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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 3 No. 8 September, 1998

 

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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First it was Mary Slaney, now Uta Pippig. Both have tested

positive for abnormally high testosterone levels. Without

ever testing positive, sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner is

still seen by a great majority as having used performance

enhancing drugs, and her recent, sudden and unexplained

death is used as proof.

I wish that the news of Flojo's sudden death simply brought

thoughts of empathy for her family's grief and

disappointment at the loss of a sports legend. It seems so

wrong to be publicly speculating at the likelihood of drug

use as a cause of her death when her husband, family and

friends are all mourning the sudden and tragic loss of a

loved one. She was a human being, a wife, a sister, and a

daughter whose life should be so much more significant than

a public debate on athletics. But don't blame the press or

public curiosity. Blame athletes who use drugs.

I knew Mary and trained with her occasionally when we were

on the same team in college and I considered her a friend.

I have spoken to Uta a couple of times and think very

highly of her. A huge part of me wants to believe that they

are both innocent. Perhaps they are. None the less, even

though Mary was vindicated of the charges, she will always

be under public suspicion. The same will be true if Uta is

found innocent. We can't blame the public for being

unforgiving or suspect. Blame the athletes who are using

drugs. As long as they are around, the innocent and guilty

alike will be hurt.

As a physical education teacher I tell my students over and

over that they must play fair. "Cheaters never win and

winners never cheat." It's a simple, perhaps naive little

saying, but I believe in it. And as long as there are

cheaters, we are all being hurt.

Something that I heard Libbie Hickman say really gets to

the heart of the matter. She said that to be the best

athlete you can be takes years and years of carefully

planned training. Libbie should know, having trained

diligently for years to improve herself to world class

status as a 5000 meter runner. By building slowly,

gradually increasing training loads and using altitude

training she believes athletes can achieve the same

results, or very nearly so, as someone who takes the

shortcut and uses drugs. I don't know if that's true, but

it seems clear to me that any athlete would certainly be

able to look back on their running career with a great deal

more pride knowing that any success they had was their own

and not that of their pharmacist.

It's impossible to know who uses drugs and who doesn't.

That makes it hard for me to care as much as I used to

about major championship level races. It has curtailed my

lifelong enthusiasm for a sport I have had a love affair

with since I was a kid. I don't blame running; I blame the

athletes who use drugs.

-WG

 

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

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Point your browser to:

home.netone.com/~woodyg3/bookstore.html

MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR

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**************

TRIVIA CONTEST

**************

Be the first to answer all ten Runner's Niche Trivia

Contest questions correctly and win a copy of the book

"Running Dialogue."

Okay, here's the deal. Answer these ten questions below by

e-mailing them to: woodyg3@netone.com with the subject

"Trivia Contest." Make sure to include your name, and

answer the questions in the order they appear here. If you

are the first to answer all ten correctly, you will receive

a free copy of "Running Dialogue", plus your name will be

featured in the next issue of Runner's Niche! Wow, you can

win stuff AND become famous! Remember, only the FIRST set

of ten correct answers received by Runner's Niche will win

the first place prize.

The October Issue Questions:

1. Pseudophedrine is a banned substance, which is a drug

that is considered illegal and performance enhancing, by

the IAAF. What common over the counter drug contains this

banned substance?

2. Epoetin, the synthetic form of a natural substance

called erythropoietin, is usually abbreviated to what

three-letter phrase?

3. The ratio of testosterone to its "twin,"

epitestosterone, is used as evidence of the use of

artificially increased levels of testosterone. Why?

4. The IAAF considers Androstenedione, which is a legal

over the counter supplement in the United States, an

illegal substance. What performance enhancing affect does

"andro" have on the body?

5. Where were the 1998 World Cross-Country Trials for US

athletes held on January 31 - February 1?

6. Where will the 2000 US Olympic Trials for Track and

Field be held?

7. Where will the 1999 World Track and Field Championships

be held?

8. Who is the only 40-and-over athlete ever to run a sub-4

minute mile?

9. What track did he accomplish his sub-4 on?

10. During what meet was this mark set?

(Thanks to Mike Morrisey for the last three questions.)

GOOD LUCK!

 

LAST MONTHS ANSWERS:

1-5 What college or university did the following elite

athletes attend?

1. Libbie Hickman - Colorado State

2. Keith Brantly - Florida

3. PattiSue Plumer - Stanford

4. Pat Porter - Adams State

5. Lynn Jennings - Princeton

6. Who was the first runner to run 100 sub-4-minute miles?

- John Walker

7. At what school does famed exercise physiologist Jack

Daniels coach? - State University at Cortland

8. In what three different track events did Jim Ryun hold

the world record? - 1500 m, Mile, 880 yards

9. Who beat Jim Ryun in the 1500 at the Mexico City

Olympics? - Kip Keino

10. Who was Jim Ryun's coach at Kansas University? - Bob

Timmons

The first to answer all ten correctly was BRIAN COOLIDGE.

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

*****

FOCUS

*****

Fiction by Scott Swanson

Victory's daughter sits on the infield. She stretches each

muscle in turn, giving equal attention to large and small.

She is completely a runner, her body sleek, toned, and

tuned. Her mind is clear and calm. Focus, diligence, and

attention to detail have brought her to this state of

being; she will neither forget or forsake them now.

Many in the stands know who she is. Some on the track wish

they didn't. She's not unfriendly; it's just difficult to

approach her. All of her thoughts and actions lead her to

run, to race. Anything that would lead her astray is simply

not noticed, or ignored. She has no coach; none will work

with her any longer. She does not suffer fools lightly, and

she sees many fools.

When called, she rises and walks to the line where the

field waits for the start of the 5K. She exchanges

pleasantries, even wishes good luck to long-time rivals.

She means well, but it's the only time she uses the work

luck. That luck would determine the outcome is anathema to

her.

The starter barks, the gun sounds, and she moves away with

the pack. A rabbit leaps to the front, hoping to push the

pace. Nicky does not follow. Nicky has her own race to run.

It doesn't matter to her who is in front or behind. She

knows what awaits.

A few runners jostle her in mid-race, and she responds with

a sharp elbow. She wonders why anyone would bother with

such tactics. It's not running.

After 4K, the field has thinned out, and Nicky runs in

third, 100 meters back of the leaders. Her long, easy

stride, the result of months of road work in heat, rain,

cold, carries her on. It would be easy just to coast from

here, to just lope in, but she keeps on. She knows what she

has in her, and what can be done.

To the crowd, it looks as though Nicky reels in the

leaders. She has not accelerated; the others have faltered

and fallen back to her. At the gun marking the final lap,

she moves into the lead and stretches it. She does not

sprint over the line; she has paced herself to the end. She

acknowledges the applause of the crowd and the accolades of

her well-wishers.

No arms upraised, no tears, no victory lap. No surprises.

Just another race. She picks up her sweats and her bag and

leaves the stadium. She walks away with the victory, and

Victory is her only companion.

 

**************

The Tinqui 10K

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By Daniel W. Matthews

Dios! Leaving the Ausangate Mountains shouldn't be hard

after running 40 miles in 4 days at elevations of up to

17,000 feet above sea level. As Devi, the ultra marathoner

organizer of our trip says ''You just get on this fire road

and run. You'll have a little uphill for the first mile

and a half, then its all downhill to Tinqui. The trail is

easy to find, you can't miss it''.

Try to miss the baseball- to watermelon-sized rocks,

alpaca, llama, and horse poop littering the trail though.

Your running shoes aren't THAT dirty, yet, and your toes

and ankles aren't THAT callused. Jump over the stream

crossings. Don't try to jump over the alpacas, llamas, and

horses crossing the trail in front of you. You're not

running THAT fast.

Don't even try to jog the first 2 miles unless you brought

supplemental oxygen and have permission from your

physician. Starting at Pacchanta hot springs at 13,900

feet, visualize yourself moving as quickly as you can to

about 14,400 feet. Stop. Look back. Take action photographs

of your companions gasping for oxygen. Admire your last

views of the Ausangate and Collque-Cruz mountains together.

Now run. Smooth dirt (almost) from 14,400 feet down to

12,400 feet in the dusty little village of Tinqui. Slow

down if you encounter children laughing and shrieking on

their way to school. Give them candy if you've got it.

Run with them if you can, it's your last chance to hobnob

with the scholarly humming birds of the Andes. Step nimbly

through the rocky sections of trail. Smile. Everyone you

encounter on the trail is.

Pass the cook and her son if you can. Who would have

guessed that the skilled preparer of our popcorn, soups,

potatoes and pancakes can run like a deer. The bright-

colored baseball cap she wears gives her the power of

flight.

Slow down at the top of the steep grade dropping into the

Rio Pinchimuro Mayo valley. Watch out! Springs make the

trail muddy here. Turn left after you cross the bridge,

turn left again onto Main Street, Tinqui, Peru.

Run very fast now. Faster than the giant Volvo trucks

rumbling out of the jungle towards Cusco and the coast.

Faster than the sound of dogs barking their welcome to

these strange, panting visitors from Norte Americana.

Smile for a photo finish in front of the Ausangate Hostel.

It's recommended by the Dutch Alpine Team.

Breathe deeply but filter out the clayey dust that fills

the road. Savor the memory of the most challenging and

scenic downhill 10k race you've ever run! Wasn't that

fun!!

 

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SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING RUNNING SHOES

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1. Fit. The shoes should not put pressure on any part of

your feet, and they should have a little extra room without

being "sloppy" and allowing you to slide around in the

shoe.

2. Arch support. If you have high or low arches, make sure

the shoes support your arches properly. Some people get

custom orthotic inserts to assure proper support.

3. Cushion. Shoes should absorb shock as you land. Shoes

that are too firm will feel like you are running on bricks.

Shoes that are too soft can cause your feet to be unstable

and the shock can go right through the soft mid-sole to

your feet. They will feel "mushy."

4. If the shoe feels strange or alien on your feet, forget

it. Good shoes feel right when you put them on. Avoid shoes

that don't conform to your individual needs.

5. Stick with what works. If you've had luck with a shoe,

stick with it. If you can't find it any more, look for a

shoe that is built in a similar manner.

6. Ignore the color. Too many shoes are purchased because

of fancy styling and bright colors. Block this out of your

mind. Let your feet tell you which shoe to buy, not your

eyes.

*************

THIS AND THAT

*************

:-) The World Mountain running championships were held on

September 18 in L'entre Deux on the island of Reunion, a

small island in the Indian Ocean a 1,000 miles east of

Madagascar. The US womens team finished 12th, while the men

managed 8th.

:-( Former Villanova track and cross country coach John

Marshall is apparently suing the university, claiming he

was wrongfully fired by athletic director Tim Hofferth in

June. Additionally he claims Hofferth tried to interfere

with and sabotage Marshall's summer running camp.

<?!> Ben Johnson, the Canadian Sprint sensation who was

banned from competition after a positive steroid test at

the Seoul Olympics, will race again. This time he will

sprint against a couple of horses and a car on October 15

in a charity event for the Children's Wish Foundation at a

Charlottetown racetrack on Prince Edward Island.

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

---Steven Rossi's Marathon Info Site---

A good deal of information for marathon runners can be

found at:

http://www.expage.com/page/marathon

---Skyrunners---

Loads of mountain running info at:

http://www.skyrunner.com

 

AND AS ALWAYS:

RUNNER’S NICHE at:

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

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LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

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---Pentriceps, Part 2---

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

The reader who referred to a fifth quad muscle (in a letter

to RN last month) may have been referring to the VMO

(vastus medialis oblique). I have never officially seen

that it is a separate muscle from the VM (vastus medialis),

but many therapists seem to treat it that way, i.e. VMO

strengthening for patellar tracking.

- Dr. John Berneike

 

---Cross-Country Lives!---

Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,

Enjoyed your interview with Jim Breitenbucher.

There is XC life after college. In Monmouth County New

Jersey, there's a cross-country league that's been in

existance for probably over 15 years. The League used to

be under the auspices of the Shore Athletic Club. It's

basically a bunch of runners who love XC. Each year we run

6 races at 3-4 different county parks with well-planned

race courses between 2.3 and 3.7 miles. The courses, as

you can see by the distances, are designed based on the

landscape and appropriate layout, as opposed to meeting a

set 5k or other standard distance. We manage to get a core

of 50-75 runners each week, with about 6 - 8 teams. To

score, each team must have 3 open runners, at least one

women, and at least one master. This makes it very

competitive. I've heard that some other running

communities have applied the same idea--in Boston was one

place I had heard about.

This XC "sub-culture" is great by me. Road runners tend to

stay away--my hunch is that XC is a more demanding sport

because it requires more strategy in knowing how to run a

course based on the terrain. And one needs to be

conditioned to running off-road since it puts more demands

on the body. I love watching roadies jump in XC races and

seeing the pain. It also is a TEAM sport, much more so than

road racing.

The Mecca for XC is Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. The

nationals have been held there. The beauty of the

nationals is that virtually anyone can run--therefore it

truly is a people's sport.

Best,

Joe Keenan

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