September 22, 2013

The Cult of Science


Science. Science. Science. Why does society envy you so?

When you said that the world was flat, you mesmerized us with images of ships sailing off the edge of the earth. But then someone sailed beyond the horizon and into the new world.

When you said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, you frightened us when you said we would die in the attempt. But then Roger Bannister crossed the finish line in under 4 minutes and lived to tell about it.

When you said that we endurance runners need to drink water even when we are not thirsty, you told us that the alternative would be heat exhaustion, heat stroke or possibly death. But then people started to die from hyponatremia, a deadly condition brought on by excessive hydration.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. Without your discoveries and breakthroughs , we humans would still be living in the dark ages. The billions of lives your work has helped to save would have wasted away in misery and hopelessness. We owe you a lot for what you have done for us humans.

What I have come to realize is that, as a product of us, you are just as prone to imperfections, mistakes and failures as we are. And yet we still look to you as the beacon of truth. Without a scientific explanation, we’ve been told, it just cannot be real.

So I ask you this. If a runner is gifted with an exceptional VO2 max, or an extreme anaerobic threshold, will he or she always run faster than those without these gifts? My answer to this is no. Why? Because there is something that will always, always trump physical talent. And that, my friends, is motivation. And how does science explain that?

To you ultra runners out there. Think about this the next time your alarm rings before the sun rises.

2 comments:

velocycling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will said...

velocycling...fyi...its Gatorade that uses science (which is always ready with research when there are a dollars involved) to justify its marketing. The only reason I use Vespa is because it works for me. I've used my own body to experiment with it. I could care less what T. Olsen uses.