Vol. 8 No.1 March 2003




I was depressed, there's no doubt about it. I had just run a nightmare race. The rain and mud in Houston were tough. You don't go to the National Cross Country Championships expecting an easy race, but I never expected to fade and die so badly. People were asking me left and right if I was okay. I must have looked like hell. I slowed down so much on the final 2K lap of the three lap course that it took me over two minutes longer to complete than the previous one. I had to admit to myself that the "little cold" I had gotten the week before was more like a "nasty virus" and it nailed me at least as much as the torturous ankle deep mud and slippery, water logged grass.

Adding to the disappointment was the fact my club, the Boulder Road Runners, had nine runners in my age group, and only eight could be declared as scoring runners. Guess who was the ninth runner? I didn't complain, since I knew well that the eight runners ahead of me were, indeed, much faster, but it was still a bummer.

The wet weekend in Houston could have been a real drag all right, but as I rode the airplane home after all the races had been completed, I had a big smile on my face. Why?

For starters, so many of my friends had great races. We had over 40 Boulder Road Runners in attendance, and our club brought home gold medal after gold medal for winning age groups and team divisions. My wife's team was one of the winners, plus she nabbed an age group award herself.

In the elite races, the best runners in the country were there, and the races were classic cross country battles. Being from Boulder, we were all anxious to see how the Colorado runners would do, and how many would nab spots on the world championships teams. They put on quite a show for us over the course of the two day event.

Colorado resident and former Colorado Buff, Alan Culpepper traded the lead several times with Meb Keflezighi in the 12K. It was a classic battle that Culpepper managed to win. Not far back in third place was University of Colorado senior Ed Torres, running the race of his life.

Using a different strategy, Alan's wife, Shayne, another Colorado alumni, won her first national championship by hanging back early and passing everyone to win by a good margin in the 4K race. In the same race another University of Colorado star, Molly Austin, placed sixth and earned a place on the national team despite being ill all week with a bad flu bug.

In the mens junior race, Colorado Freshmen Billy Nelson and Bret Schoolmeester went 1-2. Colleen DeReuck, another Boulder resident, took second in the womens 8K, and told us that she felt like she was running in Boulder with all the support of the Colorado runners in attendance.

The story that was perhaps the most inspiring to me, though, was not of a break-through race like Ed's, or of a championship medal won. It was a "blue collar" effort that didn't earn big headlines and was likely missed by many in attendance.

Sarah Toland is a well-known and liked runner in Boulder. She works at the Boulder Running Company and so has sold shoes to a great majority of us at one time or another. Last year she made the World team as an alternate, but she wanted to place in the top six to earn a no-doubt position on the team this time around. She ran a great 8K race the first day, but placed ninth. The 4K, which was held the following day, was her only chance now, but her legs had to be pretty beat up and fatigue would certainly be a major factor. There was the mental factor of having to go out in very tough conditions yet again, as well. Even Denna Drossin, one of the best American distance runners in history, declined to come back and run the second day after winning the 8K. She said she just couldn't face that course again. Sarah didn't have that choice.

Sometimes when you watch a runner, you can see fire in the eyes, the determination that comes from deep in the emotional enclave of the human spirit. Sarah ran on pure guts, and she would not be denied. Every stride she took across the mud, through the frigid pools of standing water and scampering up the slick, mire hills seemed to be produced from ten percent leg strength and ninety percent heart. She ran on pure guts and placed fifth, earning her spot on the team. No one can ever take that from her.

After the race, Sarah thanked us for yelling for her. She said the support really helped. If we had even a tiny bit of influence on the race, if we helped her even a little, the whole trip was worth it.

- WG

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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

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Two former Bucknell distance runners are running across the United States, and their budget for lodging is $0.00. They are looking for the help along the way from sympathetic individuals who have a bed to offer for the night. Take a look at their web site at:






By Woody Green

Deborah Reber has crafted a nice little book for women who are beginning runners. This book answers many of the questions that a beginning runner will normally have, and this includes things that long time runners may tend to forget about or consider trivial, but which are real concerns to the new runner. The book covers basic training strategies, stretching, nutrition and injury prevention, and equipment selection, all with an emphasis on the needs of a female runner.

This book goes beyond the basics, though, and covers topics important to a beginner. This includes how running will feel, the emotional and mental benefits of running, and using mind games and rituals to stay on track. Along with the typical cross training information on swimming, cycling and weight training, there are sections on in-line skating and boxing. By widening the scope of discussion, this book provides for a broader base of individual tastes and backgrounds than some of the more traditional running books might.

The author has done a very nice job of providing the right information to her target audience, and this book is worth the read!

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(From the The Mountain, Ultra, and Trail (MUT) Running Council of the United States Track & Field (USATF.) http://www.cerritos.edu/lgersitz/MUT/Home.html)

Three years of running USATF national championships paid off for Ann Heaslett when she took two national championship titles in 2002. After competing and placing well in seven previous national championships on trails and roads, Heaslett won the 2002 USATF 50-Mile Trail Championship at White River in Washington in 8:13:17 and the 24-Hour Championship at Olander Park in Ohio where she ran 128.55 miles. Heaslett credits her titles to her regular participation in national championships. "I have become a more savvy competitor due to the experience that I’ve gained in runningNational Championship events with some of the country’s best ultrarunners."

Heaslett’s outstanding performances at national championships earned her a place on the 2002 USATF 100K Team where she ran 8:42:25 to be the third runner to score for the US Women’s Team and claim the bronze medal for the US at the world 100K championships in Belgium. True to her style to prepare for her success, Heaslett ran a notable race as a team alternate at the 2001 100K World Challenge in France.

The 38-year old Wisconsin resident began her ultra career running in her backyard with her 50-mile trail debut at the USATF Ice Age Trail 50 Mile Championship in 1999. Impressed and intimidated by "big-name" ultrarunners at the championship, Heaslett took second. She is proud of the USATF national championship medals that she has won and considers the trail running gear and checks as "perks that add to the excitement" of placing in a national ultra championship.

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