Pearl Izumi and Pussy Apology

I think this is the first time I’ve ever typed “Pussy Apology”, but I did NOT mean to call anyone a pussy— I just wanted to say that first.

Where to begin?

Here’s the apology I stuck up on The Marathon Show wall:

Hi all, sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, I took down the post because I didn’t mean it the way it was interpreted and it was just better to delete than to explain/argue on tons of separate threads. I’m sorry if anyone was offended, my intention was to spark some healthy debate which sort of got out of control. My main point was – I wasn’t offended by the ad campaigns, and if you’re a runner you know who you are. You’re not defined by campaigns/products, etc. But I either didn’t say it right, or something got badly misunderstood. I certainly wasn’t trying to call anyone a pussy. I’m trying to form a better apology/response on the blog, but in the meantime please accept my humble apologies.

In case you went to bathroom and missed my entire last post—I wrote a piece that I hoped would be an engaging debate on Pearl Izumi’s last ad campaign. It went viral immediately and in a matter of seconds I got a flurry of personal attacks. You guys are really fast readers.

I did not in any way intend to be:

  • Offensive
  • An asshat
  • A jackass
  • Shameful
  • Stupid
  • Immature
  • A bad representative of ____ (insert noun)

Or any of the other things that were mentioned.

Although I didn’t mean any harm, I do want to take responsibility and apologize to anyone who was offended. I think “pussy” was definitely the wrong word to use here. (Title: Pear Izumi Separates the Runners From the Pussies… I Mean Joggers)

All who reacted negatively were people who don’t know me, whereas I got positive comments from those who do know and follow me. I hope this speaks to my real-life character and reflects the more-positive spirit of my blog.

  • I do NOT apologize for my opinions—like the fact that I like the Pearl Izumi ads.
  • I do NOT apologize for feeling out of place in the mainstream running community. Or being different.

Here is what I do believe, and failed at expressing:

Runners are runners. Runners KNOW they are runners. Runners are NOT defined by an ad campaign.

I also want to add:

In life, people are going to call you names. EVEN if I truly meant to call you pussy. EVEN if Pearl Izumi called you a Jogger. So what?

Know yourself. Be yourself. And own that.

Don’t waste anger or negative energy on what others are saying. Life is too short. And do not EVER let an ad campaign put a label on you.

Part of me died a little inside when I deleted my last post because aside from the misunderstandings, I do stand by my opinions. I’m a strong believer in free speech and I believe a blog should be place where people are free to express themselves, regardless of how stupid their opinions are.

That said, my blog has now grown to a point where people are actually reading and sharing it in larger numbers. People know where I work and ultimately I deleted this post because they were contacting my job and I needed that to stop.

I wonder if going out of your way to try to get someone fired is in line with the “spirit of the marathon”? Vindictiveness and rage are not qualities that I’ve understood to be part of the running community.

That said, I understand and accept my responsibilities as an employee. And I have to make some decisions as to where to draw the line between my own freedom to blog, your freedom to attack me at work, and my responsibilities at the office.

I’ve learned a lot today.

I’m also embarrassed that a lot of heavy hitters like Joe from The Marathon Show and Marathon Maniacs got a wrong impression of me. I’m a Maniac myself and worked hard to get there, and I’ve chatted with Joe and love him, although I’m sure he doesn’t remember me. Some of the runners I most admire are Maniacs, and I’m truly humbled by them.

But I’m also saddened by the spirit of hate and revenge that so many of us are still feeding online. It puzzles me as to how people can harbor so much resentment to do and say the things they have to another human being for ANY reason. I’m ashamed of us as runners or joggers or whatever we are.

I really struggled with how to react to this, and I have decided to paste below the raw text from my original post. I feel people still have the right to read it and reach their own conclusions. I’m sorry if you find this re-posting offensive, and I completely understand if I lose you as a reader.

I simply could not bring myself to censor this blog in any way. And I hope that those who do stay can trust me to always express my opinion, even if I’m imperfect in my presentation or being a downright asshat.

In the end, I AM young and inexperienced, as one person noted. I’m just a runner still trying to find herself, figure out her place, and set herself apart from the rest of the crowd. And that was really the spirit behind this original troublesome post:

***

“Last night I got home to find a box of Pearl Izumi gear on my doorstep. I’ve never tried this product before, but they emailed me last week to ask if they could send over some clothes and shoes. I agreed.

Afterwards I found out that this brand has been frowned upon and called out on The Marathon Show due to an ad campaign that seems to trivialize “joggers” and slower, non-competitive runners. I went online to see what the debate was about, and here are the ads I found:

[Ad photos here]

The Criticisms

  • This campaign offends and trivializes slower runners.
  • We should be encouraging all physical activity, even walking.
  • Running does not have to be competitive.
  • Finishing a marathon is a big accomplishment, regardless of time.

My Reaction

Are the critics justified? Should we be holding this brand accountable for marginalizing slower or non-competitive runners? God knows I can be pretty damn slow.

But when I see these ads, I don’t think about speed or ability. To me, they’re about an attitude toward running.

They describe a person who is committed to running. Running is a large part of their life. It takes up a great deal of their time. They make sacrifices to run. They plan their schedules around running. They are runners.

These products are marketed to athletes who crave the wilderness and remote trails. Runners who move like wildlife. Not joggers who huff around the block because they ate too much and feel guilty.

We crave running for RUNNING. Not for health. Not for weight loss. Not for recognition.

That doesn’t mean we’re not slow sometimes. It doesn’t mean we never walk. It doesn’t mean we don’t run for fun. But when we do all those things, we still feel like cheetahs.

Years ago, I was that huffing, overweight runner. But even in my worst shape, I never considered myself a jogger. I was always a runner growing into my own skin. Now physically capable of doing what I always knew I must. 

A Marketing Risk

If we analyze this from a marketing viewpoint, Pearl Izumi has been successful. They have gotten people to debate their product, and they have taken a risk to create a sense of elitism around their brand. Instead of trying to sell to anyone with a pulse, they have carved out a very specific target market and risked the disdain of everyone else.

How is this any different than Marathon Maniacs? Selling clothing as a status symbol only to those who qualify? Yet nobody gets offended when they see a Maniac run by.

Or back when INKnBURN was successfully marketed to only ultra runners, you couldn’t wear the brand unless you had completed an ultra. Aspiring ultra runners waited patiently and planned for the day when they could finally wear INKnBURN.

A very vivid and pleasant memory for me was when Shacky peeled off the INKnBURN shirt off his back and handed it to me, right after I ran my first ultra distance. It such a positive emotional experience that I’ve since driven sales to that company, recommended them, gotten to know the owners, toured the facilities, written reviews, and marketed for them.

Stepping out of the running world, we see car commercials associated with elitism and luxury. Brands that aren’t just for ANYONE: Wines. Gourmet food. Clothing.

The value of setting up your brand as a status symbol is immeasurable, and from a business perspective I applaud Pearl Izumi for setting themselves apart, for speaking to me and “my kind” directly, and for reaching out to me personally.

Yes, physical activity is important at all levels. I spend most of my day encouraging others to become more active, to eat healthier, and reap the benefits of running. But that doesn’t mean I have everything in common with anyone who runs.

At a marathon starting line, I never feel like the other runners. How many of them dream of running 100 miles? How many of them run 20 miles the day before a race? How many schedule back-to-back ultras? How many look for the hardest, most challenging race they can find—and immediately sign up?

The products marketed to ALL runners are not for me—the GUs, the supportive shoes, the foam rollers. I don’t carb load, I don’t taper, and I don’t stretch. I’m more of a slap- a-sandwich-together-at-the-crack-of-dawn-and-don’t-come-home-until-it’s-dark type of runner.

The truth is I’ve never been drawn to a running brand that targets the masses. In fact, anything targeting the masses is an immediate turn-off for me. I know I’m different enough that I will probably hate a product that works for everyone else.

But the Pearl Izumi ads talk about trails so remote you could dump a dead body. Mileage so high that you’re burning through gear. And movements so smooth that you feel like a wild animal. Not everybody runs like this. But I do. And I get it.

Thanks Pearl Izumi for noticing me, and picking me out from the crowd.”

About these ads

63 responses

  1. Holy Smokes! I must have commented early on in the dialogue, because I had no idea that all of this transpired in a matter of hours. Vanessa, though I don’t know you, I want you to know a few things about me:

    I am a mid-pack ultra runner, and have been for about 14 years now. I finished my first 100 last September, and was ecstatic to finish it in 35 hours.
    I have more than a dozen friends who finish in the top 10% and although I wish I could be competitive and do the same, I know I am content with being a finisher. Yes, I even have some friends on the Pearl Izumi trail team!
    I was not offended by anything you said in your original post. Even though I know that much of the time, I am a “jogger”, especially in the latter stages of an ultra, there is no way I would ever call myself one. I do not run in a sweat suit, I don’t do it to lose weight, and yes, I do a weekly interval workout.

    The fact that people are offended by your previous post clearly speaks to the fact that you eloquently got your point across. Some of the best editorialists in our country are the ones that get people talking and sometimes piss people off in the process. That’s why we write blogs and editorials: to express to someone that there exists a different point of view from the one that they may hold.

    Hang in there. You are a great writer, and although I’ve never met you, an inspiring runner. Hopefully, one of these days we will be able to log some trail miles together.

  2. PS ~ I went to a special screening of the film “Unbreakable”, the story of the Western States 100 in 2010. The room was filled with local ultra runners (Salt Lake City). Never have I felt more at home and loved than in a grouping of a bunch of ultra runners. That is something that is very unique to our sport. No matter how fast or slow you are (or if you even finish), you are a winner, and you are accepted.

  3. I appreciate your free-spirited viewpoint, but I think it also helps to look at the other side of the mirror. This post evokes “runner” pride specifically by putting down “joggers,” and not in a subtle way. Of course it’s just marketing, but marketing reflects a lot about our culture. What this marketing reflects in the kind of mean-girl bullying rampant in high schools. “We’re better than you because we think/dress/act this way.” It’s elitism masked as empowerment. The problem with this sort of message is instead of boosting confidence, it attacks insecurities, which most of us have.

    Advertising will never set you apart from a crowd. Advertising is specifically designed to draw you into a crowd, so it can sell more products. This advertising fails in that regard because it alienates more people than it inspires. The message I took away from these advertisements is “Clearly the manufacturers think I’m not good enough for these shoes.” To me, that’s not a very effective strategy to sell shoes.

    Sorry to hear this post caused a mean-spirited backlash. I fall into the category of respectfully disagreeing.

  4. That was your blog post that everyone went up in arms about or was there more I didn’t read. Because if that bottom section of your blog is all you said that is silly for people to be up in arms about? But of course I didn’t get to read the original, so I’m going off this post. I hear your argument about brands and marketing I’ve always wanted to have a Ferrari but I don’t have the money and I know they don’t market their cars to me but it doesn’t mean I don’t aspire to buy one some day.

  5. I missed the flurry of comments because i read you on Google Reader but I just wanted to delurk to tell you I thought it was a great post. It was a commentary on advertising with a strong don’t-let-anyone-put-a-label-on-you message. Nothing out of line imo. Certainly nothing to get worked up over. Keep on writing and keep on running!

  6. I understand what you meant by using the p(ussy)-word and was not offended in any way. I disagree with Pearl Izumi, the difference between a jogger and a runner is not the speed. You know you´re a runner when you feel like a runner! There are days when you don´t feel like running and go for a jog instead. But that´s all in your mind.

  7. I loved your post about Pearl Izumi and I love the ads, too. I’ve been a runner for a really long time (probably 14 years now), and I’m nothing special. I’ve never won a race, and I’m not aggressively competitive. I do have a quiet intensity that shines when I run, and I love that feeling. You said it right “We crave running for RUNNING.” For me, running is mostly personal, but I have fallen in love with the running community over the years. I think we all (runners) consider ourselves bad asses, and we are united by our love of the sport and all that it does for us. Its a place where we get to be quiet and mindful, or a place where we get to let go and contemplate nothing more than the wind in our hair. Ads, brands, etc are merely on the fringes for us. I definitely love certain brands, but they do not define me. My running defines them. Your post was awesome, and I regret that you felt the need to take it down, but I do understand. Keep running!

  8. Vanessa I support your right to share your opinion. Whether, it’s Bill Maher, Rush Limbaugh or you it is imperative that open dialogue and discussion be acceptable in this society for many reasons. I hope others can have arguements that differentiate between emotional and intellectual reactions. I also hope that others can develop thicker skins if they can’t restrain themselves from acts of personal revenge. This highlights a societal issue.

  9. I’ve been following you for some time now and read the original post soon after you wrote it so no comments were shown. Although my reaction to the ads were like most everyone else, I enjoyed reading about the other side to the argument, the one that people were so quick to attack and how you compared it to the Maniacs and luxury cars. You are absolutely right!

    It is hard to go against public opinion and write something as eloquent as you did, but the truth of the matter, the readers that so attacked you were ones that already had made up their mind about the subject beforehand and just unloaded their frustrations on you, there’s nothing you could really do to change that.

    FTR, I don’t always agree with what you say, but I always enjoy hearing your opinion. Keep on writing such thoughtful pieces and you’ll never lose me as a reader!

  10. Okay, let me be clear. I was one of those who found the title of your post offensive. Very offensive. I do think you are a good writer, but I also think that shaming folks who run slower than you do or for a different set of reasons than you do is counterproductive. Of course you want to feel special. You are! You don’t need to tear someone else down to prove it.

    That said, I wish some of you could come to work with me. I wish you could see how terribly difficult it is to take care of someone who is morbidly obese, and how deeply ashamed they are of a situation they feel they can’t control, because they think they can’t do what we do. Which is utter bollocks, really – everybody starts with a few steps out the door.

    Let me apologize sincerely for posting on your employer’s wall. That was out of line and although I wasn’t the first or only person to post there, I shouldn’t have followed suit. It was wrong and I won’t do it again. I was seeing the eyes of some of my new runners looking at me in my mind and I was angry because the very reason some of them give for being unwilling to go out for a run is that, “People make fun of me.” And, yeah, maybe they should be stronger than that, or be able to tell everyone to go to hades, but they can’t. They go back inside and don’t come out again. The next thing you know, an ambulance is bringing them to me. And, yes, they are responsible for their own self-care, but do we not share a little bit in the responsibility for not making it tougher than it has to be?

    If nothing else, we should encourage people to get out and be active because guess who pays when they have to have a coronary bypass or gallbladder surgery or whatever? We all do, in the form of higher insurance premiums and/or higher taxes. It’s in our own self-interest to encourage physical activity wherever we can. Please think about what I’ve said – you’re beautiful and fit and engaging and you really are a very good writer (even when I disagree with your content) – you could have a great deal of influence on a lot of people. And I hope you’ll do just that, even if the running masses don’t appeal to you.

    • I think you are missing the point. The whole point of Pearl Izumi’s ads and of Vanessa’s original post was that we are all runners. It comes from within. Even your “obese clients”, (whatever that means, because I’m not sure what kind of work you are in) can be runners, even in their current state. The fact is that “it comes from within” and it is an emotion and a feeling, not a race result.

  11. It’s too bad people took an opinion and made it personal, and I’m amazed anyone threatened to take it to your job. That’s a deep level of bull. A pussy move, if you will. I’m glad you reposted what you wrote. Running is a state of mind, not a result of speed. And we should all feel free to write what we want. The internet is the most free, most judgmental place in the world.

  12. I was one of the first people to put a link to your post on the active.com FB page, and while I understand what Terri said, I respectfully disagree.

    Before you removed it, your FB page touted Active.com as your employer. And more than just an employer you said that you were an editor for them. By stating that you are an editorial employee of a company that is a major part of the running community, you give your opinion a great deal of credence and an increased legitimacy that you would not have without it. When you use that legitimacy to attack a significant number of people who happen to be customers of the employer you tout, we have every right and obligation to let them know.

    As others have stated, I’m sure you meant the post as an empowerment piece, as I’m sure PI intend their ad to be, but neither was about empowerment, it was about tearing down others to make you feel better about yourself.

    • Active does not own this blog, nor the content I post on it. This blog existed long before my position at Active. While I understand that what I do reflect on the company, you seem to be suggesting that Active should own everything I think, write, will write, and have written in the past. If that’s the case, I’m afraid I’m seriously underpaid.

      • It’s very clear that active.com doesn’t own you or your blog or your opinions, but you use them as a form of bona fides. If you want your workplace to give credence to your opinion be prepared for the consequences when those opinions insult your employers customers.

      • I certainly don’t ask my workplace to give credence to any of my opinions, and I stand by my position. My readers here have been reading since way before my role at Active, and my blog is not linked to my Active articles. I don’t seek or receive traffic through Active.

    • Jason, by both your cowardly actions and your weak defense of them here, you epitomize the very definition of a pussy.

    • if she is portrayed as an editorialist, maybe you should look up the definition of the word before you get all bent out of shape about someone voicing their opinion. Editorial: “a newspaper article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue.”

  13. You have a candid and direct style. It is a wonderful style and I’d be pissed if you tried to change it or let it be compromised. I am converting to minimalist running. It takes a while for feet that have been running in shoes for over 40 years to build the muscles and strength. After months of patient progress I am finally seeing the stabilization coming – 10 mile runs feel great.

    I said all of that because reading your blogs has been one of several things that keep me going. I’m doing a half in a couple of weeks and signed up for a full marathon in fall, but I plan to be running 20+ miles a lot by then.

    The tag line on my running journal (jlgrunr.com) is “I run therefore, I am”. I think you know just how deep that simple sentiment goes.

    Keep it up. Keep saying what you think. And, it’s OK to apologize now and then. It’s part of life.

    jlg

  14. I like how you turned the whole elitism theme of the advertisement on it’s head (“God knows I can be pretty damn slow….Thanks Pearl Izumi for noticing me, and picking me out from the crowd.”). Your interpretation is about the pure spirit of running. I love it.

    On the other hand, I think the ads are a ham handed attempt to grow a “hot brand”. They are not particularly clever and they seem to be building more animosity than desire in the marketplace. But that’s PI’s choice. The market will decide if it was the right choice. Personally, they don’t impact me one way or the other. I run for myself alone.

  15. Wow. I totally got it….. The uptight kids need to mellow the fuck out. Get to know thyself and get some self confidence that you are failing to find while running your miles. I like your point about the maniacs V. Yeah, I don’t want to be in that club anymore.

    Unbelievable that someone would contact your work. I am feeling really nervous these days with people attacking free speech. I want to be able to tell the next guy to fuck off too but morality dictates that it be done in a reasonable take-care-of-your-fellow-human-kind of way not try to destroy their livelihood. Well done rising above V and for the apology although it was not necessary. as we said in the ninetys, take a chill pill.

  16. for real? people got mad about that? i see nothing upsetting in there. as hard as schools try they can’t teach common sense and reading comprehension can vary widely. i get what you’re saying. people get offended at the weirdest thing and the problem is their insecurities don’t allow them to listen. they have a filter on and hear what they want to. f them. you can’t please everyone in this world and there’s no reason to try to make anyone happy but yourself. hopefully one day schools and parents will learn to teach discussion, not name calling, threatening, and telling mom on you.

  17. I just wanted to say that I was not offended by your post. I will continue to be a reader. I love that people can share their opinions and wish that a blog post should not recieve this much hate so fast regardless of how dumb a person’s perspective is. I think its stupid that we have to pussy-foot around because people are sensitive. With all the crap in the world that we ought to be sensitive about and are not, I don’t understand why we pick out these nitpicky things to whine about like someone’s opinion of an ad campaign. I feel like those people are the same type of people that whine if I pray in public or if I said a don’t support a particular candidate for government. I have a right to my opinion and so do you. I would have been pissed if people started to threaten my job because of an opinion I have and chose to express.

    Hooray for re-posting. I feel like the real bullies here and the jackasses who’d track you down in addition to posting their comments just to be a jerk.

    Keep up the good work

    -Jeremy

  18. Not sure what was said, but I’ve seen enough on the ‘net to know that before people comment they should ask themselves if they would say it in someone’s home as their guest, for example. If not, zip it.

    Wasn’t crazy about the ad, I just don’t enjoy things that are divisive and negative, even if the intention is good. Better to just be positive.

    PI supports some great local CO ultra runners, and although they are certainly fast, their races do require patience!

  19. I love your blog even more after you stuck to your guns didn’t censor it! I already had your original post in my email and will never delete it! I’m sorry there are any people out there sad enough to make you apologise for your own opinion when I see you to be one of the most honest, giving, self-effacing and humble of writers/runners that I have ever had the luck to come across.

    It appears most of your followers are smart enough to know that your blog is your own opinion and not the work of your employer. I’ve been following you since well before you moved to San Diego and I’ve loved every single post you’ve written (including that one with the ‘power band’ pics!) and it is that kind of willingness, honesty and integrity that keeps me reading. Your place of work has not hindered your ability to write meaningful and perceptive posts that keep me coming back!

    Thank you for your blog and your unwavering honesty. I LOVE it!

    I’ll always be your fan! :)

  20. I’m a 57 year old, UK, ultra runner – very much a back-of-the-pack performer. I have an 18 year old daughter in high school. Your writing speaks to both of us with equal power and connection. We’re both inspired by somebody who makes their life happen – rather than sitting on the margins waiting to be given permission to live.
    Don’t stop writing, don’t lose your unique voice, don’t let the bullies win.
    – Geoff

  21. Hi Vanessa,

    As I usually read your blog on Google Reader, your original post was still available to read this morning (your deleting it didn’t seem to work on the reader). Anyway, I read it, and starred as a post I’d really enjoyed, understood and would want to read again.

    I then scrolled through my reader and subsequently read your post above.

    I am so shocked that people reacted in such a horrible, inappropriate and frankly bitchy way, completely misunderstanding your whole post. I hope you will feel enough support from those of us who love your blog, your style of writing, and who are inspired by your running to put the negativity behind you and carry on being the awesome, unique and motivational blogger and runner that you are.

    Naomi (www.naominf.com)

  22. Let me just say that calling a huge portion of the running community “pussies” – intentionally or not, comes pretty close to hate speech. And the right to free speech doesn’t include the right to hate speech. If you have such disdain for such a broad swath of the community, you are in the wrong job. Much like dogs can sense fear, people can often sense disdain, and they will avoid you even if they’re not really sure what it is that repels them. Finally, who says your reasons for running are any better than anyone else’s? Who made you the arbiter of running motivation? I get that this is your blog and you can write what you like and your fans will defend you, but I think your post was poorly done. And, yeah, the next time you think about engaging in hate speech to be funny or cute or whatever, please censor yourself. Bullying is not cool.

  23. I read the original blog and have just now read your ‘reparation’ response to the backlash. Thank God you are a rugged trail runner! Adversity is our candy. Let the record show that I was VERY impressed with the original article, and even MORE impressed with your response. You are an amazing woman and I not only get how you think but LOVE it. I only wish I could get my thoughts on paper as well as you. By the way. I take being called a pussy a compliment. Sort of like being called Trail Beotch. It’s all good.

  24. From one hispanic female to another, I’m a big fan of your blog. :-)

    I totally understand the point you were trying to make in your original post, I just think it could have been made with a bit more tact.

    You seemed to give off a ‘better-than-thou’ vibe towards the alleged mainstream runners. Particularly how you said you ‘hated’ mainstream running products, which I found odd cause I’ve seen positive reviews on your blog about nuun electrolyte products, etc. Or that Pearl ‘picked’ you out of the ‘crowd’ in a way that dismissed the rest of us ‘mainstream’ runners. I was slightly disheartened because in reading your blog for so long I felt I related to you on many levels so the post felt kind of backhanded in a way that belittled the rest of us that WANT to be running next to you.

    Anyways, like I said, I do understand what you were saying and you really handled the negative comments with tremendous grace as I would have expected. :-)

  25. I’ve been following your blog for quite sometime, and this is the first post that has prompted me to comment. Currently, I consider myself a jogger. I once considered myself a runner. Never to your level by any stretch (the most I’ve run is a half marathon). But at that time, I considered myself a runner. Not because I was fast, or even because of the distances I ran (which obviously pale in comparison to your runs…), but as you said, because of an attitude. I wanted to get out there and do it. THAT is what made me a runner. You could call me slow all you wanted. Even when I walked sometimes, I knew I was a runner and if you called me a jogger, I took that as an insult.
    Now, I’m a jogger. Why? Because I only get out there because I feel like I have to in order to get back in shape. I’m a 5k warrior. My aspirational race this year is a 10k. I’m not a jogger because I’m slow and I’m out of shape (even though those things are true), I’m a jogger because I don’t love running right now. Call me a pussy. I don’t care. I know it’s true. In fact, it just motivates me like a slap in the face to get out there and get back to the shape I was in where running was enjoyable and I wanted to do it and hated the days I had to miss a run. So, yes, I am a jogger. And I’m okay with being called a pussy for it.
    Even though I know I will never be a runner like you (and frankly, I have no desire to run 100 miles, thank you very much), I appreciate your blog’s motivation to get me out of this jogger funk and back to the runner I know I can be.

  26. Interesting to read people’s responses here. Looking at what you re-posted, I wasn’t offended, although I didn’t get to read the original with the title in that context. That said, I appreciate hearing your opinion and agree with what you said. My interpretation of your post is not that you’re criticizing “non-runners” but that because you have had the confidence to think of yourself as a runner that the Pearl ad didn’t bother you.

    Thank you for offering your opinions as they are. I enjoy reading your posts and hearing about running from your unique perspective. You make me feel like I could do an ultra, even though I never before considered it. Thank you for that, and for getting that challenge into my brain.

    Please keep posting.

  27. I totally, 100% stand up for you Vanessa, and your great blog-post. Vanessa, I love reading your blog. If anyone fails to understand your P.O.V., after everything you’ve written in the past, then that’s their problem. You have nothing to apologies for. :¬)

  28. Pussy apology? Why THANK YOU Vanessa, for apologizing to my pussy!!! She warmed and heated right up at your sweet gesture, even the little hair she has on softened up. I’m gonna feed her something now which she will excitedly masticate. Maybe some Purina or Whiskas snacks, what do you think?

  29. I can’t believe anyone can call your post hate-speech. You’re simply synthesizing an ad campaign and pointing out what it’s doing. Pearl is pretty much calling joggers “pussies”, not you. If people are offended by that, they have the right not to buy any products from Pearl. I’m really baffled by the outrage pointed towards you.

  30. Apparently, one has to write without any tongue-in-cheek references so as not to potentially offend those who cannot discern it from “hate speech”. Let’s all write like 7th graders without any depth. Good grief.

    Seriously, going after someone’s job over a blog post is crazy-town and so far beyond any hurt feelings of being called a “jogger” or a “pussy”.

    And this is why blog-land is filled with superficial, fluffy posts. We’re all afraid to lose our jobs if we actually say what we want.

  31. i personally don’t like the ads, but ads do what they do -they encourage people to talk. all press is good press. ask charlie sheen. i think they are divisive, and make slow folks (because while most ultrarunners are slowish, we DO run really really far so we are precluded from being called joggers in most people’s minds) feel like they don’t count. “nah, nah, you can’t some to the party because you aren’t fast enough. get faster and maybe you can wear my fancy clothes or kicks or whatevers”. i mean, that’s just unpleasant. a bold place for them to market from, but unpleasant just the same.
    onto the task at hand – i don’t think you or your post were unpleasant. you stated your personal opinion, on the subject to try to get people to talk. i do not however, like the word pussy. but that’s because of the word itself, not what i means. sort of like the words “moist” or “breast” or “mucus”. just nasty words.
    it’s a tough call. i absolutely believe in free speech, free religion, free asshattery, freedom to be a complete douchebag; to be cruel; to poke fun. you didn’t do that here – but when people do, they do. they should be allowed to. but to those people (and this company): is that WISE? is what you put into the universe helpful or hurtful to others? who do you want to be?
    i have had the benefit of being very opinionated and having an enormously big mouth my whole life, with my foot constantly falling right into it. i have seen first hand how seemingly innocent expressions of opinion can harm other people. i have the right to be a big mouth, and the right to offend. but do i want to live with that woman? be that woman? does pearl izumi want to be that company that made ME (a relatively accomplished ultrarunner) feel ashamed and unworthy?

    that is MY opinion on the ads. to which many people will say “grow a pair”, and “stop being so sensitive”. i used to be one of those people. now i think this: at my funeral, do i want people to say “she was such an opinionated woman!” or “such a badass!”? or do i want them to say that i was kind, inclusive, inspiring? those are the sort of ads i want to see. and the sort of people i want to be around. the sort of person i hope to be.

  32. Vanessa,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now. There are very few people that I read religiously. You’re one of them, and the main reason that I read your posts is because you call it the way you see it. You’ve got your opinion on things and you don’t give a shit how others view it. I respect that, and I hate seeing people write for the sole purpose of keeping a shoe company, sponsor, or fan base happy.

    I think the people that know you, or at least religiously read your blog knew where you were coming from and were not offended in the slightest. You’ve made your definition of what you believe a runner to be very clear, and that was all that your original post, in my opinion, restated. I find it very commendable that you posted an apology, even if I don’t think you needed to. Quite the class act if I do say so myself.

    Keep your head up and remember why you started writing in the first place.

    Aaron
    @barefootpuffin

  33. Hi Vanessa,

    I’m a new reader, I just found your blog because someone linked to your “7 lies you believe about ultrarunning” post. I have really been enjoying some of your archives and race reports. I especially liked something you said (I forget where) about how even when you were just a beginning runner you always knew you wanted to run 100’s and be an ultra-runner. I’m more at the huffing around the block stage but I could really relate to that comment and being in touch with my “inner runner” even if my body hasn’t caught up yet.

    I think your initial post was hard to digest because people want to relate to you and feel like they are part of your crowd from reading your blog but you kind of say that you have more unique or special needs than us because you are a niche runner. I think in a way that hurts people’s feelings (we want to be included not excluded) and that’s why they reacted in such a strong way.

    I hope that is a helpful comment. I have really enjoyed what I’ve read of your blog so far and I’ll definitely continue to read and catch up on the archives. Thanks for writing!

  34. I was a bit startled that people were too lazy to distinguish between the Pearl Izumi ads and your blog questioning those ads. I saw a post saying “what a douche that dude is” – clearly the offended did not read your blog or he would have figured out you’re not a dude. Their anger was directed at the wrong target. If people find the ad campaign so offensive, they should be writing to Pearl Izumi about the ads rather than to Active.com about an employee who points out and questions the ads. Maybe Pearl Izumi is right. Maybe they really are…

  35. I think the Izumi ad was right on but joggers shouldn’t be insulted. Its great that people do exercise no matter what kind. It’s important that everyone do something. The ad distinguishes the two forms of running. Too many people who run 1 mile 3 times a week and occasional 5k consider themselves “runners”. Vanessa should not have taken the post down and should not have apologized. This whole country is going through a phase where if someone has an opinion you don’t like they are attacked. Its her opinion.

  36. Wow!!!!! I can’t believe you were attacked. Shame on marathon maniacs!! You know this blog is yours for YOUR thoughts and feelings, opinions these people have gone way over the line. I never read what you wrote but I highly doubt it was offensive and would guess it was nothing but a honest and a well written piece. I am so sorry you were attacked.

  37. I’m just bummed that I didn’t get a chance to read the original post before you took it down! I know this has been said before but people are becoming way too sensitive these days. Even some of the Marines I have coming in nowadays are so ‘fragile’ compared to what some of us older guys are used to. Before I end up going off on that tangent, I just wanted to drop by and offer my piece of support.

    Keep it up Vanessa!

  38. THe only thing you might have done differently was be a little more careful about the title of the post. I have a feeling people got offended at the “P” word and couldn’t get past it. There’s nothing in the post itself that’s problematic IMO. Everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion, particularly on their own soapbox!!

    Interestingly, the NYT had an article about how people are getting so offended these days, and how everyone feels they have to apologize all the time. Walking on eggshells. That’s for chickens, I say. It’s your blog. You write well. Carry on, soldier.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/opinion/please-stop-apologizing.html

  39. I don’t like the ad, but I don’t agree with anyone attacking anyone else about their opinion on their blog. Perfectly fine to disagree, but respect is always important.

    I think the difference between those that love the ad and those that hate it, is that we – or at least me – (on the dislike side) love running (and some may run for emotional reasons that you run for, we may run because we need to run, but we may not be as fast, and we may not run as far because we are in the beginning of the journey).

    No one jumps out of a uterus and runs an ultra at one month old, it takes time, a long time to develop those skills, so patience for those not as advanced would be the kindest way (and some run for weight loss only and that’s okay too, that’s their business).

  40. you know, there’s a word for people who can’t handle the slightest hint of an insult. And I think is starts with a “p” :)

    Seriously though, great post (as usual), and a thoughtful, graceful, and not apologetic reaction to the controversy (which still confuses the hell out of me. Hope it hasn’t taken too much a toll on you, and that the going-viral bit just means more traffic for your blog.

    • Interestingly, there was a boost of comments but no traffic boost. A lot of readers who had never previously left a comment felt compelled to show their support. It was great to see that.

  41. Gah, this line says it all for me: I wonder if going out of your way to try to get someone fired is in line with the “spirit of the marathon”?

    So sorry you had to go through that bull. I just started reading your blog a week or so ago….knowing you or not knowing doesn’t matter: you’re a good writer. In the quest to “find your place,” don’t compromise by letting others find it for you. In my opinion, anyone who found it necessary to lash out at you (or anyone writing a blog, for that matter) is a tad oversensitive and probably a lot egocentric.

    Bizarre. Keep writing! I really enjoy your perspectives.

  42. A company advertises to people who run for the thrill/challenge of running versus those who want to lose weight, look good, etc.? Zomg!!!! It’s the end of the world! Someone’s beliefs differ from mine!

    Keep it up Vanessa. Your posts and growth continue to inspire.

    “‎”You have enemies? Good…that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill

  43. Hello Vanessa!
    I am a new reader and read the entire original post. I wanted to say that I liked it and admire that you tell it like it is. It sucks that some attacked you beyond your blog, unessesary.
    I am not even a jogger either :), I can berely run around the block without stopping. I am one of those pussies. You have not lost me as a reader. I echo the support of others and I look forward to your future posts.
    Julia

  44. As always your posts were very well thought out and beautifully written. I am so sad to see that people felt the need to attack you. You have taken the high road (you can handle running the inclines being a tough ultra chick…) and further proved that your original post was in no way meant to be mean or bullying.

    This all coming from someone who is so overweight and out of shape I can’t even call myself a “jogger” at this point.

  45. I didn’t find anything offensive about your blog. People have big mouths and are ten feet tall when typing or talking on the phone. Piss on them. Say what you feel. Everyone else in this country does. Why can’t you? Thanks, and no apology was needed. Keep it up.

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