An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Real-life game of "Telegraph"

Maybe you played this game as a kid -- Telegraph. Also known as Telephone or Gossip. You start with every one in a line, and at one end, whisper something into that person's ear. They turn around and whisper the same thing into the next person's ear, then they turn around... And when it gets to the other end of the line, it's amazing how the message changed. Just because people repeated what they thought they heard.

Had that happen this past week.

My wife went for a wog (walk/jog) with Eric's wife last Thursday. She told me something afterwards that kind of shocked me. Eric's wife told my wife... Well...

Apparently I had told Eric he needed to lose weight in order to race well.

Uh... I did?

So whatever I had mentioned to Eric got passed to his wife, then to mine, then back to me, and it made me sound like an absolute tyrant (who knows, some may agree).

I searched my memory banks, hoping it hadn't been completely purged from my mental hard drive. Nearest thing I could come up with was this: Eric was talking about how much weight he'd lost in the last year (I've asked him to guest-write a piece on his progression), and how much faster he is from aerobic conditioning and losing the weight. I replied that, as he continues to lose weight (up to a point, and we talked about that too), he'll likely get faster.

Now the context of all the conversations was probably lost in the translations as well. But somehow, in transferring that message three times, it became an edict that he needs to lose weight to get faster. And that's just not true. In fact, it's just as likely that he could stay at the same weight and improve the neural pathways (the mind-muscle connection), and get faster without any changes in body composition. And also, he could gain some muscle mass and lose some fat, with a net zero weight change, and be faster (of course the opposite could also happen if it's non-functional muscle mass).

In any case, it was an interesting case of how a message can get changed as it passes through hands. Or ears and mouths.

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