, albeit for different reasons. I doubt many of my subscribers disagree. For me, it’s also a different kind of reminder, and a petty one: Although it’s healthy to have a job and reliable sources of entertainment between orgasms, I should have stuck with chess or computers or whatever I was allegedly proficient at as a pre-teen. More than a means of making a living, this would have sharply limited my exposure to other human animals. I also wish that I had ingested, inhaled, or bathed in carcinogenic substances more often as a young child, but I either lacked either access to these materials or the knowledge to identify them and put them to proper use. I’m working on that now, even if it’s too late to die at an age most consider young.

So, maybe I’ll just burn out on my own before I can be extinguished. But I doubt it.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

(Next up, or soon: An interview with someone who gave birth 39 years after running a sub-five-minute mile, a collection of takes from Boulder old-schoolers on how their town’s running flavor has (d)evolved, or both.)

1

Fans of the 1984 film Ghostbusters will recall the hyper-inflated, short-lived incarnation of gloating malevolence that stomped around New York City until blown apart by a reality check. Snell has all the substance of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and none of the hapless charm.