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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 2 No. 2 FEBRUARY,1996

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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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?

-WG

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SWAHILI FOR RUNNERS

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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")

 

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DREAM ON

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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

frustrating!

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

telling me?

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...

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BLAST FROM THE PAST:

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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

mechanical watch..."

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.

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ANAEROBICS

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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

energy.

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

runners.

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

oxygen!)

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THIS MONTH'S LIST

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FIVE BEST MARATHON TIMES FOR 1996:

MEN:

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

WOMEN:

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

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

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*AGE GRADING*

Just installed is the first edition of a Javascript WAVA age grading

calculator at the Oklahoma Runner Magazine Web site.

(http://www.runningnetwork.com/OKRunner) You can find it in the

results section.

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

age/gender/race distance.

*LA MARATHON*

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:

<http://la.digitalcity.com/lmarathon>

This year's LA Marathon is scheduled for March 2nd.

*Our Page*

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:

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

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READER'S MAIL

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*THE KIND OF MAIL WE LIKE!*

I would like to praise all those involved in the creation and

publication

of the Runner's Niche. It is simply the best e-zine I have ever

subscribed

to, running-related or not. The articles are well written and provide

a

good variety of race results, interviews, and news. I also enjoy

reading

the editor's notes; it is always good to hear from someone who

supports

running so much. I also like the personal feel to the magazine, it

keeps

me reading! Thanks for the great publication, and keep up the good

work!

/* Brian R. Snider

bsnider@georgefox.edu */

*OMISSION*

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.

-lmanning@mail.ureg.ohio-state.edu

Ed: Good point, Crogan should be on any list of top U.S. Track and

Field talent!

*SIR ROGER*

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.

Tim McIntyre

Redford, Michigan

(e-mail: DPIPR@aol.com)

*NEW RUNNER*

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).

Thank you,

Roger Bird

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'

better!

*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

it.

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.

-msgreenx@ix.netcom.com

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

stretching.

*ANYONE HAVE AN ANSWER?*

Can any of your readers tell me if running in Seoul, Korea is

unhealthy pollution wise?

- mckenty@bleu.net.co.kr

Ed: Readers, please e-mail if you have an answer.

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RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!

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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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