Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I'm a professional piano player, and I don't keep track of notes or sound

I just bang away at the keys.

That's essentially the advice handed out in this Reddit thread from July 2012 that a blog reader with a morbid fascination with morbid things recently pointed out to me in a morbid message after finding it in a morbid Bing search.

The thread was started by someone with the username "kimdu" claiming to be a professional runner with PRs of 16:32 for 5K and 2:38 for the marathon. She also identified herself as a coach -- evidently a paid one, given that she "also" [gives] "free info for kicks." Expressing a deep concern for the level of gimmickry and bullshit online, "kimdu" (and damn if that doesn't ring a bell) promises non-nonsense straight talk about how to improve.

Like this.


"kimdu" shows up here as [deleted] because she nixed the account after only a few hours or so (more on that below).

Consider the depths of inanity that this supposed professional athlete and guide is plumbing here. It's one thing to not be a slave to a watch all the time -- it doesn't take a professional coach to recognize the value in this. Similarly, it's good to not commit slavishly to a given workload, as this can cause all manner of predictable problems.

But these are starting points, not complete prescriptions. It's like telling someone looking to overhaul her diet, "Stay away from anything with too much carbon in it!" Um, sure, I can see the value in limiting simple carbohydrates or not overdoing milk if you're lactose-intolerant.

Seeing a supposed pro extend "It's not all about numbers" to "don't use a watch or mileage" should serve as a prompt to ask more questions to anyone reading with a modicum of discernment. For example, I would have asked, "OK, how did you run 2:38 for the marathon? Did you just go out every day and run until you were kinda tired? Were you following a plan? How do you even know 6:02 pace represents a good race? I mean, you get paid to do all of this, right?" (I also would have asked what kind of training plan she herself followed to run those personal bests, except that in this case, I already know.)

See, advice to not use a timing device or keep track of distance kind of loses its power when immediately followed by "Just be consistent and run faster/longer as you feel comfortable."That sounds lovely, but how will I know if I'm running faster or covering more ground if I'm advised to avoid the very tools people use to monitor such things? Is it OK to chant "One-one thousand, two-one thousand..." until I think I'm as out of breath as I was the last time I used this strategy?

On the heels of providing this free and tantalizing nugget, "kimdu" offers a suggestion to -- I think -- train with someone who's a little faster than you are. This isn't terrible advice, but "capacity" can be a tricky thing to determine without using times or distances as benchmarks.


Obviously, the idea to create this thread was as bad as all of the words and phrases that resulted. You can sift through it all if you want, and if you've been reading this blog for a few years, you'll see a lot of familiar inanities. This one is fun, especially given the vocal criticism "kimdu" offers elsewhere of those who use mood-altering substances, legal or otherwise.


Usually, when I slip up and grant "a friend" access to one of my accounts so he can start making me look bad, I at least wait until the account is more than a few hours old.

This, the apparent coup de grace before the deletion of the account, may actually be the funniest thing she has ever written in an attempt to actually be funny.


This was a month before "kimdu" elected to announce her coaching services, albeit in a very strange and indirect way, and with much scorn aimed at the very people she ostensibly aimed to separate from their "spare cash" despite not having a functioning website or any other means of promoting her expert services. So in a sense, it all kind of fits together. As much as it ever will with the kimdus of the world, at least.




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