There’s been a lot of talk, since the Vancouver riots, about the ethics of public shaming. Some claim that the desire to shame offenders publicly stems from the same kind of mob-mentality that may have fuelled the riots themselves; others insist that it is a natural progression for a society in which people are fed up with the court system due to its perceived leniency and lack of efficacy.
I’m not going to go into these issues, but I am going to do a little experiment in self-shaming. Here, I’m going to show you something that I am embarrassed by:
I said I was going to run a half-marathon, not a marathon, in Amsterdam this fall, but then I signed up for the longer distance. One of the reasons I decided to is because I’m running quite slowly, so I rationalized that I might as well run farther. The figure that I highlighted in red above is my average pace across all my training runs so far (I started training last month), and it is about a full minute per kilometer slower than what I was training at last year. In case anyone is wondering how information about my runs gets transmitted to my computer in this way, I wear a Garmin GPS watch while running. It is hands-down the best investment I ever made in my running — I am a data geek, and I really get motivated by seeing numbers on the screen.
But in this case, the numbers are not so encouraging. Possible reasons that I am moving slowly include the fact that I am 8-10 pounds heavier than I was during my last training season; the fact that Zürich is very hilly, and I’m bad at hills; and the fact that I allowed my fitness to slip a lot during our overseas move this winter.
But now I’m determined to get at least most of the way back to where I was before the Vancouver marathon. I have nearly four months until October 16, 2011, when I will (barring any unforeseen injuries) run the Amsterdam marathon. I will do an honest report about my training every month between now and then. Let’s hope to see that number in the red box decrease! And hey, if my talking about this motivates anyone to go running — even for a short distance — then my public shaming will have accomplished another worthy goal.