Vol. 3 No. 8 September, 1998
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
RUNNER'S NICHE received an interesting advertisement via e-
mail. In part, it reads:
> "EVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO LOSE 2 INCHES
> OF FAT OR MORE IN 24 HOURS?
> Now It Is! - GUARANTEED!!
> It's Safe
> It's Healthy
> It's All Natural
> It's Not a Crazy Diet
> It's Not a Military Exercise Program
> It's Safer, Less Painful, & Much Less Expensive than
> What is "It"?
Well, if we were to answer the question lastly posed, the
correct answer would have to be "bull do do." The ad goes
on to claim that all you have to do is rub this amazing gel
on your body and 2 inches of fat just plain and simply
disappears. Well, actually it claims to break the fat down
into water and waste products that your body will naturally
excrete. This is a heaping, stinking pile of lizard dung!
Don't fall for this kind of guano!
Fat is the bodies' way of storing energy. Fat stores are
removed from the body if, and only if, it is used as a fuel
source. Fat is used, for example, to provide energy when
you run. Rubbing something on your skin does not burn or
remove fat, though.
Also, you can't burn the fat off your stomach by doing sit-
ups, or off your buns by using a "bun blaster." Fat is used
from all parts of the body regardless of what kind of
exercise you do or which muscles you employ. Your stomach
will be firm and probably look better if you are doing
abdominal exercises, but don't believe the pop rhetoric
that claims you can "spot burn" fat away.
Aerobic exercises like running, cycling, swimming, walking,
and circuit training; plus a good diet; are the keys to
loosing unwanted fat. No magic gel, pill or $59.95 exercise
machine will do it for you.
Even if it did, what about making your heart and lungs
healthy? Again, aerobic exercise and diet are the keys.
There is no enchanted balm or mystical alchemy that will do
--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
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Point your browser to:
MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR
ANY BOOK TITLE IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS!
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Be the first to answer all ten Runner's Niche Trivia
Contest questions correctly and win a "Jog-A-Log" computer
program for your Windows 95 PC. Jog-A-Log describes their
product this way: "This program was recently rated by Ziff
Davis (publishers of PC Magazine) with Five Stars (highest
rating) and reviewed as possibly being the best running log
Okay, here's the deal. Answer these ten questions below by
e-mailing them to: email@example.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 the Jog-A-Log program, 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.
(By the way, if you own a Mac or don't use Windows 95 on
your PC, we'll dig up a different, but still great, prize
The September Issue Questions:
1-5 What college or university did the following elite
1. Libbie Hickman
2. Keith Brantly
3. PattiSue Plumer
4. Pat Porter
5. Lynn Jennings
6. Who was the first runner to run 100 sub-4-minute miles?
7. At what school does famed exercise physiologist Jack
8. In what three different track events did Jim Ryun hold
the world record?
9. Who beat Jim Ryun in the 1500 at the Mexico City
10. Who was Jim Ryun's coach at Kansas University?
--- For more information on the Jog-A-Log program see their
web page at:
LAST MONTHS ANSWERS:
1-6: What college or university did the following elite
1. Arturo Barrios - Texas A&M
2. Mary Decker (Slaney) - Colorado
3. Alan Culpepper - Colorado
4. Suzy Hamilton - Wisconsin
5. Frank Shorter - Yale
6. Bill McChesney - Oregon
7. What city is the Grandma's Marathon held in? - Duluth
8. What time of day does the Boston Marathon start? - Noon
9. Who won the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate
Athletics for Women) National Cross-Country Championships
in 1978? - Mary Decker
10. What well-known runner was sixth in that same AIAW
championship race? - Joan Benoit
The first to answer all ten correctly was RANDY LILJENBERG
of Lafayette, Colorado. Second was Conrad Truedson of
England, who missed being first by two hours.
CROSS-COUNTRY IN HIS BLOOD
Interview By Woody Green
Jim Breitenbucher has run 31 marathons with a 2:26 best,
but insists he is more proud of his four appearances in
national cross-country meets. A dedicated cross-country
addict, we decided to interview him as the Fall cross-
country season gets under way around the country.
RUNNER'S NICHE: How did you get started in running, and
with cross-country specifically?
JIM BREITENBUCHER: I started running in 1968 at Cardinal
Stritch High School in Keokuk, Iowa. I was a ninth grader
who really wanted to be in sports but at our small Catholic
school, cross-country was the only fall sport. I lucked out
and was 2nd or 3rd man on the team that year. I was never a
star but always the "work horse" of the team. Our team ran
the Iowa champs my sophomore, junior and senior years. I
graduated in 1972. Like most kids at that time, Pre,
Shorter, Jim Ryan were my heroes. Also Dave Black of
England who was world cross-country champ. Not being a star
or having much money I went to junior college in my
hometown. They had no cross-country team. About that time,
I met a guy named Larry Young from Columbia Missouri who
was 3rd in the 50k walk in the '68 and '72 Olympics. I got
interested in race walking and gave it a try for a few
years and competed in the NAIA Championships for Columbia
College. After that I decided to get a Masters Degree and
went to Pittsburg State University in Kansas. I was not
eligible to compete but got the itch to run again and I
worked out with the track and cross-country teams and
competed for a local club, the Club Midwest. After that it
was back to life as a runner.
RN: Out of the four national cross-country races you
competed in, which was the best?
JB: My best finish in a national was in the 1986 meet in
San Francisco. I finished 276th in 35:55 for 10.5
kilometers at Golden Gate Park. I was 33 at the time and in
some ways this is my best memory of a National. The race
was loaded that year. Pat Porter, Steve Jones, Keith
Hanson, John Tracy, Bruce Bickford. You get the idea. It
was my first National, first trip to California and just
had a ball. That year I ran as a member of the Racers Edge
club out of Saint Paul, our team was 15th but I was a non-
scorer. Outside of Nationals, one of my best memories of
cross-country were the Open-Alumni meets I've run at some
college invitationals in places like River Falls, Wisconsin
(UW River Falls) and Northfield, Minnesota (St. Olf
College), Kenosha WI (Parkside). The coaches at these
schools need a pat on the back. They, and others who open
up their meets, are filling a huge void. That is part of
the solution to the problem of cross-country. There must be
hundreds of college invitationals across the country, why
not add an open 5 mile to each? It would only take up
another 30 minutes and the college kids seem to get a kick
out of seeing old farts running!
RN: Why is cross-country so important to you?
JB: I think it is the weather, the tough competition but
especially the course! If I had one piece of advice to
anyone thinking of organizing a cross-country race I would
say "it's the course stupid" (to paraphrase James
Carville). Or to steal from Robert Kennedy; some men see
cross country courses that are and say "why?" I see cross-
country courses that never were and say "why not?" If I
take a ride in the country, I'm always commenting to my
wife, "wouldn't that park or farm, or field, make a nice
course? Drives her nuts! Golf courses just don't cut it for
me. Comparing the course at Wisconson-Parkside to a golf
course is like comparing Wrigley Field to the Seattle
Kingdome! We need more mud and fewer fairways!
RN: Why do you think there are so few open cross-country
JB: In a way, I have always believed that the running boom
of the '70's stymied cross-country. Let me explain, in the
'70's more and more people began to get involved in running
for health and recreation. Not a bad thing but all the
sponsorship began to gravitate to road races because that
is were the masses turned up every weekend. In addition,
all the resources, media, volunteers and so on got involved
in road races. It didn't kill cross-country, but it
prevented it from growing as it should have at a time when
it should have really taken off in popularity. In a way, I
don't get it. Here's another thing; long distance trail
races are huge these days. The have a kind of cult
following among some runners. Trail races are great, lots
of fun. I've done several myself but I always wonder why
people will run a 50 k race on hills and trails but won't
run an 8 k race on hills and trails. They are both really
cross-country but one is just longer then the other. I'm
not optimistic that these things will ever get fixed. I
just have to accept that cross-country is a sideshow in the
overall running picture. If you are a high school or
college runner cross-country, enjoy it while you can!
By Woody Green
Listed below are some questions on the physiology of
running. Test your knowledge by trying to answer the
questions, then look up the answers, which are placed later
in this issue.
1. When running at a very easy pace, most of your energy
will be provided by:
2. True or False: Eating a potato will not increase sugar
levels in the blood anywhere near as fast as eating a piece
3. True or False: Runners who refuse to eat properly and
starve themselves in the name of loosing weight may
actually be forcing the body to tear down muscle tissue in
order to provide an energy source.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
EndurePlus and EndurePlus Online, a subscription, hard copy
newsletter and an online magazine, respectively, that
provides sport nutrition and training information for all
Australian Running Software and information;
Running Obsession -- a humorous look at the obsession known
AND AS ALWAYS:
RUNNERS NICHE at:
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Dear Runner's Niche,
I'm responding to the answers of your PHYSIOLOGY EXAM
questions (August issue of RN). The quadriceps is actually
made up of 5 muscles. I learned this from my orthapedic
when I went there to have my knees examined. He told me
that when the muscle was named the scientists only thought
there were 4 muscles, thus the name. It was latter learned
that there are 5 muscles. He told me that this mistake was
made on a number of muscle groups in the body.
ED: Thanks for your letter, Mike!
I have to admit that I don't know what your orthopedic
surgeon might be referring to. Every physiology and
kinesiology book I have ever seen refers to the quadriceps
as the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus
intermedius and the rectus femoris. These four muscles are
grouped together for convenience, since they function
together as a group when straightening the knee. Also,
scientists have been quite aware of all the muscles in the
body for hundreds of years. We continue to learn, however,
how all these muscles work together.
I suspect that your doctor feels there is an additional
muscle that should be grouped with the other four due to
function, especially as it relates to the movement of the
knee. If you see your doctor again, ask him what additional
muscle he has in mind. I would be very interested!
Thanks for the information, and I hope your running is
PHYSIOLOGY EXAM ANSWERS
1. Fat is the primary fuel used for the body during easy,
2. False. Potatoes have been shown to digest very rapidly
and increase blood sugar levels about as fast as candy or
other simple sugar sources.
3. True. This is one of the dangers of anorexia. The body
uses protein as an energy source only when all other
sources are unavailable. Runners who work so hard to get
those muscular, strong legs must remember that they have to
eat properly to keep them!
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