Vol. 2 No. 3 March, 1997
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
No matter how tired you were, if you were a real track athlete, you
had something left for the mile relay. All of my high school and
college teammates knew that the mile relay was were you laid it all
on the line. It was the last event of the meet, and often final team
results would depend on the finishing places in this race. This was
the moment you waited for, the one you dreamed about. Running
with three other teammates, all with the same goal, all willing to give
everything they had left at the end of a long day of competition. If
you were on the mile relay team you were running for the other
three on your team, not wanting to let them down. More important,
you were running for your school, trying to edge out the other teams
in the overall point standings. Even if you couldn't catch the other
teams in points, you wanted to show the other teams who was the
toughest in this grueling event.
Everyone would line the outside of the track: shot putters, long
jumpers, distance runners, moms, dads and friends who came to
watch. Everyone yelled for the relay runners, knowing how difficult
440 yards of sprinting was, and hoping that a friendly cheer would
transfer some energy to the runners that they wouldn't otherwise
possess. It worked.
I remember well the state qualifying meet my Sophomore year in
high school. I had already placed 5th in the 440 yards with a new PR,
but I had paid for it. I was sick to my stomach after the race, and one
of my teammate's fathers had to help me out of the stadium to
recover. People were worried that I was too sick to run the relay. No
I walked slowly back into the stadium, and managed a jog on the
infield. My stomach swirled and I felt dizzy, but my teammates
joined me and we went through our usual pre-race warm-up.
We never talked much before the race, but we exchanged hand
shakes and slaps of the hand. "This is it," and "Let's do it, man," were
the typical exhortations. None of the four of us had uncommon
courage, we were not overachievers, we were just some kids on a
track team. But, we had unity with our teammates, and an unspoken
duty. On this particular evening, I was so tired that I didn't know
how I would manage. I only knew that I had to.
Our lead-off runner worked hard, and as he came around the final
turn he was in second place. I was the number two runner, and I was
amazed that I was now jumping up and down and feeling ready to
fly. I took the baton and heard a thousand sounds of encouragement.
I felt great for the first 330 yards, then came the final straightaway.
The final one hundred ten yards of an all out 440 hurts in a unique
way. Your throat is on fire, your legs are aching intensely and the
finish line looks a million yards distant. There is a saying in track
jargon that this is where "the bear jumps on your back." I pushed
hard, my legs screaming, my arms feeling lifeless. Nothing was more
important than getting to the exchange zone as fast as I could. I
reached the baton to our third runner and went hands on knees.
As bad as I felt, I knew one of my teammates had it worse. Our
fourth runner had a freak accident earlier in the meet when he was
running the hurdles. A spike in his shoe had somehow turned around
and punctured his foot. We were using half inch spikes on this cinder
track, and the full length had stabbed into my friend's foot. He had
disinfected and bandaged it, but it had to hurt with every step. He
took the baton from our third runner in first place, and, amazingly,
lengthened the lead from there.
We finished well ahead of the other teams. We attained our goal, we
were going to the state meet. Our anchor runner had blood staining
his shoe, I threw up again, and we were as happy as we could be.
High school and college teams around the country are starting their
outdoor track seasons right now. There are thousands of kids
dreaming about the upcoming season, hoping for a place on the
varsity team, setting goals for PRs, looking toward possible individual
or team championships. And, while it is the 4 x 400 meter relay
instead of the mile relay these days, there are plenty of kids ready to
have a go at carrying the baton one lap. If you get a chance, go
watch. Better yet, volunteer to rake the long jump pit or run a stop
Also, if you have an opportunity, try running a relay yourself. You
don't have to be a sprinter on a high school team to do it. Many road
races have relays as a part of their event, and some road races are
strictly relay oriented. Several of us from the Boulder area recently
returned from the Las Vegas Marathon, which includes a relay
division. We put together four different teams, and we all had a
blast. Everyone gained a bit of extra energy and motivation from our
teammates. And, while we all ran pretty hard, nobody threw up or
bloodied their shoe.
Congratulations to subscriber Mark Klein on his new son, Justin
Michael Klein. He was born Dec. 2, and was 6lbs. 10.25 ozs. and 20-
1/2" in length.
BLAST FORM THE PAST
PREFONTAINE: Movie Review By Conrad Truedson
Being an U of O graduate (1978, math) and having been at Pre's last
race in May 1975 I waited with trepidation the forthcoming
Prefontaine movies. Would they give any sense of the excitement
this fellow from Coos Bay, Oregon created in that period from 1969,
when he set his High School Record of 8:41 in the 2 mile until his
fatal crash that 30th of May morning?
As everyone is aware of by now, Pre at the time of his death held
every US record from 2000 to 10,000 metres. But, there was more
to Pre than just records. After all, Fernando Mamede (Portugal) was
far faster than Pre ever ran, but Mamede was about as inspiring as a
wet noodle. No, it was Pre's drive to win that made him such a
fascinating hero. (It also didn't hurt that he had the talent to match.
Pre in 1974 measured at a VO2 max of 84.4, one of the highest ever
recorded.) Put that drive with track mad Eugene, Oregon and you
have a unique combination.
Unfortunately, Prefontaine (the movie) doesn't quite get it. Jed Leto,
who plays Pre, gives it a good shot, though. He certainly looks like
Pre, even getting those glaring eyes and the way he would cock his
head as he ran. He even looks like a runner. However, for the most
part this movie is painful to watch and I don't mean that
emotionally. The director couldn't seem to make up his mind
whether they were making a documentary or a feature film. You can
not do it both ways. There were also a few things that were
annoying. Calling the AAU the ATU was disturbing. I don't know if
they were worried about lawsuits or not, but it made Pre's real
antagonists at the AAU sound like some fictional evil empire from a
James Bond movie. Consequently Pre's arguments about
travel permits, money, etc., which were real problems at the time,
don't quite ring true. Then there was the scene at the memorial
service after his death. Pre's friends decided to give him something
he always wanted.
Pre's dream 3 mile time was 12:36. With thousands filling Hayward
Field the clock was started and Pre's friends and competitors briefly
spoke their tributes on the infield. As the clock reached 12 minutes,
the crowd stood and began to stamp and cheer, chanting `Go Pre, Go
Pre!' as they had done at his races. The clock stopped at 12:36.4
amid tears and wild cheers. Pre got his dream time. However, in the
movie the filmmakers must have thought they still were in a
basketball game. (They also made Hoop Dreams.) The clock starts at
13:15 (the WR for 5000 was 13:16) and goes down to zero! It makes
no sense at all with the crowd going wild and 0:00 on the clock. Oh
well, perhaps the Kenny Moore flick, Pre, will be better. By the way,
if you go to see Prefontaine don't miss the opening credits. The first
five minutes of the film show actual footage of the real Steve
Now, two hours of that would make a great movie!
DREAM ON PART 2
Last month we asked readers to fill us in on the dreams that they
have had about running. Here are the replies:
Chris Welsh: An interesting dream I've had is one where I end up
winning a race with a big cash prize because everybody else took a
wrong turn. They realize their mistake in time to make a race of it,
but they've burned out from trying to catch back up, so I win. The
twist to the dream is that I have to decide whether to keep the prize
or give it to the guy who ran 2 more miles than I did and only
finished 1 second behind me!
Thomas David Kehoe: Last night I dreamt that I was in a 5K race, in a
25-story office building. The race want down hallways, through
doorways, down stairs. The doors weren't propped open, so you had
to stay close to someone in front, or waste a few seconds stopping to
open a door.
The course wasn't marked, so you had to stay in sight of people
ahead of you. It was a big race, thousands of people. At first I
stayed in sight of the leaders, but then I was slowed by opening
doors, and they got out of sight.
I was now leading the second wave of runners, but I couldn't find
the route. They looked to me for leadership, but I couldn't help. We
ran up and down corridors, looking for the route. Then we stood and
waited for someone to come that knew the route. After waiting a
couple minutes, I went off by myself. I decided to look for the finish
line, and guessed it was several floors down. I rationalized that no
one could accuse me of cheating if the course wasn't marked.
I went all over many floors, up and down stairs. I found the
registration area, but I never found the finish line.
One For the Road
By "Jersey Joe"
People sometimes ask me why I run; I could just as easily ask why
they breathe. Running is an activity which must be experienced to be
understood, appreciated, and remembered. For example, I remember
... a 7 AM tour of a frozen, snow polished Mirror Lake in Lake Placid ,
N. Y. The waking sun sent its laser rays skirting across the ice into
my eyes. The crunching of my waffle soles on the snow covered
roadside lent a rhythm to the order of the scene. My exhalations sent
long white tails of frost trailing gradually to the ground behind me.
My sweat beaded through my hat, and beard, giving me a new white
scarf. I had become a contributing member of nature's day.
... the start of a race along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The
days proceeding the race had been hot and thick, with overnight
temperatures in the upper 70's. Race morning brought with it a
welcomed light rain, but an angry sky. The gun sounded and 200 of
us headed along the road parallel to the shore. At that moment the
clouds vent their anger in the form of a sharp lightening bolt, which
developed simultaneously from the sky and the lake, meeting
magically in the middle. We runners echoed a collective sigh of
appreciation and awe. For a moment the race was forgotten; the
moment forever treasured.
... a sleepless May night which coincided with a lunar eclipse and led
to a 1 AM jog. As I traveled the north-south streets of my
neighborhood, I marveled at the gradual progression of the earth's
shadow as it wiped the smile off the face of the moon. Steadily,
however, the moon resisted the earth's ill-disposition and the grin
emerged once more.
... finding myself going up and down the hills of Stowe, Vt., in the
pouring rain the one and only time I broke an hour for eight miles.
The heavy headedness of 90 degree heat and 95% humidity in
Seneca Falls, N. Y. That wooden feeling the legs get in -20 degree
weather as the frozen ground offers no cushion. The soft padding of
my steps as I climb the footpaths of Mount Royal, in Montreal,
Quebec, monitoring the rebirth of the city as the warming sun burns
off the early morning fog. Suddenly being thrust into a losing posture
in an unplanned race against two fawns which burst out of the
These are but a few of my running experiences. Because of them I
am one for the road.
ANAEROBICS PART II
By Woody Green
In part one of this article we examined the two ways the body gets
energy. Aerobic, meaning "with oxygen", is the method the body
normally employs. The body "pays" oxygen from the bloodstream to
ATP molecules, they happily split and give off energy that you can
Anaerobic metabolism is the method the body uses to get quick
energy. This is when the body can't "pay" oxygen fast enough, so it
uses a sort of physiological credit card to get energy now, and pay
the oxygen later. We call this "oxygen debt."
When we run longer distances, the bulk of energy has to come from
aerobic metabolism, because the ability of the body to produce
energy anaerobically is very limited. Why, then, should distance
runners care about anaerobic energy systems?
If you race, you use the anaerobic "credit" system. When you make
that little surge to pass someone, when you push through an uphill
section of a road race, or when you turn on the afterburners and
sprint the final two hundred meters to the finish, you get your
energy anaerobically. The lactic acid that accompanies anaerobic
metabolism accounts for the extra discomfort in your legs when you
push to the limit.
To be able to run well in races, you should train to maximize your
ability to produce energy aerobically AND anaerobically. As I said
last month, this is like emptying your bank account AND maxing your
credit cards. You want to spend everything in order to run as fast as
You train your body to produce energy aerobically whenever you
train in a manner that raises your heart rate significantly. Generally,
20 minutes is the suggested minimum to have an affect on fitness.
(Of course, if you average 100 miles a week, this 20 minute workout
isn't going to do as much for you as someone who is just starting an
When you go out for a training run and your pace stays significantly
slower than your race pace, you are training your aerobic energy
system. Your body will adapt to the stress of training by "learning" to
take in and deliver more oxygen to the working muscles. There are
also cellular and chemical adaptations in the body that make it better
at using the oxygen and producing energy. This type of training does
very little to make adaptations to anaerobic energy systems, though.
It's like getting a raise in pay, but not extending your credit limit.
Running at a pace close to race pace, but a tad slower, is called
"anaerobic threshold" or just "threshold" training. This type of
training teaches your body to do more work aerobically before it
calls on the anaerobic systems. (The "anaerobic threshold" is the
point at which your body starts pulling out the credit card.)
Training done at about 5 K race pace and faster starts to work the
anaerobic energy systems. When you do intervals, such as 400 meter
runs on the track with a jog recovery, you are using and training the
anaerobic systems. All sorts of adaptations occur in your body with
this type of training. Your body becomes more efficient at producing
energy anaerobically and better able to tolerate lactic acid. But,
here's the interesting part, this kind of training also improves your
It has been shown many times in scientific studies that interval
training improves the VO2 Max, that is the amount of oxygen taken
into the body per unit of body weight per unit of time. Simply said,
you get another pay raise. Interval training, some people call it
"speed work," can actually improve your endurance as well as your
So, if someone wants to run a great marathon, can they replace their
long runs with short, quick intervals? No. It isn't that simple.
Next month we will get into some specifics of anaerobic training, and
how to apply it to your favorite race distance.
THIS MONTH'S LIST
TEN BEST RATIONALIZATIONS TO CONTINUE RUNNING WHEN
1. It doesn't really hurt enough to call it an injury.
2. I feel okay after I warm-up 6 or 7 miles.
3. If I take a bunch of aspirin before I run I don't feel any pain.
4. I'll back off after I reach my mileage goal for this week.
5. If I stop running I'll never get back in shape.
6. If I stop running I'll gain 10 pounds overnight.
7. I'll ice the sore spot extra and it will be okay tomorrow.
8. It's just my imagination, I don't really feel that pain.
9. I'll just run easy for a few days and it will go away.
10. I can't back off now, I just have to be ready for my big race next
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
*Peak Running Performance*
A scientific training publication can be examined at:
*The Realm of the Insanely Fast*
An unusual name for a web site, "the Realm of the Insanely Fast" has
some good links, a movie review and general running information. To
find it, point your browser to:
The Jumpsite provides extensive information on fitness, health, and
nutrition as well as being the largest directory of related webpages
available on the Web. The Jumpsite was rated by Point as a top 5%
site and has been promoted and mentioned in hardcover magazines
such as FIT, IDEA Today and Personal Trainer as well as various
*Jack Daniels Camps*
Well known running coach Jack Daniels will be putting on clinics
around the country in 1997. His web site is:
*Irish Peak Running*
A new site dedicated to Irish mountain running, sponsored by none
other than the Irish Mountain Running Association, can be found at:
* MIDWEST CLUBS *
We are trying to make a list of all the running clubs in Illinois, Iowa,
Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We need their
names and addresses to organize a Midwest Runners Assn. My name
is Ted Esau and I'm a member of the American Lung Assn. Running
Club in Minnesota. Our club is the largest pure marathoner's club in
the US; we have over 1000 members, all who have run at least one
marathon. Myself, I have 20 behind me and more coming. My e mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org
ODDS AND ENDS
*CORTEZ, COLORADO EVENT*
The 3rd Annual Pueblo to Pueblo 11 Mile & 2 Mile Fun Run or Walk
will be held Saturday, April 26. The 11 mile run starts at 9:00
a.m.,and the 2 mile fun run/walk at 9:15 a.m.
For more information call the Cortez CU Center at (970) 565-1151 or
Joseph Keckat (970) 565-7365 (days) or (970) 565-8856 (evenings).
*PREZ HANGS UP HIS TRAINING FLATS*
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT tells us that Bill Clinton has given up
running for fitness. Lower back problems and allergies seem to have
gotten the best of the president.
*IF CARLSBAD, WHO'S GOOD?*
This year's Carlsbad 5 K will be boasting a $60,000 prize purse, and
is the USATF Masters National Championships. The course is ultra-
fast, and there are 7 separate races to keep down the congestion and
permit runners to see the some of the other racers in action. Info: 1-
*GOODBYE SWEET CHARIOT*
The Brooks Chariot, one of the best selling shoes during the running
boom of the early 80's, was quite a survivor. In these days of
constantly changing shoe models, the Chariot was still around until
Brooks finally stitched and glued the last Chariot a few months ago.
Reports are that there may still be a few lurking in the store rooms
of some of the mail order shoe companies. Good hunting!
*CASIO SDB-500 NOT COMPLETELY DEAD?*
The popular Casio 30 lap memory watch that we reported was no
longer available still isn't, at least not from Casio. There are still a
few around, though. One of our readers purchased an SBD-500 from
Advanced Time Products as recently a January. Perhaps a little
searching can still net you this great watch.
* MORE MONEY FOR THE FAST GUYS*
The IAAF has announced that $100,000 will be paid for world record
performances in the IAAF World Championships this summer. In
addition, $50,000 will go out to WR setters in the indoor version of
the WCs coming up in Paris
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:
Pass the address on to your friends!
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