Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Last Straw

Ok obviously I can't resist this post given I'm in the hardest block of training for the Oct. 7 Twin Cities marathon ... but that's it. That's the final straw. I can chalk up Ryan blaming Obama for a GM plant closure that occurred before Obama became president to poor research and fact-checking. I can almost accept as politics as usual the anti-Medicare and anti-welfare state Romney-Ryan camp's surreal argument that it is they who will save Medicare. But claiming to have run a sub-3-hour marathon? And then, when the lie is discovered, to claim that he forgot his exact time and was simply trying to think of an average time? That's it -- Ryan's a straight-up liar. To repeat what's been noted about marathon-gate by literally everyone who's ever laced up a running shoe, marathon finishers simply do not forget their times -- usually not by one minute and certainly not by an hour and especially if they finish just one. We obsess over our goal marathon time (and pace per mile) like they're magical numbers. I'm pretty sure my masseuse and chiropractor know mine by now. And, nobody, I mean nobody who has ever trained for a marathon, no matter how many years have passed, could possibly confuse running 9 minute 12 second miles (Ryan's actual pace in his 4 hour plus marathon) and running 6 minute 29 second miles (Ryan's claimed pace for a 2 hour and 50 minute marathon). That difference is probably even more massive than a non-runner might guess ... it's the difference between a fantastically good ("sub-elite") recreational runner and a, well, not very fast young guy. Actually, all of this made me curious about the data on marathon times. (Why is there no running equivalent of the statistical skier?). According to this study of a large sample of U.S. marathons, albeit only covering one year (2011), 2.7% of men finished between 2:30 and 3:00. Another .2% finished under 2:30, so overall a minuscule 2.9% of males beat 3 hours. Meanwhile, 58.7% of men of all ages finished under 4:30 (sorry, no breakdown by age; safe to say it's much higher for 20-somethings). Hey Aaron, can you dig up the equivalent numbers for MLB averages (what 2.7% of players hit and what 58% of players hit?).

Luckily, now you too can convert your true running times into Paul Ryan times. It's a snap. Just go here to the Paul Ryan Time Calculator and enter your times. I'm shooting for a 3 hour 12 minute marathon in MSP, and if I pull it off, my Paul Ryan-adjusted time would be 2:19:12, only about 15 minutes off the world record marathon time of 2:03:38!

Since this has turned into a running post, I'll just quickly say that the fall's first 5K was déjà vu inducing. Last year I lost this Parkinson's race by 12 seconds, and this year ... by 10 seconds ... of course to a new guy who moved to town just this summer. 10 seconds is an excruciating gap ... close enough to see the winner pretty much the whole way and feel like you have a shot (and I'm pretty sure I gained on him during the final mile) but not close enough to make it interesting and far enough to feel exasperated. But there's an upside here. My Paul Ryan-adjusted time (assuming that the race was the correct distance ... don't get me started on races that can't even get their routes within a third of a mile ...) was 13:50 — less than a minute slower than the winning 5K time in London!

Since this has turned into a running post, II, congrats to Jason for crushing it in the Wasatch 100 and nearly breaking 24 hours.

In a rational world, I'd be happy to have a real debate based on facts and honest disagreement. The Washington Post Reports:

Ryan’s budget would raise $2 trillion less in tax revenue over the next decade than President Obama’s budget. Ryan’s plan would also spend $5.3 trillion less over that time. A big chunk of this is health care: Ryan would cut federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid for a portion of his savings. But he’d also spend $2.2 trillion less on everything else. So what, specifically, is Ryan planning to cut? (Or, alternatively, what is Obama planning to spend more on?) . . .

Over the next decade, Ryan plans to spend about 16 percent less than the White House on “income security” programs for the poor — that’s everything from food stamps to housing assistance to the earned-income tax credit. (Ryan’s budget would authorize $4.8 trillion between 2013 and 2022; the White House’s would spend $5.7 trillion.) Compared with Obama, Ryan would spend 25 percent less on transportation. He’d spend 6 percent less on “General science, space, and basic technology.” And, compared with the White House’s proposal, he’d shell out 33 percent less for “Education, training, employment, and social services.”

But until Americans wake up suddenly obsessed with facts and data, Runner's World's crackpot investigative team will suffice.

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