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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 4 No.8 August, 1999

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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As the O.J. Simpson trial reminded us endlessly, each of us

has a unique DNA structure. This is really no more than a

very scientific explanation for why each of us is

different. No two human beings have the same genetic make

up, and therefore we all look, act, and are built

differently. Science further explains this in terms of our

athletic abilities. For example some of us have a very high

percentage of "fast twitch" muscle fibers. These people can

run very fast over a short period of time. Those with a

very high percentage of "slow twitch" fibers cannot run as

fast, but they can keep going for a long time. Gold medal

winners in endurance sports have a very good ability to

take oxygen into their blood stream at a high rate, while

power lifters have the ability to contract their muscles

explosively in a fraction of a second, generating a

tremendous amount of force. 99 percent of the human

population simply is not born with the genetic

characteristics that would make them a gold medal candidate

in any individual sport, though.

It is this very fact that discourages some people from

running in races, running with a group, or even running at

all. That is a shame, since running is so rewarding and so

easy to adapt to any person's schedule, needs and

ambitions. There is no reason to be intimidated by runners

who are faster, just inspired.

The readership of Runner's Niche includes everyone from

gold medalists in past Olympics to beginning runners and

walkers. This issue is dedicated to the later, and much

larger group. I hope it will provide a little bit of

motivation to those who are new to running, to those who

have run for years but have never been particularly speedy,

and even to the fastest of you out there. By reading about

other people's perspectives on running, maybe we can all

find some new reasons to keep trotting out the door for our

daily run.

-WG

 

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MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - THE RUNNING PERIODICAL THAT

GOES THE EXTRA MILE.

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

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RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

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Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, George Zack

of Erie, Colorado (just east of Boulder). George 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. What is the length of the relay exchange zone (not

including the acceleration zone used by sprint relays) on a

standard metric track?

2. What is the height in inches of the barriers in the

men's 400 intermediate hurdles?

3. What is the height in inches of the barrier in the men's

steeplechase?

4. What is the standard distance for the men's

steeplechase?

5. What are the distances run by each runner in the

distance medley relay?

6. What is the common name given to the final runner on a

relay team?

7. What does the term "kick" mean in running lingo?

8. What does it mean if a track runner says, "the bear

jumped on my back" in a race?

9. Which race is longer, 400 meters or 440 yards?

10. The international governing body of track and field is

the IAAF. What does IAAF stand for?

 

 

Last Month's Answers:

1. At this year's Stanford invitational track meet, Bob

Kennedy and Alan Culpepper ran the second and third fastest

10,000-meter times for an American in the 1990's. What

American ran the fastest 10,000 in the 90's? Answer: Todd

Williams

2. Which American male holds the 10,000-meter American

record? Answer: Mark Nenow

3. Who is the fastest non-African male of all time in the

10,000? Answer: Arturo Barrios (before he became an

American citizen.)

4. Who is the fastest German male 10,000 runner of all

time? Answer: Dieter Baumann

5. Who holds the controversial women's 10,000-meter world

record? Answer: Wang Junxia of China

6. What woman is the fastest non-Chinese 10,000-meter

runner of all time? Answer: Ingrid Kristianson of Norway

7. Who is the fastest South African woman of all time in

the 10,000? Answer: Elana Meyer

8. The fastest British woman ever in the 10,000? Answer:

Paula Radcliff

9. How many laps on the track equal 10,000 meters? Answer:

25 on a standard 400 meter track.

10. Which race is longer, 6 miles or 10,000 meters? Answer:

10,000 meters (6.21 miles)

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MANY GREAT RUNNING BOOK TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH

FOR ANY BOOK IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS! CDs, DVDs,

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http://www.ontherun.com/sportsjewelry/

Jewelry for Athletes!

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THE NEW ELITE

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By Michael Selman

I was up and out for my run ridiculously early this

morning. I rose from bed before 3, and was out the door

well before 4. Why? Because I wanted to run, and I need to

be at work by 6 today.

As I closed the door behind me, and started my first loop

around the neighborhood, I never questioned my sanity. I

did, however, ponder the thought that only an elite runner

would be motivated enough to be pounding the pavement this

early in the AM. Why would someone like me, who plods along

at a training pace approaching 10 minutes a mile, be doing

it at ungodly hours? It is because I am a part of the new

elite, which I will now define.

The new elite does not live to run. We run to live. The new

elite is more concerned that running adds life to their

years, if not years to their lives.

And the new elite competes, and competes fiercely. If we

see someone just ahead of us at the end of a race, we pick

up the pace and make every effort to pass them. If we can

run the 5K in under 20 minutes.....or 30 minutes....or 40

minutes and set a new PR in the process, all the better,

because we are the new elite.

The new elite does not sleep late, and then take leisurely

saunas and massages after each run. We get up early, and

after we run, we quickly shower, and use

"The Stick" to get the knots out. Then we start our day.

The new elite rarely pre-registers for a race, because

there might be an opportunity to spend that time with a

grandchild instead. Or because, as nice as perennials look,

we may want to add a few annuals for added color. Or

because we like the taste of homemade cookies better than

the ones that come in a box, and it all takes time.

The new elite not only finishes the marathon, but also

raises thousands of dollars for a worthy cause in the

process. If the finish line has been taken down before the

new elite gets there, it is unfortunate and sad. But there

is no denying that you are still the new elite.

The new elite is not self-absorbed, self-centered, or

selfish. The new elite is self-reliant, and self-aware. I

just wanted to take a few minutes before I started my day

to let you know another reason why you run. It is because

you are a part of the new elite.

Isn't life grand?

Reprinted from the July issue of THOUGHTS OF A ROAD SCHOLAR

by permission of the author. You can contact Michael at:

DuRunRuner@aol.com

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A TALL STORY

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By Tracey Nickerson

I couldn't get up off the floor after playing with my two-

month-old baby. I was stiff and tired. It was time to do

something.

I painfully recall my first physical encounter with my

body. I went for my first walk on a sunny, cold, snowy

January morning. I returned red faced, tired and breathing

heavy after walking a quarter of a mile. I felt different

on this first day in 1998.

When I stepped out of the shower, I took a long look at

myself. I turned to one side. Turned to the other. Faced

forward. I was naked and I just stared. My face was still

red. I felt down and disappointed. All I could see was a

mirror full of stretch marks on my belly. Scars from 3

children. Three battles waged with my body, at separate

times, in different ways.

I walked every day for the next two months. I had, from the

start, desired to run, to be a runner. Why? I'm not even

sure to this day. It was nothing glamorous. Even when I was

a kid, I would watch runners in my suburban neighborhood. I

would stare after them, wondering how in the world could

they keep moving and enjoy it. It was alluring, mysterious.

As the tallest girl in my class, "Too Tall Tracey", was a

common label in middle school and high school.

I was 6'3" by the end of my senior year. I thought I could

shock the general population into thinking that I didn't

like sports. It was assumed that I was a "jock",

"athletic", schooled in the wide world of sports, simply

because I was tall. Nope. Many a time a coach would ask,

"Do you play basketball?" "NO, NO, NO!" I'd proclaim. I

wasn't any good and I knew it. I was uncoordinated and

bitter. Years later, my weight fluctuated, but I was sixty

pounds overweight, exhausted, defeated.

I wanted to be an athlete at 28. It would take some work.

It would take some time. Was I ready? I had decided that

getting into shape was more than a selfish endeavor. It was

for my children, my husband, and my family. It was for my

future, they're future, our future.

It was six in the morning on a deserted road when I ran my

first mile. There was no court, no baskets, and no crowds

cheering me on. No bleachers to seat friends and family.

Yet, my heart was full and the birds and the squirrels

witnessed my accomplishment, my miracle. These creatures

were my family. I stood motionless, crying. Sweat, was

falling in unison, along side my tears.

Ironic, how the wet streams coming from my face originated

from the same place my heart.

With each day, I discover that I am not here on this

planet, alone with my weight and height. I am here to bless

the lives of others. I can make a difference with my

presence, with my positive attitude and especially with my

unique stature. These long legs, with running shoes on my

feet, will carry me on to further explore the mystical

abyss of roads and trails. This anti-basketball player,

once, anti-athlete, has found her niche.

I am an athlete. I can't play basketball for beans, but I

can run. I can run at my own pace, at my own speed and even

up a couple of hills. I can sweat. I can breathe heavy. I

can cheer for me. I am my own blessing. I am a gift to

myself: stretch marks and all.

I ran my first mile and world, watch out. I'm going to run

a race someday.

And I did.

(Tracey completed her first marathon: The Mayors Midnight

Sun Marathon June 19, 1999. Next goal: Marathon number two:

Portland, Maine in October).

Tracey Nickerson can be contacted at:

tracey@iversoft.com

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THIS AND THAT

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

*NYC OPPORTUNITY*

If you have a number and are running in the New York City

Marathon, join the Marathon Strides Against MS Team!

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Join Captain Zoe Koplowitz, the inspirational "last place"

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at Mile 18! Post-Marathon Celebration and Dinner! Post-

Marathon Shower and Massage! Team T-shirt displaying Team

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Please call Amy Reardon at 212-463-7787 or e-mail

areardon@msnyc.org

for details!!

 

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

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*WWI Memorial Race*

The "In Flanders Fields Marathon" in Belgium, is on the

battlefields of the First World War. This marathon will be

a tribute to all who lost their lives in that war.

http://gallery.uunet.be/amos

(It's all in Flemish, but most of the links are in English)

*Computerized Training*

A new type of computer controlled exercise machines has

started appearing in health clubs. These machines set

resistance and prescribe individual workouts for people,

regardless of their fitness level. They store data for

individuals, and provide incentive by tracking progress.

For more info go to:

http://www.fitlinxx.com/

 

 

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LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

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*PRESSURE DROP*

Dear Runner's Niche,

Just thought I'd let you know that since I've been running

my Blood Pressure has dropped from 200/140 to a nice

120/70....

It's been about 12 years since I had the high BP (Yes, I

was put in the hospital).... I did not begin running

immediately afterward; I've only run for the past 2 years.

I got tired of the 5 different medications and always being

tired. My kids got started on the x-country team at

school, so I decided to try a little walk/run stuff...

Well, it's working. I kept track of the BP and graphed the

results; my doctor was amazed.

Now I'm on 1 medication (soon to drop that too), but will

drop it after the doctor says OK.

All this just because of the running!

I feel good.

Jeff Bodnar

Delran, NJ

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