Archive for March, 2009

Sweatbands are so pimpMy dad started running in the late 70s. He was doing it when runners got funny looks from motorists. Even friends rolled their eyes at his wacky affinity for daily exercise.

I think Ron Burgundy summed up the nation’s concept of running during the Carter era when he said: “I believe it’s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure, but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.”

Today, many of those “yoggers” are still on the road — looking fit — running fast — faster than I am in many, many cases. A lot of these folks have been at it for 30-plus years. They’re the evidence I offer naysayers who tell me I should stop or suffer the physical consequences.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on running after retirement.

Regular running slows the effects of aging, according to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine that has tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years.


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I found this one on Boxee, but I couldn’t embed it. It made that last mile so much … well … totally awesomer. Ignore Letterman’s not-so-funny intro.

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shinsplints-hi1Shinsplints — you know what I’m talking about (blogger points to random reader). They’re those persistent aches in the lower leg— a good indication that you’re running too much too soon.

I first encountered them when I was about 8 after a long day at Six Flags. I remember it vividly: I was in my mother’s Datsun, and I told her my legs had a “hangover”… not exactly an “out of the mouths of babes” moment– but I’ve never been accused of being profound.

Odds are I could have avoided that “delayed onset muscle soreness” had I stretched a bit before sprinting from the gate to the Dahlonega Mine Train, etc.

Can you picture a kid doing lunges or heel drops in front of a Funnel Cake stand to warm up before a day of frolic at the park?

Sure you can.

Here’s a good stretch with an unfortunate name to keep those aches at bay:

Pole PullsSet up a pulley or resistance band about waist-high. Stand barefoot on one foot next to the band, with a slight bend in your knee and your core muscles tight. Pull the band so that your hands are in front of your belly button and the band is parallel with the floor. Move the band slowly side to side, in and out, or in small circles. If you’re on the outside foot (away from the pole), the tibialis posterior muscle along the inside of your shin works, balancing you against the upper-body resistance. To strengthen the peroneal muscles on the outside of the shin, switch feet and stand on the inside leg.

Here’s some more stretches that may help. Pay close attention to this guy’s tree stretch:

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Far and Away

I’ve taken a few unexpected days off, here. My son has the croup. Sounds pretty old-world doesn’t it? I wonder if he’s susceptible to Beriberi or Whooping cough as well? You don’t hear about those guys much anymore.

Anyway, all of this time around the homestead has got me thinking about far-off running destinations. Sure enough, the eggheads at Runner’s World have a perfect little application for the transient athlete. Here it is: Races near you.

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PT Cruisers

Some runs are harder than others: it’s all about biorhythms. You need some significant stage-four sleep — not to mention an ideal cocktail of carbs, proteins, and various omega this-that-and-the-others. Skip out on any of the aforementioned, and your run will suffer. You know the run I’m talking about: You feel like you’re wearing ski boots, and you drank your weight in gin the previous evening.

Let me tell you about my last not-so-fun run.

I was probably in need of a rest day, but I didn’t take one for whatever reason. I was tired, and I tried to counter my fatigue with caffeine, which only made me angry; nothing like a grumpy runner hanging birds at motorists.

PXRMaybe it was me — maybe it was the world; but everywhere I looked — around every corner, there was an “effing” PT Cruiser — the car of the apocalypse. I couldn’t escape them; red PT Cruisers, hunter-green PT Cruisers, silver PT Cruisers. I spotted one painted like a Tabasco sauce bottle — BOOOOO!!

You know what the PT stands for? Personal Transportation. Clever? I repeat — BOOOOO!!

I knew a guy who bought one right when they came out. His name was Chris Kuzmich. After his misguided purchase everyone called him PT Kuzmich. Nice guy, ugly car.

Anyway, I took the multiple sightings as a sign to take a couple of days off. I did just that, and I haven’t seen a PT Cruiser since. Just kidding; they’re still all over the place, but a solid eight hours of sleep allows for some comedic perspective.

Maybe they’ll be kitschy, sought after relics one day — like the Gremlin or the Pacer. Still not too fond of them, though.

Have a PT Cruiser-less day.

UPDATE: I just went for a run — not a single Cruiser. Chryslers in general were pretty scarce. New automotive pet peeve: cars … collectively. Sure, I drive one, but you shouldn’t.

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Vacations make me anxious.

Alrighty, I’m getting down to brass tacks here — the straight dope. Throw a few more anachronistic sayings in there, and I’ll start this thing.

brianThe plot thickens with local runner Brian Tankersley.

How long have you been running?

If you ask my Mom, as soon as I could walk. I played sports all through High School and afterward I wanted something else to do. My first 5K I was in my early 20’s, but soon lost interest. I started running again on a regular basis about 5 years ago. I started running soon after my second child was born, with work, a newborn, and a 3 year old, I was pretty stressed. I thought going out for a run was better than going out for a drink.

Tell me a little about your favorite race.

My favorite race is also a great race for setting a PR. The St. Patrick’s Day race is great, the first ¾ mile is downhill and the rest is flat. The key to setting a PR is to be right behind the elites. The race has 4,000 runners and if you’re not up front you’ll get caught in the bottle neck in the middle, on a narrow part of the street. It’s also my favorite race because of the free beer afterwards and the parade. I also enjoy the Father’s Day race that GBMC sponsors, it benefits the NICU at the hospital. My oldest son was a preemie, so it’s close to my heart. Can I add that the worse race for me is the Baltimore Marathon, I’ve run/walked in it 4 times and it just kills me every time. Of course I will try again this year.

Baltimore’s a city of many many neighborhoods. Which ones do find the most appealing from a runner’s perspective?

I really enjoy running through a lot of the neighborhoods, but I think running down York Rd when it turns into Greenmount represents Baltimore and how one block either way is completely different. If running south just past Coldspring Ln, you make a left and you’re in a area that has seen its share of shootings. If you go to the right you’ll see multimillion dollars houses and Sherwood Gardens. I like running through most of the city- it gives you a different perspective than just riding past in your car. There are areas however, that I avoid.

The snow and ice can be pretty treacherous for a runner here. How do you cope when conditions are nasty?

I run year round, but if it’s really bad out, I have a bike trainer I can hook up in the basement. This past season I don’t think I went for more than three days without a run.

What’s a good spot for a PR run around here?

Besides the St. Patrick’s race, any race on the NCR trail. They have a marathon in November that a lot of people run to try to qualify for Boston.

Pronation, over or under — or are you one of the neutral chosen few?

I guess you could say I’m one of the chosen few — neutral.

Every city has a running Mecca. In some cities it’s a store, in others it’s a particularly nice course. What do you consider Baltimore’s running Mecca?

For a long time Falls Road Running store was the place to go, for some it may still be. I find Charm City Run to be the place to go, their website or store. I really think they put themselves out there to promote running. They have a kids race where everyone gets a medal, my boys ran last year. They’ve been in the local elementary school for a fitness expo. You can bring a pair of old shoes to the store and they’ll give you 10 percent off the purchase of new shoes. They ship the old shoes overseas to those I need. My wife likes it for the ladies night, wine, and discounts on everything in the store. Plus, they’re just really nice people.

Thanks, Brian.

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Gone Fishin’

gone_fishinFear not, loyal reader. I’m taking a little hiatus. I need to recharge the idea machine. A day or two should do it.

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