--------------

RUNNER'S NICHE

--------------

Vol. 3 No. 4 April, 1998

*********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

*********************

For weeks I trained, dreamed, visualized. I purchased some new racing

flats, our friend reserved a condominium for a group of us and we

bought airline tickets. I've read about this race for years and heard

people talk about it. I wanted to be a part of it. I also wanted a wicked

fast time.

My training and preparation before a big race are fairly intense, so I

was careful to get good food and plenty of sleep. I worried about every

little ache and pain, and feared that every little sniffle could be the

onset of that killer cold. I gulped some extra vitamin C, some echinacea

and a few extra glasses of water each day.

As my wife, several of my friends and I prepared for the Carlsbad 5000,

we all went through some anxiety. This race was our goal for many

weeks. It was the shining beacon at the end of the dark tunnel of cold

and snowy winter. Carlsbad -- the super-fast dream race. Everyone

knows it's the place to get a fast 5 K time!

Then we flew to California, raced, and it was over. Don't get me wrong, it

was fun, but all the training and planning is like the yearly preparation

for Christmas. When Christmas day finally comes it seems gone before

we realized we were there. Then there is the let down.

I returned to my job and the daily routine, only now that goal that I've

been looking forward to was behind. Reality smacked me in the face and

suddenly there was no Carlsbad race day to fantasize about. Still a little

sore from the race day effort, my running motivation could take a big

hit, if I let it.

After a big event, it is important to plan for your next peak experience.

Otherwise, training can be hard to psych-up for, and you can start to get

the blues. Before I run "the big one" I know it's good to at least have an

idea what's next on the horizon. Sometimes this will mean a new race

goal. Other times it might be building mileage, running some exciting

trail runs, cross-training or even taking a little break from running.

I always remind myself that the big race, as important as it was to me,

shouldn't be such a big goal that I forget all the fun, hard work and

planning that came before. There are many rewards from those "miles

of toil" that simply can't be had any other way. In a way, the race is just

the excuse I use for putting in all that training!

So now I'm thinking about summer, and my build-up program for a few

key races. I'll let my body rest a little, then start jacking up the mileage

and return to the track. I find myself thinking more about my training

plans than which races I'll enter.

- WG

**************************

BEING ALL HE CAN BE PART 2

**************************

Last month we featured an interview with top runner and army

lieutenant Dan Browne. We thought you might want to know how he's

been doing. Dan placed 13th in the World Military Cross-Country

Championships short course in Curragh, Ireland on March 12. He ran the

4.5 kilometer course in 14:13. The US team was forth overall. (Results of

this meet featured in this issue.)

Dan's coach, Rich Castro, warns that Dan's army teammate, Jason

Stewart, should be taken seriously, as well. Jason beat Dan at the World

Military meet, placing ninth with a time of 14:02. Later, he placed 10th

in the prestigious Carlsbad 5000 with a time of 13:54.

A week after the Military Championships, Dan managed 21st in the

IAAF World Cross-Country short course race (4 K) with a time of 11:22,

just 40 seconds behind winner John Kimbowen of Kenya.

Browne and Stewart are both young, and it seems certain that their best

efforts are yet to come. It's going to be fun watching these guys develop!

Note: For full results of the World Cross-Country races, check the IAAF

web site at:

http://www.iaaf.org

 

***********************************************

46th CROSS-COUNTRY MILITARY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

***********************************************

On Thursday, March 12, Curragh, Ireland was the site of this year's

Cross-Country championships for military runners from around the

world. As with the IAAF World Championships, the men run two

distances -- in this case 4.5 kilometers and 11.5 kilometers. Unlike the

IAAF meet, the mens long race is on the same day as the short race, and

the women compete at only one distance -- 5.5 kilometers.

Results:

MENS SHORT CROSS (4.5 K)

1. Hicham Cal Bouaquich (Morocco) - 13:52

2. Joao Junqueiera (Portugal) - 13:53

3. Antonio Maravilha (Portugal) - 13:54

4. Simone Zanon (Italy) - 13:56

5. Gunther Weidlinger (Austria) - 13:57

6. Miroslav Vanko (Slovakia) - 13:58

7. Michael Buchleitner (Austria) 13:59

8. Jose Ramos (Portugal) - 14:01

9. Jason Stewart (USA) - 14:02

10. Luciano Di Pardo (Italy) - 14:04

13. Dan Browne (USA) - 14:13

22. Nicholas MacFalls (USA) - 14:33

41. Mike Bernstein (USA) - 15:06

TEAMS (Top 3 score)

1. Portugal 13

2. Italy 26

3. Austria 41

4. USA 44

5. Morocco 45

6. Algeria 57

7. France 59

8. Quatar 62

9. Germany 89

10. Tunisia 99

11. Belgium 108

12. Spain 134

13. Romania 147

14. Canada 165

15. Sweden 169

WOMENS 5.5 K

1. Kamch El (Morocco) - 18:24

2. Anja Smolders (Belguim) - 18:36

3. Lucilla Andreucci (Italy) - 18:56

4. Helene Willix (Sweden) 18:59

5. Kris DaFonseca-Wollheim (Germany) - 19:04

6. Elisa Rea (Italy) - 19:10

7. Orietta Mancia (Italy) - 19:12

8. Inga Iuodeskiene (Lithuania) - 19:15

9. Nives Curti (Italy) - 19:22

10. Christine Udovich (USA) 19:25

19. Kim Markland (USA) - 20:25

28. Roxanne Bernstein (USA) - 21:34

33. Dolly Stacey (USA) - 22:02

TEAMS (Top 3 Score)

1. Italy 16

2. Morocco 26

3. Belguim 31

4. USA 57

5. Germany 63

6. France 66

7. Ireland 91

8. Canada 99

9. Spain 118

MENS LONG CROSS (11.5 K)

1. Robert Stefko (Slovakia) - 33:20

2. Jan Pesava (Czech Republic) 33:25

3. Olain Al-Quhtani (Saudi Arabia) 33:35

4. Mania El Abdelilah (Morocco) 33:38

5. Saidou Kamel (Morocco) - 33:44

6. Francesco Carab Bennici (Italy) 33:49

7. Bamoh Mustapha (Morocco) - 33:57

8. Meskaqui Brahim (Morocco) - 34:03

9. Gabriele DeNaro (Italy) - 34:07

10. Berrached Mohamed (Morocco) - 34:11

71. Tony Every (USA) - 36:56

72. Sam Bobbitt (USA) - 36:56

83. Peter Prichett (USA) - 37:15

98. Mark Cuccuzzeka (USA) - 37:48

129. Gary Brimmer (USA) - 40:38

131. Jay Woodard (USA) - 41:31

TEAMS (6 Score)

1. Morocco 46

2. Italy 105

3. Algeria 123

4. Burundi 132

5. France 220

6. Portugal 266

7. Tunisa 290

8. Spain 393

9. Belguim 421

10. South Africa 427

11. Germany 553

12. USA 558

13. Netherlands 561

14. Denmark 572

15. Turkey 589

16. Ireland 616

17. Canada 708

THANKS TO NAVY LIEUTENANT AND CROSS-COUNTRY COACH JIM FELTY

FOR PROVIDING THESE RESULTS!

***********************

GOOD-BYE OLD MAN WINTER

***********************

By Michael Selman

Transformation.

Winter finds it around every corner. If your eyes are open to what is

happening around you, it will be apparent to you too. Winter running is

running to be cherished. The colder the better. After all, isn't running all

about overcoming the elements? What better elements to overcome

than temps in the teens and a howling wind in your face?

The first signs of winter start going up right after Thanksgiving. They

illuminate the houses which they adorn, adding color and brightness to

the neighborhoods. They capture the creativity of their owners.

Subdivisions which were quiet and dull, are suddenly bright and alive

with the Christmas spirit, and it is wonderful to see as you quietly judge

them for originality on your run.

Transformation.

Christmas slowly gives way to New Years, and the sights definitely start

changing. The decorations come down, and now the streets, parks, and

trails are suddenly full of people of all shapes and sizes. New Years

always brings about resolutions, and a most common vow for non-

recreational people is to whip themselves into shape. The question

remains, will these resolutions become commitments as time goes on. It

is sad to see the numbers dwindle by the end of March, but they

invariably do. This year, make a resolution for yourself. Smile when you

see them, and offer encouragement, and friendship. If they continue,

keep on smiling and encouraging. If they disappear, get in touch with

them and encourage them to get back into it. It is the least you can do.

Transformation.

And the feelings of a winter's run. There is nothing that can compare. It

starts before you even walk out the door. The feel of the tights hugging

your skin, the wool hat pulled over your head and the gloves to keep

you hands warm are all reminders that you are dealing with more than

just a run. You are dealing with, and responding to nature. And the

response is amazing. Within a mile, you feel that special tingling that

only takes place during a winter's run. A feeling that is emitted through

every pore of your body, telling you that your machine is warming up,

and the needle is moving away from the C, and working it's way

towards the H.

Transformation.

As you continue your run, you start to sweat a little more, and try to

remember why you even needed your hat and gloves to begin with.

They soon come off, and you tuck them in the pocket of your jacket,

which, at this point, is also extra weight. This is no longer a winter's run.

It is a special run, and you are so glad you are doing it. As you breathe

the cool winter's air, in the background, you smell the aroma of

fireplaces, and are pleased that you chose the mode you did for warmth

this morning.

Transformation.

Now, you are looking around, absorbing everything. The predawn sky is

ablaze with constellations that grace the winter skies. The familiar row

of stars that marks Orion's belt buckle are there for company. Of all the

designs in the sky, this is the one you can actually make sense of. But, as

the night stars give way to the star of the day, the show is just starting.

The wispy- tailed cirrus clouds start to appear from the night sky. First,

they are a dreary gray, but, as the sun peaks over the horizon, they

slowly paint the heavens with hues of pink and orange before finally

settling in as the white color we have grown accustomed to. This is

unique to the winter sky.

Transformation.

And as you look around, you are so warm and toasty that it takes you

by surprise that the fields you run by are still covered with a thick

layer of frost. As you are freely sweating, you can't understand why the

pond you just ran by is still topped with a thick layer of ice. When the

penned dogs are barking at you when you pass, the smoke coming out of

their mouth so thick, you can hardly see them behind it. Why doesn't

nature know what you know?

Transformation.

Finally, the run is over. The day has dawned brightly. You deeply inhale

the clean winter air, and know that you have done well this morning.

You go back in the house, wondering how anyone can have a negative

thing to say about winter running. While you were out there, you

created your own climate, and it was very warm and comfortable. As

you walk into the kitchen, you take a peak at the thermometer sitting

outside the window. It is sitting on 28 degrees, and again, you are taken

by surprise. You know something the icy pond, the frosty grass and the

barking dog didn't have a clue of. . The heart of a runner is warmer than

that. Much warmer.

Transformation.

And now, alas, it is time to let go of old man winter. Many people will be

happy to have it out of the way. After all, spring offers it's own unique

brand of changes. Georgia's springs are especially spectacular. But that is

another essay. For now, it is with a touch of sadness that you release

winter from your clutches, but with open arms, that you greet a new

season.

You sit back, and reflect on old man winter, and know that life is good.

Transformation.

************

TAPERING TIP

************

Coach Bobby McGee, who works with top South African runners such as

Colleen DeReuck, recently passed some advice along to a group of

runners at a clinic in Boulder. One of the items he addressed was

tapering before a big race. He advises lowering the volume of training,

of course. This translates to shorter runs and less weekly mileage. This

helps freshen up the legs for the race. He also advises, however, that

runners not cut back on the intensity of their runs.

McGee indicates that running short bursts a little faster than race pace

in the week leading up to a race is vital, so as to keep the legs ready for

race effort. Even the day before a race, a couple of short, hard surges are

a good idea. Then, on race day, the legs feel great when running at race

pace, because they are used to running even faster. He likened this to a

javelin thrower who uses a weighted ball, heavier than the javelin, in

warm-ups. This makes the javelin feel lighter and actually permits the

arm to throw with more force.

Naturally, it is important to keep intense training sessions quite short in

the week before the race. This keeps from deadening the legs instead of

invigorating them!

 

****************

CHASING THE BEAR

****************

Book review By Woody Green

CHASING THE BEAR is Jeffrey Recker's first novel. While it is a story

about running, it also deals with internal conflict, self-doubt,

obsessiveness and both healthy and unhealthy relationships.

The primary character is Jennifer Ledge, a competitive runner just out

of college. She has big career plans in public relations, but she also finds

herself running well and wanting to maximize her competitive potential.

Much of the story is written from the first-person perspective of her

romantic interest, Paul Jeffries, who is a serious recreational runner.

Other main characters include a coach with a questionable agenda,

several serious elite and almost elite female runners, and Jennifer's

unkind boss.

This book grabbed my attention, at times it made my heart race, and

once or twice I got a lump in my throat. I also found myself scratching

my head at times. Many of the first person accounts by the Jeffries

character seemed too self-absorbed and were occasionally rambling. It

was difficult to empathize with this character. There were also some

problems with grammar and missed typographical errors.

On the other hand, the the development of the other characters was

wonderful. The plot is stimulating and the last few chapters simply

must be read non-stop. The ending, while mildly surprising, fits

perfectly. In the end, this is a very satisfying and entertaining read!

RUNNER'S NICHE BOOK RATING: 4 out of a possible 5 winged feet.

Note: Chasing the Bear is printed by Saguaro Publishing and is available

from one of our subscribers - Running Delights at:

http://www.ontherun.com/rundlts.htm

 

 

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*A NEW LINK FOR EUROPEAN RUNNERS*

Europe - Spain - Catalunya

Atletisme Catala

http://www.weblandia.com/atletisme

*DIFFERENT CHICAGO MARATHON SITE*

FOOLS (For Once in Our Lives Society) by a Chicago Tribune columnist

who just turned forty and is training for the Chicago Marathon:

chicago.tribune.com/go/fools

* ST. PAT'S SITE*

This letter came from areader, and is worth printing in its full form as a

web sites feature:

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

I have a news item that may be of interest to you. It's regional (St.

Louis, MO) so it may not be of general interest, but all the same you are

welcome to take a look.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade Run of St. Louis is a huge event -- the

largest run in the city of St. Louis, I'm told. This year they had

something like 6000 runners, 1200 of which were in the competitive

categories.

We've just launched what may be the best run-results reporting

mechanism on the Internet. It's the best I've seen, anyway.

We have a searchable database of all the run results. This allows any

runner (or anyone at all) to produce custom listings by name, age,

gender, or any combination. Each runner's overall ranking, ranking

within gender group, and ranking within the given list are all shown.

Take a look:

http://www.irishparade.org/

This is part of the whole Parade website -- you can find the results

search form by following the link on the front page, or from the link on

the Run page. It makes more sense viewed in the context of the framed

website, so I'm not sending the direct URL to the results search form.

If you think this mechanism is newsworthy, we would certainly

appreciate a mention in your e-magazine. We're a low-budget, not-for-

profit, charitable organization so we try to take advantage of these press

opportunities when we can.

Thank you for your time!

-- Matt.

Matthew McGlynn St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee

webmaster@irishparade.org

************************

LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

************************

*SHOE TRIVIA*

After reading last month's editor's notes, which contained a reference to

"Tiger Cortez" running shoes from the 70's:

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

I thought the Cortez was a Nike shoe-white (leather?) with a red

swoosh, white-ish herringbone-treaded sole, weighed close to a ton, give

or take a couple ounces?

- Randy Liljenberg

ED: You are right. The Tiger shoe, which was almost identical, was, we

think, actually called the "Corsair." Of course, next month a reader will

likely inform us that the "Corsair" was made by adidas...

 

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE has a web page! We have some cool links, and past

issues can be downloaded There. Also, we have a Macintosh training log

program for free download. Features are continuously being added. If

you'd like to visit, The URL is:

<http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html>

Pass The address on to your friends!

Also visit The COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE site at:

<http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html>

This publication is a print version of The electronic RUNNER'S NICHE,

with an emphasis on Colorado running.

********************************

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use The content without permission of The author and "Runner's Niche."

SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:

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Include your e-mail address. We'll send you an issue via e-mail every

month or so.

If you don't want to continue receiving "Runner's Niche", simply mail

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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 4 No.4 April, 1999

**********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

**********************

I greatly appreciate the work of race directors. Their jobs are

stressful, thankless and time consuming. Without their hard work, we

wouldn't be able to enjoy multiple running events every weekend through

out the running world. Most runners agree that the most important thing

any race director can do to assure a runner's gratitude is an

accurately measured course and good timing system. Beyond that, though,

there is something race directors might want to consider as another

important factor in the enjoyment of the post-race festivities.

Awards ceremonies after most road races are certain to be too long,

agonizingly dull and incredibly frustrating for people who want to use

the rest of the day for other activities. The announcers at these

events are just trying to do their jobs, but it is amazing how long-

winded they can become. After a race people are tired. They may be cold

in foul weather, or roasting on a hot day. Many are ready to get

something more substantial to eat than the usual post-race snacks, and

hungry folks tend to be grumpy, too. A talkative announcer who works

his or her way slowly through set of each age-group awards can be

enough to make a tired runner's blood boil.

It doesn't have to be this way. The best awards distribution system I

have seen was at the Arturo Barrios Race in Chula Vista, California. At

this race the results were posted a few minutes after the race, and

runners who placed in the top three in their age category simply walked

up to an awards table, showed their race number as proof of who they

were, and picked up their prize. Okay, so there is no thunderous

applause and glamour with this system, but people don't have to wait

around all day, either. I wonder how many races are using this system?

For the race organizer, there is a great side benefit to this. Runners

are free to look around the race expo, and are not tied to sitting in

front of an awards podium. Race sponsors are happy when runners are

looking at their displays. Runners are happy when they don't feel like

their precious week end free time is being taken from them. Everyone is

happier. It's an idea that I hope catches on.

 

 

-WG

 

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

!!!TAKE A LOOK AT THE RUNNER'S NICHE BOOKSTORE!!!

Point your browser to: http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/bookstore.html

MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR ANY BOOK

TITLE IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS!

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MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - THE RUNNING PERIODICAL THAT GOES THE EXTRA

MILE.

Visit their web site at: http://www.marathonandbeyond.com

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

**************************************************

RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

**************************************************

Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Arthur Thiry, Gothenburg

Sweden. Arthur receives a free issue of Marathon & Beyond Magazine and

FAME!

This month's winner will also get a free issue of the running

periodical that goes the extra mile - Marathon & Beyond Magazine.

Trivia contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar year.

When answering, email your answers with the subject "trivia contest"

and answer the questions in the order they appear below. Mail to:

woodyg3@netone.com. The FIRST person to answer all ten questions

correctly wins. If nobody answers all ten correctly, we will award the

prize to the person who answers the most questions correctly. Good

Luck!

This month's Questions:

1. The New York City Marathon had the most running participants of any

marathon in the United States last year. What marathon had the second

highest number of runners?

2. What U.S. road race had the most participants last year? (Hint: It

was not a marathon.)

3. The Flying Pig Marathon will be held on May 9 in what U.S. city?

4. Where is the annual Prefontaine Classic track meet held?

5. What city is host of the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon?

6 - 10 Who were the authors of the following running books?

6. "Once a Runner"

7. "Best Efforts"

8. "Better Runs"

9. "Slaying the Dragon"

10. "The Complete Book of Running"

 

Last Month's Answers:

1. Who has the record for the fastest one mile time ever by a high

school athlete in the United States?

Answer: Jim Ryun

2. Who won the gold medal for the men's 1500 meters at the Mexico City

Olympics in 1968?

Answer: Kip Keino

 

3. What top U.S. runner fell in the preliminary round of the 1500

meters in the 1972 Olympics and thus failed to make the finals?

Answer: Jim Ryun

4. Top British middle distance runner Seb Coe was coached by...

Answer: Peter Coe

5. Former one mile world record holder Filbert Bayi was from...

Answer: Tanzania

6. John Walker, also a former one mile world record holder was from...

Answer: New Zealand

7. Former indoor world record holder for the mile Eamon Coglan is

from...

Answer: Ireland

8. Eamon Coglan was coached by...

Answer: Jumbo Elliot

9. Mary Slaney is currently married to Richard Slaney, but had a

previous marriage with marathon runner...

Answer: Ron Tabb

10. Mary Slaney, then Mary Decker, set a world record in 1982 at an

all-comers meet in Eugene, Oregon for what distance?

Answer: 10,000 meters

**************************

TROPICAL HALF-MARATHON FUN

**************************

By Darius Baer

My wife, Joanne and I flew to Aruba in early March for a vacation. I

had read on the Internet that there would be a half-marathon. However,

I was unable to contact anyone about it. So, since we got to Aruba at

midnight on March 12, I began investigating the race particulars the

next morning. By that afternoon, I was registered at the local

recreation center in Oranjestad for the race, which was to begin the

next morning at 6:30 a.m. local time (which was 3:30 a.m. Colorado

time).

Aruba is a very small tropical island 15 miles north of Venezuela. Only

90,000 people live there year round. Because Aruba was a former

territory of the Netherlands, there is a strong Dutch presence there

and some of the racers were of Dutch descent. Aruba is 19 miles long

and 6 miles wide. So, the half-marathon took us 2/3 the length of the

island. Because the race organizers liked me or because I told them

that I would run the race in 1 hour and 25 minutes, they agreed to pick

me up at my hotel at 5:30 a.m. and drive me to the race start at the

end of the island in San Nicholas. When we got to the start, there

were no bathroom facilities. We were told to use what we could find.

I was totally discombobulated, and because my body still felt that it

was the middle of the night, was unable to do anything but wander

around wondering what I was doing.

Just as the dawn's early light appeared, it was 6:30 a.m. on March 14th

and the race started. There were about 75 participants, almost all of

them from Aruba and its two neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curacao.

I was among only 5 Americans, 3 men and 2 women. We started out by

running a half mile to the shore highway that would be the course for

the rest of the race. As normally happens in the U.S., the younger

runners started out faster and I found myself in 14th place running

along side a Dutch fellow. Within a couple of miles, I left him behind

and had moved into the top ten and was gaining. Although the sun had

come up, it was obscured by a nice cloud cover. Temperatures were in

the upper 60's with a pleasant tail wind. By 6 miles, I was running

about 6:15 pace per mile although all measurements were in Kilometers.

I pulled even with the second place runner while the front runner was

way out of sight. He was a 19 year old whose family was continually

cheering him on by pulling to the side of the road every mile or so. I

ate my Mini Power Bar and fell back from him. Shortly after the 11

kilometer water stop, I caught him and passed him. Not knowing at that

time that the front runner was so far ahead, I had visions of winning

the race.

However, that was not to be. When we passed through Oranjestad at 18

kilometers, I began tiring and the Dutch fellow I left at 3 miles

passed me and eventually became the second place finisher. I held on

for 3rd place in the exact time that I had predicted for the race

director: 1:25:00. I guess I know my capabilities. The male winner's

time was 1:12 and the first women was 1:35. Second place was 1:23:53

and there were 10 men under 1:30.

After everyone had finished, they had an awards ceremony which was

spoken in Papiamento, the local language. They took their time because

in Aruba you don't hurry. I was given a big plastic trophy which I had

to carry home. what was more enjoyable was that they made a big deal

about me because I finished 3rd in the race. I had my picture in the

local paper and the activities director at the hotel had a special

ceremony the following Wednesday to announce the women's winner,

another American, and me. All and all, a fun time which I would

certainly repeat.

 

********************

DON'T BE A FAT HEAD!

********************

By Woody Green

For some odd reason, runners are quite interested in what percentage of

their body weight is fat. I saw many folks lined up in front of a booth

at the Las Vegas Marathon expo, all interested in a new little device

used to measure body composition. The little instrument looked like a

bathroom scale and after stepping on it with bare feet you got a

readout of percentage of body fat. Some of the Las Vegas crowd walked

away from the test scratching their heads. Others were laughing, still

others crying.

Measuring the percentage of your body that is made up of fat on the

basis of "bio impedance" is a new and controversial method. More

standard methods include skin fold measurement with calipers and

underwater weighing. But, why all the fuss about body fat?

For one thing, it has become a sort of physiological triumph for

runners to measure their body fat percentage and discover that they

rank with the elite runners in this category. If you can't run as fast

as they can, at least you can try to be as skinny!

Women have a physiological need for more body fat compared to men, and

even women who are elite marathon runners need a greater percentage of

body fat than men do. The average man has between 15-18% body fat,

while the average woman has 22-25%. Runners can be a good deal lower

than this, and it is not unusual for a male runner to have below 10%

body fat, or a woman to be below 18%. Some are much lower.

You might think that lower is better, but at a certain point, this is

not true. Your body needs fat for normal body functions, to pad vital

organs, and to provide for energy needs. When the body doesn't have

enough fat stored up, it can actually start to use muscle as an energy

source. Certain chemical needs in your body can fail to be met, as

well. That isn't a good scenario!

Of course, we know it is very bad for our health to carry too much fat

on our bodies, as well. Greatly increased health risks are associated

with body fat over 25% for males and 32% for females.

Naturally, losing unneeded fat will reduce overall weight and so the

energy cost of running. That means that lowering body fat to a certain

level will increase performance. There is no evidence that decreasing

body fat below about 8% for men or 14% for women will improve

performance, though. Certainly there are many good athletes with lower

percentages of body fat, but there also many athletes who are starving

themselves and actually decreasing their performance potential and

possibly doing harm to their health. While you think about this, have a

bagel, for crying out loud!

There is really little reason for someone exercising regularly to worry

much about the exact value of their body fat percentage. If you just

have to know what your body composition is, though, the best way to get

an accurate measurement is to go to a human performance lab or health

club with the proper equipment and be weighed underwater. A fairly

accurate assessment can be made with skin fold calipers, too, although

this test begins to lose accuracy at the lower end of the scale. The

jury is still out on some of the other, newer methods such as

electrical impedance.

But, let's back up the alfalfa sprout and Romaine lettuce truck a

minute, here. If you know you need to lose weight, you're on the right

track already by running. There's no real need to have exact figures on

your body composition. And, if you are already skinny, just be happy,

for heaven's sakes!

 

 

 

 

*************

THIS AND THAT

*************

*Cross-Country Fun*

On Sept. 25, 1999 you might want to travel to the Greensboro Cross-

Country invitational. Divisions are available for high schools,

universities, middle schools, open, and masters with 14 great races on

100% grass/trails. Distances vary from 4,000 meters to 8,000 meters.

2,000 athletes are expected.

Contact: Charlie Brown, Greensboro Pacesetters Track Club

2304 Gracewood Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408-2509 ph. 336-282-8052

*Ramble On*

The 16th running of the James Joyce Ramble will get under way April 25,

1999 at 11 a.m. in the historic town of Dedham, a suburb of Boston,

Massachusetts. For entry information, call 781-461-1365 or visit the

Ramble's website at:

http://www.ramble.org.

 

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*Active USA*

Find events in many sports including running, cycling and triathlon

across the U.S. at:

http://activeusa.com/

*All-Time Track and Field Performances List*

Listings of the best performances in all track distances at:

http://www.algonet.se/~pela2/index.html

*Waddle On Over*

John Bingham, writer of the Penguin Chronicles, and a new book, "The

Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life" has a site at:

http://www.waddle-on.com

 

*************************

LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

*************************

Dear Runner's Niche,

I feel a little guilty and as time passes and I read the odd running

mag it gets worse. I ran the last Seattle marathon that was set on a

brand new, very challenging course. Last year's Seattle was not very

well organized and things weren't too well received in several running

publications- a number of people complained. This year's race was

awesome. The course was super, the support lavish and enthusiastic.

Great fuel stations, fabulous finish line reception, great music in the

toasty warm field house where we were fed like Olympians. I feel

remiss in not having written about this earlier. Thanks and congrats

to the Seattle crew.

- Daryl Anderson, Abbotsford, BC, Canada

 

********************************

LEGAL STUFF / SUBSCRIPTION INFO.

********************************

"Runner's Niche" is free, but its contents are copyrighted. Nobody may

use the content without permission of the author and "Runner's Niche."

SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:

woodyg3@netone.com.

Include your e-mail address. We'll send you an issue via e-mail every

month or so.

If you don't want to continue receiving "Runner's Niche", simply mail

with your e-mail address and ask that your subscription be stopped.

Article Submissions are always welcome. Unfortunately, there can be no

monetary reimbursement for material used in Runner's Niche. It is

normally best to send a query letter to the editor before sending

finished articles.

 

 

-----------------------------211655802155761 Content-Disposition: form-data; name="userfile"; filename="August-September01.html" Content-Type: text/html --------------

--------------

RUNNER'S NICHE

--------------

Vol. 6 No.5 August/September 2001

*********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

*********************

Which is more important in a race, place or time? It is true

that to many people in a large road race, time is the measuring

stick they use to gauge how well they ran. Only a few people

have the chance to place amongst the leaders, so the main goal

of a large number of runners is to try to hit a target time. Few

among us, though, would care what our time was if we were able

to run fast enough to win a race, or at least place in the top

three in our age group. Most of us know other runners that are

near our ability level who we like to compete against.

Regardless of what our watch says at the end of a race, if we

are able to place in front of someone who usually beats us, we

are happy with the result. Courses vary in difficulty and

weather has a big affect on our times, but the one constant is

head to head competition. The runner that sees someone in front

of them in a race and doesn't have the desire to catch and pass

them is a rare runner, indeed.

Nowhere does place mater more than time than in a cross country

race. Team competition in college and high school races is

dependent on the place of each of the top 5 team members.

(Smaller high school competitions may score the top 3 or 4

runners instead, but the idea is the same.) Thus, a first place

finish scores one point, second place two and so on. The places

are added up and team finish is based on the lowest total

scores. This means each athlete will fight to place ahead of as

many runners as possible, particularly members of other teams

who might be close in the team competition. It may seem at first

that only the top five runners on a squad would make a

difference in the team score, but sixth and seventh runners can

also affect team scores by placing ahead of scoring runners from

other teams, thus adding points to their total. This makes sense

in a team competition; each and every member of the team can

have an important affect on the outcome of the competition.

The one exception that I know of to this point scoring system is

USATF masters cross country competitions. The rules of USATF

masters athletics call for team placement to be determined by

adding the times of the top runners for each team. At first

glance, this may not seem to make much difference, and it may

seem that the best team would likely come out on top with this

system. After all, isn't time a fair measure of competitive

effort? In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

A recent cross country meet that my wife, a friend and I

attended serves to provide some great examples of how the place

point system is far superior to adding up total times. After

running in the open division of the Colorado State University

Invitational cross country race in Fort Collins, we stuck around

to watch the college races. Team pride runs deep in college

cross country, and the battle between Western State and CSU

promised to be a fight to the death. CSU wanted to win in front

of their friends and family at their home invitational, while

Western State wanted nothing more than to upset the larger

school at their own meet and gain more respect for their solid

program.

The women's race was first, and as runners approached the finish

line it was clear that this was going to be a close one. Seven

of the top eight runners were from either CSU or Western State,

and each lady was going all out to the finish. Western State

looked solid, but then a group of CSU women, all working hard

together, came in and their sixth runner was able to edge out

Western State's fifth runner. The ability of those runners to

work together to finish in front of their opponent's fifth

runner made the difference, and CSU won by 2 points. Add up the

times of each team's top five runners and Western State was

ahead by 15 seconds, but team effort, especially by that sixth

runner for CSU, won out. Nobody watching this race could have

argued that the outcome should have been different, especially

as we watched one runner after another collapse at the finish

line after giving every ounce of energy in their body to place

as high as they could for their team.

Perhaps the best example of the importance of place over time

came in the men's race. This was another close one, and while

Western State won out in the team battle, it was not due to any

lack of effort by the CSU squad. We watched as two runners

fought for ninth place. Side by side a Western State athlete

sprinted against a CSU athlete. They both knew how important

their place could be to the final team standings, and how

important this competition was to their teammates. Neither

athlete was about to give in to the other. As they approached

the finish, arms and legs flying around in desperate, lactic

acid saturated effort, there was not a millimeter separating

these two. The CSU runner dove in one last all out effort and

managed to beat the leaning Western State athlete by an inch.

His dive left him sliding on the wet grass in front of the other

runner, who had to jump to avoid landing on him. His spiked shoe

missed the CSU athlete's face by about six inches. Both runners

wound up face down on the grass, their chests heaving and body's

crying for oxygen. When they mangaed to get to their feet, they

gave each other a hug, showing the mutual respect each had for

the other's effort.

If team scores were based on total time, the difference between

these two athletes would have been no more than one one-

hundredth of a second. There would have been very little drama

and concern over which runner inched ahead of the other. They

would have effectively canceled each other out. But because we

were watching a battle for points, a battle contested on the

premise that the only thing that matters is which runner

finished ahead of the other, two runners truly pushed themselves

to their absolute limit and gave everything they had for their

team. It may sound corny, but I find this kind of competition

glorious and noble. I find adding up times to be boring and

sterile.

Since the ancient Olympic Games, far before the invention of

stop watches or electronic timing, foot races have been about

one thing: who can make it to the finish line first. Children

racing each other on the playground understand this basic rule

of competition. It is the reason we contest races.

It is important to note that I'm not saying the only thing that

matters is winning. After a race, the thing that stays with us,

regardless of the actual place or time we get in a race, is the

achievement we feel after giving an all out effort. Our

competitors are, in fact, our partners. Without them, we could

never achieve our best.

 

- WG

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - Marathon & Beyond, the only magazine

that focuses on the specific needs of marathoners and

ultrarunners. M&B offers in-depth articles on training, race

strategies, injuries, nutrition, race profiles, running history,

and more. Visit their web site at:

http://www.marathonandbeyond.com

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

**************************************************

RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

**************************************************

Dan M. Kahan of New Haven, Connecticut was our winner last month.

He will get a free issue of Marathon & Beyond and fame! Trivia

contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar year.

When answering, email your answers with the subject "trivia

contest" and answer the questions in the order they appear below.

Mail to: woodyg3@netone.com. The FIRST person to answer all of

the questions correctly wins. If nobody answers each question

correctly, we will award the prize to the person who answers the

most questions accurately. Good Luck!

This month's questions:

Match the track athlete, past or present, with their national

origin:

1. Seb Coe

2. Pascal Dobert

3. Joyce Smith

4. Lidia Simon

5. Gabriela Szabo

6. Jill Gaitenby

7. Svetlana Zakharova

8. Jose Rios

9. Charles Kamathi

10. Billy Mills

 

 

Last Month's Answers (US Athlete Biographical Info theme):

1. What college did marathon runner Rod DeHaven attend? - South

Dakota State.

2. What national title did Jason Pyrah win in 2000? - Indoor 1

Mile.

3. Which American woman placed 10th in the 1996 Olympic marathon?

- Anne Marie Lauck

4. What current, male US distance ace won the NCAA cross country

title as a freshman in 1988? - Bob Kennedy

5. Which US woman won both the world cross country title and a

bronze medal in the Olympic 10,000 in 1992? - Lynn Jennings

6. Which American distance star attended American College High

School in Cairo, Egypt? - Libbie Hickman

7. Arkansas grad Deena Drossin placed 12th in the World Cross

Country Championships in 2000 despite what misfortune during the

race? - Swallowing a bee at the start, then nearly passing out

and falling later in the race.

8. A member of the 2001 World Championships team at 10,000

meters, this athlete became an American citizen on January 28,

2000. Who is he? - Abdi Abdirahman

9. Who won the TAC womens outdoor 1500 title in 1988? - Vicki

Huber

10. Who won the same title in 1989? - Regina Jacobs

11. Who won the mens outdoor USATF title for 10,000 meters in

1998? - Dan Browne

12. National titles in the mens steeple chase from 1981 to 1987

all went to the same man, who was he? - Henry Marsh

 

 

 

--- --- --- --- ---

RUNNING DELIGHTS - all occasion and holiday greeting cards,

novelty gifts, t-shirts, bracelets and many others items.

www.ontherun.com/runningdelights

Our entire catalog is now online with secure ordering.

--- --- --- --- ---

*******************

TO THE EDGE CONTEST

*******************

In the last issue of Runner's Niche we announced a contest to

predict the winner of the Womens World Championships Marathon.

Several entries were received, but nobody correctly identified

the winner, Lidia Simon of Romania. The tie-breaker in this

instance was who could come closest to predicting the winning

time, and Larry Semark or Albuquerque, New Mexico, won out. He

predicted a winning time of 2:25:00, only 1:01 away from Simon's

winning time of 2:26:01 in Edmonton. Larry was sent a free copy

of the new book "On the Edge" by Kirk Johnson. This interesting

examination of the Badwater Ultra race across Death Valley was

also sent to three other randomly picked contest entrants. The

lucky winners were Andy Edmondson of Boulder, Colorado; Kelly

Dever of Albany, Oregon; and Karen Shepherd of Los Angeles,

California. Congratulations to our winners!

This book is certainly worth the read. To learn more about it,

point your web browser to:

http://www.twbookmark.com

**************

TEMPO, MAESTRO

***************

By Woody Green

Like so many things involving the jargon of a sport, the term

"tempo run" may mean different things to different people. When

I was in college, one of our coaches used the term to define

repeat runs of about 600 meters which we did at a modertae

effort, concentrating on running with an even, smooth rhythm and

working on relaxed running form. Most distance runners, though,

have a different definition of the word.

Most people referring to a tempo run are speaking of a workout

meant to help a runner more efficiently produce energy

aerobically. This will help you to run at a faster pace without

accumulating lactic acid and the associated "oxygen debt." The

effect is especially important to marathon runners, but will aid

runners of any distance event.

Tempo runs should typically be done at a pace that is close to

your current ten mile or half marathon race pace. The effort

should be hard, but somewhat comfortable. The duration of a

tempo run will vary according to fitness level and ability, but

a general rule might be 20 to 30 minutes.

These workouts will cause chemical changes in you body including

an increase in myoglobin, which carries oxygen in your muscles.

It will also increase the size and number of the muscles'

"energy centers" called mitochondria.

It has been my experience that many runners go a little too hard

on their tempo runs, making the workout more of a race effort

than a workout. Watch out not to get carried away if you choose

to use tempo runs as a part workout scheme. Remember, also, to

get the most of these runs, do them on a day when you are

rested. Remember, also, to let your body recover for a day or

two after this type of hard workout.

 

******************

MYSTERIES REVEALED

******************

1. Ever wonder why your name is misspelled or missing from race

results? You figure the race crew screwed up? Maybe, but usually

it's because you hurriedly wrote your name in an illegible scrawl

on the entry form and a busy race official had to make a wild

guess at what your name might be.

2. Why are race officials so doggoned insistent that you wear

your race number so that it is clearly visible on the front of

your body? At the finish line officials need to be able to see

that you are actually a registered entrant. Runners who cross the

finish line and are not actually entered in the race can make a

mess of race results. Additionally, one of the ways that results

and times are cross-checked is by recording competitor's numbers

as they finish. This data helps results crews to sort out any

discrepancies or missing times from final race results.

3. Why won't race officials let me stand right next to the finish

line to watch the runners come across the line? Timers need to

clearly see runners as they approach the finish line, especially

so that they can record bib numbers as was explained in mystery

#2.

4. Why do the people at the finish line become grumpy when I step

over the flagged line surrounding the finish crew area and ask if

they can tell me what my time and place was? Race crews are doing

a thousand things at once in order to produce the results runners

crave after the event. Things are hectic and take the complete

attention of those involved. All the results will be out much

quicker if everyone stays back and lets them do their job

unhindered.

5. What's wrong with taking an extra five or six water bottles

from the post-race refreshment area so that I can drink them

later? Think of your fellow runner! Take only what you will drink

or eat, and leave the rest for other runners. Remember those who

finish the race after you will want to rehydrate and have a bit

to eat, too.

6. Why didn't they print enough t-shirts for me to get one when I

signed up on race day? Any time you sign up the day of the race

you are taking a chance. Race organizers hesitate to print too

many extra t-shirts because of the cost involved. If you want to

guarantee yourself a shirt, sign up early.

7. How come some runners get mad when I line up right on the

starting line, then elbow me as they zoom past after the start?

It's important for your safety and that of all runners to line up

according to your ability at the starting line. Faster runners

should be up front, with other runners lining up amongst those

who will run at about the same pace. This is the best way for

everyone to start with the least inhibition to forward progress.

Moms and Dads, please advise your children of this so they don't

get stampeded at the starting line! Besides being a safety issue,

it is also a matter of courtesy.

8. Why aren't there more races offered in my hometown? Putting on

even a small road race is a huge undertaking. Logistics, working

with sponsors, designing and measuring a course, clearing

everything with local authorities, and printing those all-

important t-shirts takes a ton of time.

 

**********

FROM USATF

**********

*2000 Olympian Deena Drossin set a new U.S. women-only record of

1:10:08 o in winning the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in

Virginia Beach, Virginia. The previous U.S. best of 1:11:34 was

set along a point-to-point course by Gordon Bloch at the 1992

IAAF World-Half Marathon Championships.

-----

*American Rich Hanna stunned the ultrarunning world on August 6

by winning the silver medal at the 100 Kilometer World

Championships in Cleder, France.

Hanna ran the challenging course in 6 hours, 43 minutes, 9

seconds, finishing second behind Japan's Yasufumi Mikami, who

completed the circuit in 6:33:28.

-----

*A new ARCO Olympic Training Center (OTC) and a new program

called Running USA will aid distance athletes in the United

States at making a run at respectability. The OTC rests on a 150-

acre complex in San Diego County where an estimated 4,000

athletes train each year. The center includes a dining hall that

serves up to 1,000 meals a day and the athletes stay in one of 34

two-bedroom suites equipped with balconies, telephones, and cable

television.

-----

 

 

*************

THIS AND THAT

*************

*Cold Run

The first running race ever held on the North Pole will be held

on Saturday April24, 2002. More info: http://www.north-pole-

expeditions.com or Toll free phone: 1-800-770-5961.

*Harvest Run

The first annual Harvest Stompede 10K will be September 29 on the

Leelanau Peninsula (just north of Traverse City, Michigan). This

run will follow the wine trail through the vineyards of a

beautiful peninsula. Details: http://www.lpwines.com

 

 

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*World Championships Results

Last month's results from the IAAF World Championships in

Edmondton, Canada, can be found at:

http://www.iaaf.org/WCH01/Results/Timetable/010805.html

*Lake Tahoe Marathon

http:// www.laketahoemarathon.com

*Web Radio

Tune in today and every Thursday at 3:00 PM Pacific Time (23:00

to 00:00 UTC - Zulu time) for The Running Show.

To listen go to http://www.wsRadio.ws

 

************************

LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

************************

Dear Runner's Niche,

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the past article

"Training More And Getting Away With It" by Woody Green (June

1996). It has some great advice or reminders for cross-country

runners. We often forget how important it is to stretch, and do

other things to help our bodies to recover.

Thanks,

Jessica Powers

Ed: Thanks, Jessica! Readers can always find back issues of

Runner's Niche at the Niche web page:

http:home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html

 

--- --- --- --- ---

Fine 14K and Sterling Silver jewelry for runners. Call/write for

catalog. Creative Sports Jewelry, 6525 Gunpark Dr. #150-422,

Boulder, CO 80301. 303/527-1130 or 800/606-8887. E-mail

SprtJewlry@aol.com Website: www.ontherun.com/sportsjewelry

--- --- --- --- ---

 

 

********************************

LEGAL STUFF / SUBSCRIPTION INFO.

********************************

"Runner's Niche" is free, but its contents are copyrighted.

Nobody may use the content without permission of the author and

"Runner's Niche."

SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:

woodyg3@netone.com.

Include your e-mail address. We'll send you an issue via e-mail

every month or so.

If you don't want to continue receiving "Runner's Niche", simply

mail with your e-mail address and ask that your subscription be

stopped.

Article Submissions are always welcome. Unfortunately, there can

be no monetary reimbursement for material used in Runner's Niche.

It is normally best to send a query letter to the editor before

sending finished articles.

 

 

-----------------------------211655802155761 Content-Disposition: form-data; name="userfile"; filename="August96.html" Content-Type: text/html --------------

--------------

RUNNER'S NICHE

--------------

Vol. 1 No. 5 August, 1996

*********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

*********************

Yes, this issue is a bit late coming out. I wanted to wait

until the Olympics were over before letting this issue loose.

I hope to have Oly results e-mailed out in the next couple of

days.

There are many things we will likely carry with us from these

games. There are several positives I hope we can all

remember. (Despite the whining American press and electronic

media.)

I hope the world remembers a very talented, brave young

American sprinter by the name of Tim Harden. He was the

rookie on the 4 x 100 US mens relay team who was suddenly put

on the spot. When attempts were made to put Carl Lewis on the

relay team to give him a shot at his tenth gold medal, Tim

could have been the odd man out. Harden ran, and ran well,

despite what had to be enormous pressure.

I'm hoping Erv Hunt will be remembered as the coach who stuck

with his principles, and refused to put someone on the relay

team who had not earned the right.

Maybe Americans can remember this as the Olympics when a new,

strong batch of Canadian sprinters took the spotlight by

winning the 400 meter relay. Perhaps Donovan Bailey can

receive the respect he deserves after winning the gold and

setting the world record in the 100 meters.

I'd love to see more attention given to the strong US

distance efforts. Sure, we all recognize that work needs to

be done to improve development of US distance running talent,

but let's help to do that by holding up examples of our

strong US talent. Look at Bob Kennedy, who nearly pulled of a

medal in the 5000 and who was courageous enough to take the

lead with two laps to go in the race. How about veteran Mark

Croghan in the steeplechase. He ran a great tactical race and

finished a strong fifth. Then there was the gutsy performance

of Anne Marie Lauck, who literally collapsed at the finish

line after giving it all she had in the marathon. By

promoting these individuals, maybe it would be possible to

stir up more interest in the sport.

Similarly, I hope everyone remembers how well American Lance

Deal did in the hammer throw, taking the silver. Let's forget

grumbling about how American John Godina "only" got a silver

in the shot, and failed to make it to the finals of the

discus. He's only 22 years old and the man already owns a

silver medal!

Then there is the the courage of injured athletes like Jackie

Joyner-Kersee, Mike Powell and Chris Huffins who put it on

the line despite great pain. One got a medal and two did not,

yet they all left the field knowing they gave everything they

could.

Most importantly, when the history books are written, I hope

the courage, determination and strength of the people of

Atlanta and the Olympic movement are noted. A cowardly,

moronic, evil, sub-human little puke who planted a pipe bomb

in Centennial Park thought he could bring the games to a

stop. The games did stop, there was a moment of silence at

each venue to remember those who had died and those who were

injured. Then the games proceeded full steam ahead.

- Woody Green

*********************

OLYMPIC ODDS AND ENDS

*********************

- Michael Johnson: "I never dreamed I would run a 19.32."

- Johnson's coach, Clyde Hart: "Personally, I would have

thought that if he had run 19.32, his heart would have

exploded."

- Michael Johnson: "The 19.32 wasn't a perfect race, I

stumbled out of the blocks. I think 19.2 is possible."

- More on Johnson: There was a lot of talk by sports

journalists that if you divide Johnson's 19.32 in two, you

would get 9.68 for each 100 meters - faster than Donovan

Bailey's new 100 meter record of 9.84. Thus, they reasoned,

Johnson must be the "real" fastest man in history. This logic

fails to recognize that Johnson's second 100 meters was run

with the aid of a full running start. In reality, Johnson was

timed in 10.12 for the first 100 meters of his historic race.

From there, he closed with 9.2 for the last 100 meters, which

, of course, was with a running start.

- Getting to the start: Boulder resident Rich Castro,

personal coach of Ecuador's Martha Tenorio, said the bus

driver who took them from the Olympic village to the start of

the marathon didn't really know where to go. First he took

athletes to the practice track instead of the stadium. Once

he got redirected to the main stadium, he went through the

wrong security line, taking much longer than need be. Finally

he got them to the stadium, but insisted they get off at the

entrance for athletes not competing. Marathoners then had to

walk to the other side of the stadium to get to the competing

athletes entrance.

- Accommodations: Castro also reported that while larger

countries were housed in huge dormitories, smaller countries

were given a sorority or fraternity building. The

Ecuadorians, staying in a frat house, must have learned of

the reputation for wild parties in American frats. They

partied wildly and late into the night after Jefferson Perez

won the 20 K racewalk for Ecuador.

- Security: To get into the athlete's village, athletes and

coaches had to go through three separate security gates.

- More security: No cars were permitted in any area of the

athlete's village. Buses were used to transport athletes

around the village at all times.

- Can you stomach this? One coach waiting in line at one of

the McDonalds in the Olympic village watched as the athlete

ahead of him in line, a Russian weightlifter, took all eight

double cheeseburgers off the serving table. The woman behind

the counter was undaunted, saying, "more double cheeseburgers

up in a moment." Apparently this was not the first Olympian

appetite she had seen!

- Medal detector needed: Carl Lewis temporarily lost his long

jump gold medal when the medal and Carl's pager wound up in

TV anchorman Tom Brocaw's car after an interview.

- Looking forward to 2000: Richard Palfreyman, an Olympic

official for the upcoming 2000 games in Sydney said: "I'm not

sure we can improve on the friendliness and energy of the

Atlanta people. But we certainly believe we can make our

Olympics special for everyone."

- Relay splits: Gail Devers defeated Gwen Torrence in the

Open 100 meter race. Gwen turned the tables a bit, at least

for trivia buffs, in the 4 x 100 relay. She had a slightly

faster relay leg, running 9.97 to 10.03 for Devers.

- More relay splits: The US womens 4 x 400 relay team ran

well enough to get the gold medal. The fastest individual

relay leg of all the athletes in the field, however, came

from Germany's anchor runner Grit Breuer, who clocked 48.63.

As fast as this was, Marie-Jose Perec's winning time in the

open 400 was faster - 48.25 out of the blocks.

- Drugs: Marina Trandenkova, 5th in the womens 100, tested

positive for bromanton, a stimulant and masking agent. The

Russian sprinter was not the only athlete to test positive

for this drug. Two Russian swimmers and one wrestler tested

positive for bromanton as well.

- How fast is fast? Decathlete Dan O'Brien ran 4:45.89 for

1500 meters, the final event of the decathlon. This might

have looked slow on TV, but that translates to 5:06.76 for a

mile. Not exactly pedestrian.

- How slow is slow? The final finisher in the mens marathon

was A Baser Wasiqi of Afghanistan with a time of 4:24:17.

This is a record for the slowest time ever recorded in the

Olympics.

- Slow but not that slow: The last finisher of the womens

marathon fared much better. Marie Benito of Guam ran

3:27:28, good for 65th.

- DNFs: While the weather was not super hot for either

marathon, it was still warm and very humid. That took its

toll as 20 out of 85 women who started failed to finish. The

men fared a bit better, with 13 out of 124 dropping out.

- The bright side: Americans may not have taken any medals in

the marathon, but all 5 who finished were in the top half of

the field.

- More on the bright side: Bob Kennedy, American record

holder in the 5,000 meters, ran a superb race and even took

the lead of the Olympic 5,000 with two laps to go. He

finished 6th with a time of 13:12. (The race was won by 1500

meter specialist Niyongabo of

Burundi in 13:07.96.) Watch out for Kennedy in the next few

years. He has no "Kenyaphobia" at all.

 

********************

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

********************

Mexico City: October 20, 1968

The Mexico City Olympics are now remembered primarily for the

world record blitz in the sprint and jump events. This was

the Olympics where Bob Beamon long jumped 29' 2 1/2", almost

2 feet longer than the world record at the time. Wynomia Tyus

ran 11.0, Jim Hines 9.9, Tommy Smith 19.8, Lee Evans 43.8.

All in all 15 World Track and Field Records were set. The

thin air of Mexico City contributed greatly to most of these

marks, since the thin air offers less resistance and allows

greater speed in sprints.

In 1968 the women had no race longer than 800 meters. The

Olympics were still under the charge of cavemen who felt

women were too delicate to run "longer" distances. The men

competed in all the traditional distance events,however, and

these were certainly NOT aided by the 7400 foot altitude. In

fact, there were numerous problems for athletes who did not

live and train at high altitude. In the end, 10 of the 15

distance event medals went to athletes who came from high

altitude. Most of these were Kenyans.

An excellent example of the altitude problem for sea level

trained athletes was legendary Australian distance ace Ron

Clarke, who was the favorite in the 10,000 meters. In the

thin air of Mexico City, however, he faded to 6th place and

collapsed at the finish. It took 10 minutes to revive him and

he was taken to the hospital immediately. Some feared he

would die. He recovered completely (and competed in the 5000

meters a few days later), but he was only one of several

athletes who were overcome by the effects of altitude.

The mens 1500 meter event was to be a showdown between the

world record holder, Kansas college student Jim Ryun, and the

blazing fast Kenyan, Kip Keino. West German Bodo Tummler was

another force to be reckoned with, having run the fastest

mile and 1500 of the year leading up to Mexico City. His

times were 3:53.8 and 3:36.5. Keino had been red hot, too,

having run 3:55.5 in the mile in late August. Nineteen year-

old Marty Liquori, who had followed Ryun's footsteps as a

high school running phenomenon, was also in the finals.

Ryun had a problematic year leading up to the Olympics. He

had several injuries, and had to overcome Mononucleosis which

was diagnosed in May. This detracted greatly from his summer

training. In the Olympic trials, held in Lake Tahoe, he

failed to qualify in the 800 meters, but managed to win the

1500. Still, he did not feel good in the race, and was very

unsure of himself. He was certainly not the Jim Ryun of 1967,

when he had set the world record in both the mile and 1500

(3:51.1 and 3:33.1, respectively.)

Jim knew what he was up against with the high altitude

factor. He had trained with Jack Daniels in Alamosa, Colorado

during the Summer of '67. To support himself while he trained

in Colorado, he worked as a grocery sacker. There were no big

shoe company contracts to support track athletes in the back

then.

Jack Daniels, a very well known and respected exercise

physiologist and coach, warned Ryun that at the altitude of

Mexico City, going out too hard at the start would certainly

spell disaster for sea level trained athletes. Ryun would

need to run a smart race since Keino would likely go out hard

to try to deplete the other athletes of oxygen.

In the finals, Keino did just that. He had some help, as Ben

Jipcho, a young, upcoming Kenyan, led the race out to aid his

countryman. Jipcho hit 400 in 56.0, with Keino at 56.6. Ryun

was at the back of the pack in 58.5, heeding Daniels advice

to be cautious.

Jipcho and Keino did not let off the accelerator on the

second lap, with Keino in the lead at 800 in 1:55.3. Bodo

Tummler was holding on for dear life, 4 meters back. Ryun was

a good 30 meters or more behind Keino at this point. Those

who did not understand the effects of altitude were not too

worried about Ryun being that far back. He had a fearsome

kick and had outsprinted the world's best from behind more

than once in his young career.

Keino's third circuit of the track was unrelenting, as he

passed 1200 in 2:53.4. Ryun, however, was making up ground

slowly, hitting 2:56. Tummler was still the closest pursuer

to Keino at this point, and Ryun was not yet in medal

position.

Before the race, Ryun figured a 3:39 could win, and he had

planned his strategy accordingly. He was on pace to run under

3:39, but with 300 meters left Keino was well ahead and

looking strong. Tummler was fading, and Ryun passed him and

went into second place on the final curve. His last 400

meters would be 54, and he made up ground on the Kenyan, but

nobody had any real chance to beat Keino on this day.

Keino charged home to win by a large margin. Some people felt

Keino had an unfair advantage running at altitude since he

lived in the highlands of Kenya. This hardly seems credible

given his final time of 3:34.9. Not only did this net him the

gold medal, it was the fastest time of the year and an

Olympic record. Keino had come within 2 seconds of Ryun's

world record. This could only be described as remarkable for

a race held 7400 feet above sea level! On top of all this,

Keino ran the race with a painful kidney stone. His doctors

did not even want him to get out of bed, let alone run the

race!

Ryun sprinted to the finish, looking over his shoulder three

times in the final 100 meters. He had to be content with the

silver. His time of 3:37.9 should fairly rank as one of the

best marks in Olympic history, but it is often overlooked as

a result of Keino's masterful win.

Tummler salvaged the bronze with a 3:39.0. The early

pacesetter, Jipcho, slid back to 10th in 3:51.2. His mission

was to help secure the gold medal for Kenya, not individual

glory. The young American, Liquori, hobbled by a bad arch,

was last in 4:18.2.

Ryun would never run as fast in the 1500 or mile as he had in

1967. Some would say that the 1968 Olympics broke him, others

say that his coach, Bob Timmons, simply worked him too hard

at too young an age. Regardless, he will be remembered as one

of the very best athletes to ever grace the track.

Keino, interestingly, never surpassed his 1968 Olympic time

of 3:34.9 in the 1500 meters. To have a career best set at

the altitude of Mexico City is certainly unique, and it only

adds to the magnificence of his golden Olympic effort. While

Keino was not a terribly consistent runner, he continued to

be a strong force in track and field through the 1972 season.

*****************

THIS MONTH'S LIST

*****************

This month we introduce a new monthly feature. Each month we

will have a list, not unlike Letterman's top ten list, on a

running related issue. Thanks to Diana Shannon for this

months list.

TOP 5 REASONS THAT A MARATHON IS BETTER THAN A MAN

1. A marathon is an accomplishment you are proud to tell your

mother about.

2. Marathons last longer.

3. Marathons don't get jealous if you run other marathons.

4. A marathon won't whine if you quit it.

5. A marathon won't dump you for some cute, young runner.

*****************

ALTITUDE TRAINING

*****************

By Woody Green

There is a sort of mystique that surrounds sites like the

high plains of Kenya or the mountains of Colorado. These

locations, along with many others roughly a mile or more

above sea level, are thought to be very special places to

train. The very thin air that leaves runners gasping at

higher altitudes is thought to have magical qualities for the

runner wishing to get maximal gains from their training.

There are, however, plenty of people who feel there is no

real benefit in training at altitude, unless you are planning

on racing there. In fact, some feel that training at altitude

can actually slow a runner down.

So, who's right? All the studies on training at altitude

agree on one basic fact. When training at altitude, your

blood becomes "thicker." That is, you have a higher

concentration of red blood cells and hemoglobin. This seems

to be a way of adapting to the lower levels of oxygen

available to the lungs in the less dense air. Common belief

is that this could result in greater than "normal" endurance

when runners go to race at sea level.

This concept may sound familiar to people who have never

heard of the benefits of altitude training, but have heard of

the benefits of a friendly physician. The procedure known as

"blood doping" or "blood packing" is an attempt to accomplish

the same thing. In this procedure, an athlete will have a

unit of blood extracted and preserved. Later, when the

athlete's blood has naturally increased back to its normal

level, the old blood is reinjected into the athlete. This

provides extra red blood cells and hemoglobin for oxygen

transport. It should be noted that this method is illegal

according to the governing bodies of athletics. It should

also be pointed out that it is dangerous. Many athletes have

wound up ill as a result of this technique. Rumors are that

some have even died.

Another medical attempt to increase the oxygen capacity of

the blood is a drug called EPO which similarly increases the

blood "thickness." Again, this method is both illegal and

dangerous.

It is very well accepted in the arena of world class running

that "blood doping" and EPO work very well to increase an

athlete's endurance. Some Olympic medalists have been accused

of using this method to improve their performance.

If altitude training results in the same thing: "thicker"

blood, then shouldn't it increase performance, too? Many

runners and coaches believe it does. Certainly the

performances of athletes from areas such as Kenya, Ethiopia

and Mexico who live and train at altitude would lead many to

suspect that altitude training is a definite advantage. And,

it is not illegal, immoral or life threatening!

Common belief, though, has yet to be solidly backed by

scientific evidence. The scientific community has conducted a

good number of studies on training a high altitude.

Surprisingly, there are very few that support the notion that

altitude trained athletes will have an advantage when racing

at at sea level. Many studies have shown that athletes who

are taken to high altitude to train, then back to sea level

to race, show no improvement over their pre-altitude training

times.

Additionally, there are problems associated with running at

altitude. Since it is impossible to run as fast at altitude

as a similar distance at sea level, some coaches fear that

altitude training will actually slow their athletes down.

Some feel that interval training may be negatively impacted

by altitude, as well, making anaerobic training less

effective.

When an athlete trains at altitude, then goes to sea level,

the body begins changing. The increased levels of hemoglobin

and red blood cell density return to "normal" after several

days. Thus, any benefits in blood composition are probably

short lived.

Another problem is not so much the altitude itself, but the

climate that accompanies most high altitude locations. They

tend to be dry and relatively cool. This makes it hard for an

athlete to adapt to the heat and humidity more commonly found

when they race at sea level.

Still, advocates of altitude training provide arguments in

favor of running in "rare air."

Frank Shorter was once quoted as saying that one of the

benefits of altitude training was that it is simply not

possible to run as many miles as at sea level. This, he felt,

kept some runners from running too many miles and beating up

their legs.

Many feel there is a sort of psychological advantage as well.

Training feels harder at altitude, which can lead to a sense

of confidence and mental toughness. Mental attitude is

extremely important in any athletic endeavor. Anything that

leads to increased confidence must certainly be considered a

benefit.

Additionally, those who point only to scientific evidence

should be reminded that there were initially numerous

scientific studies which indicated that steroid use had no

effect on muscle strength or recovery from workouts. Studies

or not, unscrupulous athletes continued to use the drugs,

knowing full well that the benefits were very real. They did

not wait for science to prove what they already knew. Despite

scientific findings, perhaps the athletes training at

altitude know something the exercise physiologists have yet

to prove. And, there's nothing unscrupulous about training on

a beautiful mountain trail at 5000 feet!

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

There is a new DOS-based program called RunLog in a calendar

format. It keeps track of all your distances, times, paces,

totals, etc. and graphs them, too. There is a web page for

it with a demo at:

http://www.pacifier.com/~mshep/runlog/

You PC users might want to check it out!

**

The North Carolina Roadrunners Club (about 700+ members) has

a web page with upcoming races and results for middle/eastern

NC. It is:

http://sunsite.unc.edu/ncrc

Take a visit to this nice site!

**

The Hood to Coast Relay has its own web site. Included are

race details, weather conditions, course changes, training

tips, maps and more. Sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, visit

this site at:

http://www.nationwidedirect.com/hoodtocoast/

 

 

*************

READER'S MAIL

*************

*Olympic Trials Editorial*

These readers share their feelings about last month's

editorial on the Olympic trials:

*****

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

Glad you had such a wonderful time in our city at the trials-

-didn't realize you were such an expert in stadium design and

urban culture and decoration-Please cancel my subscription.

-No Name Given

*****

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

Re: your Olympic Trials experience. I totally agree.

- Jim O'Brien

 

*Blast From the Past Correction*

Benji Durden writes to correct an error in the Blast from the

Past column last month that stated that Steve Jones' 2:07:13

was the fastest ever on a loop course:

*****

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

The Rotterdam course is a loop course as well (where Carlos

Lopes set the WR at 2:07:12) so Jonesey's 2:07:13 was the 2nd

fastest for a loop, not the fastest. The start and finish

were just a few feet apart.

It is true that Lopes had some good rabbits though. I was one

through 10K (29:58 I think it was) and 2 guys actually hung

onto 3 min K's 'till around 25K before they crashed and Lopes

was on his own. He slowed to a K over 3 minutes finally

around 39-40K (after having steak for breakfast that

morning). I was stunned with how fast he ran.

Jonesy was stunning with how crazy he ran and survived.

Another time.

Later,

- Benji Durden, Boulder

*EATING MORE AND ENJOYING IT LESS*

*****

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

My name is Amanda Parish and I love to run. I've been running

for 3 months now and I run 3-4 miles every night (excluding

Sunday.) I've noticed that since I've been running my

appetite has increased. And, I can't seem to get enough to

eat. I was wondering if there was something I could do to get

my appetite to decrease? I would also love to join your E-

magazine. I downloaded a couple of your back issues, and they

were fantastic!

Thanks,

-Amanda

Ed: A greater appetite is perfectly normal when you increase

your activity level. Not only does your body need more food

to provide energy, you require more vitamins, trace elements

and water.

Be happy that you can eat more and worry less about it . You

are burning 3-400 calories a day by running 3-4 miles a day.

Many runners say the only reason they run more is so they can

eat more!

*************

CONTRIBUTIONS

*************

RUNNER'S NICHE needs more writers! If you would like to write

an article about any aspect of running, please submit it via

e-mail to us. Since this is a free publication, we don't pay

our writers. Still, your article will be read by a great

variety of folks, including subscribers in 5 different

continents. Besides, what can be more fun to write about than

the best sport of all: running?

****************************

NEXT MONTH IN RUNNER'S NICHE

****************************

- Blast From the Past looks at the 1979 NCAA Nationals

- Notes from our European editor on the problems with British

track and field.

- Fartlek training.

- Other fun stuff!

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE has a web page! We have some cool links, and

past issues can be downloaded there. Also, we have a

Macintosh training log program for free download. Features

are continuously being added. If you'd like to visit, the URL

is: http://members.aol.com/woodyg3/web/runiche.html . Pass

the address on to your friends!

 

"Runner's Niche" is free, but it's contents are copyrighted.

Nobody may use the content without permission of the author

and "Runner's Niche."

SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:

woodyg3@aol.com. Include your e-mail address. We'll send you

an issue via e-mail every month or so.

If you don't want to continue receiving "Runner's Niche",

simply mail with your e-mail address and ask that your

subscription be stopped.

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RUNNER'S NICHE

--------------

Vol. 2 No. 8 August, 1997

*********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

*********************

The World Championships of Track and Field begin on Saturday,

August 2 in Athens. This should be a runner's celebration. We

get to see the world's best going after a medal that

indicates he or she is the best on the entire planet. I urge

you to watch this event with the enthusiasm of a child. Try

to ignore the American media that whines when US athletes

"fail" to win a medal. Please try to put all the politics out

of your mind. Think about the athletes who are attending the

championships, and don't worry that some top athletes will

not attend. Enjoy this gathering of fantastic athletic talent

and let it inspire you.

- WG

**************

MISSING RUNNER

**************

Amy Wroe Bechtel, a marathon runner, is lost and was last

seen in Wyoming on a training run. Amy was last seen

Thursday, July 24, in the Wind River Mountains, on the Loop

Road, between Lander, Wyoming and South Pass where she was

training for a marathon! She was wearing a yellow tank top,

black shorts or leggings and Adidas Trail Response running

shoes, a Timex Iron Man Triathlon watch and a small double

wedding band!

Amy is 24 years old, 5'6", 110 lbs., and has blonde shoulder

length hair and blue eyes.

A picture and the previous information can be found at the

following web address:

<http://WWW.YELLOWSTONEPARK.COM/AMY.HTML>

or

<http://WWW.ASPENTREE.COM>

Please take a moment to look at Amy's picture at one of these

sights!

Anyone who has seen Amy or has any information, call the

Fremont County

Sheriff's office at (307) 332-5611 or your local law

inforcement agency.

You can also send email to <sbechtel@wyoming.com>

 

*********************

INTERVIEW: DAVE ELGER

*********************

Interview By Woody Green

Dave Elger has accomplished a great deal since he began

running competitively in the late 60's while in high school.

He has run 26 marathons and has a PR of 2:25 from the first

Chicago Marathon, then called the Mayor Daley Marathon. He

managed a 2:34 at the 1994 Boston Marathon at age 40, and

most recently he won the masters division in the Disney

Marathon in January.

He has a professional interest in running as well, having

studied with Dr Dave Costill at the Ball State Human

Performance lab from 1977 - 79.

A Florida resident until recently, he has moved to Okinawa to

do work for the Department of Defense at Kadena Air Base.

RUNNER'S NICHE: You have been running strong for quite a

number of years. At age 43 how have you managed to stay

healthy?

DAVE ELGER: Good question. My last 2 years of college, and

first year following were crazy. I really did some

unbelievable training striving for that next level and ended

up with a chronic case of plantar fascitis. After battling

with it for nearly 2 years, I had surgery in 1979 and haven't

had a problem with it since, although I do wear orthotics for

training. That injury was due to just plain stupidity-

massive doses of high quality miles all on roads with poor

shoes, then continuing to train using tape, injections, etc.

once I was injured.

The other major problem I have had since the late 70s is a

chronic tight muscle in my hamstring that affects my

biomechanics when fatigued. I never have been able to figure

this one out, but over the years I have learned to deal with

it. 5 Ks are okay but 10 Ks are uncomfortable for me. I

estimate my marathons are 3 to 5 minutes slower than what I

could run if healthy.

RN: How has your training changed as you have aged?

DE: In my early 20s, the core of my training was one and a

half hour runs, which I did probably four times per week. I

ran them as I felt. Some days very, very hard, and other days

easy if I was not recovered. I had no structured hard, easy

program and other than in cross country, seldom, if ever did

any formal interval training.

As a master I have had great success by finding a consistent

groove encompassing speed workouts, long runs, and fast paced

45 to 60 minute runs. A key difference now is that I usually

know ahead of time when I am going to be ready to run hard.

RN: What do you think is the key to training for the marathon

as a master?

DE: There are three keys to my success as a master in the

marathon.

First, following a good base of 4 to 6 weeks of 2 x 17 mile

runs per week, usually 48-72 hrs apart. I believe and

research supports, that recovery is too long for any distance

20 miles and beyond, and that should be saved for race day

only.

I find that I can recover quickly from 17 miles run at 6:45

to 7:00 pace, and two per week gives me the endurance to

finish the last 6 miles very strong. My last several

marathons I have maintained 6 minute pace the last 6 miles.

Second, I do one run a week at race pace - for me 6 minutes

per mile - or faster for 7 to 10 miles. This run is nearly

all out.

And third, two weeks prior to race day I make a point to

start throwing in several shorter 5 to 6 mile runs at race

pace or slightly faster. My last 17 miler is two weeks

before the marathon.

I Also include things in my training that are not as crucial.

For instance, in training for Disney my long run was 80-85

percent on trails and grass. I think this speeds recovery.

I do one interval session a week - usually 4-6 x 800 meters

in 2:30 or a little under done on a straight road.

Also a 5 k race on the weekend or a short, hard substitute.

Using a program like this I have run the following:

Disney '94 2:38

Boston '94 2:34

Disney '95 2:38

Fox Cities '96 2:37

Disney '97 2:39

At Disney in '97 (Ed: In which he won the masters division.)

I was 1:19:30 at the half, so ran the most even paced

marathon I have ever done. I was in the top 30 and moved up

to finish 7th overall.

RN: What's your next marathon?

DE: I think my serious marathon days are about over. Right

now I am still adjusting to hills in Okinawa, and the age

factor is slowing me down. This is the first year that I have

not been able to break 16:00 for a 5 K. I think I am losing

flexibility in my hips, which is affecting stride length, so

I am trying to work on that, although not as consistently as

I should be.

RN: What kind of racing opportunities are there in your new

home of Okinawa?

DE: There are two marathons here. One is in December, I may

be in the states for that one, and one in February. Once it

cools off a bit I'll see how I feel. I may just train to

break 3 hours. Long runs are tough right now with this heat.

It's a similar climate to Florida where I lived the last 10

years.

RN: Of all the races you have run, which one is your

favorite?

DE: I've run easily over 500 races, and my favorite is

probably the 7 mile Bridge Run in Marathon, Florida. I enjoy

the Florida Keys and I have always run well there.

RN: What are your all time best performances?

DE: I competed for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

from 1971 to 76, and was NAIA marathon champ in 1976 with a

time of 2:28 in the hills and heat of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

I ran a 9:25 indoor 2 mile with little or no speed work and

30:13 for 6 miles.

*****************

MY FIRST MARATHON

*****************

By Chris Amaker

I chose to attend Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota as

my first marathon with the Leukemia Society Team in Training.

I was already moderately fit but in no condition to run 26.2

miles. The Team in Training folks gave me a choice of

marathons. I could have chosen the Mayor's Midnight marathon

in Anchorage, Alaska too. However, all the stories about

running trails and the hills scared me away from that

marathon. No, I thought it best to go with the paved roads

for my first marathon. After all, moving this 6' 1", 240

pound, ex-football player body that distance was bound to be

painful.

My wife and I decided to stay at the Black Bear Casino/Hotel.

It was about fifteen minutes south of Duluth and the finish

line. Besides, all the hotel rooms in Duluth were booked

solid during the marathon days, imagine that!

Many of my pre-marathon dreams consisted of me completing the

run and coming back to the Casino and winning big on the

Blackjack table. That was until I reached mile 20 during the

run. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you

back a little bit.

The morning of the marathon we had an uncle drive us to the

start. The traffic was not too bad and we managed to get

there with thirty minutes to spare before the race began. The

pre-race jitters sent a sudden urgency to my belly. I had to

use the bathroom really bad. The day before we had taken the

tour of the route and noticed about 50-100 "Port-A-Potty"

bathrooms set up for the marathon about 300 feet from the

start line. As I snaked my way through the crowd over to the

Port-a potty I noticed that of the 7500 runners that day,

6000 had the same idea. The lines were long and they weren't

moving. I thought back to my group leader with the Team in

Training crew. She told us, "Head to the tree line." I had

said to myself using the tree line was barbaric and I could

exhibit enough control to avoid such disgrace. But, on your

training runs you have the bathroom at a supermarket or donut

shop on the route to let you avoid certain doom. I was stuck

now and had to answer the call of nature so, I headed for the

tree line. As I approached I noticed several "squatters,"

male and female all using nature's bathroom. I found a spot

and joined in, a little embarrassed but definitely

enlightened. I now knew what "head to the trees" meant. The

wisdom of my group leader surprised me and I was grateful I

remembered.

I managed to make it back to the start line with plenty of

minutes to spare. I did notice back where we were standing

how talkative all the runners were. Near the front people

were quieter.I attribute this to the back of the pack being

those runners with

"penguinness" qualities. Whereas, the front of the pack, the

elite runners, were concentrating on hearing the starter's

pistol and getting off to a good start. The slow runners,

like me, were in it for the T-shirt or just to finish. We did

not need to hear the starter's pistol. We would start when

the crowd moved ahead. That is how it started for me. Three

and one-half minutes

after the pistol I came rumbling across the start line.

I was off and feeling great. I had trained the last 5 months

and was ready to prove to the world I could run a marathon.

The spectators and volunteers that lined the race were great.

Each had a special thing to offer us. Many had radios or

"boom boxes" blaring as we came running by. The spectators

really enjoyed us as much as we did them. After all, if it

weren't for us slower runners the spectator's participation

would be about 10 seconds. Those elite runners come whipping

by and don't even have time to listen to the music. I, on the

other hand, had plenty of time. I soaked in each person and

the scenery (Lake Superior). Where else but a marathon can

you get a, "Achy Breaky Heart" with Billy Ray Cirrus, "Push

It" with Salt 'n' Pepper and dance the "Macarena" better than

any democrat at a convention. My first 20 miles were filled

with joyous people and activities to divert my attention.

They were shouting, "Go Chris, You look great!"

Sewing my name on the front of my shirt made that possible.

My group leader struck again. She was really wise about this

marathon stuff. The course was described as flat with a few

"rolling hills." This description was probably done by one of

those elite runners. To regular runners like me they were not

rolling they were just "HILLS!" There was always an incline

except for the last 6 miles.

Miles 20 - 26 were hell for me. I could barely hear the

crowds. Not because they were thinning but because my ears

decided to shut down to conserve energy for my legs. The

cheers from the crowd had turned into muffled noises to me. I

could read the lips when I looked up from the road.

"Yeah, Chris only a little further!" They were clueless. A

little further seemed like 100 miles and I was not moving

that fast. Yet, I kept plugging along somehow. I could not

make it to the mile markers fast enough. The toughest part of

the run for me was at mile 24. There was an overly zealous

group of guys sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer. They were

watching the runners come by and cheering them on. They

decided to offer me a beer. They reassured me that I had it

made, why not stop for a beer? They had no idea how much I

gave up to run this marathon. My beer intake had dramatically

decreased during my training period because it could have

possibly affected my run the next day. I thanked them all and

told them that I would return but for now I had to struggle

on to the finish. I never made it back to them.

My wife finished thirty minutes ahead of me. She came back

about 400 meters from the finish line to look for me. I

noticed her mouth moving and from what I could lip read she

was saying, "Yeah, Chris I am so proud of you!" I normally

listen to her, (except during Pro Basketball games) but this

time I could not hear a word she was saying. I told her I

would meet her at the end.

At mile 26 I could see the finish line. I had a mere 200

meters left, so I stopped, raised my hands to the crowd, high

fived someone and looked around to cherish the moment. I

crossed the finish line and announced to the world, "I did

it!!" The marathon took me awhile (5 hours, 39 minutes) but I

did it.

Not everyone can say that. It was the most physically

demanding thing I had ever done. I got my medal and T-shirt

for completing the marathon. My wife and I hugged at the end

and began to plan our next run. We are going to run in the

Honolulu, Hawaii marathon in December.

The Leukemia Society Team in Training program trained me to

reach this goal. My group leader said I could do it and she

made sure to train me to achieve the goal.

I did go back to the casino. I lost 20 dollars in the slot

machines and called it quits, so much for the dream. The Hot

tub in the hotel was calling my name like the spectators,

"Chris, Chris, the water is good." This time I heard the

call.

Once in the hot tub I was the one to shout, "Yeah, Chris you

did it! You really did it!"

 

*******************

ANAEROBICS: STRIDES

*******************

By Woody Green

Most of the time we think of interval workouts as being

pretty tough. We go out and do several tough repetitions with

a short jog in between for recovery. At the end we are bent

over gasping for breath. For an anaerobic workout to be

worthwhile, you might think you really have to hammer and

leave yourself dead.

There is no doubt that this type of workout needs to be a

part of your normal, pre-race workout scheme. But, it isn't a

bad idea to add some easy, quick anaerobic workouts to your

training plan, as well.

Easy interval training? Sure. To help your nervous system get

used to running fast, to help with running form, to make you

more comfortable running at a quick tempo and to strengthen

your legs, think about adding some strides to your weekly

workouts.

Strides are short runs of about 100 meters or so done at an

accelerated pace. Many of you probably do three or four

strides before a race as part of your warm-up. When you run a

short distance at a pace much faster than your race pace, you

make more complete use of all your leg muscles and you use

them at a greater intensity.

The best way to begin doing strides is to add them to the end

of a run. This way you are good and warmed-up, and you should

be able to run fast without fear of "pulling something."

Find a football field, a flat section of a park, or the

straightaway on a track and try doing four to six strides. Do

the first ones relatively easy and build the speed with each

repetition. This isn't meant to be an all-out sprint, but

rather a controlled, quick tempo run.

Think about running with good form, not letting yourself get

tight in the arms or shoulders. Flow with the effort and

don't try to fight your way through it. Take plenty of rest

between strides. You can jog or walk in between, just don't

sit or stand in one place since the blood will pool in your

legs and make it hard to get going again.

By doing just a few strides each week you can often see a

dramatic improvement in your running. Much like a car that is

driven at the same speed in traffic all the time, you can

benefit by "blowing the carbon out" and revving up the RPMs a

bit!

 

******

ON ON!

******

Reader Matt Rhoads got the following information on "Hashing"

in a flyer attached to his windshield after a race. He

thought we might find it interesting.

 

The usual description of a Hash club is: "A drinking club

with a running problem." Originally started in 1938 Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia, Hashing is a sport loosely molded after the

old English schoolboy game "Hares and Hounds." Back in 1938

Kuala Lumpur, the "Hash House" was the mildly derogative

nickname given to the Selangor Club by the British Civil

Servants who lived, dined, and ran there. They named their

running club after it. After World War II hashing spread to

the rest of the world. There are now more than 1500 clubs in

over 135 countries."

Here's the explanation of "Hashing" as found on the flyer:

One or more hares set up a trail, marked with flour. The

hounds then follow the trail. Trail markings consist of the

following:

1.A trail mark indicating you are on the right trail (usually

a dot or splotch of flour.)

2.A "check" (usually an X) indicating that the trail now

branches in any number of directions.

3.A false (marked with an F) indicating that you've just

followed a false trail, and should go back to the previous

check.

Hounds follow the trail because:

1.There might be beer along the way.

2.They don't know any better.

3.There might be beer at the end.

4.It might go interesting places (see items 1 and 3).

Some hash clubs exclusively use "live" hares, meaning that

the hares start marking the trail and fifteen minutes later

the pack takes off after them. There's a kind of honor

associated with catching the hares (usually the hare loses

his/her pants). However, most hashes have elaborate trails

set up hours in advance.

The running is cooperative, with the pack working together to

find the trail. Physical fitness varies greatly; some people

run ultra-marathons, and the only exercise others get is the

slow jog between checks. The length and difficulty of the

trail varies ranging from a half mile to fifteen miles (with

full sag wagons). Usually you can count on the run to be four

to six miles.

The course itself may traverse any or all of the following:

City Streets

Dense Briar Patches

Woods

Swamps

Jungles

Rivers

College Dormitories

Hotels

Urban Shopping Malls

Building Tops

Cemeteries

Waterfalls

Storm Drains

There is usually a beer check somewhere during the run. Some

hashes just have a cooler of beer and soda at the end of the

trail, with a six-pack or two along the way, while others

have multiple kegs at the end. After the run there is food,

ceremony, beer drinking, singing, rejoicing and merry making.

And OF COURSE the usual pissing and moaning of runners after

a run. Sometimes there is a party at a bar or restaurant,

with everyone kicking in a few bucks.

 

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*The First Air Force Marathon*

Get info on the U.S. Air Force Marathon this October 20 at

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

<http://afmarathon.wpafb.af.mil/>

*On On!*

Hash House Harriers Web Links and Info:

<http://www.lm.com/~floppy/wwwlinks.html>

 

*************

READER'S MAIL

*************

*Laughing and Grateful*

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

Just a note from a subscriber thanking you for your unique

combination of useful, amusing and just plain good "stuff"

related to running. I find myself both laughing and grateful

for the runner I am all over again when your newsletter

arrives. Thanks.

- Trish Gaffney

*Elites Aloof?*

Ed: In response to a letter from <Jgracetri@aol.com> last

month stating that running is alive and well in Pensacola,

Florida and that elite runners are too aloof, one reader

writes:

...I think that it easy to tag our athletes with this quality

of being aloof, but really when is the last time that you got

all excited for the USTAF championship. How many times have

you flipped on the tube to watch 12 AMERICANS battling it out

in a mile race on AMERICAN soil. Our runners have to spend

time in Europe in order to stay off the roads. Road racing IS

the only other option. It is sad to say that our athletes are

forced to travel away from their families and we call them

"aloof."

It is simply not enough to have all of these road races. We

have solved the smallest problem, inclusion. The biggest

problem is high quality competition. We need races that will

fine tune our elite athletes.

Who knows, one day we may have the Golden Three (Grand Prix

track meets) here in the states -- Oregon, Maine,

and...uh...Pensacola?

HAGD :)

Jeremy Huffman

********************

RUNNING PERSONAL ADS

********************

By Thomas David Kehoe

We need personal ads in the back of running magazines.

Dating hasn't gone well for me since I started running 3

years ago. If a woman has more than 17% body fat, or wears

shoes she can't walk in, or wants to spend a perfectly good

Saturday afternoon sitting around at a concert or something,

I lose interest. One woman, when I said that I was going

running at 8am Sunday morning, asked if I'd lost a bet!

Only an obsessive runner would date us. I tried dating an

obsessive skier, and then an obsessive rock climber, and then

an obsessive triathlete, but these didn't work out. The

triathlete looked promising, until I took her for an easy run

with my club, and she couldn't keep up with the 70 year-olds.

She never went out on another date with me.

I've set up a running personal ads page on my website. It's

free and easy to use, allowing you to directly e-mail any ad.

Even if you're not "available," leave us an amusing story

about running and dating. The URL is

<http://www.casafuturatech.com/Personal/Running/running_toc.h

tml>

There's a further problem: runners' personal ads, if written

honestly, wouldn't be interesting. After listing your PR's,

you'd have to list your hobbies and interests, i.e., your

Life Outside Running (LOR). Most of us don't have one! If I

wrote an honest personal ad, it would look like this:

SWM, Boulder, Colorado, 35, 6'0", 145 lbs, VO2-max 71, 17:17

5K, 36:39 10K, likes ultradistance trail runs. LOR (life

outside running): uh, let's see, I eat a lot of

carbohydrates, is that a hobby? :-) I have a job, I

volunteer organizing running club events, oh, that's not

outside running?...my dad calls me every weekend, but mostly

he asks how my running is going, I have friends, but I guess

they're all runners, wait, I've thought of something, I've

taken a couple rock climbing classes, of course I ran 10

miles to the classes, but I had fun climbing.

***********************

COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE

***********************

There is a new sister publication to RUNNER'S NICHE called

COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE. Unlike this cyberspace magazine, the

COLORADO NICHE is a regular print publication. If you live on

the front range, look for it at Runner's Roost in Ft. Collins

and Boulder, the Boulder Running Company, Mongoose Runner's

Den (Westminster) or Runner's Choice (Boulder). We hope to

expand or circulation in the future.

You can visit the COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE PAGE AT:

<http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/crn.html>

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!

*****************************

RUNNER'S NICHE has a web page! We have some cool links, and

past issues can be downloaded there. Also, we have a

Macintosh training log program for free download. Features

are continuously being added. If you'd like to visit, the URL

is:

<http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html>

Pass the address on to your friends!

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