Running with Atrial Fibrillation – It’s Okay To Be Slow! Forget The Pearl Izumi Advertisements

I saw some recent Pearl Izumi ads posted on The Trail and UltraRunning group on Facebook and thought I’d comment.

There are a number of Pearl Izumi ads that make fun of slow runners, here are two examples:

Pearl Izumi1
Pearl Izumi – Trying to sell shoes by denigrating slow marathoners

pearl_izumi2
Divide and Conquer – Pearl Izumi teasing “joggers”

The remaining ads can be found on this excellent blog:

Short, Round, and Fast

One of the nice things about endurance sports, from half marathon and up, is that most participants do not have this type of attitude. It is a live and let live culture. It seems like half marathons in particular are a plce where you generally see conspicuously non-athletic looking athletes – and good for them!

pearlnonathl3
Half Marathon Participant – Right on!

As for me, I’m in permanent atrial fibrillation, which makes me slow, and now I have to take a beta blocker, which makes me even slower.

But I’m certainly not going to stay home, and I’m going to remain a trail runner, even if I’m slow, and I still plan on signing up for distance events. At my last half marathon I was very surprised to see almost the entire field, including people who would previously never had been in front of me, pass me, get smaller, and disappear from sight. In the first two miles. Not fun. I was thinking, “Whoa, where’d everybody go?”

Contrary to how it might appear to faster runners who are observing slower runners, it’s not always easy being slow. It might actually be more difficult. Yesterday on a four mile trail run, my first run on the beta blockers (more on that later), I rounded a corner and saw another runner behind me. He was an individual who I had seen at the trailhead, who appeared to be a bit older than me, and who was wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt on a ninety degree day. I thought, “Oh man, I don’t want to get passed!” and I cranked up my speed. I don’t think I was running fast at all, maybe about a ten minute mile, but the burning in my lungs and legs felt like a fast 5K. “This is ridiculous!” I thought, saddened. This is “fast” for me now.

But that is my new reality.

As far as Pearl Izumi is concerned they evidently think that being assholes, and creating some controversy, will make their ads stand out. They may be correct. There are a lot of competitors out there, they have an extremely small market share, and it is said there is no such thing as “bad publicity.” I knew that they made shirts, and jackets; but until now I didn’t even know they sold shoes.

pearlizumi3 dog
Pearl Izumi Shoes – so fast you’ll kill your dog!

One of their ads last year, which featured a runner who ran so fast in his new Pearl Izumi shoes that he killed his dog, made quite an impression. Of course they apologized and had their (unfunny) ad featured in news stories and blogs for weeks.

By the way, my main nylon running jacket is made by Pearl Izumi. I like it, it’s a good jacket. I’m not going to boycott them or burn the jacket, or anything like that. I just want to say in this blog that slow runners are probably slow for a reason – and that reason isn’t necessarily poor character or laziness.

spraguerun
Me – Lazy jogger with atrial fibrillation after a twenty mile training run. I ran so slow that my dog survived!

Or even if the slow runner does have poor character, or is lazy, well, what’s it to you?

And guess what – Pearl Izumi got three of their ads posted in my little blog (and elsewhere) – for free!

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10 thoughts on “Running with Atrial Fibrillation – It’s Okay To Be Slow! Forget The Pearl Izumi Advertisements

  1. Here, here…and many many of us know the “Wha?!” feeling when running turns into slogging due to AF and beta blockers…and can maybe enjoy as a special gift
    the short blasts of bliss that still come our way. Anyhow, congrats on a terrific post!

  2. You are one of the main reasons I’m still running. Started running back in 2013 and was probably slowish but in February this year had first bout of AF and was popped onto beta blockers. I now feel like the slowest thing ever – my last 5K was 51 mins! However I stumbled (haha) upon your blog and it’s kept me going when I was about to quit. I maybe slow but at least I’m doing it!

  3. I actually complained to the UK editors of Runners World about running these adverts – they haven’t done so since.

  4. I was diagnosed last week (Wednesday) with AF. I had no clue. Yes, I noticed a couple of my runs had been slow recently, but I had figured it was the ungodly humidity here in NC and the fact that I have MS. I was put on a calcium channel blocker and aspirin for now. I’m having another holter and an echo next week. I’m so glad I found your blog, because my doc and I have already spent a good time in what seemed like mediation over me continuing to run. I am training for the NYC Marathon, which will be my first. You have given me hope!

  5. Good job calling out Pear Izumi for those terrible ads. I prefer to look at things as a fitness journey where everyone has her/his own pace.

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