Vol. 2 No. 2 FEBRUARY,1996
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Recently, I've been knocked over the head a few times. No, I wasn't
mugged or anything. Instead there have been things happening
around me that have helped to wake me up.
I've awakened to the fact that being able to run the rest of your life
isn't a given. You see, I have one running buddy who was just told by
a doctor he should stop running permanently because of a hip
problem. Another friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and
while he ran up to the day he had surgery a week ago, it will be a
long road back to running again.
These guys both love to run. One of them is pretty fast, the other is
middle of the pack, but they both have a great love for running.
They'd give anything just to be told they can jog for fitness again.
If that wasn't enough, my brother-in-law also had a brain tumor
diagnosed recently. He's not a runner, but a musician. Certainly he
wants to sing and play the piano, but mostly he just wants to live to
see his children grow up.
We all need a dose of perspective once in a while. It has made me
rethink things. I'm doing a better job of stretching, and trying to
remember to eat well and to get enough sleep. I want to protect
myself to make sure I'm doing what I can to safeguard my treasured
activity, and more importantly my basic health.
I don't want to bum anyone out, here. I just want to remind those of
you who are running well and pain free not to take it for granted.
Please, take care of yourself. Guard your running and protect it like a
loved one. That's what it is, after all, isn't it?
SWAHILI FOR RUNNERS
By Thomas David Kehoe, Doug Paterson, and Aziz M. Mwondha
Here's all the Swahili you need to know when Kenyans pass. You say
"Jambo" or "Hujambo." This means "Hello." Literally, "You
have nothing wrong (no matters)?"
The Kenyan replies: "Jambo" or "Sijambo." Literally, "I have no
matters (troubling me)."
Usually that is sufficient for the few seconds a Kenyan takes to pass
you. However, let's say you're in a race, and a Kenyan passes. You
want him to slow down, so you say "Pumzika kidogo na niambie
habari za jamaa yako." This means, "Rest a little bit and tell me the
news of your family."
If you can't remember all that, just say "Habari, yako." Kenyans are
obligated to stop and chat. This should be useful in marathons!
The "i" sounds are like "ee" in English (feet) and the "e" sounds are
like the a in pay or hay. The "a" sounds are like the a in mama.
Kwaheri! ("Bye" or "See ya")
By Woody Green
Sometimes I'm running well and feeling strong when my shoes start
slipping off at the heel. I try stepping hard to get the foot back in the
shoe but it doesn't work and I wind up running with my heels
hanging out the back of the shoes while I try to hold on to them with
my toes as I run.
Other times I'm winning a race, but the race monitors won't tell me
which way to go on turns and I wind up way off the course. It is so
Then there are the races that go through buildings, up and down
elevators, back outside and over bushes or down steep cliffs.
Sometimes we run right into a dead end with a big brick wall.
Maybe the worst is the run where I feel fine but my legs just won't
go anywhere. I try as hard as I can, but my legs will hardly move
and I can't even go as fast as a walk. It's upsetting because I don't
feel tired and there's no pain! I just can't move!
Then again, the very worst is when I'm in one of those races through
a building and I get in the elevator and after I push the button it
free falls! That's when I wake up!
All of these scenarios are dreams I've had over and over through the
years. I know other runners who've had similar dreams, especially
the one where your legs just won't move. They don't seem to come
for any particular reason. I get them when I'm running well as often
as when I'm out of shape or injured. Maybe I need a dream
interpreter to tell me what they mean. What is my inner psyche
Maybe it's my secret insecurity as a runner coming through. Perhaps
running is a sort of metaphor for life, and I am feeling a lack of
direction, confusion or frustration. Nah, I bet it's that pepperoni pizza
coming back to haunt me!
Anyway, I'd like to hear from our readers on this one. If you have a
favorite running dream you'd like to relate, e-mail it to RUNNER'S
NICHE. We'll print the best ones. Also, if there are any dream experts
out there, maybe you can tell me what my dreams mean! While your
at it, what about that dream where I'm back in school and I realize
I've forgotten to go to one of my classes all year...
BLAST FROM THE PAST:
Today we take digital display watches for granted. Most runners
have a wrist chronograph with liquid crystal display and some sort
of night light. Watches no larger than a usual wrist watch have
multiple split memories, a separate timer, an alarm and maybe even
a way to store phone numbers or addresses. All of this comes for a
price, of course. Some of these watches are $50 or so. Simple watches
with stopwatch and split function can be found for $10.
In 1974, however, digital display was new. Instead of liquid crystal,
it was LED or "light emitting diodes." This gave you a red digital
reading that looked kind of like a basketball scoreboard. (And, it
used up batteries pretty fast.)
An add in Track and Field News in 1974 showed a new stopwatch. It
was a little smaller than a paperback book and it had three big
buttons on the top. It was the "Accusplit III" and it would read to a
hundredth of a second. The common mechanical stopwatches of the
time read to a tenth of a second. A big switch on the front of the
watch allowed you to select "standard" or "Harper" splits, meaning
total time or time between splits.
Part of the add reads: "BIG-DIGIT display for instantaneous,
unmistakable readings to 1/100 th of a second - the largest, easiest
to read display of any hand timer on the market; space-age accuracy
provided by quartz crystal control - far more accurate than the best
In a time when a new car could be purchased for under $3,000, this
new watch was $119.50. A leather carrying case could be added for
$12.50 more. BankAmericard was welcome for mail orders.
By Woody Green
Everyone knows what aerobics classes are. You get in a gym with
some good tunes and do dance steps and exercise movements to the
beat. There are a lot of thin, muscular people in the room who like to
hoot and clap. For fun they put a little step in front of themselves to
jump up and down on. Hoot, yeah! Feels so good!
Scientifically, aerobic means "with oxygen." A simple way of looking
at it would be to say that the body "pays" for energy with oxygen.
Give a few ATP molecules some oxygen as payment and they will
happily split and give you some energy.
When you are running along at an easy pace, it is easy to "pay"
enough oxygen to keep the energy flowing. It's like going to the
grocery store and paying cash.
The problem comes when you need a lot of energy, like when you
are sprinting or lifting a heavy weight. The normal payment method
doesn't work, you can't give your body that much oxygen in that
short of a time. This is when *anaerobic* (without oxygen) methods
come into play. Your body gets out the credit card and promises to
pay all those little molecules some oxygen later if they will just split
now and give off some energy. It turns out that they will gladly do
this for you, but there's a catch. You have a credit limit!
It also hurts. Lactic acid is a by product of anaerobic metabolism, and
that causes discomfort in the working muscles. Enough of it will even
impair your muscle's ability to work. 400 meter sprinters are well
acquainted with lactic acid. They sprint as hard as they can for
around one minute, completely using the bodies reserve of anaerobic
This is actually called "oxygen debt" by exercise physiologists. The
body must take in and use a good deal of oxygen after anaerobic
energy production to put the body's chemistry and ability to produce
energy back in form.
Distance runners get most of their energy aerobically - with oxygen.
They have to in order to sustain exercise over long periods of time.
But, anaerobic energy production is still important to distance
Why? In a race (or hard workout), distance runners will use
anaerobic means of energy production along with aerobic. This way
they can get as much energy as the body can produce, and go as fast
as possible. Ideally, a runner will finish their race having no oxygen
in their "bank account", and their "credit card" will be maxed out, too.
(Kind of like me right after Christmas.)
Next month, we will go into what this means to you in terms of your
training and racing. (No, you can't run faster carrying a bottle of
THIS MONTH'S LIST
FIVE BEST MARATHON TIMES FOR 1996:
Martin Fiz (Spain) 2:08:25
Lee Bong-Ju (Korea) 2:08:26
Gret Thys (South Africa) 2:08:30
Vanderlei de Lima (Brazil)2:08:38
Antonio Pinto (Portugal) 2:08:38
Katrin Dorre-Heinig (Germany) 2:26:04
Fatuma Roba (Ethiopia) 2:26:05
Hiromi Suzuki (Japan) 2:26:27
Colleen de Reuck (South Africa) 2:26:35
Ikuyo Goto (Japan) 2:26:37
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
calculator at the Oklahoma Runner Magazine Web site.
(http://www.runningnetwork.com/OKRunner) You can find it in the
This first edition converts 5K, 15K, and Marathon times for both male
& female ages 34-71. New editions (soon to be installed) will cover
the remaining LDR distances including ages 8-19 and 34-80. The new
edition also displays the conversion factor applied for the
Information on the 1997 Los Angeles Marathon is now accessible via
the World Wide Web. For course descriptions, entry forms, maps of
the race plus much more, log onto:
This year's LA Marathon is scheduled for March 2nd.
If you haven't visited the NICHE page for a while, there are some
improvements and a few new links. Also, we have a new URL. You
can find us at:
*THE KIND OF MAIL WE LIKE!*
I would like to praise all those involved in the creation and
of the Runner's Niche. It is simply the best e-zine I have ever
to, running-related or not. The articles are well written and provide
good variety of race results, interviews, and news. I also enjoy
the editor's notes; it is always good to hear from someone who
running so much. I also like the personal feel to the magazine, it
me reading! Thanks for the great publication, and keep up the good
/* Brian R. Snider
You forgot Mark Crogan in your discussion about up and coming stars
last month. He did place the highest of all distance runners from
America in Atlanta, and what about the kid that he coaches.
Ed: Good point, Crogan should be on any list of top U.S. Track and
Regarding great running books, I just finished reading "The Four-
Minute Mile" by Roger Bannister. This is a fascinating, and incredibly
well-written, autobiography covering the eight years of Bannister's
running career, including everything from his fourth-place finish in
the 1952 Helsinki Olympics to his race to be the first to crack the 4-
minute barrier. The book concludes with his final big race: the
Empire Games in 1954 when he raced against John Landy. These
were the only two men in the world who had broken the 4-minute
barrier, and yet they hadn't faced one another since 1952.
Bannister's style is characteristically British: understated, but his
description of his 3:59.4 mile will get any runner's pulse quickening.
A must for any fan of the mile.
Please add me to your monthly mailing list. I have started a fitness
program last month and have lost 10 lbs. so far. I am considering
adding jogging/running to my program ( I am not a fan of running
but am open to persuasion).
Ed: Good job on the weight loss. We would all like to persuade you in
the direction of running as your exercise of choice. Ain't nothin'
*NEW OLD RUNNER*
I've been away from running for the last three years and I would
like to get back into flow. I was running for 15 years before. I'd stop
at about 15 to 25 miles a week at around a 7-8 minute mile. But now
the love handles have come on. I am 46 years old, I feel fine, my
check ups have been positive. So, it just a matter of starting over. I
am going to start on my lunch hour. But I'm not sure what distance I
should start at, could you give me some advice?
Thank you ,
Rickie G Thomas
Ed: Don't worry about any exact distances. Run the way you feel and
I would encourage you to take walking breaks. This will permit you
to exercise for a longer time period, and will decrease your chances
of injury. Start with 20-30 minutes of jogging and walking, then see
how it goes from there.
Remember to work your way back into running gradually, and listen
closely to your body. Do plenty of stretching and make sure you are
keeping it fun. Don't make your runs into work!
*MORE ON IT BANDS*
I have some personal experience with IT band syndrome. The info
may be helpful to the gentleman who asked about it last month.
I had it twice. The first time was in the early '80s before too many
people were able to correctly diagnose it. I tried to run on it for a
month or so.
Finally, when it got really painful I saw a podiatrist, orthopedic
surgeon, and physical therapist. I was fitted for orthotics (which
didn't help), got all sorts of treatment (which didn't help) and took
months off (which didn't help). Finally, after a year the problem had
become chronic and there was a lot of scar tissue built up, so in
desperation, I got a cortisone shot in my knee and that took care of
Later in about 1992 or so my knee started hurting again. This time I
knew what the problem was and stopped running immediately. At
the time I was getting regular massage from Dave Welch. He
pinpointed the source of the problem as extremely tight muscles in
my hip. I think it was what he called the "deep six." This tightness
pulled on the IT band which caused pain at the connection at the
other end. Deep massage and neuromuscular therapy in my hip and
butt took care of the pain in my knee and it hasn't returned.
- Steve Pierce
*SORE ACHILLES PREVENTION*
Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,
What is the best stretching to do for your Achilles tendons. Now mine
are okay, but after I get back into the groove, they seem to get
rather tender. Any suggestions? Should I stretch after I run. It seems
every year, the story changes.
Ed: You don't actually do stretching for the tendons so much as the
muscles they are attached to. Do a good variety of calf stretches,
however, and that should help prevent the sore Achilles. By all
means do stretch after the run. Warm muscles are very receptive to
*ANYONE HAVE AN ANSWER?*
Can any of your readers tell me if running in Seoul, Korea is
unhealthy pollution wise?
Ed: Readers, please e-mail if you have an answer.
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!
LEGAL STUFF / SUBSCRIPTION INFO.
"Runner's Niche" is free, but it's contents are copyrighted. Nobody
may use the content without permission of the author and "Runner's
SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:
email@example.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.