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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 3 No. 6 July, 1998

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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Summer running is good. Sunny skies prevail. No shirts are necessary.

There is no snow, slush or ice to get in the way. You may have a dry

mouth after the workout, but the cold water you guzzle after tastes so

good, so refreshing. In the evening you sit on the porch and rehydrate

while the cool breeze finally washes the heat from your tired, happy

body. Mosquitoes remove highly oxygenated blood from your skin, but at

least you aren't wearing a parka.

- WG

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THIS AND THAT

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:-0 Reports from the first ever Rock'n'Roll Marathon in San Diego

indicate that runners had a problem getting enough water, and the

promised bands did not all show to play along the course. Particularly

warm weather contributed to the problems with water. Still, it seems

that most runners' spirits were high after the event.

<#1> Top mountain runner, Laura Bruess, demolished the field in the

Fila Sky half-marathon in Aspen, Colorado. Her time over the difficult

mountain course was 1:59:49, which beat the nearest woman by nearly 14

minutes!

;-) Running must keep you young. When runner Boulder and triathlete

Irving Weiss was hit by a car on his bike recently, police reported a

55-60 year-old man had been involved. The doctor who performed a MRI on

Irving indicated he had the brain of a sixty year-old. Irving, who was

visiting his daughter in North Carolina at the time, is, in fact, 79

years old. Besides a few cracked ribs, Irving came out of the accident

okay. He will return to running soon, and when he does, he will likely

continue to beat the 55-60 year-olds he resembles.

:-o MEOW! When asked in Runner's World Daily if she was avoiding Suzy

Hamilton by not running the 1500 at nationals, Regina Jacobs reportedly

replied "If we were equals, then you could ask that question, but I

don't consider us equals. Not at all. That gives her a little too much

credit, to ask if I'm avoiding her."

 

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GRIP AND RIP

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By Woody Green

Dante Bichette, an outstanding outfielder for the Colorado Rockies

baseball team, recently made an interesting statement. Bichette is

known to spend hours studying the opposing pitchers and looking at

videotape of his swing. He is a true student of the game, and he thinks

about it all the time. He's well known for his ability to guess what

the pitcher will throw him based on his observations, this normally

affords him quite an advantage. After a game when he smashed a couple

of long balls, the reporters asked Bichette what his strategy was. He

said he had a good day because stopped thinking and he just "gripped

and ripped," meaning he just grabbed the bat and swung hard at whatever

came. He felt he'd actually been thinking too much lately, and that

might have hurt him.

Runners are often guilty of thinking too much. Of course, just like

Bichette, runners should be students of their sport. Heading into a

race it's good to know what the course is like, and having an idea what

pace you'd like to run is smart strategy. Training should be planned

out in some sort of logical manner, with forethought and sound

principals behind the scheme. The problem is that you can also

strategize yourself to bits.

In a recent race Skipper (name changed to protect his identity) was

really ready to run a good 5 K. He was bouncing around at the starting

line, and at the gun he went out hard. When he hit the one-mile mark

and heard his split, he slowed and walked off the course. His one-mile

split was very fast, and he felt certain that he had sabotaged his own

race. At first he was mad at himself for going out so hard, later he

wished he had just continued on to the finish to see what he could have

done. The split time became too important to him. His brain got in the

way. If he hadn't heard his split, maybe he could have still run a

decent race, even if it wasn't as good as he had originally hoped.

Another runner, Not Imex (not his real name), purposely never wears a

watch when he races. He knows that, for him, the best feedback he can

get is what his body is telling him. The watch can influence him to go

too hard, or to limit him to a "reasonable" pace that may actually be

too slow for him on that day. He even tries not to listen when splits

are called out at the mile markers. He doesn't think about it, he just

runs. This is sort of the running equivalent of "grip and rip" for a

batter in baseball.

Similar situations can develop with respect to training plans. No

matter if the plan is laid out by a coach, a computer training program,

or a book, runners often fail to remember that a workout plan is just a

plan, not a dictatorial decree that must be followed come hell or high

water. Many runners are so bent on doing a particular workout on a

particular day that it becomes counter-productive. Sometimes runners

try to complete a workout that is just too hard. This ends in

frustration at best, physical breakdown at worst. Other times we try to

complete a workout in weather conditions that make our original time

goals impossible. This is a bad idea since no matter how well we

understand that our times are slowed by the conditions, we can't help

but be disappointed with what our watch tells us. Modifying workout

plans is not a sin.

A top 51 year-old runner, (we'll call him Dave Dooley, since that's his

name) was asked by another runner how he plans his workouts. Dave is

almost never injured, and he regularly beats the pants off of runners

twenty years his junior. He indicated that he really more or less runs

how he feels each day. It's not like he doesn't plan workouts on the

track, fartlek sessions, tempo runs and long runs; but he does these

workouts only when he feels up for them. He keeps track of how many

miles he runs each week out of interest, but never plans his workouts

toward a particular mileage goal for the week. Sounds like "grip and

rip" to me.

None of this is meant to indicate that training and racing should be

purely random. We all do better with a well thought out plan for both

racing and training. Johnny Halberstadt, a great runner from South

Africa, says that one advantage the African runners have over Americans

and Europeans is that they run in an artistic way rather than a strict

scientific manner. There is a lot to be said for that. But, instead of

saying, "I'm going to run in an artistic manner," I prefer "I'm gonna'

grip and rip!"

 

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RUNNING OUT OF MARATHON GOALS

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By John M Wallace

On August 30, 1998 I will cross the finish line at the Noosa Marathon

(Australia) to complete my 130th marathon. This marathon will represent

the completion of a major goal for me -- the completion of a marathon

on all seven continents! But this accomplishment also presents a major

dilemma since I am running out of marathon goals. Why is that a

dilemma? Because, like most runners, and especially marathoners, I need

a goal to motivate me. Without a goal it is difficult to maintain

fifty-plus miles per week, to run hill repeats and intervals, to force

myself out the door in bad weather or to rise at 4:00 AM in a strange

city to get a run in before my business meeting.

Okay, you say. But how can I be running out of marathon goals? To

explain I must go back to the beginning -- like all marathoners -- to

my initial goal, my first marathon.

In 1982 I was running about 30 miles per week and had just completed my

first 10 K. I naively figured that I was ready to run a marathon. I

increased my mileage to 40 miles per week including a 15-mile long run

in preparation for the Silver State Marathon in Reno, Nevada where I

was living. I still vividly remember "hitting the wall "at 23 miles and

as I walked and ran the last 5K I cursed myself with each painful step

and promised that if I finished alive I would never do such a stupid

thing again.

However as I crossed the finish line the exuberation of completing my

goal quickly eased the pain.

Even I was surprised when a week later I found myself thinking that I

could probably do better if only I trained harder and smarter. My next

marathon goal had been set! One year later I took 14 minutes off my

time at the same Silver State Marathon.

In the spring of 1984, I moved to Dallas, Texas and soon found my way

to White Rock Lake where most of the running community do their long

runs on the weekends. Somehow I ended up running with a group of hard-

core fanatics (er... runners) who ran 13 to 15-mile training runs at a

sub 7-minute pace. They introduced me to new terms and training

practices such as hill repeats, intervals, fartlek and racing 10Ks

every week. My marathon life has never been the same! My new goal

became a sub 3-hour marathon! However a new job and house in Dallas

took their toll on my training time and it was not until the White Rock

Marathon in December 1986 that I was able to achieve that goal with a

2:59:35. I realized that 3 hours represented an ultimate marathon

performance for me and although that became my target goal for all

future marathons I was only able to achieve that goal five more times

in my career.

Since I needed a new marathon goal, I settled on running all the major

or best marathons. There are many so-called lists in many of the

running magazines. As I was running Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New

York, etc, I decided to see how many marathons I could race in one

year. In 1988 I completed 22 marathons with an average time of 3:05

with four sub 3-hour races including my PR of 2:58 at Twin Cities. I

realized that I had pushed the physical limits of my body with that

goal so backed off and continued with my "lists" goal.

But I soon completed the "lists" and started looking for marathons in

places I had never visited before. This goal took me to some

interesting sites such as Salmon River, Idaho and Duluth, Minnesota

before I decided to expand the geography to include international

locations such as Rio de Janeiro, London and Athens.

Not surprisingly something had to go wrong or break under this grueling

pace and it happened to be the plantar fascia on my left foot during

the last 10K of The Original Marathon in Athens, Greece in October

1990. Since I had tore the tendon off my foot I was unable to run or

train for 11 months. Now the goal became to get healthy again and keep

my streak of consecutive years of marathoning alive. So in September

1991, I began a 90-day miracle-training program to complete the White

Rock Marathon in December 1991 in 3:24:10. I was back! But I was also

wiser and older so I only completed five marathons in 1992 as I nursed

my injury. Then in the spring of 1993 I faced my first marathon goal

dilemma! I had run my best times. I had completed all the "lists"

marathons. What was I to do? How could I stay motivated? Luckily I read

an article in Runners World about an informal club called the "50+DC"

whose members had or were attempting to run a marathon in all 50 states

+ DC. A quick review of my running log showed that I had already run 20

states + DC. I was saved -- a new goal was established! Unfortunately

like most marathoners I am compulsive. So I focused on running the

remaining 30 states over the next 30 months to finish my 50th state at

the Hoosier Marathon on June 11,1995 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Completing this goal was fun and interesting. I visited many states and

parts of the country that I had never been to and probably would not

have gone to but for the goal. I met a lot of very interesting people,

both runners and spectators who broadened my knowledge and horizons. I

do not regret one minute or one run of that goal! As I was nearing

completion of the "50+DC" goal, I realized that I would need a new goal

and the "50+DC" club rescued me again. Many members were working on a

goal to complete all 12 provinces and territories of Canada. That

became my new goal! Logistically this goal was even more difficult than

the "50+DC" goal because of the long distances to travel and most

provinces only have one marathon per year. So if you miss one or there

is a schedule conflict you have to wait a whole year. And remember, I

am still compulsive! Again this was a very enjoyable experience as I

definitely saw parts of the world, such as Nanasivik, North West

Territory (500 miles above the Arctic Circle) that I would never have

visited otherwise. I completed this goal in St John's, Newfoundland on

September 21, 1997 to become only the 15th person in the world to

complete both the US and Canada.

While I was nearing completion of the Canada goal the "50+DC" club also

provided my next goal -- to complete all seven continents. When the

second Antarctica Marathon was held in February 1997, I was there since

I was afraid that I might not get another chance. When I crossed the

finish line to complete the toughest marathon I have ever run, I only

had three continents left. Africa and Asia I managed to complete in

one interesting and enjoyable trip in February 1998. And, as I stated

earlier, I will complete Australia in August 1998 to become only the

5th and youngest person in the world to complete the US, Canada and the

Continents.

But, unlike the completion of all my previous goals, I have no new

marathon goal beyond this one. The only worthwhile goal I can think of

is to complete as many counties as possible. But the expense of such a

goal would be prohibitive without a corporate sponsor.

Therefore I am in a quandary. Will I stop running marathons? No! But,

it will just not be the same without a big goal to motivate me.

However, I still have one continual marathon goal remaining. I want to

extend my streak of consecutive years of marathoning to at least 40

years, which means I will be running marathons into my late seventies.

Hope to see you on the roads!

 

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EERIE FEELINGS?

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The sixteenth annual Eerie Erie 5 and 10 K runs will be on October 31,

1998, starting at the Erie High School track in Erie, Colorado. Any

questions, please call (303) 828-3090

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

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--On On!--

Hash House Harriers web site:

http://www.harrier.org

 

--U.S. 100 Mile Club--

Fitness incentives at:

http://www.freeyellow.com/members4/us100mc/index.html

 

--Runner's Roost--

An on line running store with lots of goodies:

http://www.runnersroost.com

 

AND AS ALWAYS:

RUNNER’S NICHE at:

Home.netone.com/~woodyg3/runiche.html

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LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

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--Motivated and Informed--

Dear Runner's Niche,

I know there may be times when you are wondering if it is worth the

time and effort to write and edit the newsletter.

I can speak only for myself. Your newsletter popping into my mailbox

is a welcome treat.

You do a lot to keep us motivated as well as informed.

Thanks,

Mark London

Ed: Thanks, Mark, your letter motivates and informs us, too!!!

 

--Snoozers Are Pretty Fast Walkers!--

A Letter commenting on last month's article on the benefits of sleep to

runners:

Dear Runner's Niche,

Among elite racewalkers it's just considered common knowledge that

you'll sleep 10 hours a night plus a nap if you can afford it.

- Dan Pierce

(Ed note: Dan is a former elite racewalker, and currently coaches

several top walkers. He is also the American record holder for the 100

K racewalk.)

 

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