2007 Issues

    Vol. 11 #1 | Vol. 11 #2 | Vol. 11 #3 | Vol. 11 #4 | Vol. 11 #5 | Vol. 11 #6

    Volume 11 | Number 1 | January/February 2007



    An Experiment of One

    Dr. George Sheehan, running’s mad monk and philosopher, used to claim
    that each of us who runs long distances is an experiment of one: sort of a mobile
    science experiment run amok, where we learn as much from personal observations,
    consulting our running journals, and from intuition as we do from being
    poked and probed and preached to by scientists who specialize in human

    George, in his way, was wonderfully retro. He got runners back to
    The Garden. Scientists wanted to put runners in a lab, on a treadmill, hooked up to
    wires and hoses.

    The first running boom hit, and George directed marathon runners in
    one direction and scientists in another. And sometimes the runners went both
    ways at once.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    Travel with Don as he shares his view from inside the world
    of long-distance running.

    I’m back in the marathon saddle again. Not just because I’ve agreed
    to write a regular column for Marathon & Beyond, but because I
    am actually, really and truly, after many a misstep and backslide, back on course
    to run another marathon.

    My last marathon was New York City in November 2001, a week after completing the Marine Corps Marathon.
    Running those two marathons a week apart was a kind of personal response to the 9/11 tragedy, a show
    of support, if you will, for the two cities that had been attacked. Crossing
    the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and seeing empty space where the World
    Trade Center had been is something I’ll never forget. Being in the midst
    of thousands of runners as they began their weave through the wounded city
    seemed comforting in a way that’s hard to explain. The crowds cheered us on,
    but they could just as well have been coaxing New York back to its feet.
    It was a powerful experience and could have served as a fitting final
    chapter to my marathoning history.

    After nearly 50 marathons, where better to call it a day than at the finish line in
    Central Park, the pacific-green heart of the city that changed forever, and the
    world with it, on that sad morning in September?

    Apt or not, though, I had no plan to retire from marathoning in the fall of
    2001. The specter of forced retirement would come later, and it would have
    nothing to do with geopolitics. It had to do with faulty menisci.

    The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee joint, and it
    can tear during weight-bearing, twisting activities—soccer, tennis, basketball. It
    can also tear, so it seemed, from four decades of running. Or maybe menisci
    don’t like serious gardening, which I’ve been known to do. Whatever the reason,
    a persistent pain in my right knee was eventually diagnosed as a complex tear
    of the meniscus. And well before diagnosis, hobbled by relentless knee pain, my
    running had come to an abrupt halt.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    2005 Košice Peace Marathon

    by Richard Magin

    KOŠICE, SLOVAKIA, October 2, 2005—Selecting the starting pace for a marathon should not be a difficult calculation. A formula such as 1.25 times your half-marathon pace (in minutes per kilometer) plus or minus 0.5 (minutes per kilometer), depending upon the level of preparation, appears in most training guides. But in my experience, it is as difficult to calculate (and stick to) the proper starting pace as it is—anytime after 20 miles—to determine the finishing pace needed to meet an often steadily receding finishing time. Problems late in a race are well documented, but their genesis is frequently in prerace planning, which in my case is not very good.

    Having run more marathons than I can count on my fingers and blistered toes, I need only one thumb to count the number of races where I got the pace right (Chicago 2003, a 1:50/1:48 negative split). Despite this dismal record of prognostication, I yet again took leave of good running sense in the 2005 Košice Peace Marathon (KPM). However, before I describe and try to rationalize my latest lapse in logical thinking (and sound running practice), let me first give some background about the KPM, for I suspect that most runners have not heard much about this historic race (one exception being Hal Higdon, who, when I mentioned to him at the expo for the 2005 Grandma’s Marathon that I had signed up, quickly said something like, "Oh yeah, ran that twice in the ’60s!").

    Few marathons can offer a runner more tradition, in a country of great beauty, than the KPM. Set in eastern Slovakia, approximately equal distance from Krakow and Budapest, on a rough north-south line, Košice is a thousand-year-old city (first written record is from 1230) that annually hosts the world’s second-oldest marathon (established in 1924). While the KPM is relatively unknown today in the United States, the race, the city, and the region have much to offer a runner seeking a fast, flat course for a fall marathon. Košice’s location in the mountains of eastern Slovakia invites the visitor to travel from the country’s capital of Bratislava by train on a cross-country trip, a sort of brief Orient Express through a changing vista of villages, thick woods, mountains, and river valleys guarded by medieval hilltop castles. A tempting option on this trip is a stop in the High Tatras, with 25 peaks over 2,500 meters, for some vigorous prerace mountain training or some postrace sight-seeing and relaxation. Another good choice is a visit to the nearby Slovenský Raj National Park, with miles of marked hiking trails and many waterfalls. Once in Košice, a modern city of 250,000 people surrounding a charming historic center, the visiting runner and party will find excellent and reasonably priced accommodations (one option is a race-sponsored youth hostel), convenient public transportation, and a variety of musical, artistic, and culinary activities.

    continued in our Jan/Feb issue…

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    Capital City Marathon

    A low-key marathon in an out-of-the-way capital.

    In 1984 the first U.S. women’s Olympic Marathon Trials were held at—appropriately enough—Olympia, Washington. It was the scene of Joan Benoit’s miraculous comeback after major knee surgery, where she won the Trials less than three weeks after arthroscopic surgery. More miraculously, the plucky Benoit went on to win the first women’s Olympic Marathon at Los Angeles.

    Olympia, the capital of Washington State, seems an out-of-the-way place for a marathon, sandwiched as it is between two major West Coast marathons, Portland and Seattle. Even more surprising is the fact that although the race starts and ends in the middle of downtown Olympia, most of the course is rural and rolling.

    Olympia, like other state capitals in smaller cities than the states’ biggies, is pleasant (benefiting from the array of state buildings and state-financed maintenance that goes with them) and easy to get around in. (Take the state capitals of all three of the West Coast states. Washington’s isn’t Seattle or Spokane, but Olympia; Oregon’s isn’t Portland, but Salem; California’s isn’t Los Angeles or San Francisco, but Sacramento.) Olympia has a population of only 44,000 and is located at the lowest edge of the state’s generous mélange of inland coastal waterways that characterize most of the northwest portion of the state.

    Interstate 5 passes through Olympia on its way north to Seattle, so there is easy road access; and Olympia is where scenic Highway 101 splits off from I-5 and heads north and west up into the beautiful Olympic Peninsula.

    Within a few miles, a driver—or a runner—can be away from the white noise of I-5 and the modest downtown of Olympia and into the countryside where, during the May running of the marathon, the predominating impression you get of the area is that it has been overrun with rhododendron the way the South has been taken over by kudzu. Every resident’s front yard seems to compete with the next in showcasing rhododendrons of all colors and hues. The new (as of 2006) marathon course spends most of its time away from the city and out in the northern countryside, taking a tour of the spring foliage. Pennsylvania calls its rhododendrons "mountain laurels" and has a huge annual festival to celebrate them; Olympia would do well to promote a similar festival by handing out copies of the marathon course to cyclists and tourists who want to experience the best of the rhododendron blooms that May has to offer.

    One of the more unique marathons in North America. Only in our Jan/Feb issue…

    Joe’s Journal

    Pacesetter Paul.

    by Joe Henderson

    A tradition ends in one way and continues in another this month. Many previous year-opening issues contained essays by Paul Reese. The last one ran posthumously in early 2006. Now it’s my turn to write about our old friend Paul.
    Many of my best friends in this sport are older than I am. Hal Higdon was the first of these, George Sheehan was the closest, and Paul Reese was the oldest.

    I look up to them as pacesetters through life, in running and other ways. None of us can grow younger, but we all can find leaders who show how to age actively and slow gracefully.

    No one I’ve known has packed more activity into his upper years than Paul Reese. He ran across the United States at age 73, finished crossing the remaining states at 80, and published three books about these experiences (and left another book unpublished as yet).

    No one I know has approached his own finish line with more grace than Paul. Evidence of that will come later, but first I need to tell how he lived and how I joined his ever-widening circle of best friends.

    Paul was a Marine by choice, a schoolteacher in his second profession, and a communicator by nature. He phoned often and wrote long and well—in books, articles, journals, and especially in letters and e-mail.

    He was the oldest e-mailer I’ve known. My mother, who was almost exactly the same age as Paul and died the same year, was a professional writer who never conquered her computer phobia.

    I’m not overstating to say that Paul became my second second father. He took over that role in 1993 from George Sheehan, who had first played that role after my own dad’s too-early passing.

    Paul and I met at the 1967 Santa Barbara Marathon. On our first day of racing together, I finished a little way ahead of Paul. This began years of good-hearted competition between us.

    This new feature is continued in our Jan/Feb issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: Strength for Endurance.
    I’m 41 and training with some friends for our first marathon. We’ve raced 5Ks, 10Ks, and two half-marathons, and we want to do our first 26.2-miler with all the bases covered. Many marathoners have underdeveloped upper bodies. I’d like to do some upper-body workouts to help maintain strength in the latter miles, but one of my training partners argues that the more muscle you build, the more weight you have to carry for 26 miles, thus slowing you down. Is he right?

    Our experts answer this question in our Jan/Feb issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s authors are David Martin, Jake Emmett, Guy Avery, Jason Karp, and Don Kardong.


    Special Section: Sports Medicine

    With this issue we present our third sports medicine special issue. The previous two sports medicine specials (November/December 1998 and May/June 2003) were among our most popular issues ever and quickly went out of print. We trust our readers will find something of interest in the special section that follows, featuring the articles below. Run long and thrive.

    The Physiology of Marathon Running

    Just what does running a marathon do to your body?

    by Jake Emmett, Ph.D.

    Running a marathon has been viewed, and still is by many, as too extreme to be healthy. Certainly, the physical stress of running a marathon played some role in not holding a women’s Olympic marathon race until 1984. On the flip side, casual runners think that if a pampered celebrity can run a marathon, it can’t be all that strenuous. While marathon running is far from damaging, it should be respected for the physiological stress inflicted over its 26.2 miles.

    For example, running a five-minute-per-mile marathon requires a 15-fold increase in energy production for over two hours. Even runners who finish in over four hours maintain a 10-fold increase in their metabolism. Such extended energy demands require the cardiorespiratory, endocrine, and neuromuscular systems to operate at an elevated level for an inordinate length of time. It is no wonder then that the story of Pheidippides and his marathon run to Athens easily grew into a tragic tale about how running a marathon killed the first person to do so. Fortunately, scientists have researched the physiological stresses of running a marathon. The findings from such studies can help potential marathon runners better appreciate what they will be up against and remind seasoned marathon runners just how amazing the human body is.

    Sudden Death

    The physiology on marathon running starts with Pheidippides, who reputedly ran from the plains of Marathon to the city of Athens to report the victory of the Athenian army over the Persians. Upon his arrival, Pheidippides exclaimed, "Rejoice, we conquer" and dropped dead—or did he? The accuracy of this account has been questioned by modern scholars (Martin and Gynn 2000); however, the unfortunate outcome of Pheidippides is manifested in a few marathon runners every year. Just how stressful to the human body is running a marathon? This and other questions regarding marathon running were addressed at The Marathon: Physiological, Medical, Epidemiological, and Psychological Studies conference in 1976. The boldest theory regarding marathon running was made by Dr. Tom Bassler (1977), who suggested that the stress of running a marathon built immunity to the development of fatty deposits within coronary arteries. In other words, running a marathon prevents coronary artery disease (CAD). Bassler compared marathon runners to the heart-disease-free Masai warriors and Tarahumara Indians in that they all maintain active lifestyles, eat healthy diets, and have enlarged and wide-bore coronary arteries.

    After reviewing the cause of death in marathon runners from the previous 10 years, Bassler claimed that "there have been no reports of fatal, histologically proven, [CAD] deaths among 42K men." While he noted that some runners have died while running marathons, he concluded that these deaths were due to other factors such as nonatherosclerotic heart diseases (such as myocarditis or coronary spasms), congenital abnormalities, hyperthermia, or undertraining. To his credit, Bassler also acknowledged that a low-fat diet and abstention from smoking play important roles in developing immunity to heart disease. Bassler concluded that whether running a marathon offered absolute protection from CAD would be proven within the following 10 years.

    Continued in our January/February issue… and also online.

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    On Science and Running

    Taking the scientific method to the field.

    by Jason R. Karp, M.S.

    I always thought scientists were nerds. I should know. After 12 years of multiple university educations, including a year of classes in medical school, I’ve been around many of them. But I decided that, as a graduate student, I was going to be different. I figured that I had to be if I was to stay focused on my real interest: running. Combining running and school isn’t easy. Although my main interests in exercise physiology center on endurance performance and training distance runners, my academic adviser keeps reminding me that I am in the world of academia now, and so instead of writing articles on coaching and training, I should be spending my time writing research articles for scientific journals. However, writing research articles requires doing research, something I would rather save for the real scientists. I would rather be coaching.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    How to Run the Comrades Marathon

    Do women have an edge when it comes to running ultradistance events?

    by Lindsay Weight

    The Comrades Marathon is a race of variable distance, run in alternating directions between the coastal city of Durban and inland Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. When the race starts in Pietermaritzburg, it is referred to as the Down run, and the other way around is the Up run. There are five notorious hills between these two cities, which make the Up run approximately 56 kilometers of positive gradient, compensated for slightly by the fact that the Up route is marginally shorter—about 86 kilometers compared to the 89-kilometer Down run.

    The Comrades Marathon has been run 81 times, and 76,768 people from around the globe have completed it at least once in their lives. Twenty-nine (male) runners1 have completed more than 30 Comrades Marathons, and 2,567 have their green number, awarded for finishing the race 10 times. The course records for the two races are 5:25:33 (Vladimir Kotov, 2000) and 6:11:15 (Elena Nurgalieva, 2004) for men and women, respectively, in the Up run and 5:24:07 (Bruce Fordyce, 1986) and 5:54:43 (Frith van der Merwe, 1989) for the Down run.

    The Comrades Marathon has grown from a modest, amateur, and intensely local event to a race with substantial prize money, sponsors, international status, a 13-hour television broadcast, four-day expo, and all the carnival that goes with a big-city marathon. Between 12,000 and 15,000 runners enter the race each year, with the highest entry being over 24,000 in 2000. Of these runners, less than 20 percent are women, and about the same proportion are novices. In 2005, the average finish time was 10 hours, 27 minutes for women and 9 hours, 55 minutes for men. However, the average finish times for both sexes have increased by an hour since 1980. The average age of competitors has also increased over the same time, from 34.0 years in 1980 to 40.2 years in 2005.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Perspectives on Kenyan Marathon Running

    They came, they saw, and they continue to conquer.

    by David Martin, Ph.D.

    It just might be true that never before in history has a single country so dominated an event in track and field and distance running as Kenyan men have dominated the marathon during the past five years. Breaking 2:20:00 in the marathon has long been considered the benchmark for elite athleticism in this event: racing the distance averaging at least 5:20 per mile.

    In 2005, as shown in figure 1 on page 66, 490 out of the 1,126 sub-2:20:00 men’s marathon performances worldwide were achieved by Kenyans—that’s 43.5 percent of the total! Far back in second place was Japan (106 performances, or 9.4 percent). Even more astounding is the quality of Kenyan marathon achievements: of the 401 sub-2:15:00 performances recorded worldwide in 2005, 199 were by Kenyan men (49.6 percent)! And on the world all-time list of 50 fastest marathon performances (as of the end of 2005), 29 of those belonged to Kenyans; the remaining 21 were divided up with a few each among the United States, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Portugal, France, and Morocco.

    Kenya is a little smaller than Texas, with a population of 34.7 million, a 40 percent unemployment rate, and a life expectancy of 48.9 years. The country is divided into several ethnic groups. The Kalenjin (12 percent) are the most talented at distance running, followed by the Kikuyu (22 percent) and the Kisii (6 percent). The marathon dominance by the Kenyans is a relatively recent phenomenon, starting in the late 1990s and developing with no really good explanation. Taking a brief jaunt back into history provides some interesting perspective. The first sub-2:20:00 marathon performance by anyone over the standard 42,195-meter marathon distance was 2:18:41, by Jim Peters of England on June 13, 1953, at Chiswick, England. The first Kenyan man to break the 2:20:00 marathon barrier was Joseph Kinyabi, running 2:16:31 at Kisumu (in Kenya) on June 6, 1976 (table 1 on page 68). Thus, 23 years elapsed from the time of the initial sub-2:20:00 marathon until a Kenyan runner achieved it.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Three Days a Week to Faster Running

    Scientifically speaking, less can be more if quantity gives way to quality.

    by Bill Pierce, Ed.D.; Ray Moss, Ph.D.; Scott Murr, Ed.D.; and Mickey McCauley

    Runners are always searching for a magic formula for faster race times while dealing with limited time for training, trying to avoid or coping with an injury, and looking for a fresh approach to training. Many discover that while training for an optimal performance they suffer an injury, the effects of overtraining, or an imbalance in their work, family, and social responsibilities. Can high-quality training and faster performances be fit into a balanced, high-quality lifestyle?

    The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST), established in January 2003 to promote running as a healthy physical activity and to provide training information based on scientific principles, seeks to assist runners in establishing training programs that enable them to pursue their goal of running faster without sacrificing job, health, family, and friends. At the heart of the FIRST philosophy is the belief that most runners do not train with purpose. When runners are asked to explain their typical training week and the objective of each run, they are at a loss to explain why they do what they do. Not having a training plan that incorporates different distances, paces, and recoveries means that runners won’t reach their potential, nor garner maximum benefits from their investment in training time.

    The FIRST 3plus2 program makes running easier and more accessible, limits overtraining and burnout, and substantially cuts the risk of injury—all while producing faster race times.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

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    The Top Three Marathon Workouts

    A successful marathon training program has three basic workouts.

    by Jason R. Karp, M.S.

    Whether you are a lawyer, a soccer mom or dad, or a professional runner, you want to make the best use of your training time. Although it may take around 100 miles of running per week to reach your full potential as a marathoner, you probably lack the time or the inclination to run that much. So, how can you make your workouts more efficient and obtain the greatest benefit in the least amount of time?

    If you have time for only a few runs per week, five or six miles at an intensity easy enough to let you sing along with your iPod isn’t going to cut it. The fewer workouts you do, the greater the importance of each workout. Below are the most effective workouts for improving your marathon performance.

    Workout #1—Long Runs

    The staple of marathon training, long runs are significantly longer than any of your other daily runs. Since your body has a much better concept of time than of distance, the amount of time spent on your feet is more important than the number of miles you cover.

    It has been known since the 1960s that the ability to perform prolonged endurance exercise is strongly influenced by the amount of carbohydrates stored in skeletal muscles (glycogen), with fatigue coinciding with glycogen depletion. To the marathoner’s benefit, the human body responds rather elegantly to situations that threaten or deplete its supply of fuel. When glycogen is depleted by running, muscles respond by synthesizing and storing more than was previously present. Empty a full glass and you get a refilled larger glass in its place. The more glycogen you have packed into your muscles, the greater your ability to hold your marathon pace to the finish.

    In addition to serving as a stimulus to store more glycogen, long runs improve your blood vessels’ oxygen-carrying capability by increasing the number of red blood cells and the hemoglobin concentration. They also create a greater capillary network, providing more oxygen to your muscles, and increase mitochondrial density and the number of aerobic enzymes, increasing your aerobic metabolic capacity.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    A True Fit

    A primer on buying running shoes.

    by Tom Pecoraro

    This article was written with one purpose in mind: to educate runners on the degree of service and expertise to expect when buying running shoes. As a tech rep and now an independent salesman, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of shops throughout the United States, and I have noticed a disparity in the quality of experts and their advice to runners. If you believe you already have a trusted store where you can buy running shoes, I urge you to keep reading, because you may be surprised at what you are missing.

    I started my career in the footwear industry five years ago as a tech rep for Saucony. My job was to travel to a specific region of the country and teach the staff and store owners about the technology of Saucony shoes and foot biomechanics. Two and a half years ago, I made a transition to independent sales, representing a number of top brands, including Saucony and Powerstep, an over-the-counter orthotics company. My experience has led me to draw a few simple conclusions on what separates the good running stores from the great ones: informed staff, running evaluations, and a decent return policy.

    It’s important to be familiar with the industry because, as a rule of thumb, running-shoe styles change about every 12 months. The good ones may last up to 15 months, and the real dogs are finished in a year or less. To keep track of these changes would be a daunting task for any runner. Rest assured that there are people who are tracking these changes—the sales staff at your local running shop. The question is What running shops are giving reliable advice?

    When I refer to a running store, I am not referring to the large sporting goods stores. The large sporting goods stores occasionally have someone knowledgeable on staff to discuss footwear, but they rarely specialize in running footwear. Most local running stores, however, are owned and operated by a local runner, selling only running-related items.

    In the past, a running store’s credibility was judged by the number of marathon T-shirts or first-place medals that were hanging on the wall. Those days are long gone. The old way of fitting running shoes was simple: if it feels good, then it’s the right shoe. Although this is still a key ingredient to finding the right shoe, many other factors help determine if there is a good fit between you and your running shoe. Shoe manufacturing has become a science, and companies are now addressing specific foot types when designing shoes. Each shoe has a specific purpose, and it is up to the running store to match your foot with a shoe.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Imagery for Marathoners

    Success—or failure—is all in the mind.

    by Joe Weber, M.A.

    Most marathoners and ultrarunners pay particular attention to their equipment (running shoes, gear, heart rate monitors, and so forth), training (mileage, intensity, route, weather), rest, diet, and hydration. Runners commit a great deal of time to their physical training, but it’s not just a matter of putting the hours in physical training that breeds success. We are not merely physical beings but rather an integration of body/mind processes. Thus, mental preparation is also an essential component for optimal performance.

    Imagery is a technique often utilized by elite and professional athletes as part of a psychological skills training program. We make use of images most of the day as part of our thought processes. Most of us think in images as we think about what to wear in the morning, our commute to work, our plans for the day, our daydreams, and so forth. There is a difference between dreams and imagery. Dreaming is the product of our subconscious mind, while imagery utilizes focused, planned, conscious, and controlled images in an effort to affect some future event.

    Sport psychologists Orlick and Partington conducted a survey at the 1984 Olympic Games to ascertain the number of Olympic athletes who adopted imagery as a daily training practice. The results indicated that 99 percent of the athletes used imagery at least four times per week (Baker and Sedgwick, 2005). Imagery is one of the most often-used tools in most sport psychological skills training programs.

    My first experience with imagery was as a high school swim coach. I assumed the reins of a team that had finished in second place for eight consecutive years, and I was looking to give our swimmers an edge. I hadn’t fully bought into the effect of imagery but thought, Why not give it a try? We conducted imagery sessions daily, sometimes before and after practice or during interval rest. When imaging their races, the swimmers became quite proficient at this skill. I would set up the race as if I were the starter and time their event. The swimmers would raise their hands when they imaged the completion of their race. Most were able to image their race within a second of their goal time. I often experimented with some imagery designed to create more vivid images. At our championship meet, I had all the swimmers sitting on the deck by the diving well with their feet in the water. We began imaging the color of the water changing and then the temperature. As we imaged the water burning hot, something amazing happened: all the swimmers jerked their feet out of the water! This profound experience sold me on the power of imagery. Our team went on to win its first championship in the school’s history.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Ancient Marathoner’s Addiction

    When marching age slows your marathon times, it’s time to explore the
    theory of relativity.

    by Bill Childs

    Addictions tend to creep up on most victims slowly. Additionally, it is often claimed that a patient’s recognition of the condition is the first step toward rehabilitation, always assuming the patient requires—or wishes—rehabilitating. This old guy, however, certainly does not wish to be rehabilitated. Woe betide all who try. Attempts to rehabilitate me simply result in argument and anger. This old fellow readily admits to being addicted to and obsessed with percentage age-performance measurements. Verily, I claim that such a simple yet accurate arithmetical statistic must ultimately prove to be the prime, if not the sole, motivator for most ancient marathoners to continue their running and walking fitness activities. As a calculation, I claim, it can be likened to the Hawaiian muumuu dress in that it covers everything and hides nothing.

    Addiction Not My Fault

    I totally blame others for my initial slide into this obsession.

    There were three persons in particular who I insist are responsible. The prime culprit is a writer and sports editor. The other two are Arthur Lydiard and Tim Noakes. But it was the research in 1994 by WMA (formerly the World Association of Veteran Athletes) that delivered the coup d’etat. It all began some 25 years ago. A sports editor by the name of Benyo was the first to sin, in or about 1979, by allowing an article to be published concerning the effect of shoe weight on time to complete a marathon. This old guy’s memory is now fading, but I think it appeared in Runner’s World magazine, wherein it claimed that 4 ounces added to the weight of a runner’s shoe increased marathon time by some two minutes. At that period, I was middle aged, had just completed my first marathon, and was keen to discover the true capability and limitations of aging bones.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Finding Your Personal Marathon Training and Racing Zone

    When it’s time to bring it all together, the pieces neatly fall into place. Part 3 of 3.

    by Guy Avery

    In parts 1 and 2 of this three-part series on optimal marathon training and racing, we have outlined the general framework and building blocks for creating a high probability of marathon success. In this third part, we will look at some additional body-mind zone concepts and nuances as well as a final two- or three-week tapering period in detail, including a racing approach and strategy and an optimal postmarathon supercompensation cycle.

    Finding your personal training and racing zone is the foundation of our effective and fulfilling marathon approach. Being in your personal training and racing zone entails choosing a sustainable training level commitment and a marathon goal pace that are challenging and feel comfortable for you to achieve. The broad concepts that will support such an approach include important details around goal setting, visualization, the tapering process, key final workouts, carboloading, race strategy, and postmarathon recovery.

    A Goal Time Range Versus a Specific Time Goal

    Along the lines of setting a marathon time goal, it is important to say that a single, specific goal time is not recommended. While you choose a goal pace that you feel confident you can race, your goal time is best set up as a goal range of times so that you do not have the added pressure of feeling you have to hit an exact pace and time for the 26.22-mile distance.

    Instead, it is a wise practice to subtract five minutes and add five minutes to the marathon time that your goal pace will yield. For example, a realistic goal pace that yields a 3:42 marathon goal time would be a goal range of 3:37 to 3:47 when you add and subtract five minutes from the single goal time. I see the fast end of the time range serving the purpose of giving you a time you can run at your very best. The slow end is something you will still feel pleased to achieve if you do not run your very best race. Psychologically, this gives you a reasonable margin for error while reducing unnecessary mental-emotional pressure.

    A simple and effective self-test is to be able to say, "I think I can run this pace in the marathon." This statement ("I think I can…") correlates with a 70 percent probability of goal achievement before you even start. Also, by widening your target time range, your probability of success increases even more. Widening your specific goal time into a goal time range is the difference between going to a standard basketball foul line and shooting a free throw at the standard-size basketball hoop (which is 10 feet high) versus going to the free throw line and tossing the ball into an 8-foot-around baby swimming pool at ground level from the same distance. Even the least physically gifted among us can throw a ball into an 8-foot baby pool at ground level from a few feet away. Consider the psychological difference you experience when faced with these vastly different tasks. In a like manner, employing a marathon time goal range (versus a single, specific goal time) will allow you to feel much greater psycho-emotional and physical ease in achieving your goal-and therefore will keep you in your optimal zone and dramatically increase your probability of success.

    The difference in your anxiety level alone is highly significant! And obviously the physical task is a night-and-day difference in difficulty (or ease). Consider the difference in this analogy and in your mind-set as you visualize and train for your target marathon. Basically, you do not want to feel you have to hit a bull’s-eye with a dart—you just need to hit the board. This simple approach keeps you in your zone, never feeling that you have to force your training or getting discouraged if you need to skip a workout for some reason. You can go with the flow, knowing that when you are standing at the start, you will have to do only what you have consistently done all along in training.

    Our training approach is ultimately designed by taking human psychology into account as a fundamental concept in increasing your probability of success. If the mind has doubts, funny things happen in training in the form of what I call self-sabotage or subconscious resistance. These frequently observed resistances appear seemingly random and show up as sudden illnesses, injuries, frustration, and other unlucky catastrophes. This is the physical body mirroring back to you the internalized pressures or doubts that you have saddled yourself with.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

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    Alford Claiborne’s Farewell Tour

    Occasionally, circumstances dictate an end to things as they were. It’s best
    to go out in style.

    by Anne Saita

    "What is that smell? Is someone smoking?"

    Wherever he raced, the scent was hard to miss, let alone for Alford Claiborne to escape since the cigar he had puffed produced the offensive plume. Donning his running bibs, including the Boston Marathon running number he had earned through qualifying, the middle-aged marathoner sheepishly observed runners’ reactions and privately vowed that, as comforting as the occasional stogie may be, it was time to give them up. Backing up his resolve were two back-to-back bouts of bronchitis and a bet placed with two lawyers at a local race that if he stopped smoking, they would reward him.

    Thus, in July 2000, the San Francisco Marathon would be duly recorded among Alford’s long list of marathon firsts as his first 26.2-miler as a nonsmoker. He had already done almost 80 marathons by then and peaked in terms of personal records, including a 3:08 in Pensacola, Florida, almost 10 years prior.

    He would go on to run almost 60 more marathons, all "for fun," in the next six years. Then he would call it quits.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Lava Madness

    Father/daughter marathoning on the slopes of an active volcano.

    by Charles Kastner

    My daughter, Katie, first saw me run while she was cradled in her mother’s arms more than 20 years ago. Over the years, as Katie moved from toddler to teenager, she watched me accumulate a drawer full of race shirts. She joined me in "Dad and Me" runs and school fun walks, and eventually she graduated to 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons during her high school years and breaks from college. Running had always been our thing, our bonding time, but lately time and distance had left little time for father-daughter running.

    My eyes lit up when Kate broached the idea of the two of us running the Kilauea Volcano Wilderness Marathon on the island of Hawaii, an event billed by race organizers as one of the toughest endurance events on the planet. It had been a long-standing family tradition that we (my wife, Mary; Katie; sons Brian and Andrew; and I) would run one of the series of wilderness races held annually in late July in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The events celebrated the tradition of Hawaiian runners from premissionary days, when fleet-footed messengers spread news to scattered villages on well-worn lava trails. Mary first started the tradition when, on a dare for more vacation time in Hawaii, she ran the difficult 10-mile course and hooked the rest of the family into this annual event. I was the only one in the family to attempt the marathon course that followed footpaths on the tortured southern slope of the still-active Kilauea volcano. Now, I had visions of Katie and me negotiating these tricky and often dangerous paths as a team before crossing the finish line together, to the thunderous applause of the assembled cast of family and friends.

    I saw the race as my best and perhaps last chance to reconnect with Katie in a big way. My all-too-independent daughter had turned 22, and she had decided to move to Hawaii for graduate studies at the University of Hawaii after completing her undergraduate degree at Washington College in Maryland. She is studying historic preservation and American studies, and she lives four blocks off Waikiki in an apartment, more than 2,800 miles from our family home in Seattle. Katie had lately become more and more occupied with something outside of school, namely Dave, a fellow Washington College graduate. He is a natural athlete, a former college sailing champion and lifeguard. Together, these two sail, swim for miles in the ocean—I keep reminding her about the sharks—surf, hike, and enter triathlons, biathlons, and 5K, 10K, and half-marathon road races. They had recently completed their first marathon as part of the 25,000-runner extravaganza known as the Honolulu Marathon.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    El Gran Maratón

    Time to ask that frequently asked question: “How long is this maratón?”

    by Paul Hyman

    It is my second day at the hospital when I see the flier. It is taped up on a plain aqua-green wall in the main hallway. The flyer is white with black writing with what looks like a clip-art drawing of a runner.

    "¡Gran Maratón! Viernes. Su participación es importante."

    "Sí," she responds matter-of-factly.

    "De, de. Veinte seis miles?"

    Blank stare.

    "Veinte seis, meele?… Mayles?… meeyes… " I say, searching for the correct pronunciation.

    Blank stare.

    "Ugh, como… 40 kilómetros?" I ask. (Ugh, like… 40 kilometers?)

    "Sí, un maratón," she responds.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan On Running
    by Dr. George Sheehan

    What We Do Must Be Fun and Impractical and Useless, Or Else We Won’t Do It. Play Is the Key.

    Here is Joe Henderson’s introduction to our new Book Bonus:

    Dr. George Sheehan beat his own doctors’ time-left forecasts by many years, but his end finally came in late 1993. Soon afterward, a favorite race of his was renamed and moved to his old training course.

    The next summer I walked to the start of the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank, New Jersey. A young runner ahead of me turned to another and said, "This is a cool race. But who is this Sheehan guy, anyway?"

    He said "She-han," not the proper "She-un." At that time and place, this was like asking who that Kennedy was with his name on a New York City airport.

    Every runner should have known George Sheehan then—or so his friends and fans liked to think, though he himself knew better.

    George would have loved telling this story on himself. Others built up his bigger-than-life legend, and he sometimes felt the need to knock it down to size.

    The two of us once walked away from the adulation that always greeted him at the Boston Marathon. He shook his head in amazement, then added, "Two blocks from here I’m just another skinny old Irishman."

    For all the fame heaped on him in his later years, he didn’t take all of this too seriously. Being famous was a phase that started in his late 50s, when the practices of his lifetime were pretty well set and wouldn’t change much the rest of his days.

    As long as I knew him, which was 25 years, he wore the same blue(jeans)-on-blue(shirt and sweater) uniform while greeting crowds of runners. He drove the same little well-used cars, VWs and Hondas, that doubled as his mobile locker room.

    He spoke and wrote his last words in 1993, which means that many of today’s runners can be excused for asking: who’s this George Sheehan, and why is Marathon & Beyond reprinting his old book?

    Many of you came into the sport after George left. You never had the pleasure of hearing, reading, or knowing him in life.

    But it isn’t too late to get acquainted with a figure who once stood taller than anyone in this sport. (Put John "Penguin" Bingham on Jeff Galloway’s shoulders and you get an idea of George Sheehan’s stature at his peak.) No one to come along since has given better speeches to runners or written finer literature on running.

    George was an accidental author. He wasn’t trained as a writer and had practiced medicine for half his life before publishing his first article at age 50. His medical career was winding down when he wrote his first book seven years later.

    By then he had settled into his distinctive style of writing: personal, philosophical, and padded with quotes from great thinkers from outside of sports. The Sheehan style would come to be widely mimicked (and occasionally satirized) but never matched.

    The first book, Dr. Sheehan On Running, sold well among his Runner’s World readers, but the wider world wasn’t yet ready to buy running books. That would happen soon.

    During one amazing month of 1978, three different books for runners ranked among the top 10 in national sales—for all topics. Each book took a different look at the sport.

    Jim Fixx’s Complete Book of Running profiled people who ran and what it meant to them. Bob Glover and Jack Shepherd’s Runner’s Handbook advised how to run. George Sheehan’s Running & Being examined why he, and we, ran.

    George’s book, along with his previous and later ones, gave voice to what other runners thought but couldn’t express. They embraced him for this for the rest of his life and beyond. They loved him all the more as he wrote as openly about his final test as he had about other subjects.

    In 1986, George was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had spread into his bones. His doctors told him to hope for another year but to plan for less.

    He lived seven more years—good years, mostly. He wrote three more books during that illness (finishing the last, Going the Distance, in his final week), published dozens of newspaper and magazine columns, and spoke at hundreds of races (running them as long as he was able, including the 1989 World Masters Championships). His end came just days shy of his 75th birthday.

    Who was George Sheehan? The best way to introduce yourself to him now, or to renew acquaintances, is to read one of his books. You can still find copies without looking too far. (The family Web site, www.georgesheehan.com, offers his bestselling Running & Being plus reprints of many columns.)

    I worked with George on all but one of his books. He never once, in almost two decades of writing them, named one as his favorite.

    "These books are my babies," he said. "I could no more single out one than say which of my own children I like best." His kids outnumbered his books, 12 to seven.

    Readers must decide which book they like best. Once you read this reprint of his first one, Dr. Sheehan On Running, you’ll want to find others. Once you’ve read him, you’ll know him and won’t forget him.

    The previous six installments of Dr. Sheehan’s entire book were printed (in serial format) in M&B in the previous six issues.

    I think I’ll give M&B a try. How can I subscribe?

    Volume 11 | Number 2 | March/April 2007




    For as long as I’ve been running long distance, I’ve known people who
    went longer still, into the wonderfully wacky world of ultras. The realization
    has recently sneaked up on me that a goodly number of runners I know are
    suddenly making the transition from marathoner to ultrarunner. It’s almost
    like a delightful epidemic.

    The basic ultrarunner universe has not grown greatly over the past decade
    or so. There may be 8,000 or so ultrarunners in the United States while there
    are roughly 400,000 marathoners. The new converts are finding in
    ultrarunning a kind of revivifying effect on their running.

    Their marathoning has been all well and good, but the transition to
    ultrarunning has opened new doors, not the least of which is that, at least
    in America, most ultraracing is done on trails—very much unlike the 1970s and
    very much unlike the rest of the world. For most international ultrarunners,
    their races are run either on the road or on the track.

    Continued in our Mar/Apr issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong


    When in doubt, attend your college reunion. That’s my advice. In fact, that’s what I did, last fall.

    I graduated from Stanford University in 1971, during the turbulent ’60s. Chronologically, 1971
    may have been in the ’70s, but the actual end of the ’60s as a cultural phenomenon
    wasn’t until 1974, when Richard Nixon left office and young men started wearing
    bow ties and platform shoes. When people embrace disco, you can be damn
    sure the revolution is over.

    Being a college distance runner in the ’60s meant you were doubly
    alienated. As an athlete, you spent a considerable amount of time doing
    something with no apparent social or political relevance. That meant ridicule
    by campus radicals, who thought dallying along dirt trails did nothing
    to stop war or alleviate human suffering. And within the cozy confines
    of the collegiate athletic community, distance runners were perceived as the
    wretched, emaciated dogs that skulked around the edges of camp. Running
    miles and miles every week with little recognition and no professional prospects—
    what’s up with that? Couldn’t catch a ball, eh?

    Continued in our Mar/Apr issue.

    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by John McGee

    “The pain, I can’t stand it much longer!” Lightning bolts were tearing down
    the side of my body! Ugly, mean, paralytic, unendurable throbbing rendering me
    nauseous and reducing my pace to a crawl as I dragged myself past the 23-mile
    mark. It was awful and I cursed Dr. Sheehan, Runner’s World, and just about
    anyone else I could contemplate that had anything to do with my entering and
    running in the 1977 Ottawa National Capital Marathon!

    I began my journey to that pain-filled moment innocently and without any
    knowledge of the marathon horrors that I would be enduring in less than two

    continued in our Mar/Apr issue…

    I want this issue delivered right to my house.

    Marine Corps Marathon

    The Few, the Proud, the 34,000.

    What does it take to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, to send chills up and down your spine, to make you proud to be an American?

    Is it marching with your VFW post down main street in a Memorial Day parade, pledging allegiance to the flag in your high school auditorium during a Veterans Day assembly, or rising as one with 75,000 race fans at the Martinsville Speedway to sing the national anthem?

    How about standing near Arlington National Cemetery on Highway 110, with the National Mall to your left across the Potomac River on the last Sunday of October as jets fly over and 34,000 raise their heads and voices?

    It works for me.

    Continued in our March/April issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    This month’s question: Death in Stride. I’ve been appalled at the number of marathon runners who have
    died this year. Is this a shocking increase or are such deaths merely
    being better reported this year? I was under the impression, at least
    from reading excerpts from Dr. Sheehan on Running a few issues
    back, that if you run marathons, you’re immune from heart attacks;
    I think it was a Dr. Bassler who made that claim. Can you ask
    your experts what’s going on and should we be frightened?

    Our experts answer this question in our March/April issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Hal Higdon, Don Kardong, Rich Engelhart, and Roger Robinson.


    Paramount Beginnings

    Few Road Races, Few Runners, Then Browning Ross Convened a Meeting at New York’s Paramount Hotel.

    by Hal Higdon

    On February 22, 1958, a small group of runners gathered on a balcony above
    the lobby of the Paramount Hotel in New York City. Most of the runners
    were in town to compete in, or watch, the National AAU Indoor Track & Field
    Championships at Madison Square Garden later that night. The organizer of the
    meeting was Browning Ross, a two-time Olympian and publisher of Long Distance
    Log, a newsletter with a circulation of barely a thousand: in other words, every
    single long-distance runner and fan of the sport in North America. While that
    evening’s track meet would attract 15,000 fans to the Garden, earning headlines
    in sports pages around the world, nobody cared much about road running, except
    once a year for the Boston Marathon.

    Browning wanted to change all that.

    I missed that groundbreaking gathering on the balcony, probably because I
    was in my room resting for the three-mile run at the Garden. Later that afternoon,
    I did connect with the group, which continued to meet in Browning’s room, so
    small that it barely accommodated a single bed, much less many chairs. Even after
    50 years, I remember sitting on a radiator in the window and hearing Browning
    talk about the Road Runners Club in Great Britain, a country where the sport
    flourished, producing top distance runners on the track and on the roads. He felt we
    needed such a club to promote our sport in the United States.

    Continued in our March/April issue…

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    The Barefoot Route

    Some runners prefer to return to the basics of human locomotion.

    by Zoie Clift

    Though it could have happened, running barefoot did not disappear with the
    advent of the running shoe. A subculture of runners still abides by the au
    naturel technique our ancestors relied on even with the rows upon rows of hi-tech
    options stocking the shelves of running stores these days. One of the most oftencited
    barefoot cases was Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila, who ran a world-record
    2:15:17 marathon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. South African Zola Budd also
    springs to mind: in the early 1980s, she made headlines by breaking one middle-distance
    record after another sans shoes.

    A solid example of a barefoot runner these days is Ken Saxton, 51, a computer technician
    from Long Beach, California. Saxton finished 14 marathons barefoot in 2006, and has now
    completed a total of 56 marathons barefoot, including major races such as
    Los Angeles and Boston. There is even a society, the Society for Barefoot Living, devoted
    to the lifestyle. Though barefooting has survived the test of technology, many runners
    disagree about it, with some being wholehearted backers while others view it as a route
    to potential injury.

    So with this in mind, it seems interesting to trace how we went from running barefoot
    through nature to running in what to ancient man would probably seem like clodhoppers.
    From there, we will take a quick tour of what barefoot running can offer endurance runners today.

    Continued in our March/April issue,and online as an editor’s choice.

    The Fascinating Struggle

    Near-death drama at the Great White City (London 1908). Part 1 of 2.

    by Roger Robinson

    “He has gone to the extreme of human endurance. . . . It is horrible,
    and yet fascinating, this struggle between a set purpose and an utterly
    exhausted frame.”— Arthur Conan Doyle on Dorando Pietri

    It is the fantasy moment all marathon runners imagine during training runs on
    cold wet nights: you’re running through a dark tunnel and out into the bright
    sunlight of the stadium—and then, that sudden swelling roar of acclamation rises
    from 100,000 people. Your blood races at the very thought of it. No other moment
    in sport, however thrilling, is quite like this one. There are great touchdowns, and
    soccer goals, and home runs, and sprint finishes to one-mile races; but we watch
    and analyze the unfolding plays that precede each of those—we are witness to the
    whole drama. At the finish of a marathon, the stadium crowd sees only the final
    minute of a three-hour narrative. And for the runner, the moment of encounter is
    just as sudden—26 miles of lonely effort, then this sudden welcoming rapture.

    It happens in a second. The crowd has waited, often with limited information.
    It mutters and shuffles and worries and waits—and then, he’s there, in front of
    you—he or she, since that iconic emergence into the sunlight by Joan Benoit in
    1984. So much significance is condensed into that first glimpse of the marathon
    leader—an arrival that is the beginning, not the end, of the drama, a hero completing
    a journey, on the edge of triumph, yet still not quite there, visibly tired,
    terribly vulnerable, a tiny figure on a huge arena. Few moments are so expressive
    of human heroism and human frailty, the aspirations and fears we all share. Even
    as we roar in praise, we are looking anxiously or eagerly for the next runner. The
    runner’s sense of completion is also full of fear.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Aristotle, Friendship, and the Successful Life

    What does running have to do with it?

    by Julie Balamut

    One of the best things about the 2004 Athens Olympics for me wasn’t just
    the edge-of-the-seat excitement of both marathons and the spectacular
    performances of Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi. It also provided all of us
    ancient history and philosophy junkies the chance to hear almost daily the great
    stories of ancient Greece. Those of us who are distance runners were finally able
    to relate with renewed attention to the fable of Pheidippides’s legendary trek
    from Marathon to Athens, and it was thrilling to see many great marathoners
    2,500 years later make the same trek and receive the glory of the race well run
    on a much larger stage.

    Even though the 2004 Olympic participants are putting away their training logs,
    organizing their scrapbooks, and, for some, planning for Beijing 2008, the spark
    created by Athens, the legendary marathons, and the focus on ancient Greece has
    compelled me to look back at my own scrapbook and my bookshelves to revisit
    some of my old, ancient Greek friends. Even though lots of attention has been on
    Pheidippides and the ancient Olympians, I have reacquainted myself with my old
    philosopher friend Aristotle, who had a lot to say about so many things that his
    work continues to be the bane of many undergrads who are forced to study and
    write about him and the joy of generations of literature, classics, and philosophy
    majors who still think his work is relevant for us today. As I’ve looked at him
    again, I can see more and more ways in which Aristotle can be relevant to those
    of us who are not only ethics buffs but runners, too.

    As an undergrad at a Catholic women’s college in the late 1970s and as the
    current bookstore director of the same college, I have always loved the Greeks in
    general and Aristotle in particular. In classic Catholic liberal arts fashion, not only
    did we read Aristotle in literature and philosophy, but we received a liberal dose
    of him in our theology courses because so much Christian moral theology is based
    on the ethics of Aristotle. My Nicomachean Ethics (NE) was well highlighted at
    my graduation from St. Catherine (aka St. Kate’s) and always remained on my
    bookshelf. In the last 25 years, I’ve picked up the NE periodically whenever I’ve
    needed a dose of well-reasoned writing in my life.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    I think I’ll give M&B a try. How can I subscribe?

    Endurance Training’s Grand Old Man

    Ernst van Aaken was a coach well ahead of his time.

    by Rich Engelhart

    The Man

    This is a story about a man who began coaching distance runners in the years
    following World War II. In an era when most elite athletes were training on
    relatively short, fast, repetitions followed by brief rest periods, this coach was
    preaching the benefits of slower-paced, endurance-based training. This coach
    initially trained for middle- and long-distance competitions using himself as a
    guinea pig before training others along the lines he had used. The coach saw his
    athletes win national championships and medals at championship games and set
    world records. Eventually, the coach began to write about his approach to training
    distance runners and about the problems and limitations he perceived in the more
    common speed-based approaches other coaches were using.

    But his interests went beyond the preparation of championship-caliber runners.
    This coach came to recognize that running—gentle, aerobic running—was
    of great value in the prevention of cardiac disease and even in the rehabilitation
    of heart attack victims. He began promoting slow running as medicine for all and
    also began writing about the health benefits of easy, aerobic running. His advocacy
    of running for the masses made him a popular figure in the United States, where
    he became a popular lecturer as he expounded upon his ideas.

    Most amateur sports historians will assume that this story is about Arthur
    Lydiard, but it’s the story of Ernst van Aaken, a German physician and running
    coach whose interest in distance running and endurance-based training predates
    even that of Lydiard.

    Born in 1910, van Aaken became a gymnast. At one time, he tried to run
    away from home and join a circus as a gymnast. Returned home, he turned his
    attention to the pole vault and became a champion vaulter. Inspired by watching
    Paavo Nurmi compete in the 1928 Olympics, he became interested in distance
    running and also began to compete at 1,500 meters. Van Aaken studied medicine
    in the 1930s and became a physician, then served in the German army in the
    Crimea during World War II. By 1947, he settled into the small West German
    town of Waldniel and opened a medical practice with a specialization in sports
    medicine, where he also continued to compete as a distance runner. In 1953, he
    became one of the founders of Waldniel’s Olympische Sport Club (Olympic Sports
    Club) and began training its athletes according to his methods. Waldniel at the
    time had a population of 7,000, yet the Olympische Sport Club’s junior athletes
    had the fastest average times at 600, 1,500, and 3,000 meters of any club in West
    Germany. His club continued producing a disproportionate number of national
    and European records.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    My Workout Friend

    Be careful whom you compete against.

    by Patricia Halderman

    This story is about the very best workout buddy I have ever had.
    It started like this: The weekend was hot. The temperature was 100-plus
    degrees. I spent Saturday on the Olympic Training Center’s archery range. I was
    shooting my bow in the state games and was standing in the hot sun all day. I
    was fried and boiled, red, burned, and hot.

    Sunday is my long-run day, and the plan was for a three-hour run. There was
    absolutely no way I was going to put my poor parboiled body through another
    day in the sun.

    I found my free gym pass and was off for a three-hour run on a treadmill in
    a nice, cool gym.

    As I walked upstairs to the treadmills, I noticed a person behind me heading
    for the same equipment. I circled around the treadmills and chose one farther
    down the line so the fellow or gal behind me could have first pick. I assumed the
    person walking behind me was on the treadmill beside me.

    When I prepare to mount the treadmill beast, I am all business. I wear my
    trail-running pack, complete with water bottles and a Walkman. I am focused
    and don’t look around. I prepare the music and start to walk and then run. I am
    serious. I have very poor eyesight, no side vision, and must look straight ahead
    when running on a treadmill or I will fly off the back or sides.

    I started to run. The music is Yanni. I run. I feel good. Out of the corner of
    my eye, I see the person next to me is running very well. I see perfect posture
    and form. I am impressed. Time passes.

    After 45 minutes of running fast and slow to the music (I think of them as
    Yanni intervals), I have to pee. I entertain the idea of asking the person next to
    me to watch my stuff while I run downstairs. No. I will keep running until that
    person stops. No one stays on the treadmill as long as I do. I am woman. See me
    run. I am on fire, running very fast and strong. The person next to me just keeps
    on running.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    I think I’ll give M&B a try. How can I subscribe?

    A Revealing Look at a Streaker

    Streakers bare their souls every single day.

    by Jim Bates

    Psst! Hey! Hey you! Psst, yeah, you. Come over here. Shhhhh! Hurry! Let
    me ask you something. Have you ever talked to a streaker before? Ever see
    one in action? Ever get to know one? Do you wonder: What does it feel like? Is
    it exhilarating? What kind of person would allow himself to become one? Why
    must streakers go against what’s generally accepted as normal behavior? When
    you see them from a distance, you look closely, and you wonder, are they nuts?

    I’ll be up front with you; I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m a streaker, have been
    since November 2000. I’m not ashamed of it at all. I mean, why fight it? It doesn’t
    hurt anyone. It usually feels good. At first it felt strange. I worried: What kind of
    problems is this going to cause? Will I get hurt? Yet, the longer I did it, the more
    I liked it. Trust me; I’m not the only one around here who’s into this. There are
    plenty of others. Quite frankly, I think most everyone should try it. Why not? Are
    you surprised to hear this? Hey, keep your clothes on. It’s not really that unusual;
    actually it’s a natural high.

    I mean, why not become a streaker and run every day of the week, every day
    of the month, 365 days a year? After all, streakers peel away the general adage
    that a body needs one or preferably two days off a week to heal. If streakers crosstrain,
    they do it along with, not in place of, their daily mileage. Sure, this butts up
    against the general body of knowledge. Are they less of a runner because of it?
    The naked truth is that I don’t know, but does anyone know? Do streakers injure
    themselves more often; are they sick more frequently than nonstreakers? Probably
    not, or they wouldn’t be able to maintain their streaks. My hunch is that streakers
    incur far fewer injuries than nonstreakers over comparable weekly distances.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    I think I’ll give M&B a try. How can I subscribe?

    Ain’t I a Runner?

    One marathon does not a runner make. Or does it?

    by Debra Josephson Abrams

    That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages,
    and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever
    helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place!
    And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! —Sojourner Truth

    In the predawn of an unusually cool July Saturday, my alarm sounds at 5:15
    A.M. as it has for many weeks. Barely conscious, I hustle into the bathroom
    for some rote tooth and hair brushing and change into my running gear. I kiss
    my still-sleeping husband and drive in darkness to join a few hundred others for
    a training run marking the halfway point in my 2004 Marine Corps Marathon
    training with disorganized and questionably staffed DCFit—aka DCUnFit.

    It was Sunday, October 26, 2003, shortly after 11:00 A.M. when the marathon
    bug bit me. In fits and starts for 10 years, I had tried running. But I didn’t run
    regularly until fall 2002, mostly in vigorous protest against middle-age weight gain
    but partly to take my place in my husband’s highly competitive and athletic family.
    I ran a few miles a few times each week. My first race, Habitat for Humanity’s
    2002 Frostbite 5K, was postponed in poor December weather and rescheduled for
    March 2003. So in March, I bundled up in snuggly warm layers and gloves to run
    the 3.1 miles through unexpectedly hilly Silver Spring, Maryland. I overdressed,
    knowing little about how my body would react to running nonstop for nearly 45
    minutes. My athlete-friend Stephanie and my athlete-cousin Stephanie ran with
    me; experienced runners both, they were cheerleaders and coaches as I struggled
    to finish my first race. But I proudly collected the customary participant’s T-shirt
    and finisher’s medal and marveled at my accomplishment.

    Around that time, I lay on a massage table in front of my fireplace while my
    athlete-friend and massage therapist, Stephanie, worked on my not-very-sore
    muscles. Steph announced she was beginning training for the 2003 Marine Corps
    Marathon, her second marathon. Easily and quickly, I replied, “I’ll cheer you on,”
    envisioning standing at the finish line, applauding madly. “No,” said Steph. “I
    want you to run the final six miles with me.”

    Not long after Steph’s command, I registered for an all-women’s 5K in June.
    By that cool morning, I had learned how to dress properly and what it means to be
    in the zone. I began the race slowly—jogging, really—conscious of other runners
    and the route; as I ran, my feet and legs overwhelmed my consciousness. My feet
    and legs were my consciousness; I stopped thinking and allowed my body to lead
    me to an under-28-minute finish. Again, I collected my participant’s T-shirt and
    finisher’s medal. Two months later, on a wickedly hot and humid August morning
    near Cape May, not far from where I was born and reared, I ran my first five-miler.
    At times, I staggered and even walked. When I finished, I was sure I had been
    running for well over an hour, but to my surprise and delight I finished in well
    under an hour. I added another T-shirt and medal to my growing collection.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    “Young John” Kelley

    How the B.A.A. finally got its long-awaited day in the sun.

    by Richard Benyo

    It is impossible to tell the story of the younger John Kelley (who is no relation
    to the other, older John Kelley) without telling the story of Johnny “Jock”

    John Semple was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 26, 1903, in a second-
    floor apartment not far from the steel mill called Dixon’s Blazes because of
    the hellish light its furnaces cast through the closely built, nondescript apartment
    buildings both day and night. John was one of three sons born to Frank and Mary
    Semple. At age 4, John and his family packed up and moved to Clydebank, a
    shipbuilding city on the River Clyde.

    With more than a little encouragement from his father, Johnny worked part
    time for a local butcher. He would get up at 6:00 A.M., walk from house to house
    taking orders from the butcher’s customers, and deliver the goods on his way
    home from school in the evening. He earned 50 cents a week for his work.
    His father was a strong believer in the benefits of going to school, but Johnny
    was of the belief that it was better to have a nickel in your pocket now than to
    have the promise of a quarter after you got out of school. Quitting school at 14, he
    went to work at the Singer Sewing Machine plant, where his father also worked.
    The war was on, and there was plenty of work available.

    Singer sponsored an annual sports day, and with the help of a soccer trainer
    who lived in the apartment below his, Johnny got some valuable training tips.
    He won the 100-yard dash, and it was not long before he was recruited by the
    Clydesdale Harriers, a local running club that stressed the social rather than the
    competitive end of running. The Clydesdales liked to win, but they felt that the
    fun was in the running and the physical exercise.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Marathoners or Not, Family Members Serve to Inspire

    A runner can be inspired by those who watch.

    by Eddie Hahn

    I was born in November 1965 in Fullerton, California, which is outside of Los
    Angeles. I grew up in the town of Monroe, Oregon, a bedroom community in
    the rural and fertile farmlands of the Willamette Valley. Monroe is 20 miles north
    of the Emerald City of Eugene, which is also known as Track City USA and is
    the running capital of the West Coast. I was raised in the shadows of, and inspired
    by, the legend of the late, great middle-distance runner Steve Prefontaine, the socalled
    James Dean of running. I started competitive running at age 14. My first
    long-distance run was about eight miles when I was 12 years old.

    I did my first marathon in Portland, Oregon, in September 1984, as training for
    joining the Marine Corps two weeks later. Recovering from an injury (I stepped
    on a broken wine bottle that cut my tendon), I missed the three weeks of training
    prior to the race. I had hoped to run below three hours but finished in 3 hours, 8
    minutes, 54 seconds.

    I took a near five-year marathon break following Portland, vowing to myself
    that there was no need to do another marathon; I had already eclipsed what I then
    considered to be the ultimate test of endurance. On the way home, and in the comfort
    of the canopy while seated on the couch in the back of my grandma’s Chevy Luv
    pickup truck, my friend George and I consoled each other. We complained about
    sore muscles and vowed we would never do that again. George (who finished in
    3:40) held up his end of the bargain; he has yet to do another.

    Although I abandoned marathons, I never quit running shorter races. I had two
    reasons to continue running after high school, when all of my high school running
    buddies dropped by the wayside. First, I had a reputation to uphold: I was from
    one of the major running capitals of the Western Hemisphere, and I had to keep
    the torch burning. Second, I was inspired by disabled family members who didn’t
    have an opportunity to participate in athletic events that I took for granted.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan On Running
    by Dr. George Sheehan

    Part 8: The question of amateur versus professional raises a number of issues.

    Volume 11 | Number 3 | May/June 2007



    Words and the Numerosity of Their Meanings

    Because English is a living language, some words force themselves into use—sometimes overuse—while others become anemic and die. You don’t hear "groovy" too much these days, or "psychedelic," or even "rad." "Awesome" has dropped off the radar screen, "wicked" (regionally confined to New England) is going the way of the Edsel, and "amazing" is currently way overused.

    On the marketing and PR front, about all you hear these days is "branding." It used to be that "branding" referred to applying a hot iron to the flank of a steer for purposes of identification. These days it refers to "the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design."

    At the annual Running USA convention in February, every other speaker used the term "branding" along with the accompanying jargon that is a required tool kit of an "in" term. To be frank, I was lost half the time, because although the words sounded like English, the cumulative effect was of a tongue I knew not. Glancing about, I gathered the impression that I was not the only one lost in a jungle of jargon and gibberish.

    I think that what the speakers were trying to say is that you’ve got to get the news of your event or product out there, and in order to help raise the consciousness of your audience, you need to have distinct signs and symbols that people will recognize and associate with what you’re trying to sell. This is not exactly a new concept. The Roman armies carried standards on poles at the front of their armies. The hordes from northern Europe made it even easier: they stuck the heads of their enemies on the tips of their spears and rode into battle, often on horses sporting brands on their flanks.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    Kid’s Stuff

    Have you ever wondered what it is in your constitution that predisposes you to marathoning (and beyond)? Are we distance runners hard wired by genetics, biologically destined to embrace effort? Or is it nurture, the effect of childhood experiences, that prompts us to set our sights on a challenging goal and revel in the battle to achieve it?

    Imagine, the next time you’re heading for the finish line of a marathon, surrounded by other adults hobbling and wobbling on weary legs, what it was that compelled your fellow travelers to join you in this particular sport, an ambitious and occasionally acutely painful activity. Are you all just missing a gene somewhere in the sequence? Or is this, perhaps, the manifestation of severe toilet training by an overbearing parent?

    Or think, for a moment, of the young cross-country runners in your town (who will eventually be the point of this column). It can’t be an accident that teenage runners are also so often the top students in school. Dedication and hard work pay off in competition inside and outside the classroom. But do those kids succeed because they were born motivated or because they were raised right? And whichever it is, what kind of nudge, spark, or arm-twist was it that got them started running? What keeps them going and will keep them going, for years and years?

    If you think running is a good thing and you think young runners should continue running as adults, these are important questions. But after spending a lifetime thinking about what makes us runners tick, I can only say one thing for sure. You can’t change genes, but you can influence behavior.

    At a party a few years ago, I was kidded by a nonrunner who announced to our gabbing group, "Don thinks everyone should run."

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by William B. Latter

    CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, November 25, 2005—My most unforgettable ultramarathon is one that did not happen. I was ready, injury free, mentally centered, gear packed, and car loaded when the phone rang in the middle of the night. It was a call I will never forget. The pain was searing, palpable. Words failed me.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    I want this issue delivered right to my house.

    Kilauea Volcano Marathon

    Only the Brave (and the Foolish) Need Apply.

    Like a recurring nightmare, the Kilauea Volcano Marathon keeps resurfacing at this magazine. Two issues ago, frequent contributor Charles Kastner recounted the 2005 edition of the race, which he ran (sort of) with his daughter. Kastner had first run the race in 1999 after encountering it in Marathon & Beyond, where in 1998 it was voted the 10th-top marathon in North America, even though it is based in Hawaii. That’s not exactly geographically correct among the M&B voters, but obviously it was memorable enough to be ranked in the top 2 percent or so of all "North American" marathons.

    And it’s memorable, obviously, in more ways than one, for in the January/February 2001 edition, we put together a panel to rate North America’s 25 toughest marathons, and the geographically challenged panel ranked Kilauea as the 13th-toughest marathon. (For the curious, the Nunavut Midnight Sun Marathon in Canada’s frigid north was voted number one. And yes, Nunavut is in North America.)

    We use the term "nightmare" carefully in referring to the Kilauea race. Everyone who has run it has tales of horror, from breathing the sulfuric fumes to getting sliced up by the coral-like cooled magma through which much of the course runs. Yet in the next breath, these same folks wax poetic in their praise of the whole wonderful, memorable, exhilarating experience.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Joe’s Journal

    Bumpy Road to Boston

    by Joe Henderson

    The Boston Marathon is the Olympic Trials of the less-than-elite. It is the one annual race that isn’t as easy to get into as entering on time or winning a lottery drawing.

    You must run a fast marathon before you can run The Marathon (that’s how Bostonians think of it, as if no other marathon counted). You have to qualify far ahead of this race itself, and this can happen as long as 19 months earlier.

    This means that you’re still only halfway to Boston when you better the required time. After you get in, life still has plenty of time to block you from getting there.

    Life happens while we’re making plans to do something else. Consider all that happened last year to a runner friend from my hometown.

    One minute Sandy Itzkowitz looked up a clear road stretching far into a future filled with exciting possibilities. The next instant an unseen obstacle crashed her hopes and dreams.

    Continued in our May/June issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: How Much Is Too Much? I am 45 and have done two marathons and a few half-marathons. I have a question about osteoarthritis in the knees and how it impacts running or vice versa. I find that with activity, I feel much better. But with every longer run I do, I am very concerned that it will make the arthritis worse over time. Everyone tells me to stop running. The orthopedic surgeon says to keep active but that running will eventually shut me down. That is so discouraging. I feel that I want to run some longer distance, but I am afraid about the long-term problems. I feel pretty good right now. Do you have some advice for me?

    Our experts answer this question in our May/June issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Jason Karp, Jeff Horowitz, Roy Pirrung, and Roger Robinson.


    Hey! Back Off!

    Tapering for the Marathon.

    by Jason R. Karp, M.S.

    I attended a high school that was known for its swimmers. They were the best in the country, and some of them competed in the Olympics. Before championship meets, you could overhear amusing discussions in the hallways about "shaving down" and "tapering" in an attempt to swim faster. As a member of the cross-country and track teams, I was also interested in getting faster. So I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. "What were these odd-sounding things?" I wondered. "Could they work for me, too? Do swimmers have a secret?"

    The idea of progressively reducing, or tapering, the training load has been a long tradition among swimmers, the most often-studied athletes in regard to tapering. While it’s not necessary as a runner to shave all of your body hair to run faster, you may benefit from tapering your training. Since most marathoners, either by training or by nature, are a driven bunch, it seems unnatural to cut your weekly mileage to a fraction of your current training. Competitive marathoners think they should always do more. But that’s one of the most interesting things about fitness—the adaptations to training occur during the recovery periods from the training, not during the training itself.

    The positive physiological adaptation to training is the result of a correctly timed alternation between stress and recovery. Following a training stress, your body adapts and physiologically overcompensates so that the same stress, if reintroduced, does not cause the same degree of physiological disruption. In short, your fitness has improved. When you taper your training, you provide your body the opportunity to recover, adapt, and overcompensate to the training you have done so you are prepared to run your best race.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    I like this magazine! How can I

    The Terror of Tapering

    A Phantom Flu Is the Best Way to Force a Good Taper.

    by Stephanie R. Kinnon

    For me, tapering is the most difficult part of training for a marathon. Yes, I find it tougher to spend three weeks resting than I do slogging through a grueling multihour run or pushing myself through a demanding speed workout. In theory, I love tapering; but the truth is that I’m terrible at it. In practice, I don’t relish the license to laze about on the couch; I would rather be running. What is supposed to be a relaxing time to rest and recover is for me a time of intense anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, for a day or two, tapering is great. But as those days stretch into a week, I find myself longing for the thrill of a long run; I can’t stand the torture of not being able to extend a run when I’m feeling great.

    But it’s not just the decrease in mileage that irks me during a taper; I hate the malaise of inactivity that overtakes me and the dramatic drop in my appetite. My mind becomes an overproductive worry factory. I become overburdened with fears, and I convince myself that all the sitting around and resting will ruin everything that I have worked so hard to build. I fear my legs will stiffen from lack of use and that by race day they will have forgotten how to run; I worry that my lung capacity will drop dramatically, leaving me breathless and exhausted before the first mile is through. And of course, I worry about the tickle that inevitably appears in my throat. As the tickle progresses into a full-blown sore throat, I panic; how in the world will I be able to finish a marathon with the flu? I mope around work, running every so often to the washroom to note the increasingly deep purple circles under my eyes and the frightening pallor of my face. I’m certain I feel the beginnings of a headache, and I find myself grabbing an extra sweater to ward off the invading chill. "That’s it," I think to myself, "my marathon is ruined."

    In a last-ditch effort to save my race, I stop at the pharmacy on my way home from work to stock up on flu-fighting essentials. I fill my basket with echinacea, vitamin C, throat lozenges, and cough syrup. At home, I concoct a dinner with as many vegetables, garlic, and onions as I can stand and wash it down with a disgusting brew of boiled grapefruit skin (my brother swears by this as a virus- and flu-killing elixir). I pop echinacea and vitamin C pills nearly every hour and crawl beneath a heavy down quilt to hibernate.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Marathon Training—In the Water

    The Resistance Water Provides Can Be the Shortcut to Recovery.

    by Joshua Castle

    Water training for running is becoming more and more popular and is being understood as a greater benefit than people first thought. As people are training harder and longer for marathons or ultramarathons, aquatic training becomes increasingly important. The stress that the body takes from logging long, grueling miles is extremely taxing on the body. It has been proven that aquatic training can eliminate some of those long, unnecessary workouts that many people think they need day in, day out.

    Aquatic training is extremely effective in helping prevent injuries that are associated with the constant pounding your body takes on long runs on asphalt. It also can help you improve your speed—and you thought you have done all you could. Aqua training gives you a different venue to focus your mind on setting a personal record. It can rejuvenate your motivation and your ambition.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    In Praise of Small-Town Races

    Or How I Went to Idaho and Fell in Love With the Mesa Falls Marathon.

    by Jeff Horowitz

    I have to be honest with you. I’m a New Yorker at heart, born and bred in the five boroughs. I was schooled to have a very myopic view of the world: there is New York City, and then there are the sticks, the everywhere else. Moving out of New York has moderated this view only partially; although I now live in Washington, D.C., I still have a big-city view of how things ought to be. Naturally, being a runner, my bias slips over into my view of marathons as well. A proper marathon is not just a 26.2-mile race; it is an event. Streets are closed, runners come from all across the world to participate, there is major media coverage, and there is a sea of participants at the start. That is how things are.

    But not in Ashton, Idaho, and especially not in the Mesa Falls Marathon. The race Web site states that when the race was born in 1997, it had only 11 participants and that this number grew only to 40 the following year. Looking around at the starting line in August 2004, it seemed to me that the race hadn’t grown very much since then. I saw only a few hundred runners, apparently no media representatives whatsoever, and precious few spectators. Good lord, there weren’t even any buildings around us, let alone skyscrapers. I had to wonder how I had ended up here.

    I didn’t need Sherlock Holmes to unearth the answer. Nearly a decade earlier I had committed to running a marathon in every state, and I was now down to my final six. Although I knew when I first declared my goal that my quixotic quest would take me to some remote places—at least by New Yorker standards—I hadn’t fully considered the consequences of pursuing my dream. And then suddenly, standing at the race start line outside of Ashton, I realized that I would have plenty of time to think about it. Twenty-six-point-two miles worth of time, to be exact. Better late than never, I suppose. Having experienced some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious races, including New York, Honolulu, Berlin, Chicago, and Boston, I was in a good position to do a proper taste test: I would put my past marathoning experiences side by side with the Mesa Falls Marathon to see which comes out on top: the big-city races or their country cousins. If you were running the race with me, you would have gotten a steady stream of comments and observations, but I’ll give you an only slightly abridged version in the following pages. OK, here we go.

    Continued in our May/June issue, and also here.

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    The Fascinating Struggle

    Marathon Mania Follows in the Wake of the Great Pietri/Hayes Duel. Part 2 of 2.

    by Roger Robinson

    The story so far:

    The most famous photo in marathon history shows rubber-legged Dorando Pietri (Italy) staggering across the line in the 1908 London Olympics, supported by race and medical officials whose assistance caused his disqualification. He had in fact collapsed and apparently passed out five times in the last 400 yards of the race, the first time at the entrance to the stadium, receiving medical help and physical assistance on each occasion. For Johnny Hayes (USA), though he never passed Pietri, the gold medal was just reward for excellent pace judgment and a strong finish, when favorites like Tom Longboat (Canada) and Fred Appleby (England) had gone out too fast. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was in the stands as a special reporter and wrote the best contemporary description of the dramatic last lap. But the frequent claim that Doyle was one of those who assisted Pietri is one of many myths and half-truths that have accrued around the legendary race.

    Now read on:

    The fund started by Arthur Conan Doyle for Dorando Pietri was intended to help the little cake maker set up his own business at home in Carpi, Italy (not Capri). In New York, Bloomingdale Brothers (as the big store was then known) resplendently decorated its whole building in honor of its most famous employee, Johnny Hayes, and rewarded him for all the publicity by promoting him to manager of the sporting goods department. Tom Longboat ("Cogwagee" was his Iroquois name) returned to the Toronto cigar shop that he nominally managed under the guidance of his racing manager, Irish-Canadian hotel owner and sports promoter Tom Flanagan.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Small Towns, Big-Time Races

    Two Villages in Europe Host Two of the World’s Most Important Ultras.

    by Roy Pirrung

    Most of Europe may have lagged behind other areas of the world as ultrarunning, once known as pedestrianism, suddenly gained momentum elsewhere in the world.

    The sport originated in England in the 18th century, and it seemed to revive in the 1970s. This was especially true in the English-speaking countries and primarily in Great Britain, Australia, and the United States. What had been a major sport a century earlier gained a foothold in those countries and made it appealing again, although for different reasons.

    In the old days, the sport attracted major players willing to go the distance, not so much as a matter of sport, but rather to make money like other professional athletes. Races were staged in large arenas, drawing spectators and those willing to wager a few pounds or dollars betting on their favorite athlete. So promoters took full advantage of large cities, where they would be somewhat guaranteed to fill the house on race day or race week in many cases.

    One of the most popular pedestrian events was the six-day go-as-you-please race. Not only did it afford promoters the chance to gather an audience, it allowed them to do it for nearly a week. As the week went along, the crowds generally would grow in anticipation of what would happen near the finish.

    A lot has changed since those days. Many of the major races in the United States are run on trails, hence no paying spectators, and in many cases, no spectators at all. Promoting an event becomes less of an exercise in drawing spectators and more of one in drawing participants.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Marathoning as a Corporate Training Program

    It Is Becoming Increasingly Common for Corporations to Create Incentives for Employees to Strive for Better Health.

    by Jim Lafferty

    As a small subset of the "finishers" group crossed Geneva’s Mont Blanc Bridge, the highest peak in the Alps (and the namesake for the bridge) glistened with its snowcapped crown nearly 70 miles in the distance. As the crowds cheered the members of the group, all adorned in their red uniforms, with the shouts of "Allez les rouges" ("Go red!" in French), the group rounded the right-hand turn onto Rue de Lausanne in the heart of this quaint Swiss city and could see the 39K sign ahead. The end of the marathon for these beginners, these finishers, was coming closer. But it was a culmination of more than just 42.2 kilometers. It was a culmination of an 18-week journey of a team unified under the banner of working for the Procter & Gamble Company in Geneva, the European headquarters. It was the culmination of 57 separate nationalities making up the team. It was the culmination of 306 individuals finding out who they are, how deep their commitment lies, and whether they could realize the dream of doing what only a fraction of a percent of the world will ever do—complete a marathon.

    The marathon is often referred to as a "singular" event: one person, one distance, the time, the person versus the distance and the clock. But for as much as the marathon means for many in the world today, could it mean even more? Could the power of the marathon be corralled by organizations, even for-profit companies, as a means to invest in their most important asset—their people—and to help them improve performance in the workplace? Could the marathon actually improve a company’s bottom line?

    Continued in our May/June issue…

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    One Runner’s Obsession With Courses and Courses.

    by Lance Martin

    Here is the moment when I realized I had a problem: it’s early afternoon and I’m standing in my kitchen just returned from a steamy interval workout. Now, at the outset I should say that I acknowledge how certain runners love the fast stuff; an hour at the track is like an executive spa package for them. I am not that runner. With my one-two punch of negligible athleticism and low threshold for pain, what I do at the track shouldn’t even be called a speed workout, more like hyperventijogging. Anyway, I’ve suffered through the workout and I’m in the kitchen. But am I stretching? No. Am I hydrating and checking my heart rate? No. I’m drizzling garlic-infused oil with one hand and wielding an immersion blender with the other so I can make homemade mayonnaise. This will be the foundation for a remoulade I plan to dollop or—if I’m feeling frisky—pipe over pan-roasted swordfish fillets. You get the picture: a pair of sweat-saturated Asics on my feet, a precisely emulsified scoop of homemade mayonnaise on my finger, Gatorade and eggshells on the counter. This is not the image of Alan Webb’s kitchen. But what can I say? Have you ever tasted homemade mayo or its Scrabble-worthy sibling, aioli? One spoonful and you’ll never go back to that jarred putty they sell at the supermarket. Bring out the Hellmann’s and bring out the caulk gun.

    I have been running for six years, and like many new runners, I have become addicted to marathons. I am training for my twelfth right now. I have trained under Coach Guy Avery. I own worn copies of Daniels’ Running Formula and Pfitzinger and Douglas’s Advanced Marathoning. I have MarathonGuide.com at the top of my bookmarks, and I think Gmap Pedometer is a more important program than whatever it is that allows for online banking. I know that lactate threshold has nothing to do with breastfeeding.

    But long before I laced up my first pair of running shoes, I was building a cookbook collection, molding my own pate, seeking out duck confit for cassoulet, and tweaking my mom’s jambalaya recipe. For as long as I can remember, I have been an unrepentant foodie. In school, when the kids huddled at the back of the bus and asked if I wanted a "toke," I assumed they meant "toque" and said, "Absolutely!" As I have grown more obsessed with running and my PRs have improved, glacially, my palate has become exponentially more demanding. On the running side, the notion of qualifying for Boston has gone from the mythological to the merely theoretical. But on the foodie side, I’m now marinating my own olives and trying to find money to join a cheese-of-the-month club. If someone mentions resistance training, I immediately think of "plats de resistance." The cook in me grapples with the runner, and the fate of my race times (not to mention the puffiness of my soufflés) hangs in the balance.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Back to Boston

    Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat …

    by Thomas G. Allison

    Maybe it was a late October night
    When cold shadows crisply outlined
    Beneath the full, white moon
    Set his steps ever quickening in flight
    One more closely on the next —
    Quickly, quickly —
    On the toes
    Past the harvest fields
    Where big pumpkins waited in uneasy rows
    Past the woods deserted
    But only for his goblin thoughts
    Rushed —
    Up the final hill around the bend and down
    To the first lamppost
    And the smell of town.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    One Jot Day at the Javelina Jundred

    Fifty Miles Plus Fifty Miles Do Not a 100-Miler Make.

    by Gay Renouf

    For more than a decade, I had wondered what my running limits were—marathons, two marathons a week apart, 30 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles. How much farther could I go? And each race went well, or not. Still, none had really tested my limits. And in that spirit, that foolish and naive "How bad could it be?" spirit, I entered my first 100-miler.

    The race that I chose for my first hundred was the 2005 Javelina Jundred in McDowell Mountain Park near Phoenix, Arizona. The pictures on the Web site were arresting—red dirt against deep blue skies, exotic cacti. I was enticed by the saturated colors and simple beauty of the desert. And if any 100-mile race could be fun, this would be it! The Web site advertised a 100-mile trail-running party with a costume contest and a "Best Ass" award to be determined by mooning the judges. And I really liked the spelling protocol that the Web site adopted. Of course there was the "Javelina Jundred" as well as "Jowdy Javelinas" and "Javelina Jeadquarters." It all just seemed too cool two months before race time.

    A friend of mine told me that, as a teenager, she had invented her own holiday—Hubris Day. To her, it was a day of being proud to be a nerd and a chance for her gang to celebrate its own quirky individuality. To Webster’s Dictionary, however, it meant a day of "excessive pride or arrogance." As I anticipated the day of the race, I began to think that I was indeed guilty of hubris. But in the spirit of the Javelina Jundred, then, so be it—I would celebrate "Jubris Day."

    Continued in our May/June issue…

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    Prairie Runner

    The Stress of Running All Night Can Be the Doorway to Otherness.

    by Gary Dudney

    It was hard to say which was worse: the ache in my legs, the pulled muscle throbbing in my back, the headache, the nausea, or fighting to stay awake as I weaved from side to side on the gravel road. I had run plenty of ultraraces before, but this first try at a hundred miles was a monster. I had spent all day crossing the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas, baking in the sun and fighting a stiff head wind, which the locals jokingly called Kansas mountains. Now the night and sheer exhaustion were doing me in.

    A floodlight set on top of an aluminum pole cast a garish light over the aid station at Matfield Green. The camp chairs lined up next to the aid table there threw an ominous row of shadows across the road. A pair of crumpled runners covered with blankets filled two of the chairs. Neither was moving. They looked done, along with another guy stretched out on a cot behind them. It bucked me up a little that at least I was still on my feet.

    The aid table was littered with cups, sticky chunks of watermelon and cantaloupe, and some cut-up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. None of it looked edible with my iffy stomach. The cut-up sports bars, just the thing for failing runners, looked particularly bad. I couldn’t touch them.

    I collapsed into a chair beyond the table as far away from the spent runners as I could get.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Road Runner to Trail Runner

    (Batteries Required)

    A Transformation

    by Mike Pastore

    This is it; finally I am at the race registration for tomorrow’s Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. At my first table stop, a bright yellow, sort of wide for my taste, hospital-type wristband is attached to my right wrist and two volunteers quickly hand me two T-shirts. The next volunteer delivers to me a bright red, genuine North Face backpack—so far this is easy and fun. A quick body-fat test and blood drawing must be payment for the T-shirts and backpack. Blood pressure is next, and the last stop is my prerace weight—all of this information is recorded on my wristband with a Sharpie pen. The wristband has now become me for the next two days.

    Much of what all this fuss really meant was just now starting to sink in; by tomorrow at this time, we would be running a remote 100-mile trail, start to finish, in California’s Sierra Nevada, and it would take most of us all day and all night. The race would start in the dark at 5:00 A.M., and we would get to see the sun come up over Lake Tahoe; after running all day and then all night, we would see the sun come up again as we closed in on the finish line in Auburn. Perhaps that explains the abnormal generosity of two T-shirts. Not much about tomorrow’s race was going to be normal.

    Tim Twietmeyer is behind me at the weigh-in. He has finished this race over 20 times. I wait until he is done and ask if I can have my picture taken with him. He graciously agrees. This picture will be my only chance to see him from the front when we are in the same race.

    During the three-day Western States 100 Memorial Day training run, I wore a white singlet, black shorts, and a red bandanna—coincidently, much like Tim—and a few people even told me that we looked alike.

    He is much taller, lots faster, and he is quick to smile.

    Yeah sure, we look a lot alike, almost twins, like Schwarzenegger and DeVito.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Loincloths, Moais, and Much More

    Volcano Hopping on Easter Island.

    by Willy Stern

    Easter Island Marathon, June 11, 2006—Diane Kenna, a lithe and efficient 41-year-old runner, would have had plenty of reasons to question her own judgment, particularly as she was powering her way up the brutal three-mile hill after the turnaround point at the 2006 Easter Island Marathon.

    Up to this point, she had led the whole way. Running fast and first were hardly new concepts to Kenna. She had clocked a 3:03 marathon at Boston in 1993. Five years later, she had been the first woman across the finish line at the grueling Death Valley Marathon. Nonetheless, in the 80-degree heat and ever-present humidity of this remote South Pacific island in mid-June 2006, Kenna could feel herself wilting. Still, she gamely continued the extended slog up toward the top of the Rano Aroi Volcano.

    Making matters worse for Kenna on this muggy Sunday morning, she could hear the determined footsteps of Fernando Heredia drawing nearer. Although the two had yet to meet, Kenna would later learn that the 31-year-old Heredia was competing in his first marathon.

    Why, she couldn’t help wondering, had she made a spur-of-the-moment decision 48 hours earlier to compete in a sprint triathlon for which she had neither trained nor had proper equipment? Just 15 minutes before the triathlon had started, Kenna had signed up for the race—part of a three-day trifecta of sporting events on Chile’s Easter Island. (Sandwiched between Friday’s triathlon and Sunday’s marathon had been Saturday’s dramatic 35-kilometer mountain-bike competition that included the long haul up to the summit of the Rano Kau Volcano.) And yes, Easter Island is that island, the one with the enormous stone faces.

    Continued in our May/June issue…

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan On Running
    by Dr. George Sheehan

    Part 9: If It Were Proven That Running Offered No Physical Benefits, Would You Still Do It?

    This final installment is continued in our May/June issue…

    Volume 11 | Number 4 | July/August 2007



    The Endless Summer—& Beyond

    In the tradition of many magazines before us, our July/August issue is our Summer Reading issue, which means we save a lot of longer, more casually-paced features for this issue. It is also our annual Adventure Running issue, which means that we also save a lot of the more outré stories for this issue. Combine the two, and this issue contains a lot of longer, more off-the-wall stories than our usual issues do. That means that the stories are usually easier to read because they don’t dwell all that much on the scientific side of running, but they take longer to read because they typically have an enormous number of words.

    I’m something of a sucker for such special issues because they harken back to somnolent summers as a kid, where we would spend the mornings doing a few chores, then play some pickup ballgames, and when the day began to swelter we would crawl down into the borough’s big, cool, damp drainage pipes and read comic books and The Hardy Boys before emerging later in the day to put in our several hours working on the Mauch Chunk Bakery Company delivery truck for 25 cents an hour . . . which allowed us to buy even more comic books and more Hardy Boy books and expand into Rick Brant Electronic Adventure novels.

    Summers in those days used to spool out to forever. They had a beginning: the last day of school. But until they slipped right up against September, June/July/August was like one big month swollen with warm breezes and sweaty chests and knocking around doing nothing that amounted to lots of little things stitched together to complete a typical day.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

    Guest Editorial

    Time and Distance: An Argument in Favor of Measurement

    by Dan Horvath

    "When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge of it is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science."—Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin of Largs (1824-1907)

    "Run by time, not by distance;" "run by time or distance, but never both;" "to truly enjoy your running, leave your watch at home and measure nothing."

    These and similar measurement-related adages have been put forth by popular writers, including some here in Marathon & Beyond. With the increasing number of new marathoners, these bromides have become more pronounced in recent years. Although usually slanted toward novice runners, the advice is also often presented as a one-size-fits-all rule for the rest of us to run by. The counsel is rarely questioned; it’s merely accepted by many as the only worthwhile running method.

    We run for many reasons: just for enjoyment, to be able to reach the finish line at our races, to improve or maximize our racing performances, or to be competitive against others. The minimal-measurement approach may indeed fit the needs of those who run only for fun or who enter races only to finish them. But is the approach best for the rest of us as well?

    I don’t think so. I believe in measurement. I ought to; besides my forays into running and writing, I am a software metrics consultant. This means that I measure and report on various aspects of computer software, so I may be somewhat biased (some would say anal retentive) when it comes to measuring things. Many runners, perhaps most, keep training logs. They know that these can be extremely useful tools. My point is that we need to record more than just time or distance. At least during important training periods, at least when we really care about the results, we need to track both.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    It Was So Easy Then

    The other day I bumped into a running acquaintance of mine, and he told me he had recently completed his first marathon. It was a 4:12 effort. That may be a modest time to some, but he was proud of the accomplishment, and justifiably so. Did I mention that he’s 70 years old?

    It surprised me that he had waited so long to finally add a marathon to his running resume, which has included solid age-group performances at a variety of distances over many years. I guess I’ve always assumed that the lure of the marathon strikes early and that completing one becomes a goal before most runners know what hit. In fact, these days a marathon is many runners’ first race of any distance. That seems odd to most of us old-timers who worked our way through high school and college programs, racing the mile, two-mile, and other midrange distances before we were tempted, or allowed, to consider 26.2.

    All this reminds me that my own experience with marathoning has been drastically different from most runners, especially most runners in the 21st century. And it also reminds me of how relatively easy, and certainly careless, my first marathon was.

    The year was 1972. I had graduated from Stanford the previous spring and had decided to stay in the Bay Area for a year, focus on my training, and see if I could qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the 5,000 or 10,000 meters. I moved into a house with three Stanford students, one of whom was Duncan Macdonald, who had been my teammate at Stanford and would be my Olympic teammate in 1976. But that was still four years in the future. In 1972, Duncan was competing for Stanford, and I was steadily ratcheting up my training.

    Both of us had Olympic aspirations, but not in the marathon. Duncan was a miler, and I had had success racing two and three miles. The Olympic 5,000 was on my radar screen, and I was also keeping the 10,000 in mind.

    In February 1972, with the U.S. Olympic Trials five months in the future, I was bumping up my mileage to previously unthinkable totals as a way to build underlying strength. In the first week of that month, I reached an all-time high of 132 miles, including one workout where I ran 10 times a half mile on the golf course, with a quarter-mile jog between them. I didn’t record my times for those intervals, but I guarantee you they were fast. I was living that kind of running life.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

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    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by John Dudas

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, April 15, 2002—From 1987 to 2001, it was the same old story for me. Every year I was sure to be among the manic crowd watching the Boston Marathon. It was fun to be swept up by the overwhelming hype surrounding the world’s most notable running event. I was not a runner then, but this race had an inexplicable magnetism that lured me back every third Monday in April. I felt deeply inspired to watch thousands of runners make their way along the famous course, which includes my former town of Framingham. These incredible people of all ages, shapes, and sizes who performed such monumental running achievements were truly amazing. If they had the physical and mental capacity to run a marathon, why couldn’t I? The concept of running 26-plus miles seemed unfathomable to me, and for 14 years I completely doubted my ability to cover the distance. Yet every Patriots’ Day, while cheering along Route 135, I thought to myself, "Maybe next year." Sure enough, the impetus to train for the following year’s race usually faded after less than a handful of abysmal three-mile runs. Yes, I was hooked on Boston. I was a total Boston Marathon junkie. Only I was not a runner.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    Niagara Falls International Marathon

    A Truly International Marathon With a Spectacular Course.

    Each marathon has a style and attraction unlike others. Within Canada, you find all possible ranges of races. The Niagara Falls International Marathon could be fairly described as a civilized race. You won’t encounter large numbers of runners by Los Angeles, New York, or Boston standards, even in fair weather. You won’t encounter an entire city focused on you, the runner. You will run on paved roads past some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. You will experience efficient processing and a staff dedicated to making your running experience a great memory. You will encounter lovely neighborhoods with friendly volunteers in abundance. You might also pass walkers with their dogs, in-line skaters, and casual runners out for their constitutionals. You’ll pass beautiful homes with their owners engaged in yard work. In the area of the Horseshoe Falls, you’ll pass tourist buses carrying people of all nationalities to view this natural wonder. This is not your ordinary neighborhood.

    You will probably leave the neighborhoods of Buffalo, New York; Fort Erie, Ontario; and Niagara Falls, Ontario, feeling that you’ve just skimmed the surface—and that’s pretty accurate. The term "embarrassment of riches" comes to mind. If you drive to Niagara Falls, you’ll pass historical and visitor center markers along highways 401, 403, and the QEW. Canada has done a great job of tantalizing visitors. We will touch on some of the activities that runners can use to diversify their vacations.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Joe’s Journal

    How Many Miles?

    by Joe Henderson

    How many miles did I run today? Ask me that simple question and you’ll get a nonanswer. I don’t know, haven’t known in 40 years, haven’t needed to know on any day except a race day, and haven’t even wanted to know in recent years as distances shortened and paces slowed.

    In 1967, I went off the gold standard of U.S. running—the almighty mile—and started keeping score by the minute and hour. Since then I haven’t counted miles per day, added up weekly mileage, or calculated pace per mile—or even guessed at those figures. I’ve just run my time and let the mileage and minutes per mile fall where they may, unchecked or guessed at.

    That’s fine for me. But the runners I now teach and coach won’t settle for such vague accounting. I doubt if you will either, because the by-time-only plan has always been a tough sell.

    Like you, my students demand to know how far, how fast. So I’ll turn the opening question around: how many miles did you run today?

    Chances are, you think you know. Chances are even better that you’re a little to a long way off, depending on your measurement method.

    Continued in our July/August issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: What Kind of Pace? I’m new to marathon running. At 45 years old, I’ve run three marathons, all of them slower than four and a half hours. I want to improve my time and maybe qualify for Boston. In doing research on pacing a marathon, I’m confused. There is a lot of talk about negative splits, which is a concept that seems to fly in the face of the natural tendency to slow down as you get farther into the race. There is also a lot of discussion about running an even-paced race. I find that difficult as I begin to run faster around the six- or seven-mile mark and then pay for it once I get to mile 18 or 19. What kind of marathon pace is most likely to lead to success based on what you’ve learned in the real world as opposed to what the "experts" teach?

    Our experts answer this question in our July/August issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Jason Karp, Jeff Horowitz, Roy Pirrung, and Roger Robinson.


    51 the Hard Way

    The first effort to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days was a low-key feat, done on the cheap.

    by Duncan Larkin

    On August 15, 2006, North Face, the outdoor apparel company, issued a press release officially kicking off an event called the "Endurance 50." The company announced that on September 17, its sponsored athlete, ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, would begin running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. The feat was well received by the press, making major headlines across the lifestyle pages of countless newspapers and Web sites across the world. Could Karnazes—himself no stranger to running stunts—pull off this Herculean endurance feat? Would he be able to, in his words, "test the limits of human endurance"? Could he pass this ultimate test? Would he make it? The buzz had begun.

    What most people didn’t know, what didn’t make it into a press release, what got almost no buzz in the running community, was that on this very day, a quiet 26-year-old was running his 47th consecutive marathon in as many days in as many states to raise awareness for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. His name was Sam Thompson, and he ran 51 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.

    He did it first; this is his story.

    The seeds of perseverance that blossomed into Sam Thompson’s 51-in-50-in 50 feat were planted, oddly enough, in his broken tibia. Sam grew up in the small town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the younger of two children. His father was an engineer and his mother was a French teacher, and Sam enjoyed a typical American childhood. He first took to running by playing soccer, where he discovered that he had cardiovascular endurance. His talent eventually drew him off the soccer field in high school and into cross-country. He was hooked and enjoyed the freedom of running. But the shorter high school events weren’t enough for Sam, so he competed in triathlons and duathlons on the side. He excelled in these sports, winning the 1997 Mississippi Duathlon Championships and sought to repeat his victory in 1998.

    And then it all fell apart.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    The Badwater Team That Beat the Odds

    Sometimes What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You.

    by Anne Saita

    Somehow Gary Roberts failed to fully take in his roommate’s strange habits: running on a treadmill placed in full sun; blasting the car’s heat despite Oceanside’s optimal weather; driving two hours each week to run in heavy-weather gear in the Anza-Borrego Desert. What finally got Roberts’s attention was one summer afternoon when Akos Konya came out of his bedroom wearing six layers of clothing and a hydration pack holding a half gallon of water. Intrigued, Roberts grabbed his video camera and began recording. What, he wanted to know, was going on?

    Konya explained that he was training for a big race in Death Valley and wanted to simulate extreme conditions. It was hot in San Diego County that day, but not that hot. Then he set out for an open trail behind their apartment complex, returning just over an hour and seven miles later. The multiple layers suffocated his skin; he had to stop. After drinking glass after glass of Gatorade, Konya wrung the sweat from each piece of saturated clothing to demonstrate just how much moisture he had produced. This prompted a big Ewwww! from Roberts’s 10-year-old daughter, Mackenna.

    "He’d told me a year ago he was going to do Badwater, but it really didn’t register with me," Roberts explained a couple of months after they had returned from the 135-mile ultramarathon, considered one of the most grueling endurance races in the world. Despite the advance notice, it wasn’t until three weeks before the July 2006 event, when his roommate’s bizarre behavior finally appeared on Roberts’s radar, that it dawned on him: this is not going to be easy for me, either.

    Good thing the epiphany came when it did, because nonrunner Roberts headed into Badwater representing half of Konya’s entire crew.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    From Moldova and Moscow With Love

    We Trained Long and Hard for the Moscow Peace Marathon, but the Journey Itself Is the Essence.

    by Fern Greenwell

    It is 6:00 A.M. on an August morning in Chisinau, Moldova. It is day 24 in the inexorable countdown to the Moscow Peace Marathon on September 10. I always get up early on days that I work out with the Dinamo team; I need time for breakfast and coffee and time to let the butterflies come and go. I am always anxious before a workout—fear of underperformance? fear of being pushed too hard? The living room window of my flat faces Kolganiceanu Street, which is one of the main east-west avenues in downtown Chisinau and the main artery through the university area. I hear early-morning traffic, consisting mainly of trolley buses jolting down the uneven street, attached tenuously to electric wires overhead. I like that sound. These old orange buses, with more standing room than seats, are rickety vestiges of the public transport system used during communist times. A ride on one of these buses costs about 6 cents.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Take a Walk on the Dark Side

    Is It All Really Meaningless? Or Just a Run Away From Depression?

    by Chuck Bryant

    Having completed my 50 States & D.C. marathon circuit in May 2004, I took a few months off to relax and recuperate, both physically and emotionally. That fall I began easing back into workouts. By year’s end, I had begun stepping up the intensity and consistency enough that I lost a few pounds. By mid-2005, that healthy loss had continued to about 25 pounds. I improved my workouts in both speed and distance. Now mentally refreshed as well, I decided to try a fall race. I chose the Darkside Marathon in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City. (The race director tells me that the "Darkside" name for the sponsoring running club and the race comes from many of the members’ running in early morning, before sunrise.) I felt confident that I would do well and that I would run more of the distance than usual.

    When I made those plans, I had no idea what else would slow me down much more than any physical concerns such as today’s blisters or anxiety about my ongoing cancer treatment.

    On Sunday morning, November 6, 2005, some 20 participants gathered for the 50K while 21 of us walked to the separate start line for the marathon. The two events would begin simultaneously and run on the same asphalt loop (just under 5.18 miles) on a trail system throughout Peachtree City. Marathoners would complete five loops beyond the extra segment at the start; 50K participants would go six laps.

    Overcast skies and moderate temperatures (60s?) supported my cautious optimism—cautious because I didn’t know what to expect with my new, new prosthetic leg. (I had trained for a couple of months on an earlier new prosthesis, only to have the socket begin cracking about 10 days before the race. Power outages from Hurricane Wilma prevented my prosthetist from dealing with this until four days before the marathon. I had no opportunity to try out the replacement socket and make adjustments, hence my uncertainty.) So I undertook the first loop just walking briskly, not even racewalking, to assess the fit. Before completing even one loop, already I felt some growing discomfort from friction at the distal end of my below-knee stump.

    This sort of distal early warning I normally don’t feel until at least the late teen miles. Sometimes I don’t have it at all. Today it began with over 20 miles to go. My cautious optimism became more cautious and less optimistic.

    Experience from 58 marathons and ultras told me this will become blisters bad enough to hinder my pace substantially and require at least a week to heal before I can walk without wincing. OK, I can live with it. (I generally do have a resilient, affirmative outlook; I tend to see, or at least look for, the positive in most things.)

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Pulling the Trigger at 40

    Setting a Difficult Goal Can Change Everything.

    by Kevin Polin


    What makes a real runner? What constitutes an athlete? Do I run or do I jog? As I approached my 40th birthday, I reflected on these questions and also on my so-called athletic achievements: over 30 marathons (12 in one year), two 50-milers, two 100-milers, half a dozen triathlons, and a few mountaineering expeditions. But looking back at my race photos, I noted that I looked distinctly overweight in several of them, especially in a couple of triathlon photos where a definite paunch was hanging over my tight triathlon swim trunks. Yes, I had done a lot of running over the last 12 years, but had I really given everything I could to training, even just for one race? I didn’t think so.

    The time felt right. My 40th birthday was coming up toward the end of the year, and the fall would be a good time to run a marathon. Coincidentally, my birthday fell on the same day as a couple of fast-rated marathons: Chicago and Steamtown (Scranton, Pennsylvania). I decided on Steamtown since my family and I could drive there and visit my wife’s relatives. I had less than nine months to train for the race and had incurred an irritating injury after my second 100-miler—probably patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)—but it didn’t seem to hamper my running, so on went my plan.

    I then had an even bigger idea: why not try to qualify for the Boston Marathon? My fastest time was still my first marathon of 3:38 (back in 1998), and I would need to run 3:20 at Steamtown to meet Boston’s strict regulations, which seemed like a daunting task. But turning 40 had given me another five minutes to qualify (it was 3:15 previous to this), so I thought I would take that opportunity. To cap off my initial preparations, I requested the number-40 bib, and Steamtown kindly obliged. There was no turning back now. I had nine months to get to Boston, and I would have no excuses. I wanted to give everything I had to a training plan to see what this 40-year-old body could do. I had plenty of excuses to avoid the challenge, including three young kids and being constantly on the road with my consulting job, but I wanted to give it one big push since it occurred to me that a personal-best time is more likely earlier rather than later in your running career. For the first time in my life, I even changed my diet and paid attention to what I was putting in my body. Even more astounding: I moderated my pub drinking! I was a regular at one of Atlanta’s well-known pubs but quickly discovered that I could still make appearances and say hello to everyone even if I limited myself to just three pints once a week. I even experimented with long runs and drinking and found that I could still do a decent early-morning long run after consuming four pints the previous night. Three pints was better, but five pints tipped me over the edge and made it difficult to even get up early enough for the run. So I made it a point to tell the barmen that four pints was my limit, and they and my friends began to respect my self-imposed limit.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    The Last Shall Be . . . Nearly Last.

    by Serena Richardson

    We entered the craggy, southern Italian hills, where the towns are built on impossible cliffs and the chitarra pasta is cut with wires. My husband, Luciano, and I had driven 400 miles south from our home in the Veneto to Abruzzo, the Wyoming of Italy, to run in one of the few trail marathons in Italy, an ecomaratona. This region sits between northern and southern Italy, a border state straddling two worlds. To the north, a cold resentful Milan hums with a productive bustle. In the south, Rome and Naples sit back on their heels in their own happy squalor and, according to northerners, wait complacently for the north to sustain them. Abruzzo is so wild, so isolated, that it is geographically able to rise above it all, literally.

    Luciano planned to run the classic marathon, starting at an elevation of 2,900 feet, straight up a mountainside. I was, to celebrate my birthday, going for the baby run—a measly 13K. I’m a veteran of hundreds of rolling, sea level 6K to 10K races, but this one would be the longest and highest of my trail-running career, and I was secretly petrified.

    We drove past villages perched on rocks hundreds of feet above a narrow gorge, the stone houses clinging to the cliffs like gray crabs on a boulder. Luciano commented that the bricklayers who placed the foundations must have been medieval acrobats, working with ropes and pulleys, swinging above the dizzying precipices. With the opportunity to plummet to their death only inches from the front door, we imagined that nocturnal trips to the outside loo might have been a death-defying adventure-and an easy explanation for any occasional disappearance.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Ultimate Cross-Country Run

    An Interview With John Wallace III in the Wake of His Transcontinental Run of 2004-2005.

    by John Strumsky

    At precisely 7:09:14 A.M. PST on September 26, 2004 (his dad’s birthday), John Wallace III stood in the Pacific Ocean at Westport, Washington, then started running on his quest to cross the United States of America. After covering more than 3,800 miles on foot in 124 days, he stopped running at Tybee Island, Georgia, where he stood in the Atlantic Ocean at exactly 4:53:19 P.M. EST on January 27, 2005 (his mom’s birthday). His saga is a rare running adventure, one that only a handful of hardy souls have ever attempted.

    John Strumsky sat down with John and his family and a large gathering of friends and runners the next day to chat with him about his exploits.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Long Run as a Short Story

    Every Race Has a Story to Tell, Even If It’s Hard to Find the Words.

    by Matt Baxter

    My wife doesn’t believe me when I tell her that I don’t think about a whole lot during a marathon. With all the free hours I have, Kristin thinks I am having deep philosophical discussions with myself, solving world problems like hunger and war, or at the very least listening to a few good books on tape. I tell her a brain transcript would be more like, "shoe … asphalt … tree … cloud … shoe … runner." And that’s about an hour’s worth.

    I just don’t think about much while I am running. I am a runner who zones out, as opposed to those who have lengthy conversations or those who cheer for quiet spectators. At the finish line, it is more images than words that I remember. Therefore, any description from me about a race is going to be a short story, maybe a hundred words or so. But that’s OK. Voluminous tomes about marathons have their place in the world; so does the short story. Here are a few.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    Fuel for the Finish Line

    Eight Lessons to Get You There.

    by Chris Kostman


    I awoke at sunrise in a cozy sleeping bag in the Alaskan wilderness. It was 10 degrees above zero, and I was 65 miles and 24 hours into a 100-mile snowshoe race on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail. It was February, the dead of winter, and I was hungry.

    This was a problem. I had only enough powdered Unipro Endura Optimizer to fill my CamelBak with a 1,200-calorie liquid meal. This is the liquid food that I used for years as my racing fuel. It provides carbs, protein, and everything else needed to sustain a person without the hassle of chewing. One CamelBak full of this special potion would, I hoped, be enough to get me 35 miles down the trail to the finish line. But after stopping to sleep for six hours in a tent at the second of only two checkpoints along the racecourse, I needed some breakfast, something I could sink my teeth into.

    The checkpoint volunteers could not help me; the Iditasport race rules prohibit them from providing any supplies during the race except water, hot chocolate, and Tang.

    A lightbulb going on in my head, I headed for the back of the checkpoint tent, where the trash was kept. Surely some of the 50 mountain bikers, skiers, and snowshoers who had gone through this checkpoint during the night had left something to eat!

    Breakfast that beautiful, crisp, cold Alaskan morning was my fellow competitors’ throwaways: three bites of a PB&J sandwich, half a brownie, about a dozen yogurt-covered raisins, and half an energy bar covered in pocket fuzz.

    Renewed by other people’s unwanted calories, I hit the trail and finished the race in good form.

    Lesson #1: Scrounge if you have to, but always eat what you need when your life depends on it. There’s usually something edible to be found, whether in the back row of a 24-hour minimart, your friend’s kitchen, or the nearest dumpster.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Gnarly Dude

    Bob Hayes Logs Miles and Trees in Big-Sky Country.

    by Gail Jokerst

    The first time Bob Hayes ran a race he was 60 years old, wearing logging boots, and concerned about making it across the finish line. Twenty years later, Bob still worries about completing races, even though he finishes most of the ones he starts. His logging boots, however, languish in the closet while he laces up his Nikes.

    Today, Bob’s is one of the most familiar and beloved faces on Montana’s racing circuit. Other runners admire him for competing at a high level and look forward to seeing him at state and regional events. Younger runners, who have heard about this legend, often introduce themselves saying, "You’re an inspiration. I hope I can do so well at your age."

    Considering that Bob tackles about 25 major races annually, friends and fans have many opportunities to catch him in action. They spot him running everything from Missoula’s one-and-a-half-mile Mount Sentinel Hill Climb to the 50-mile Le Grizz along Hungry Horse Reservoir just a few miles from Glacier National Park. And speaking of Le Grizz, Bob has completed the grueling endurance race 10 years straight.

    Dubbed by his daughter-in-law "the gnarly dude," Bob credits his son, Tom, with getting him hooked on racing. It all started in 1987 when the board of directors for the Evaro, Montana, Community Center needed funds to renovate the town’s one-room schoolhouse. Tom suggested a 5K and 10K race to raise the money.

    "The group was casting about for ideas," recollects Bob, who was then serving on the board. "We decided to hold the race and call it the Evaro Mountain Challenge, although there isn’t any Evaro Mountain. The directors thought we all had better enter it because we might not have many comers. We figured we could walk if we couldn’t run."

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Volume 11 | Number 5 | September/October 2007



    The Glory of Rest

    Every time you turn around there are reports of how overworked and overtired Americans are. A recent study concluded that Americans have no more leisure time today than they had in 1900 [Harper’s, June 2007, p. 13]. I think back to the 1950s when, inspired by the space race, scientists and sociologists were spending an inordinate amount of time gazing raptly into the ideal future, a future overflowing with outrageous labor-saving devices—everything from personalized jet packs to get us to work faster by allowing us to zoom above earthbound traffic tie-ups to robots that freed dear old Mom from onerous household chores such as cleaning out the greasy deep dish in which she had made the Wednesday night meatloaf.

    There was talk of a whole new industrial complex arising that would do nothing but invent and implement swell things we could do with the mass of leisure time that would benevolently befall us.

    As it turned out, nothing much came of all the daydreaming of futures filled with fun and leisure. If you want leisure time, you’ve got to move to Europe, where they get five weeks off at a time (usually the same five weeks in the middle of summer) and all go to the same beaches to relax like fleas on a poodle.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    Where Has Depletion Gone?

    In the last issue of Marathon & Beyond, I wrote about my first marathon, which was in February 1972. I was in great shape at the time, so a marathon the morning after a hard indoor two-mile track race didn’t seem like a bad idea. In fact, things went so well that day that I won, running 2:18:05.6 and qualifying for the 1972 Olympic Trials. All in all, it felt remarkably easy.

    What didn’t feel easy about it, though, were the final four or five miles. I don’t remember if anyone had mentioned "hitting The Wall" to me beforehand, but I got an acute lesson that day. I ran out of energy before I ran out of marathon, and the combination of empty legs and plummeting spirits made those final miles a special kind of challenge—mental, physical, and spiritual. This was an all-encompassing fatigue I had never felt before.

    Clearly, I learned, the marathon had a unique brand of torture up its sleeve. You could be traveling along feeling relatively comfortable, on pace for a good time, when … gulp … you could almost hear that last bit of fuel go gurgling down the fuel line. The tank, suddenly, was empty. You, suddenly, were struggling for each step. The finish line, suddenly, was way too far in the distance.

    I had my second lesson about hitting The Wall later that year, when my friend Steve ran his first marathon. What I remember watching was his wobbly slog over the final miles of a marathon near Birch Bay, a crescent-shaped body of water near the Canadian border in the state of Washington. What I saw was a struggle, but Steve’s telling later gave a better insight into what hitting The Wall could be like from inside the marathoner’s skull.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

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    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by Carol Loula Greening

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, April 21, 2002—For many people, their most unforgettable marathon is their first. A first marathon often ranks right up there with other memorable firsts—first kiss, first love, graduating from college, getting married, having a baby, first job, first raise . . . you get the point. And my first marathon was unforgettable.

    Before I decided to try a marathon, I had completed hundreds of 5Ks and 10Ks and a handful of 15Ks and half-marathons over a period of 17 years. I was just a very busy working mom who ran primarily for fitness and stress relief. In my early 30s, I toyed with doing a marathon. However, I decided I didn’t want to spend what free time I did have training for a marathon at the sacrifice of spending time with my beautiful baby son, whom I already felt guilty about not spending enough time with because I worked full-time.

    I kept running and lived my life and the years slipped away quickly. All of a sudden, I found myself turning 41. I had a little speed for someone my age, and in small races I sometimes placed in my age group and had even been the masters winner on occasion. Now, my son was older and didn’t need me or want me around as much. Time was ticking away, and I was starting to fear that if I didn’t run a marathon soon, I might never run one. And I had to run a marathon, because it was on my all-important list of things I had to do before I died.

    It was Thanksgiving Day 2001. I had just completed the St. Petersburg Times 10K Turkey Trot. The outcome of that race was the proud achievement of my goal to run a sub-45-minute 10K. So what next? It hit me then that my next milestone just had to be that elusive marathon. I went home that Thanksgiving weekend and picked a marathon.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

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    Rocket City Marathon

    A Race with 30 Years of Continuity and a Running Club That Backs It All the Way.

    You are probably familiar with Huntsville’s Space Center. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of how Wernher von Braun and his team of scientists helped shape the space race for the United States. Thanks to these scientists and engineers who found work in Huntsville, the city became known as the Rocket City. But the Huntsville area has many delights, so it’s best to take your time, to pace yourself. Did you know that within 100 miles of Huntsville, you can tour the home of W.C. Handy, father of the blues? That the nation’s largest butterfly house is within the city limits? That Helen Keller’s birthplace is just a short trip west of Huntsville? That there are miles and miles of trails, botanical gardens, and kid-friendly activities within driving distance of the city?

    The yearly Rocket City Marathon is not the least of these. It has a 30-year history of experienced race directors and volunteers committed to making each runner feel welcome and cared for. Huntsville’s Track Club began about the same time as the marathon, and its members have remained committed and involved with running both within the state of Alabama and nationally. Malcolm Gillis and Harold and Louise Tinsley, former race directors, remain an active part of Huntsville’s running scene and will be happy to share tidbits of their history with you. Suzanne and Dink Taylor own Huntsville’s Fleet Feet store and are the current race directors for the Rocket City Marathon. Involved? In addition to the Fleet Feet store and a regular e-letter from Fleet Feet, Dink and Suzanne direct five races in the Huntsville area and sponsor 45 to 50 other races each year. "Some weekends," Dink says, "we do three races in one weekend."

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Joe’s Journal

    Who Invented Running?

    by Joe Henderson

    Running, the act, didn’t need inventing. It came as original human equipment from—take your pick—the great master planner of the universe or by evolutionary accident. Our kind is designed to run, and only in the last blink of our history has this act become optional.

    The activity of running, the modern sport and exercise, did need shaping. Inventors, innovators, and instigators had to step forward to lead us where we are today. Who are they?

    The question is timely because it’s 40 years since the first woman, Kathrine Switzer, ran the Boston Marathon while pinned to an official race number. In 1967, a national magazine article previewed an upcoming book promoting running for fitness, Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics. It’s 30 years since the first running boom peaked. In 1977, Jim Fixx’s Complete Book of Running was scaling the bestseller lists.

    I’m old enough to have run and written through those revolutionary times. Boston 1967 was my first marathon, run as anonymously as Switzer’s was sensationally. That also was my first year as a columnist in a running magazine. In 1977, I resigned as editor of Runner’s World, foolishly thinking that book sales would free me from working at a real job, a la Fixx.

    I’m better at reporting than predicting, so I can see now what was hazy to me 30 and 40 years ago: how big running would become in those years, how long that first boom would last (and it quieted in the 1980s before booming again, louder, in the 1990s), and who laid the early groundwork for all that we still have in 2007.

    Continued in our September/October issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: Does anyone know of any research that compares injury rates on concrete and asphalt? I found lots of sites that said that asphalt is a better surface for runners because it is softer, but I was unable to find any research that showed that the injury rate was lower when runners use asphalt for their training runs rather than concrete.
    The only research close to it that I found was a study published in the journal Ergonomics (Volume 40, Issue 6, June 1997, pp. 670-679): “The Influence of Different Floor Stiffness on Mechanical Efficiency of Leg Extensor Muscle,” by Carmelo Bosco, Raul Saggini, and Atko Viru.

    Our experts answer this question in our September/October issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Ed Kozloff, Tito Morales, Bob Wehr, and Dan Stumpus.


    Special Section: Return From the Farther Beyond

    There is a curious phenomenon when it comes to long-distance running.

    Average walking-around folks who have always doubted their own
    physicality take up a running program, persist at it, begin to run increasingly
    longer distances, and eventually reach the point where they are marathoners or
    ultrarunners. They have effectively surpassed expectations that have characterized
    the physical side for their whole lives.

    In the process, a certain degree of mental toughness and self-esteem emerges,
    self-esteem that they apply to other aspects of their lives.

    If the correct—or, in some cases, the incorrect—mix of elements jells, they
    begin to feel invincible. And compared with the walking-around folk they have
    left behind, relatively speaking, they are.

    But life has a way of knocking us down, reminding us that we are, in the long
    run, only human—and therefore fallible.

    The good thing about being able to run long distances under our own power,
    though, is that the process makes us stronger and better able to withstand the
    vagaries of life.

    We’ve put together a little section of five stories of long-distance runners
    who faced some rough times and returned from them, not unscarred, certainly,
    but not bowed, either.


    He Ran to His Own Beat, and Then the Beat Was Gone.

    by Jason Hiott

    I was so happy to see him. It had been a few months since I saw him on my normal Sunday-morning route. He looked young, slim, tanned, and fit. "Hey, Dad," I said as I excitedly approached him. He returned my smile and gave me a small wink. It had been too long since I had seen him—simply too long.

    Our running paths didn’t cross very often. When I began running 20-plus years ago, I embraced it and made it a substantial part of my life. It was something that I just knew was going to stick with me. On the other side, my father ran sporadically, running only to maybe lose a little weight or because he had a girlfriend who enjoyed the sport. He also smoked on and off. I’ll never forget late nights after a long day’s work going to the track where he would meet me while puffing a cigarette. "I’m going to run with you tonight, but let me put this out first," he would proclaim as he stamped out the butt. But that was many years ago. This morning he was strong and ready to go.

    Over these last couple of years, he seemed to show up just when I needed him most, whenever I wanted to talk to him. Parents always have that sense of when something is happening with their children. I missed talking to him as much as I used to, besides the fact that my father was one of my best friends.

    I told him that I had been depressed lately about some things, but I was OK and trying the best I could to cope with them. I also told him how lucky I was to be married to probably the best woman in the world and how much I loved her. That was important to him. He always wanted to know about my personal life, and many times I would just skim over things, but the last few times I saw him I went into more detail and offered more insights.

    Having talks like this while we were running was a bonus. I looked over to him and saw that while I was sweating profusely as I always did, he was still going strong. I remember thinking that he must be in really great shape since I didn’t detect any signs of tiredness or slowing down on his part. I think we both were just happy that our paths had crossed on this special morning.

    He always showed concern about my keeping my job, but he never knew what I did for a living. It simply never mattered to him. When I conveyed to him that after 20 years of working at the same place my whole adult life, I had been laid off, I joked that his concern finally had a basis. This was eerily similar to his fate.

    It was a corridor that I was afraid of. He was never the same after he left that particular job many years back. His life spiraled slowly downward, and he was never again able to get traction. I helped him move many times over a short period, and it was always to a place just a little worse than the one we were moving him out of. The most telling of these moves was when he was moving from a one-bedroom apartment to an efficiency halfway across town.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

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    Race Against Time

    It’s Never Too Late to Start but Always Too Early to Think About Finishing.

    by Arnold Hogarth

    Runners run for reasons
    that reason sometimes doesn’t understand …

    As I lay on the operating table, I heard the doctor say, "Let’s get started." I had been given a sedative and, although relaxed, would be awake during the entire procedure. The date was October 31, 2005. I had celebrated my 74th birthday two weeks before, and I had a heart problem called angina. The doctor was about to perform an angioplasty with stenting.

    Eight days before the surgery, during a Sunday long run of 20 miles in preparation for the New York City Marathon, my heart suddenly hurt. It was not a chest pain. It felt more like tiny fingers pinching the wall of my heart. It happened during the first half mile. At around three miles, I began to feel tightness on the left side of my throat and jaw but continued to run while banging my fist on my chest hoping to chase the problem away. It was early and still somewhat dark. I wanted to think that the pain might be due to the cool moist air, but I knew better.

    "This will sting a little," the doctor said as he inserted a hypodermic needle in my groin area and injected an anesthetic. He then made an incision in the femoral artery and threaded a long, hollow plastic tube, called a catheter, through the artery to the aorta, then via the aorta to my heart and the troubled coronary artery. The catheter traveled a distance of about 20 inches. The troubled artery was 90 percent blocked.

    The purpose of the catheter was to provide a conduit through which to pump contrast dye to mark the blocked section of the artery, to launch a small inflatable balloon that would open the blocked area, and finally, to insert and place a metal stent to keep the occluded section of the artery permanently open.

    An X-ray machine had been swiveled to about 12 inches above my chest, and a video monitor rested on a stand to my left facing the doctor. The monitor displayed what looked like branches of a defoliated tree. An iodine dye solution was pumped through the catheter to light up the occluded area. I felt as though a heater was inside me. It was an unusual but pleasant sensation. The doctor then inserted the balloon and stent through the catheter. I watched the monitor as he probed around my heart. It was as if he were bobbing for apples. Every time the balloon approached the troubled area, the artery bounced away. Finally, with the balloon and stent properly set, the balloon was inflated in incremental steps. I could feel this. It was the same pinching sensation that had brought me to the hospital in the first place. I closed my eyes and heard the nurse call out numbers.

    "Eight, nine, 10." And my heart ached.

    "Eleven…" the balloon was being expanded in increments.

    The stent, expanded by the balloon, forced the clogged artery open and was left in place to serve as a permanent, rigid scaffold-type implant.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    How Running Saved My Life

    Flying Long Distances is Not Without Its Risks.

    by Bob Wehr

    I think I’m a fairly typical obsessive-compulsive 62-year-old marathon runner. My running started 26 years ago when an equally chubby and inactive friend challenged me to run in some short beach runs here on the west coast of Florida. In the ensuing years, I have gotten great physical and emotional benefits while running over 100 marathons in all the states and five of the seven continents—modest accomplishments compared with many of my friends.

    I learned that several of those friends were running the Great Wall Marathon near Beijing, China, in May 2006. Since I needed to pick up Asia on my goal to completing a marathon in each continent, my wife, Becky, and I decided it would be a good way to combine a marathon with a nice vacation.

    We were with fun people on a great 17-day trip that included running on the Great Wall in Beijing, visiting the site of the terra cotta warriors in Xian, cruising for three days down the Yangtze River, and bargain shopping everywhere we went. All of the Chinese people were very friendly and nice, but the very young and old were especially fun to interact with. The young were eager to show their knowledge of English by saying "Hello," and we would answer back Ni hao (hello), happy to show our equal expertise in their language.

    When we got back to Florida, I had trouble going more than a hundred yards before running out of breath. I’m no longer a speedy runner, but that was unusual even for me. I can usually run 3 to 15 miles without difficulty, even on a hot day. I pushed myself harder and assumed that my poor endurance was due to the 90-degree weather or maybe some Chinese bug that left me panting after those short periods of exertion.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Running for My Life

    When Given a Second Chance, Take It.

    by Jeff Hardisty

    There were no guarantees for me as I toed the line of the 2005 Seattle Marathon. If you had seen me seven months and two days before, you would have written me off. One thing was certain, however: I would do everything within my power to finish.

    My story begins in September 2004, the month I began training in earnest for the 2005 Portland and Seattle marathons. I remember how fatigued I was after running a mile on my first day of training, but being a distance runner I knew it was only a matter of time until my wind and legs grew strong again. As the weeks and months went by, my level of fitness and weekly mileage increased regularly. I had achieved a distance of nine miles on my long runs and entered the half-marathon phase of my training when tragedy struck.

    One Saturday in April, I ran four miles and felt more fatigued than usual. I also noticed a cold sensation in my windpipe. The feeling passed, and three days later I set out again to run four miles, but this time the feeling of cold occurred at about two miles, and I had a tingling in my forearms. A few days later, I planned on doing at least six miles and maybe more, depending on how I felt. How I felt after only one mile would change my life forever. At one mile, my forearms cramped up, and the cold windpipe feeling hit me so hard I could barely function. I walked home immediately, not sure whether I would make it.

    When my wife, Carol, got home from work, I told her about my troubles. She is a respiratory therapist and a few days prior thought I might have sports-induced asthma. When I told her about my forearms aching, she feared it might be heart related. My father had died of heart disease, and you can’t take family history lightly. I went to see my doctor the next day, and he tested my lungs and urged me to do a treadmill stress test to rule out my heart.

    I knew the problem was breathing related but humored him nonetheless. The stress test revealed a blockage of my coronary artery, and the cardiologist wanted to perform an angiogram the next morning to determine how to best remove the blockage.

    Carol and I prayed that evening that I would be repaired the best way possible and that I wouldn’t have to worry about my heart anymore. The angiogram showed the blockage to be at the bifurcation—or split—of my artery, and the only way to properly repair me was to open me up. We would be getting what we prayed for, although open-heart surgery wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Two days later I had open-heart surgery and spent a week in the hospital recovering.

    Upon my release, I met with my mother, who had been on vacation while I was having surgery. She had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in March, and I wanted her to enjoy her last vacation, so I waited for her return to tell her. As my strength and stamina increased, hers decreased until, on July 5, 2005, at 83, she passed away, but not before giving her life to the Lord. I took comfort in that but of course miss her very much.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

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    Here and Back

    Complete breakdown—and Beyond

    by Larry Gassan

    I remember my final ultra in April 1999. I was a man on the gallows seeing his world for the last time. I was starting a race that I had no enthusiasm for. My quads were huge, but I was deeply tired. Only habit sustained me. I prayed I would make it to the finish line in one piece.

    I started slow and got slower. By 25 miles, I was passed by people I had never met. At 38 miles, I couldn’t even lift my legs to run… downhill. I dropped at the 42-mile aid station. Riding home, I told my girlfriend I was finished with running ultras. We rode home in silence.

    I did nothing the first two weeks after the race, hoping this situation was temporary. Then on a Sunday 10-mile run, I struggled to keep up with my friends. The next morning I woke up completely poisoned, hung over with a migraine headache. That was the last run I went on for over nine months.

    In the immediate aftermath of the meltdown, I struggled with overwhelming fatigue. Dragging to work, I would sleep heavily in the car at lunchtime. My weight ballooned from 155 pounds to 180, where it hovered, and then began gaining even more. I went through a succession of doctors who ranged from clueless to mendacious. I got blood tests from a lab noted for its venality. One doctor was convinced my thyroid was dying, and eager to put me on Syntheroid—his Rx pad at the ready for my lifetime commitment.

    This overnight disaster was two years in the making. The main ingredients were a highly intensive training schedule between 1997 and April 1999, an excessively protein-lean and carbohydrate-rich diet, and insufficient rest. All it needed was a catalyst. The likely culprit was a food poisoning-type virus 72 hours before the Leadville 100. I recovered enough to run strongly and finish in 24:20:00.

    Then 1997 became 1998. I trained for the 1998 Wasatch 100 through a series of 50Ks, 50-milers, and long back-to-back runs on weekends. My average peak mileage was about 100 miles per week. This was consistent with every other training year since December 1992.

    I finished the 1998 Wasatch 100 in 28:17, far better than my 1992 finish of 33:30. Afterward, rest never seemed to help. I began taking presumably natural animal-gland supplements, courtesy of the sports massage clinic I had been going to. The supplements were weirdly toxic and served only to make my quads bulk up like the Incredible Hulk, and the attendant virulent flatulence smelled like burning tires.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Going Very Long in Detroit

    The 10th Oldest Marathon in America Celebrates Its 30th/45th Anniversary.

    by Dr. Edward H. Kozloff


    This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Detroit Free Press International Marathon. However, the roots of this race reach back another 15 years to 1963. That year marked the fifth season of the Michigan Road Runners Club. The group had organized in 1959 to fill a void in local amateur athletic long-distance running events.

    From its beginning, the club held a host of events each year and by 1963 felt that it was ready to conduct a marathon. The event was held on Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park in the middle of the Detroit River. The course was considered fast; each flat lap of the island was 5.4 miles long. The entire marathon distance involved approximately 4 3/4 laps. This event would continue to be held on the island for the next 15 years.

    The inaugural race was held on Thanksgiving Day 1963, when 23 hardy souls paid 50 cents each to attempt the classic distance in cloudy, mid-40-degree weather. The eventual winner took an early lead, which he maintained throughout the race. At the finish, Bob Berger, of Lincoln Park, Michigan, clocked 2:32:50 and was one of only three contestants who cracked the three-hour barrier. Twelve finishers were able to complete the race in time to arrive home for their turkey dinners. Eight race officials were on hand, including race directors Fred McGlone and Frank McBride. McGlone had finished in eighth place or better in the three Boston Marathons he ran in the early 1940s and was the national marathon champion in 1942. McBride, Wayne State University’s track and cross-country coach, had finished seventh in the 1,500-meter race at the 1952 Olympic Trials.

    For the second race, in 1964, the size of the field and the number of finishers expanded to 33 and 24, respectively. The winner of the race was Scotto Gonzales, of the Boston Athletic Association, who finished in 2:44:46 on a cloudy day in mid-30-degree temperatures. The first 10 runners broke three hours, and only three of the finishers exceeded the four-hour mark.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Running With the Hanson Brothers

    Based on the Successes of the Old Greater Boston Track Club, the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project Produces Results.

    by Tito Morales

    Neither has medaled in international competition. You haven’t seen either of
    them pictured on the cover of the sport’s most prominent publications, nor
    will you be able to locate either of their names on any national ranking charts.
    In fact, if you ever caught a glimpse of them training along one of their favorite
    routes in and around Rochester, Michigan, you would be hard pressed to single
    out either one of them as being little more than talented recreational runners.

    But anyone who has followed the careers of Kevin and Keith Hanson understands
    that the two brothers have been as responsible as just about anyone else
    for the recent resurgence of elite distance running in the United States.

    It was the Hansons who drew a line in the sand when the United States was
    mired deep in the throes of abysmal performances at the international level and
    essentially said, “Enough is enough.” It was the Hansons who made the commitment,
    financially and otherwise, to help return our top runners to prominence.

    And it was the Hansons who breathed new life into the concept of group training,
    which has directly paved the way to the success of not just the athletes on their
    Hansons-Brooks Distance Project team but also of runners such as Meb Keflizighi,
    Deena Kastor, and a slew of others.

    The Hansons have helped to make distance running relevant again. They’ve made
    the marathon a cool distance. And they’ve done it all with an enthusiasm that still
    glows as brightly today as it did when they first took up the sport as youngsters.

    Continued online and in our September/October issue…

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    Running With Sam

    It’s Not Easy Keeping Up with a Guy Who’s Busy Running the Country.

    by Cory McCartney

    For six miles, I stayed in stride and held my own. Ultramarathoners Sam Thompson and Dean Karnazes led the way, but I was keeping pace. I felt like I could go the distance and stay with these two for the entire 26.2-mile jaunt through the streets of Atlanta. But then it happened: out of nowhere, the two seemed to find another gear. As I slowed to a more pedestrian pace and watched them devour the pavement, it hit me: this was Thompson’s 43rd marathon—in 42 days (on one day in D.C. and Maryland, he ran two within an 11-hour period).

    About 10 of us had gathered outside of Underground Atlanta to run on a Friday morning in August—at 6:00 A.M. Clad in running shorts and microfiber shirts, we milled around, waiting to join Thompson on his traveling marathon tour. But I soon realized I was out of my league. On hand was Joe Bowman, who has run 50 marathons in 50 states in under three hours (a quest that took 5 1/2 years); Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man, who famously ran 350 continuous miles; and me, a four-hour marathoner.

    But this wasn’t about times, accomplishments, or stature—it was about the cause that Thompson has thrown himself into, a trek of 51 marathons in 50 states in 50 days he took head-on, 26.2 miles at a time, to raise awareness and funds for the Katrina-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Terry Versus the Marathon: Round Three

    I Must Be a Glutton for Punishment

    by Terry Moore

    Hey! Remember me, the kid who wrote that awful New York City Marathon report a year ago? Well, I caught the marathon bug, ran the Boston Marathon, and then signed up for Chicago. I was humbled in New York and Boston by the distance and was hoping to run a strong and consistent race in Chicago. I ran a strong race and was consistent when it counted, but don’t expect the same performance by this race report.

    My training for Chicago was very short and sporadic because of a half-Ironman triathlon that I finished at the end of August. I had exactly eight weeks from race day to race day, and since biking and swimming were my main priorities during my triathlon training, the next five weeks were going to be hell on my legs.

    I followed the Darryl Strawberry Marathon Training Plan, one of the lesser-known training plans nowadays since most people follow those of Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and Pete Pfpfpfpfitzinger. The Darryl Strawberry Training Plan, for those of you who don’t know, is one of short periods of great training followed by consistent periods of underachieving, oversleeping, and cocaine. OK, maybe not cocaine, but the rest was true. At the height of my training, my junior year of college and work schedule were draining me completely. I had no desire to wake up at six in the morning after being up until midnight doing schoolwork, and running after school and work seemed just as bad, since it meant I’d be up even later doing my homework. Thanks to breaks between classes, I managed to get in as much running as I could. I somehow managed to complete two runs of over 20 miles in my last week of intense training. I was so burned out by the time tapering began that I was doubting my goal time and even worried about finishing.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

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    A Wicked Hard Challenge

    A First-Time Marathoner Runs Maine’s Mount Desert Island Marathon.

    by Jamie Anderson

    Many marathons advertise that they have a fast and flat course and are therefore a great Boston Marathon qualifier. The Mount Desert Island Marathon (MDI Marathon) is perhaps the antithesis to that line of thinking. Its race organizers make no secret that they feel a marathon should be challenging, and, thus their course traverses countless hills as it meanders along the island’s rugged coastline from Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor.

    While the course is demanding, it is also scenic. Mount Desert Island is located off Maine’s northern coast and is a popular tourist destination. The marathon runs through some of the best the island has to offer as it dashes in and out of scenic coastal towns and Acadia National Park. The race also takes place in mid-October, when autumn foliage is typically at its peak. The vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows dotting the mountainsides on one side are in sharp contrast with the crashing waves of the dark, foreboding Atlantic Ocean on the other.

    This sounded very attractive, so I trained all summer after registering. It would be my first marathon, and I wanted it to be epic.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Lance and Me

    The Opportunity to Run with Lance Armstrong at NYC Was Too Much to Resist.

    by Gary Allen

    I caught up with Lance Armstrong on the downside of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge around mile two. I was going a bit faster and suddenly was faced with a damn tough decision. I figured some opportunities are just too good to pass up, and I had a pretty major one right in front of me. I thought to myself, Should I pass right by him, or should I slow down a little and run with someone who is arguably the greatest athlete ever?

    As I pulled up along his right side, I said, "Welcome to marathon running, Lance. It’s great to have you join us."
    He said, "Thanks."

    I went on to say, "You’re with the group you need to be to break three hours." I knew from reading the Lance article in Runner’s World that his goal was to break three hours and figured I would do what I could to help him.

    I guess my spoken words answered the silent question I was now asking myself. I was in fact going to put my all-out race plans on hold as long as we were at or under three-hour pace and run with Lance.

    I glanced around to make sure I wasn’t merely in the way but was a useful part of the rolling party. The guy wearing black in front of me with a very familiar stride turned out to be none other than Alberto Salazar, New York City Marathon champion and running legend.


    I also spoke to him. I mentioned that I was hoping to notch my 43rd sub-3:00 and that I felt Lance was right where he needed to be. Hearing this, Alberto said to Lance, "Did you hear that this guy has run 42 sub-3:00s?"

    On the other side of me, wearing yellow, was German Silva from Mexico (also a former New York City Marathon champ). As the miles went by, I had many interesting short conversations with Lance and his pace team.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Running With the Kenyans

    Sometimes Fantasies Truly Do Come True.

    by Dan Stumpus

    It was Tuesday, my tempo workout day in the Hollywood Hills. I creaked out of the car and hoped I would run well as I walked to the trailhead. On my way, a van pulled up and disgorged two very thin, very dark gentlemen wearing identical stylish warm-ups. The driver got out and waved vaguely in the direction of the trail, then drove off. Since the 2005 Los Angeles Marathon was that Sunday, I had a hunch why these men were here. As I approached them, they asked about the trail; I told them it’s a fairly flat five-mile dirt bridle trail, and that I was going out five miles and then turning up into the hills.

    "Are you guys here for the marathon?"

    "Yes. Are you running in it?"

    "No. I haven’t run a marathon in 18 years, but I did run Boston in 1980. Back then I could run in the 2:30s, but at 53, I just run ultras now."

    "You sure don’t look it!"

    "Thanks. Where are you folks from?"


    "Do you mind if I try and run with you for a while?"

    "No problem; we’re just going easy for an hour."

    The three of us started jogging, and I was struck by how slowly they started out. I start out easy for a few minutes, but we were barely doing 10-minute miles. Nor was there any stretching—just a couple of arm swings, and we were off. Even at this speed, it was clear that they were very light on their feet.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    Special Book Bonus

    Flanagan’s Run
    by Tom McNab

    Part 2. The Scottish Trans-America Trials Produce a Hero.

    This installment is continued in our September/October issue…

    Volume 11 | Number 6 | November/December 2007



    Run Under Control

    For many a runner—especially a long-distance runner—learning to run
    under control (that is, with self-control and discipline) is more difficult than
    the training needed to be able to race in the first place. How many runners
    have you heard use the phrase “I run like I feel”?

    How often does running as you feel get you where you want to be as far
    as a time goal in the marathon goes? The marathon is a race designed for
    the patient, disciplined, under-control personality.

    There are various lures embedded in the marathon that can guarantee run-as-you-
    feel runners a disaster every time they line up at a starting line.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    Strangers in Our Midst

    On a February morning two years ago, I headed out for an easy five-mile run. Snow was in the forecast and a few flakes had already fallen, but not enough to cover the ground. The temperature was a degree or two below freezing. There was no wind.

    In short, conditions were about as mild as they get in winter here in the Inland Northwest. No slipping, no stumbling, no frozen face. Within five minutes, I was comfortably warm and moving with ease. After months of struggling to regain fitness following double knee surgery, things were falling into place. Even the weather was cooperating.

    As I trotted through my morning rounds, I checked my watch at a few checkpoints along the way. I was running faster than I had two weeks, even a week earlier, and it felt effortless. I wasn’t quite experiencing the proverbial runner’s high, but it was still an uplifting morning-comfortable, light footed, and with weather that was trending toward spring. I don’t typically smile when I run, but it was tough not to.

    Then, in the final mile, I passed a woman who was stepping gingerly toward the front of an office building. She looked up, watched me pass, and blurted out her surprise.

    "You’ve got to be kidding me," she proclaimed, and hurried on toward the door.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

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    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by Andy Mathews

    LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, October 6, 2006—On Saturday morning, I started a race called the Arkansas Traveller 100 (AT 100) outside Little Rock. This race was my seventh 100-mile footrace and my third in 2006. In every way, this race was different from any other.

    First: I kept a running log chronicling all of my workouts for three months leading up to race day.

    Second: I constructed and used a training program that combined advice from elite runners and the experience from my previous ultras. Normally I just run. Granted, I run a lot and I take care to schedule key workouts, but it’s not a really formal thing. For this race, I actually took the time to fashion a plan. My running program was carefully planned out and written down for the 16 weeks leading up to the race.

    Third: I trained very hard. I averaged about 85 miles a week in the Florida summer heat while preparing for the race. I gave up everything in life except work (and as a schoolteacher, my work started only two months before the race) and the thought of success.

    Fourth: The USA Track & Field’s Florida region named me the Florida Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Runner of the Year, an award I didn’t believe I deserved. My overwhelming desire was to prove that those people who had been kind enough to give me the award were correct. I won’t play modest. I know that on race day, I’m pretty tough. I’ll give the race everything I have, but racing isn’t just race day: it’s also training and talent, and I have doubted my toughness in training, and I know many runners who are more talented.

    Fifth: My confidence was at an all-time low after a 32-hour finish at the Bighorn 100 in June 2006. Logically, I knew this was the hardest race I had ever done, and I usually don’t handle altitude well. But, I had put on some weight before the race, and I had skipped some workouts, and I knew that I couldn’t blame the course for everything. It was my worst race, and it zapped my confidence. While training for Arkansas, I mocked myself with Bighorn in my mind: "Yeah, Florida’s trail walker of the year!" "Come on, fat a**, they should come and take my award away!" I was not kind to myself. Letting myself off the hook for a subpar performance wasn’t written into my training plan; however, atonement was in that plan.

    Last: My mom had passed away on June 11, just two days after the Bighorn 100. God was kind enough to give me one last conversation with her on the morning of the day that she passed away. She died knowing that I was safe, that I had finished my race, and that I loved her. She never understood ultrarunning, but she loved me and cheered for me nonetheless. Mom died a few days before I received my Florida award; I know she would have been proud and probably a lot less surprised about my getting it than I was. Many times when I ran, I thought of my mother and how she would have loved to be able to run like me. Mom battled a chronic lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and couldn’t walk down the hall, much less run an ultra. There were times when I ran for her, and I wondered how I would react mentally and physically without being able to run for her as well as for myself.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    I want this issue delivered right to my house.

    Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

    Where the Memory of Death Celebrates Life.

    The moments leading up to the start of a marathon are fraught with emotion. The emotions that bubble to the surface of a marathon starting line are typically colored by the style and intent of the particular marathon. The start of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon is lively, frantic, and upbeat. The start of the Avenue of the Giants Marathon among the towering coastal redwoods is calm and reflective.

    Then there are the somber starts. The Marine Corps Marathon starts near Arlington Cemetery. The New York City Marathon of 2001 started within sight of the 9/ll horror. And the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon starts in the predawn next to the Survivor Tree that continues to flourish across from the site of the Murrah Building that was bombed on April 19, 1995. Just before the start of the annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, the field stands quietly for 168 seconds of silence and prayer.

    One hundred sixty-eight seconds doesn’t sound like a lot of time when placed against the 86,400 seconds in a day. But as runners stand in the chilly, rising dawn, 168 seconds to honor the memories of the 168 victims of the Oklahoma City bombing are at once exaggerated and over in an emotional, gooseflesh moment. The sound of sniffles is all you can hear.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    Joe’s Journal

    Stop the Music?

    by Joe Henderson

    Just when I think I’ve seen everything, along comes something new. I was stretching after an early-morning run when another runner passed by. Nothing unusual in that, since my hometown swarms with runners.

    I greeted him with a "Good morning," as is my habit. He said nothing in return, didn’t even look my way, which wasn’t surprising given that he wore an iPod.

    Nothing unusual there, either, as the runners with their ear holes not covered are the oddity these days. What set this man apart was that he also was reading a magazine as he ran.

    This was the most dramatic case I had seen so far of input overload. As if the sights and sounds of running weren’t enough to occupy him for a little while. As if he couldn’t run without these distractions from the distasteful task at hand.

    Continued in our November/December issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: I’ve heard recently that too much running (or too much exercise in general) can compromise the immune system and open a person up to various forms of cancer. What do your Science Advisory Board members have to say about this concern?

    Our experts answer this question in our November/December issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are David Kleeman, Dean Karnazes, Ed Kozloff, Rachel Toor, and Laurie Gordon.


    The Persistence of Long Slow Distance

    There are very good physiological reasons why going long and slow pays off.

    by George Beinhorn

    It’s an idea that refuses to die—and little wonder. It has won the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, set a women’s world marathon record, and made marathoners of millions.

    Known by varied names—long, slow distance, run-walk-run, jogging—it has been passionately despised, blamed for any number of ills. Yet the notion of training slowly to run has almost mystical endurance.

    Can slow running actually make you faster? The short answer—you know it—is yes and no. Certainly, slow running can improve your speed, but only if you’re running high mileage (it may take 70 to 100-plus miles per week). It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get faster if you’re just jogging 30 miles a week.

    In her book, Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth About Exercise and Health, New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata describes a study on trainability in elderly subjects, conducted by exercise scientist Claude Bouchard at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Bouchard found that 10 percent of his subjects had bodies that were extremely trainable, while 80 percent responded across a spectrum of average trainability, and 10 percent had bodies that, in his view, weren’t trainable at all.

    Assuming the results are valid for other ages and that you’re among the blessed top 10 percent—gifted with awesome speed and exceptional VO2max and biodynamics—you may that find slow-paced, low-mileage training brings rapid gains. But that’s because you were born to run, not because of the way you’re training.

    You’ve probably met people like that—those top-10-percenters who can run spectacular times on virtually no training, and who, once they take up the running in earnest, thrive on high mileage.

    Try not to hate them.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

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    Taper Mao-Ness? The Beijing Marathon

    The race wasn’t exactly a tour of the city’s high points.

    by David Kleeman

    I had no intention of running a fall 2005 marathon. In fact, "rest" was my running group’s overwhelming advice when I posted that I would miss the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon because of an opportunity to go to Beijing, but that maybe this was a blessing as I had been feeling on the edge of injury. Overwhelming, but not unanimous: one teasing reply noted that the Beijing Marathon was just two days after my conference. Was it Oscar Wilde who said, "I can resist everything except temptation?"

    When I found the Beijing Marathon Web site, I was pleased to discover that it offered a half-marathon as well. If all I wanted was a chance to run the streets of a new city, that would be sufficient. Through the summer, that’s where I was headed, keeping overall mileage over 30 per week, but with no long runs over 13.1. The rest was doing me good, and the aches and strains I had been suffering receded.

    Anyone who has followed my marathoning career could predict what would happen. As the trip neared, I began to think, If I only run 13.1, I’ll miss half the city. I tried the concept of running the full monty on my wife. No one could have been less surprised. "Of course you are," was her only reply.

    I ran one 20-mile LSD to be sure I could handle the distance, and, yikes! The entry deadline was just a day away, and there wasn’t exactly online registration. You could file your intent to run but had to wire the race fee to a Beijing bank by the deadline or be locked out. I raced to the bank, and was told it might get there in time, so I sent a pleading e-mail to the organizers not to banish me. Fortunately, a confirmation message arrived a few days later. I was in!

    It’s not easy to research a race in such an unfamiliar place and culture. The race Web site bore some resemblance to the instructions in a China-made electronic gadget. Could the organizers really mean that they serve tea at the aid stations? The course map was overlaid on a Beijing map in Chinese characters, so I struggled to figure out whether the start and finish were anywhere near my hotel. All I knew was that the race began in the infamous Tiananmen Square and ended at the Olympic Sports Center (not the new, 2008 one).

    MarathonGuide.com had wide-ranging reviews about the race, but most agreed that the organization left much to be desired. Some praised the flat course for Boston qualification; others cited early crowds and late water shortages in flameouts. One recurring and worrisome comment concerned below-standard sanitation. I’m not a fussy man, but I had been warned about China’s squat toilets even in modern buildings. If U.S. race porta-potties were on the low end of my acceptable scale, what would Beijing’s offer?

    Still, I kept telling myself, you can always drop out at the half, or the 10K, or the minimarathon distance of 4.2K (get it?). You can walk, you can catch the sag wagon: this is purely for the experience.

    And so, I was off.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    50 Marathons & Beyond

    What to do, where to go, after the goal has been reached? A coda to 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.

    by Dean Karnazes

    Look, that’s him, he’s right there."

    "Who?" I asked the race official.

    "You were within a minute of him," he said.

    "Within a minute of who?" I repeated, puzzled.

    "Lance Armstrong!" he blurted.

    We were standing at the finish line of the 2006 ING New York City Marathon. I had just crossed the line, fairly pleased with how the race had gone. Not that 3:00:30 was all that fast. Though, as my 50th marathon—in as many days, in as many states—it seemed acceptable.

    I thanked the official, "Do you know where to get out?" All I wanted to do was find my family. They had been with me the past 50 days, and it had been the ultimate road trip.

    "Yeah, you can get out over there," he pointed, then added, "Dude, that was insane, you almost passed him."

    Finishing ahead of Lance Armstrong was the last thing on my mind; the only person I wanted to beat was P. Diddy. Not to take anything away from the man, P. Diddy that is—I greatly admire him for being out there running a marathon—it’s just with all that hardware around his neck and those huge rings he wears, it would be somewhat deflating if he finished in front of me, even after 50 marathons.

    There was a great celebration that evening (P. Diddy never made it, he was recovering). The 50-marathon expedition was complete, and it had been beyond everyone’s expectations. Thousand of runners, young and not so young, had joined in and run alongside me across the country. It was a roaming marathon tour beyond our wildest imagination. Every day we were surrounded by remarkable, energetic people, in all 50 states of this great nation.

    The event had been five years in the making, required untold amounts of planning and preparation, and now it was over. The support crew, which had become like family, dissipated, my wife and kids flew back home to San Francisco. I couldn’t go with them because the "The Today Show" asked me to be on the next morning. After the show, I found myself sitting alone in a hotel room in NYC, feeling empty. It was done. There was finality to it, and I was unprepared. What now?

    Continued in our November/December issue, and also online.

    Leaving Las Vegas

    You need a GPS to run around Sin City.

    by Rachel Toor

    I used to think it was cheating. Then, as is often the case with the things we are morally opposed to, when I was on the receiving end, I changed my mind.

    A handful of years ago, for the first and perhaps only time, I trained hard for a marathon. There was a relay option for this race, so my friends Scott and Ralph teamed up—to get in an easy training run—and so that each could accompany me for half. Scott, our friend Stephen (who had also recently gotten serious about marathon training), and I breezed through the first half. Then, as expected, when the mile markers reached the 20s, it got hard. Ralph kept up not only a steady tempo but a patter of encouragement, support, and good stories. He helped me to my fastest-ever 26.2-miler and demonstrated the benefits of having a "pacer."

    Five years down the road, in 2006, I had become a semiprofessional pacer myself, having joined the CLIF Bar marathon pace team assigned to lead the 4:00 group. The year ended in December, in Las Vegas.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    My New Training Partner

    Can your marathon training be applied elsewhere in life?

    by Laurie Gordon

    As far as pregnancies go, except for some morning sickness in the first and third trimesters, mine wasn’t that bad—which I attribute to my running. As my belly blossomed and my hormones raged, running kept me toned and emotionally on an even keel. I ran, did NordicTrack, or walked every day.

    Running became more labored by the end, but I could still do a few miles at a comfortable pace.

    The morning of July 19, 2 1/2 weeks before my due date, I coached a client at the Newton [New Jersey] High School track from 8:30 to 9:30. It was the hottest day of the year, and during our mile warm-up, I was bothered by cramps. I figured I was dehydrated and was embarrassed that I couldn’t finish the mile warm-up with my female client. I had a break before my afternoon client, so I decided to combine getting some fluids and food with my errands and headed to Wal-Mart. The cramps persisted.

    Part way through my Wal-Mart shopping, it occurred to me that these cramps were getting worse and coming in cycles. I had never been pregnant before, so I hustled to the baby department, found a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and looked up "contractions." That was at about 10:00 A.M. Long story short: went home (still in denial); called my husband, who told me to call the doctor; called the doctor’s office, which said, "Get over here now!"; drove myself, now scared and timing the cramps at two minutes apart; got to the doctor’s, which got me in; water broke; husband arrived and rushed me to hospital; no time for epidural or anything; baby arrived 20 minutes later.

    Nurses of 20-plus years said the delivery was one of the fastest and most intense they had ever seen. Unfortunately, the intensity took its toll in the form of my blood pressure spiking dramatically, so much so that I was readmitted to the emergency room the day after I was discharged. I don’t recall the top number, but my bottom number was 125, and I nearly died of a stroke.

    For the next two months, I endured sleepless nights with a newborn that were accompanied by mandated high doses of blood-pressure medicine. Without them, my diastolic pressure was 90 or above, a far cry from my prebirth low in the 70s. I went to my cardiologist (who is also a runner) every few weeks, and he wanted me to stay on the medication. I hated how it made me feel; when I tried to run, I felt that the whole world was spinning.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

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    Motor City Marathoning

    Long before the Detroit Free Press Marathon, Detroit had another marathon.

    by Dr. Edward H. Kozloff

    This year marks the 30th running of the Detroit Free Press International Marathon. In reality, it is the 45th running of this event, which was begun in 1963 by the Michigan Roadrunners Club, now the Motor City Striders Running Club. For 15 years, the event was conducted solely by the Striders with no sponsors or financial aid of any sort. In 1978, the Free Press newspaper contacted the club and became the sponsor, renaming the event the Detroit Free Press International Marathon.

    This race is now the 10th longest continuously held marathon in the country. However, it is important and interesting to travel farther back in time and rediscover the beginning of Motor City marathoning.

    The year was 1920, and according to Spalding’s Official Athletic Almanac, four marathons at distances of 24 miles or more were held in America that year. This was a significant increase from previous years, for only one was held in 1919 and none the year before that. Races were canceled because of World War I, and only Boston held a race at that distance, consisting of a relay competition of 14 teams made up of servicemen.

    Marathons in 1920 included the 24th American Marathon (Boston), the fifth (though not annual) Brooklyn-Sea Gate Marathon, the New York Athletic Club Marathon, and the first annual Auto City Marathon in Detroit. All four of these events were used to select the marathon team for the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp.

    The first marathon run in Detroit, under the auspices of the Irish-American Club, was the Auto City Marathon. Harry M. Jewett, an old-time runner, refereed the event and donated the Harry M. Jewett trophy to the winner. This, one of the country’s earliest successful marathon races, began 58 years before the Free Press event and would continue for the next 10 years.

    The Auto City race was a point-to-point event, starting in the city of Pontiac, Michigan, about 25 miles north of downtown Detroit. The actual starting line was at the Pontiac courthouse, and the race proceeded down Woodward Avenue (which is designated in Michigan as Highway 1) and some side streets and finished at Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    Rush to New Orleans

    News of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation required a response.

    by Steve Wearne

    At times, you have to decide what your priorities are. I had been tracking the open spots in the entry list for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon for most of the summer; I’d run a relay with my wife at the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Hurley, Wisconsin; and I’d been boosting my overall mileage. By the end of August, I had decided on my priorities and I’d registered for the Milwaukee race. But things were not to be as simple as I’d made them out in my mind and according to my plans. That weekend, Labor Day, while I was listening to the weather reports concerning another storm in the Gulf, my carefully laid plans would be blown into tatters. No big deal, I thought at first; the Gulf has hurricanes, and we have snowstorms. But relatively speaking, we’re both so used to riding them out, that hurricane or snowstorm, it’s just another day.

    Then the unacceptable happened. News came fast; the New Orleans Saints wouldn’t be able to play any home football games this year! Total devastation had hit New Orleans and the Gulf States. Well, I convinced myself, you just have to set your priorities. In my part of the world, all was well; my name was on the list of runners accepted into the Lakefront Marathon, and I was ready to notch one more 26.2-miler on my belt.

    But in church that Sunday, Bob Breneman brought up the problem of the hurricane, and in response, a special offering was made to help folks affected by the disaster. But we had no idea what the most effective use of the money would be. A brainstorming session followed the regular service. We knew the problems in the Gulf were serious, but we still didn’t have any idea of the extent of the problem.

    A relief plan was put together; one of our congregation members is from Alabama, and his friends there told of a church that did good relief work. From our Christ Congregational Church of Rio, Wisconsin, to the Church of the Nazarene in Monroeville, Alabama, a relief effort was put together.

    Our relief plan was a go, but it had a long way to go before it could actually be called a "plan." We had no idea what we were doing, which, it would turn out, was just like FEMA. On Wednesday, we borrowed a trailer from the Assembly of God Church of Rio, packed it full of supplies, and additionally packed a pickup lent to us and driven by Delbert Curtis. We set our priorities, which were to do Something—and to do it sooner rather than later. We now had a plan!

    I went along as a driver, navigator, and financier—using my charge card to get 5 percent rebates on gas purchases; I would get repaid for the gas less the discount. We wouldn’t have to worry about carrying cash, and our gas fund would go just a little further.

    I have driven to running events all over the country, and my wife and I make a habit of finding nice campgrounds we can check into rather than using motels. I also collect maps, so with an atlas and a bundle of individual state maps, I would do most of the navigating. Delbert is retired from a job with the county; he used to drive a snow plow, so he is used to extended drives, although they usually didn’t require navigating. Jason Howie would go along and be left in Monroeville to work until we came to pick him up. We were lucky to find three people who could leave town on short notice. I made peace with myself that my running would be seriously curtailed while we took part in our delivering-the-goods mission; I might have to run the upcoming marathon by relying on the training runs my poor legs had been doing over the past decade or so—sort of like muscle memory.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    Rebuilding New Orleans One Stride at a Time

    Everyone is pulling for the Big Easy—especially marathoners.

    by Peter G. Weinstock

    My younger brother, Andy, and his wife, Marion, live in Metairie, Louisiana. From August to December 2005, they lived in a condominium in Houston, Texas, because of the evacuation of New Orleans. Their four children were scattered over three schools, and the six of them squeezed into two bedrooms.

    As soon as they could, they moved back to Louisiana. Only recently has the process of meeting with insurance adjusters, obtaining estimates, hiring contractors, and doing restoration work run its course. I decided to run the 2007 Mardi Gras Marathon because the proceeds are given to hurricane relief. Moreover, New Orleans needs tourists to bring dollars to the economy.

    My hope, when I signed up for the marathon, was that Andy would be able to run with me. Unfortunately, Andy’s 80 year-old knees on his 44 year-old body did not cooperate. The only marathon we had run together was New York in 2002. In the words of people from New Orleans, that marathon was "BK"—Before Katrina.

    The day before the marathon, Marion drove my daughter, Molly, my niece, Nancy, and me on a tour of Lakeview, Chalmette, and the Ninth Ward. The scope of the devastation was unparalleled in my experience: block after block of ruin. Interspersed with the flood and wind damage was destruction from fire. Apparently, when the power was initially restored, shorts in the system, downed power lines, and gas leaks caused infernos despite the ubiquitous water.

    Most shocking were the markings painted on the outside of each house. Searchers who looked for survivors did so on a house-by-house basis. They communicated whether a house had been searched and the results by spray painting the information on the outside of the house. In places like the Ninth Ward, the houses tell the story of whether there were survivors.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    What, No Porta-Potties?

    There’s more to a good marathon than fancy finishers’ medals.

    by James L. Doti

    There I was, at the appointed time, under the clock tower in Arusha, Tanzania, to run in the Mount Meru International Marathon. Said to be at the midpoint of Africa between Cairo and Cape Town, the clock tower is where the marathon information directed runners for the start of the race. But where were the porta-potties and thousands of people I had come to expect after running the likes of the Chicago and Los Angeles marathons?

    I saw only about 50 Kenyan and Tanzanian runners and a small band that inexplicably played music that sounded vaguely like Dixieland jazz. There were also a handful of nonlocals in racing garb. Seeing my puzzlement, one of them approached me and introduced himself as Don Harris, a sponsor of the marathon. He assured me that this was indeed the starting place and suggested I not worry about small things like porta-potties.

    He then proceeded to introduce the other three members of his relay team. I was startled when the last runner he introduced said, "You know me, Jim. I’m from Orange County. You even tried to get a donation from me for Chapman University."

    I did, indeed, know John Michler, a local engineer. Because I’m president of Chapman University, it’s not surprising that I had asked him to give to my favorite school. But to meet him like this in the middle of Africa was quite a shock. The poor guy must have thought my persistence as a fund-raiser led me to tail after him all the way to East Africa.

    It turned out that John, Don Harris, and the rest of his relay team are members of World Runners. They explained that this group raises funds to further the mission of its parent organization, Global Partners for Development, which provides educational opportunities and supports projects to promote self-sufficiency in developing countries like Tanzania. The team members would run the race knowing that they would be helping to accomplish things like providing educational opportunities for young people and developing clean water systems and nutrition programs for the villages.

    At this point, however, my attention was focused not so much on the valuable work of Global Partners and World Runners as it was on my competition. In addition to Don’s relay team, there were 50 or so lithesome African runners who all looked like they were easily capable of a sub-3:00 marathon. And then there was me, a relatively new marathoner, who at age 57 would be happy to complete the race in four to five hours.

    Because of my concern, I asked whether the stadium where the marathon ended would stay open for late finishers. They assured me it would and not to worry about it. "Don’t worry about the porta-potties, either," John added. "There are plenty of places to pee in bushes along the road. Just wait until you get out of town."

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    Icelandic Hipwreck and the O. Henry Factor

    It’s difficult to take the run out of the runner.

    by Bob Kopac

    As I gazed up at the cascading water of Dynjandi ("Thundering Falls"), I told my German friend Thomas Nuzinger "Der Blick ist schön" (The view is beautiful), and I wondered how long it would take the Icelandic Rescue Squad to arrive with morphine.

    My spouse Lynne and I were in Iceland on a two-week hiking trip with friends. We had scheduled the tour so that we would start with the Reykjavik Marathon races. Besides the marathon, there would be a half-marathon, a 10K, and a 3K fun run. Marsha Kramer, Thomas, and Lynne would run the 10K, and Ellen Kelly and I would run the 3K.

    A 3K may not seem like much to you, but it seemed like a marathon to me. It would be my first race in exactly 10 years. During that time, I had had two hip replacements, the last seven months ago, due to acetabular dysplasia, a hip defect that dogs sometimes have—thoroughbred dogs, mind you. My surgeon said, "Although we do not advise it, you can run, but there are so many ways to stay fit without running." Being a runner, I heard, "You can run." So I started training a month before the trip. Our friend Barbara Heiles met us at the track early in the morning, and I built up my distance. I was going to say "built up my mileage," but that would be an exaggeration. Besides, I would be running in a country with kilometers, not miles.

    I did work my way up to 17 loops around the track, and I considered running the 10K. That would be 10 kilometers in 10 years, or one kilometer per year. However, I began to encounter the O. Henry factor.

    My left toe was hurting, so I went to Doctor Doug Tumen, a marathoning podiatrist, where I learned I had hallux rigidus. That sounded like something from a Harry Potter novel: As Harry Potter ran, Lord Voldemort aimed his wand and snarled, "Hallux rigidus!" Harry immediately started to hobble as bone spurs overwhelmed his left toe joint.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    I like this magazine! How can I

    Research in the Marathon and Ultramarathon in 2006

    by Allison M. Iott, Elizabeth A. Loughren, and Michael L. Sachs

    Marathon & Beyond readers may be interested in research articles published in the past year (2006) on the marathon and ultramarathon. There were 885 references found using the key words "marathon" and "ultramarathon" in a SPORTDISCUS database search of 2006 publications. Some articles dealt with cycling, skiing, rollerblading, swimming, and canoeing; however, most dealt with running. Almost all of these articles, though, were in Marathon & Beyond or other related magazines/journals, such as UltraRunning (www.ultrarunning.com), or in more commonly known publications such as Runner’s World. Compared with 2005, there were more (37) articles of an "academic" nature, and these still may be of interest to Marathon & Beyond readers. Interestingly, there was a cluster of five articles related to what could be coined the "Lance Effect," articles pertaining to Lance Armstrong running the New York City Marathon.

    This feature will continue to be a regular annual service of M&B to its readers.

    Continued in our November/December issue…

    Special Book Bonus

    Flanagan’s Run
    by Tom McNab

    Part 3. And they’re off! On the greatest footrace in history.

    This installment is continued in our November/December issue…

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