Vol. 3 No. 8 September, 1998
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
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.
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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
2. Epoetin, the synthetic form of a natural substance
called erythropoietin, is usually abbreviated to what
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
8. Who is the only 40-and-over athlete ever to run a sub-4
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.)
LAST MONTHS ANSWERS:
1-5 What college or university did the following elite
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
The first to answer all ten correctly was BRIAN COOLIDGE.
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
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
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
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
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
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING RUNNING SHOES
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
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
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
:-( 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.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
---Steven Rossi's Marathon Info Site---
A good deal of information for marathon runners can be
Loads of mountain running info at:
AND AS ALWAYS:
RUNNERS NICHE at:
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
---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
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
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.
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