Thursday, November 30, 2006

Competitive distance running - a dying sport?

When you read:

It is hardly difficult to understand why interest distance running has waned to the point where the appearance of a top American runner on the cover of Sports Illustrated, once a reality, is now unthinkable. The complete dominance of the sport at all levels and disciplines by Africans, especially Kenyans, Ethiopians and Moroccans, has destroyed interest in Western countries.

Every single one of the 73 fastest 10,000 metre times by men have been recorded by Africans. For marathons, the number is 45 of the top 50. At the 2005 World Championships, 12 of the 15 finalists in the men’s 5,000 metres were born in Africa. At the 2006 World Cross Country Championships, the first 16 finishers in the men’s long race were born in Africa, as were the members of 10 of the 20 teams. Many European countries no longer enter international competitions due to European dominance. African runners win races in Europe, North America and elsewhere in anonymity, known to most as a single uniform entity: “the Kenyans”.

What does that do for you?
Read the full article to get the whole story.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Physical Therapy Status

The knee seems to be making progress. It feels more normal now that it did a couple of weeks ago. I got to do 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer tonight. It was good for the first time. I am not sure I could do it for much more than that but currently I don't think that will be necessary.
May the roads/trails be kind to you!
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & Marathon Team relay

From the Hyannis email:

Registration for the 2007 Race is 200 ahead of last year at this same time for the 2006 Race AND the Four Points by Sheraton Hyannis Resort Hotel may sell out before the end of November 2006. It closed out the last week of December in 2005 for the 2006 Race.

The 2007 Four Points by Sheraton Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10Km & Marathon Team Relay will take place on the weekend of February 23-25, 2007 in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The Registration for all four races has officially opened up as of September 1, 2006.

There will be a Friday night fun run with 4-Time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers as your special guest including a post fun run cash dinner at the British Beer Company in downtown Hyannis, a Saturday Race Exposition at the Four Points by Sheraton Hyannis Hotel featuring many sports related vendors and associates as well as a Saturday night pasta dinner featuring Bill Rodgers as our special guest speaker and to cap off the weekend of running there will be four fabulous races on Sunday that offer something for all with a fantastic post race awards ceremony and party.

The event web site can be found here.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006


No turkey day run for me today.

I am thankful that the knee injury is not serious. The physical therapy sessions seem to be helping.

I am thankful that Carolyn wants to continue the new "tradition" of running the Best Buddies 5K in Brighton today.

We are both thankful that the weather is not as bad as they forecasted. It will be cool (but good for running) and damp (but not a down pour).

Last year, we left home in a snow storm to drive to the race thinking we would run in the snow. Alas as we got closer to Boston, the precipitation had changed to misty rain.

What are you thankful for today?

May the roads/trails be kind to you

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Embracing the dark side

Mark Iocchelli has a good essay on using the dark side to provide the motivation to develop and follow an exercise program.

How to Turn the Dark Side to Your Advantage

The secret—the “force” that will get you exercising is to embrace your fear of the dark side—the knowledge that by not acting today, you put your future in dire straights.

From the dawn of time we've been afraid. Afraid of starving, afraid of the elements, and afraid of being eaten up by stronger, faster predators. Fear is not a bad thing if it's harnessed properly. Fear helped us survive in the past, and it can help you survive in the future. Fear is the strongest force a person struggling with motivation will ever find.

Fear is your ally.

Read the full essay here and think about using fear as your ally


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Running with headphones - Yes or No?

Great summary of both sides on the debate over should you or should you not run with headphones?
My preference is not to; I prefer to listen to what's around when I run. I know of many who prefer to listen to music when the run, and run better when they do listen (than when they don't).
Join the discussion!
What do you think?
Should you wear headphones when you run?
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Knee update - there is an injury

The first physical therapy session today was a relief. While the previous doctor visits were short and perfunctory: X-rays - negative; MRI - negative. There wasn't even a confirmation that there was something there.
But there is, she saw and showed a slight swelling (fluid) not enough to do something about but there was an injury, more likely caused by the knelling than by running (which I suspected and expected).
The balance between the legs seems good, the left is slightly off from the right but that may be more due to post injury than to something that contributed to the injury. Whee!
So I have some exercises to do, four of them. A couple I am familiar with. One I actually can do while sitting at my desk at work. So we'll dig into those tomorrow.
In the meantime I am relieved. I really didn't expect it to be major but the two sets of negatives got me concerned.
Now, I can safely say I will concentrate on strength and stretching for the balance of this year, and look forward to getting back on the roads in January. That's my plan for now. We'll see how it goes.
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Revolutionary lessons for success

Frank Dell'Apa has a good article on Steve Nicol and the diverse team he has got together in the New England Revolution to bring to the MLS Cup Championship game today for the 3rd time in five years. The 29 players represent 12 states (within the USA) and 10 countries. Some of them do not speak English well. Steve Nicol is quoted:

"They talk about one language of soccer," Nicol said. "The common denominator is the game itself. The best way to communicate is by passing the ball well. Even if you have 11 players and none of them can say one word in the other person's language, they can all try to keep possession of the ball. You need finishers and someone to get tackles in and get the ball in behind the defense, but if everyone is passing the ball they will have an understanding."

Read the full article in today's Boston Globe Sports section here.

How did he do it?

"The really good teams have a core of guys and they pass that on to the others," Nicol said. "That is what we used to do. Each year they might bring in one or two new guys. You don't bring in a ton of guys, you have a core and add to it and go from there."

Craig Thornburg, the general manager for the New England Revolution says:

"What the players who have succeeded here have in common is that they love to play the game, and we have an amazing locker room. The players who haven't lasted usually don't fit into those categories. We used to hold on to guys even when the chemistry didn't work, and those issues have been well-documented."

Sounds easy enough.

  1. Love of the game
  2. Common language
  3. Build around a core group
  4. Respect for each other

Have you tried this with your team?


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Club runner question

For any of the readers who may be running for their club, what workouts do you hold during the week if any? How many nights do you get together?
Discussion is underway amongst the Pacers around the question: If we reduce the nights we run, do we see an improvement in attendance?
I think if we provide an option of two nights to run, folks (mostly 30-somethings with family commitments) will make one more than another. If you have only one choice, you may get some attendance but you won't guarantee an improvement.
And if someone is running a particular program and the day/night chosen doesn't fit their plan, you won't see them.
So there is a dilemma.
Can you help us decide?
I would appreciate your input. What does your club do?
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3 Pacers 4 Quarters

Three Pacers showed up for the track workout tonight. The penultimate track workout for the season. Next week will be the last Thursday on the track. The week after is Turkey day. The week after that, we start at Tri-County High School and do our "hill" workout through the winter.
The three who showed up tonight had not got together in a while so they had plenty to talk about and the warm up mile went quickly. The quarters were pretty much on steady pace except for one who wanted to bust it out a little. He got a gentle talking to as they warmed down.
The lights went out on the field as we finished the workout but before we finished our warm down, so the warm down got shortened.
A good night to run. Thanks for the company Pacers.
PS - I only did some walking and then kept their splits for the quarters.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Two down, PT Next

Well, let's recap quickly.
The left knee cap feels like it is slipping.
No pain but clearly it should not do this.

Rested full two weeks, no improvement with the next try at running.
See doctor, he orders x-rays.
X-rays show nothing unusual.
He orders MRI.
MRI shows nothing unusual.
He orders physical therapy (PT) as opposed to going in with a scope to find out.

Well PT is better than the scope for sure, but two tests show nothing.
I am not imagining my knee.

PT is scheduled for next Tuesday evening.
Same time I would have been running but I figure, since I am not running,
might as well use the time to help get back to running.

So we'll see how it goes.

Stay tuned for the knee saga!
Who knows what plot twist will occur next.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Exercise your right to Vote!

You can record it in your running log with double points for exercising your civic duty to vote!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Heart Rate Calculations, Continued

Mark Iocchelli continues his series on heart rate calcuations continued from parts one and two with this posting on how to calculate your maximum without killing yourself.
Keep up with this series, this is good stuff!
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

My kind of coach!

Yes, it is heartening to hear of a high school coach where the kids say:
"We have a really big team and everyone on the team is really enthusiastic, no matter how good they are," said senior co captain Chris LaPlante. "That makes it really fun."
Glowing praise comes from the Athletic Director:
Jon Kirby praised Kraemer for encouraging students to participate in a difficult sport.

"He's kind of the pied piper of it," he said. "It's a grueling sport and he just gets the kids to come. They work hard for him, and do well."

But the best one from me is not in the record that has been accumulated (it happens to be quite good in dual meets) but the following:
Whatever the final results of this season's championship meets, both Aigler and LaPlante said they want to continue running in college and beyond. "I think I'm a lifelong runner," Aigler said.
Aigler and LaPlante are the co-captains of this year's boys team at Medfield High School.
I have seen too many coaches go for the record and run their athletes to the ground. I would much rather see the record be whatever it is, and athletes develop to be their best and run forever.
Way to go Coach Kraemer! Keep up the great work!
The quotes are all from an article in the Boston Globe West section by Charlie Russo. Thank you Charlie for sharing this with the Globe readers.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quote & Link

From Mark Iocchelli at Complete Running Network
Let’s talk more about the very important connection between RHR and over-training. The lesson here is that you could be running better than ever, be well hydrated, getting lots of sleep, and still see your RHR rise. If this ever happens to you, it’s time to look at your training regimen to determine whether you may be over-doing it. A rising RHR could be an indication that you’re piling on too many high intensity workouts causing your body to fall behind repairing itself a recipe for poor performance and injury. That’s right, if your RHR is rising at a time when it should be staying constant or falling, you might be over-trained.

Read the full posting here.


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