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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 5 No.8 October 2000

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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The Sydney Olympics have come and gone, and it certainly was a

great event. I, for one, loved the addition of the triathlon. It

was nice to see this sport getting the recognition it deserves.

The cycling and swimming action were top notch, as well. The

Olympics offer me a rare chance to observe competition in our

"kindred" sports.

While it's still all fresh in my mind, here are a few of my

observations about the track and field competition:

1. If I were Marion Jones, I'd be quite happy with three golds

and two bronze. I hope the U.S. media is done with their feeding

frenzy.

2. Tegla Loroupe from Kenya, who first ran the marathon, then

came back in a couple of days to run the prelims and finals in

the 10,000 is crazy. She did this even after complaining of being

sick to her stomach during the marathon. A pre-race favorite, she

managed twelfth in the marathon despite the stomach problems and

fifth in the 10,000. So, she is both crazy and fast.

3. Christine Clark, the lone marathon runner for the United

States after winning the trials race slower than the "A"

qualifying standard, did her country proud. She placed nineteenth

with a PR of 2:31:38. She was one of only four competitors to get

PRs on the difficult Sydney course. In a world of elite runners

who routinely rack up 100 mile weeks, Christine managed her feat

with "only" 75-80 miles a week.

4. Greek sprinter Kedéris Konstadínos "came out of nowhere" to

win the mens 200 meter dash. Anyone who watched his semi-final

heat had to be aware this guy was for real. Think of the pressure

this guy could have on him in 2004 at the Athens Olympics.

5. The ignorant faction of the print and broadcast media called

Kenyan Noah Ngeny's win in the 1500 meters a great upset. Ngeny

has been right on Moroccan super star Hicham El Guerrouj's heels

for a while now. Noah has the second fastest mile time in

history, right behind El Guerrouj. Calling the race a great upset

was a pretty big overstatement, but it didn't bother me so much

as the sub-moronic media's proclamation that Hicham's silver

medal was a "failure." El Guerrouj showed gold medal class after

the race, though. He praised Ngeny for a great race, discounted a

recent injury as an excuse, and held his head up high.

El Guerrouj impressed me as a class act many times before the

Olympics, too. If you haven't already, take a look at the October

issue of Track and Field News and read the article "Mile Legends

Meet." This article describes a meeting between Hicham and Roger

Banister, the first runner to break the 4-minute mile back in

1954. The Moroccan requested the meeting while he was in England

to compete. He admires Bannister greatly, and has a great

appreciation of the history and heritage of track and field. Upon

hearing Bannister recite the story of the famed first sub-four,

El Guerrouj was surprised to hear that the weather was quite

windy. Additionally the race was on a cinder track, of course.

Hicham respectfully told Bannister that with a modern track

surface and good weather, his time would equate to 3:42 today.

(The current world record is 3:43.13 by El Guerrouj.) It's cool

to see a top star of today hold those before him in reverence,

and I wish more runners would take the time to learn the rich

history of our sport.

6. A few other runners have class, a good example being Michael

Johnson, who indicated that the future of the sport was with his

younger teammates on the gold medal winning 4 x 400 relay team.

He gave them due credit for their part in winning the relay, and

said that he hoped to give them his support and help now that he

had run his final Olympic race.

7. A few runners have somewhat less class, like the American mens

4 x 100 relay team. I'm tired of the American sprinters acting

like pro wrestlers and thumping their chests. I know that these

guys are just young and excited, but they have to start thinking

of the image they are portraying of themselves and their country.

8. Kenya's domination in the distance events was somewhat foiled

by the Ethiopians, who actually won one more medals in the

distance events than the Kenyans did. (Ethiopia 9, Kenya 8

according to Joe Henderson in his Running Commentary e-magazine.)

This doesn't surprise me too much given all the politics and

turmoil over the selection of the Kenyan team.

9. Suzy Favor Hamilton blames her dehydration and fall in the

finals of the 1500 on anti-inflammatory drugs she was taking for

a sore hamstring. I am reminded of Mary Slaney and Jim Ryun, two

other American medal favorites to take a fall in the Olympics.

 

- 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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RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

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Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Steve Isham. Steve

receives a free issue of Marathon & Beyond Magazine and FAME!

Trivia contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar

year.

When answering, email your answers with the subject "trivia

contest" and answer the questions in the order they appear below.

Mail to: woodyg3@netone.com. The FIRST person to answer all ten

questions correctly wins. If nobody answers all ten correctly, we

will award the prize to the person who answers the most questions

correctly. Good Luck!

This Month's Questions:

1. Who is the only runner besides Paavo Nurmi to win the Olympic

10,000 meter gold twice in non-consecutive Olympics? (Thanks to

Joe Henderson for this question.)

2. Only 20th in this year's mens Olympic Marathon, who was the

Gold Medal winner in Atlanta?

3. What nation is scheduled to host the 2004 Summer Olympics?

4. Who was the only woman to attempt doubling in the marathon and

10,000 meters at Sydney?

5. One of the few Chinese track athletes sent to Sydney was tenth

place finisher in the womens marathon. Who was she?

6. Why were so few Chinese track athletes sent to Sydney?

7. What famous American shot put star tested positive for

steroids recently? (Hint: this story broke to the media during

the Sydney Olympics.)

8. Michael Johnson, American anchor runner on the 4 x 400 meter

relay, understandably received the bulk of the media attention

after the team won gold. Still, he did not run the fastest split

for the team. Who did?

9. Tenth place finisher in the mens Marathon at Sydney, Steve

Moneghetti of Australia, is quite the veteran runner. How many

Olympic marathons has he competed in?

10. Gold and Silver medalists in the Marathon, Naoko Takahashi

and Lidia Simon both spent some time training in the same

location prior to the Olympics. Where was this high altitude

location?

 

 

Last Month's Answers:

1. The rock and roll anthem "Born to Run" was performed by what

New Jersey based musician? - Bruce Springstein

2. Perhaps a counter running culture album, "Walk, Don't Run" was

an album by what famous surf band? - The Ventures

3. The lyrics: "I wonder what went wrong with our love, a love

that was so strong," were sung by Del Shannon in what hit song? -

Runaway

4. (A 2-part question.) The song "The Long Race" was on a 1986

album by what well-known keyboard player? What was the name of

the album? - Bruce Hornsby from The Way It Is.

5. What was the title of a song about a girl who "goes out with

other guys" in a 1961 hit song by Dion? (Hint: The song is off an

album of the same name.) - Runaround Sue

6. The song "Run Like Hell" is off of which Pink Floyd album? -

The Wall

7. "Run, Devil, Run" is a 1999 album by which former Beatle? -

Paul

8. The song "The Long Run" was a hit by what popular country-rock

band? - The Eagles

9. Country singer Pam Tillis sang a song about equine running on

her 1992 album "Homeward Looking Angel." What was the name of

this tune?

10. "Running on Empty" has been the theme song of many marathon

runners at mile 25. Who wrote and sang this song on an album of

the same name in 1977? - Jackson Browne

11. The group Yes first performed the song "Long Distance

Runaround" on which of their albums? - Fragile

12. What well-known guitarist has an album titled "Marathon?" -

Carlos Santana

13. "Street Thunder" was the title of the marathon theme song on

the 1984 Official Olympic album. What group performed this song?

- Foreigner

14. Who composed "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" from the same album?

- John Williams

15. "Run For The Roses" was released on a double album entitled

"The Innocent Age" in 1981. Who wrote and performed this song? -

Dan Fogelberg

 

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RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALOES

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Book Review By Woody Green

Individuals who write book reviews are supposed to be as

objective as possible. I suppose I might as well admit that I

can't be very objective about the subject matter in the new book

"Running With the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear. This book traces the

1998 cross country season of the University of Colorado mens

team. As an alumni of that school who participated in track for

four years, I admit a little prejudice. Add living in the Boulder

area all my life and timing at CU cross country and track meets

for the past ten years or so, and I guess I really have to admit

I'm a little too close to the subject.

You know what? I'm going to write the review any way. Why?

Because this is the type of book every runner, whether a casual

fitness jogger or a serious world class runner should read.

The 1998 season was the final year of eligibility for CU super

star Adam Goucher. The team was poised to take the national

crown, and Coach Mark Wetmore seemed destined to be the coach of

the year. As often happens in athletics, things didn't go the way

they were planned. This time, though, it was more than an

unexpected injury or a bad day at the race. This story is one of

tragedy, extreme heartache, single-minded perseverance, and

overcoming long odds.

Day by day through the season the reader is fed an insider's

observation of the team's daily activities. Lear had special

permission from Wetmore to attend all practices and have full

access to all team meetings and events. From this we learn a

great deal about Coach Wetmore and his dead serious approach to

training. We see how Adam Goucher developed to be one of the best

distance runners in the country. Lear manages to fill the pages

with not only the facts, but also the emotions of the team and

each runner. Perhaps most importantly, we see how a group of

athletes, put together on a team, can act to support each other

and make each individual stronger than they could ever be on

their own. This last point applied not just to running, but in

the rest of their lives as well.

There is some strong language, and parents may want to look the

book over before giving it to a younger reader. Any profanity,

though, is in the form of harmless banter among teammates. Lear

is a strong writer, and the words flow together well. This book

will draw you in if you have even a gram of passion in your body.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be objective here. I can't be, so

get over it. Just buy the book. You'll never regret it.

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RUNNER'S NICHE BOOKSTORE - Learn more about your sport by

reading. Go to: http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/bookstore.html

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HILLS, SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES AND WIND SLOW ME DOWN!?

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By Woody Green

In the years that I coached high school runners, one of the

hardest things to explain to them was the effect of weather and

terrain on running pace. Excited young runners want a PR

(personal record) each time they are out there, even in cross

country where the courses can be flat and fast one week and

extremely hilly, muddy and slow the next. I have noticed that

many adults can be similarly disappointed by their race times

regardless of the prevailing weather or course difficulty. This

can lead to needless gnashing of teeth and general depression.

Last weekend I ran a 5 mile race course that is very deceptive.

There is a long, gradual uphill in one direction of the double

loop course, and a corresponding downhill in the other direction.

To look at the grade, you might assume that there would be little

effect on running pace. Running the course, though, the long

uphill was draining, and my uphill mile split uphill was a good

50 seconds slower than the downhill. Surprised, I looked up my

splits on this same course 5 years ago, and the times were

similarly about 50 seconds apart. The hill was the culprit.

When considering your race times the key is to trust your

perceived effort. If it feels like you are going hard and that

the effort was the best you could muster, why worry if the time

seems off? Take wind, rain, snow, hot and cold all into

consideration. Uphills always hurt your time more than downhills

help, just as headwinds always slow you more than tail winds

speed you.

Another thing to remember is that not all courses are measured as

accurately as we would like. If your time seems way too slow or

fast for your effort, it may mean that the course is long or

short. Ask other runners what they think. An incorrectly measured

course can't be kept a secret when several experienced runners

have raced the course. If the general feeling among the runners

is that a course is short or long, the consensus is usually

right.

Runners tend to be hard on themselves. Remember that there are

certain factors governing your race times that are not under our

control, and adjust your expectations accordingly. The next time

you run a hilly course in the wind and sub-zero weather, give

yourself a break!

 

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THIS AND THAT

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*Bargain Runner's LogBook

Print Image from South Africa has a simple, inexpensive runners

log book available for under $2.00 in US funds. With room for 12

months of data including Day, weight, running time, distance,

pace, heart rate readings, enjoyment rating, route, details and

comments. In the middle of the booklet there is also a spot to

graph distance, pace, heart rate and weight for the year. You

will need to write small, but this just may be the logbook for

someone looking for an inexpensive and easy to use product.

To take a look at their web site go to:

http://www.printimage.co.za

* Texas 5 K

On Nov. 18 2000, in Seguin Texas there will be a Pecan Fest. They

will kick it off with a 5K fun run (some Cross country) and

a Canoe Race. More information is available at the Chamber of

Commerce in Seguin at 830-379-6382.

 

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LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

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*A Letter Sent During the Sydney Olympics

Dear Runner's Niche,

With the Olympics underway now, the folks in Edmonton Alberta are

hard at work preparing for the 2001 World Championships in

Athletics and the International Triathalon Championships. The

former will be August 3 to 12 in Edmonton, and the latter will be

at the end of July in Edmonton.

The opening event will be an evening run of the men's marathon

starting from and ending at the Commonwealth Stadium, followed by

the opening ceremonies.

We in Edmonton are looking at the Olympics as the venue that will

showcase many of the world's best that will be in Canada. We will

keep you and your readers posted throughout the year. Hotels are

filling fast and tickets are selling fast.

- Terry D. Carlyle

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

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*Trail Runner Magazine

For those who like to stay off the pavement, and especially those

who have an adrenaline addiction:

http://www.trailrunnermag.com

* Mountain-Running World Trophy 2000 Bergen / Germany

Results can be viewed at:

http://www.chiemgau.com/bergen/wm2000/index.htm

 

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