Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Tue, 03 May 2016 23:13:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Photos: The One-of-a-Kind Red Hook Crit 5K in Brooklyn http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-the-one-of-a-kind-red-hook-crit-5k-in-brooklyn_149756 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-the-one-of-a-kind-red-hook-crit-5k-in-brooklyn_149756#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 20:41:35 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149756

The Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn started as an unsanctioned fixed-gear underground bike race in 2007. It was an immediate success, and a

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The Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn started as an unsanctioned fixed-gear underground bike race in 2007. It was an immediate success, and a few years later race organizers started a 5K with similar charm.

The Red Hook Crit 5K took place over the weekend in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. It’s a small Saturday evening race serving as the undercard to the bike race, with runners doing a “crit-styled” 1K loop five times. The winners were Sihine Mekuria Abebe in the men’s race (14:45) and Hasso Hayato Zeineba in the women’s race (17:37).

Here are photos of the race, taken by Pete Thompson:

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Manipulating Carbohydrate Availability To Improve Running Performance http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/nutrition/train-low-on-carbohydrates_149720 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/nutrition/train-low-on-carbohydrates_149720#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 20:32:41 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149720

It’s hard to train in a perpetually bonked state.

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The dreaded bonk. Those who have experienced the physical shutdown of this energy-less state know how important carbs are to long distance running. It’s those stored carbohydrates, in the form of glycogen, that are primarily used by the body to fuel endurance exercise and because of that, ensuring adequate carb intake—i.e. carb loading—has become an important facet of training and a pre-race ritual for many athletes.

“Carb loading works and will continue to work. It works within a day,” says Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, one of the world’s experts in performance nutrition and author of Sport Nutrition: An Introduction to Energy Production and Performance. “We have known this since the 1960s that it is important to have full glycogen stores at the start of an important endurance event.”

But researchers wanted to go a step further: store carbs but also spare them by ramping up fat burning. Muscles then rely more on fat stores, a virtually inexhaustible source of energy for long-distance exercise, and save glycogen, lowering the chance of bonking. The body can only store enough glycogen for roughly 2 hours of exercise, but even the skinniest runner has enough fat to fuel over 100 hours of running.

Researchers began tinkering with carb availability, restricting carbs before exercise in an effort to force the body to “learn” how to burn fat as a fuel, a strategy they called “train low.” These attempts at using fat to stoke the fires of endurance exercise didn’t go too well, however. Despite the clear physiological changes found after training with low-carb availability, performance showed no improvement.

In fact, emphasizes Jeukendrup, most of the “train low” studies so far have been unable to show actual performance benefits. “Training low is something that does not work short-term (studies often show a reduced exercise capacity and lower quality of training when training low),” he says. It’s hard to train in a perpetually bonked state.

Realizing that the “train low” strategy lacked practical value, a team of researchers from France and Australia attempted to learn from past research and build a strategy that didn’t just work in the lab, but actually enhanced endurance performance.  In the study, presented in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, an experimental group of trained triathletes, termed the “sleep low” group, was given the following strategy: a carbohydrate-fueled high intensity training session in the evening followed by a low-carb recovery and overnight fast, depleting muscle glycogen for the night. The following morning, the athletes had a prolonged, moderate intensity training session preceded by a light, low-carb breakfast, forcing their glycogen depleted muscles to adapt to burning fat.

The control group maintained their usual carbohydrate intake over the day and tackled each training session with normal or high carbohydrate availability.

After the three-week study period had concluded, the experimental group showed a 73-second improvement in a 10K running time trial. And not only were they faster at race pace, the “sleep low” group became more comfortable at a lower intensity, improving exercise efficiency and decreasing perceived effort.

The researchers concluded that the “sleep low” protocol used in the study allowed the runners the best of both worlds—high carbohydrate availability for intense training during the day and low carbohydrate availability at night to spur the body to use fat as a fuel. “Our study provides evidence that periodizing carbohydrate availability around these training sessions is an important determinant of the performance results,” the study concluded.

But significant improvement or not, experts advocate caution in implementing the strategy during an important training or race period without first trying it out.

RELATED: The 10 Biggest Sports Nutrition Myths

“If done well, periodized well, dosed well and integrated well with training, the risks are minimal. But this is the challenge and this is where many make the mistake. These strategies are not intended for everyday use. Use them occasionally and strategically,” emphasizes Jeukendrup.

Dr. Stacy Sims, exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist, believes that while the results can be generalized to male runners similar to those studied, large scale testing needs to be performed before it can be recommended to all. “We can say that the men in the study most likely will have similar results on the road, and men similar to these dudes in the study may also have similar results, but we can’t generalize to older or younger men, and definitely not women,” Sims says.

Jeukendrup also believes that since this is the first study that has demonstrated a benefit from a “sleep low” strategy, the results should be interpreted with caution.

“I would use strategies like this (and other “train low” strategies) in a preparation phase,” he says. “Once athletes enter a competition phase there must be an emphasis on recovery and quality of training while minimizing risk of injury, overtraining and getting ill.”

For those that are interested in squeezing out every last ounce of potential performance, the “sleep low” researchers may be on to something. Manipulating carbohydrate availability along with training intensity during training has the potential to improve performance—just use it wisely.

RELATED: Carbohydrate Manipulation For Better Performance

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Beer & Running: Beer Brewed Just For Runners http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/beer-running-beer-brewed-just-runners_149609 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/news/beer-running-beer-brewed-just-runners_149609#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 19:54:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149609

The name "Sufferfest" is a tongue-in-cheek reference of how runners refer to a hard workout or a grueling race. Photo: Ed Grant

A look at how upstart beer brands are targeting thirsty runners. If you’re over 21, finishing a run and having a cold beer seem to go

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The name "Sufferfest" is a tongue-in-cheek reference of how runners refer to a hard workout or a grueling race. Photo: Ed Grant

A look at how upstart beer brands are targeting thirsty runners.

If you’re over 21, finishing a run and having a cold beer seem to go hand-in-hand nowadays.

From having a cold post-run beer at a running store fun run to brewery-sponsored races to the rise of beer mile races and even a running store that doubles as a bar (Shoes & Brews in Longmont, Colo.), beer and running seem to be inexorably linked.

Now several brewing companies are making beer especially for runners and other fitness-minded people. San Francisco-based Sufferfest Beer Company was launched recently by trail runners (and ex-Strava employees) Caitlin Looney and Alyssa Berman-Waugh. The upstart brand has two light and tasty runner-themed beers out so far—Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA. (Although technically not gluten-free, each of the beers have gone through a chemical process that breaks down gluten from wheat or barley and are referred to as beers “crafted to remove gluten,” according to the FDA.)

RELATED: Six Running-Themed Microbrews

The beers are available in pint cans and sold at liquor stores and select restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. The brand also ships product to 34 states.

“Sufferfest Beer caters to people who love beer and who care about what they put in their bodies,” says Looney, who suffers from gluten intolerance. “It’s not just for runners or cyclists or triathletes, it’s about us being authentic to who we are.”

VIDEO: A Running Store with 20 Beer Taps

Meanwhile, Ninkasi Brewing, from running-crazy Eugene, Ore., is taking advantage of its sponsorship of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials held in its own backyard in early July to craft and refine a rich, full-flavored IPA called Beer Run.

Ninkasi, started in 2006 by avid runner Jamie Floyd, brewed a test batch of the new beer in early March and then took it to 25 cities around the U.S.—including many known for great running communities such as Eugene, Boulder, Colo., Bellingham, Wash., Mill Valley, Calif., as well as bigger locales like New York City, Seattle and Las Vegas—to get input from runners. (Two-time U.S. Olympic middle-distance runner Andrew Wheating, a Ninkasi-sponsored athlete who ran for the University of Oregon in Eugene and continues to train there, kicked off the inaugural event there in early March.)

RELATED: NYC Marathon—5 Boroughs, 5 Beers!

The brewer used that feedback—largely gathered at happy hour fun runs—to tweak the beer before starting to brew the final production batches in mid-April. Beer Run debuts on May 1 and will be available in 12- and 22-ounce bottles, as well as on tap at select bars and restaurants, through the summer—and especially during the July 1-10 Olympic Trials in Eugene. Ninkasi will be served in the beer garden at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field track complex and at its Eugene brewing facility  a few miles away.

“This is our first beer that’s totally geared toward runners,” says Emily Halnon, Ninkasi’s marketing director. “It’s probably a little overdue, given that we’ve been around for 10 years in Track Town USA. We found there was a real need for a beer that celebrates running. Runners like a big, flavorful beer after they run, so we said, ‘Let’s brew that for them.’”

RELATED: Running on Beer

Developing beer for runners is not exactly a new theme, though. For example, prior to the 1984 Olympics, Anheuser-Busch developed a “low-alcohol” beer geared toward joggers and various fitness fanatics. Sales peaked at 300,000 barrels in the first year, but declined until 1990 when it was replaced by O’Doul’s non-alcohol beer. And in recent years, brands like Michelob Ultra have produced low-carb, low-calorie beer marketed toward active consumers.

With the recent boom of beer and running, these new runner-oriented beers—and others like them—could be here to stay.  On one level it’s all about marketing, but really it just comes down to merging things you love and sharing it with the community of runners, says Gina Lucrezi, who helped organize the Ninkasi Beer Run event at Boulder’s Flatirons Running store.

“Who doesn’t like a good beer after a run?” she says. “You’ve gotta rehydrate, right?”

RELATED: How to Run A Beer Mile

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Watch: 100-Year-Old Runner Sets World Record In 100m at Penn Relays http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/video/watch-100-year-old-runner-sets-world-record-in-100m-at-penn-relays_149751 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/video/watch-100-year-old-runner-sets-world-record-in-100m-at-penn-relays_149751#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 19:39:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149751

While Ida Wheeling finished last in the race, no one her age has ever run faster!

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Watch as Ida Wheeling, 100 years old, sets a world-record for 100-year-old competitors in the 100-meter dash for 80-and-older Masters runners at The Penn Relays in Philadelphia this past weekend. While Wheeling finished last in the race—she leaned at the tape and crossed in about 78 seconds—no one her age has ever run faster. Go Ida!

RELATED: Irish Runner Leads Relay Team To Victory With Crazy Kick!

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Injuries Suck—Here’s How to Make the Best of Them http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/injury-prevention/how-to-turn-injuries-into-opportunities_149686 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/injury-prevention/how-to-turn-injuries-into-opportunities_149686#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 19:33:04 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149686

Injuries suck. They are the horrible nightmares no runner wants to wake up to, be it from an accident or a product of overuse. Any medical

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Injuries suck. They are the horrible nightmares no runner wants to wake up to, be it from an accident or a product of overuse. Any medical setback throws a major wrench in training as well as sanity.

The good news is there’s a silver lining. Time off can serve as a rebalancing period to fine-tune mental toughness and focus and improve physical problem areas.

I wish someone told me that five years ago when my three-and-a-half year collegiate running career was cut short by redshirts, countless hours of cross-training and rehab, and the inability to train consistently.

Although I couldn’t get ahead of my injuries and wouldn’t have thought of my injuries as blessings in disguise at the time, those setbacks armed me with tools to become a better athlete, which I’m now reaping the benefits from as a marathoner.

There are many pros to your unfortunate injury con, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Be proactive and use this setback as an opportunity to revaluate your goals, improve your mental game and reignite your competitive fire.

Fine-tune mental drive and focus

Recovering from injuries is undoubtedly difficult, but it also gives you an opportunity to remember why you want to recover in the first place.

Why do you enjoy running? Why did you set the goals you have? Why is it important to you to achieve them?

These are all vital questions, as they are the reasons you do what you do every day. Take this time to reflect on them and realign yourself with their answers. It will refuel your desire to run, helping you persevere through the injury and appreciate running in a new light once you’ve overcome it. You’ll likely be more hungry to achieve your goals than you were before.

Rely less on the “schedule”

Sometimes we get so caught up in the little things–like our mileage plan, weekly training schedule and daily routines– that we forget why we’re doing them in the first place, or we panic when something out of routine happens.

It’s unrealistic to think you can stick to a set plan 100 percent of the time. You may not recover as well from a workout, not get enough sleep one week, or feel more fatigued than normal. Whatever the case may be, life happens and that’s okay.

Plans are in place to keep you on track, but remember they are fluid structures. They should ebb and flow according to your needs. So, be flexible and open to adaption; take it day-by-day. Doing so will also help you overcome adversity when it comes to race day. Because let’s face it, despite pre-competition visualization or training to accommodate for different race scenarios, there’s no telling how a race will go.

Listen to your body

The recipe to success is not necessarily a set quantity, consistently hitting your planned mileage, or always having workouts on Fridays and long runs on Sundays. It is being aware of your body, giving it what it needs, and trusting in the process. If you aren’t in tune with your body’s needs, you put yourself at a greater risk of future injuries.

Yes, motivation and dedication are excellent qualities to have as a runner, but it is just as important to know your limits. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself and training through aches and pains to hit your daily mileage or get through a workout.

Abnormal fatigue and pain are warning signs: your body telling you it needs recovery or you’re overworking it. The more you work on opening communication between your conscious mind and your body’s requirements, the better equipped you’ll be to avoid injuries and optimize your training and performances.

It takes some practice to know when your body is telling you to ease up and when you should keep pushing through. Are you tired or hurting simply as a result of having a good training day, or because you’re lacking proper recovery or you’re overtraining?

Often, simply stopping to ask yourself these questions can help you determine the best course of action. Other times it’s more difficult to tell, but conversing with a coach or training buddy can help you determine the answer.

“Recognize that most injuries are simply a temporary setback,” says Joseph Potts, a sports performance coach in Kansas City, “and can serve as a time of self-evaluation and progress where you can really work on your body and correct any individual weaknesses. Approach your rehabilitation and continued training with the same aggression and focus that you could use in competition.”

Beat your toughest competition

The biggest opponent is the one in your head. Come to grips with him or her through means such as meditation and establish a routine that will last post-injury. It will help you cope now as well as benefit your athletic performance later in numerous ways:

  • Focus: Something every runner can work on, and it will give you a competitive edge over your competition.
  • Cope with pain: Whether to help with the pain of an injury or the burn of a workout or race, runners are always dealing with something.
  • Mental Toughness: Be it self-doubt or dealing with adversity, being resilient will help you achieve your goals.
  • Reduce stress: Meditation is an effective option to help decrease some of the stress from being injured or other stresses in your personal or work life.

Just 10 minutes a day can go a long way.

An injury is a prime opportunity for athletes to exercise other cognitive implements, according to Vanderbilt Athletics Sports Psychologist and former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Dr. Vickie Woosley.

“The athlete would be able to spend time on techniques such as visualization, mental imagery, develop a strong mental toolbox of skills that are easily accessible for dealing with situations [during and outside of competition],” Woosley says.

She suggests athletes engage in talk therapy with a professional to learn how to best implement these techniques and to discuss fears, expectations, and what returning to a competitive environment may look like.

Harvest gratitude

It’s easy to get caught up in your routine when training. You put your head down and get it done. Each day is a checked box on your grand to-do list. Often times we’re so focused on the outcome, we forget to appreciate the process. Truly, “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone,” and time out of your routine makes this apparent. Recognize that every healthy day, whether an easy run or a tough workout, is another chance to do what you love and improve.

Have more time for other things

Look at the time needed to heal yourself from injury as an opportunity to reach out to family and friends who you otherwise had less time for when training. It’s the perfect excuse to reconnect. Fill your time with any and all people and activities that bring you joy, and the injury blues will fade away.

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Rejuvenated MBT Brand Returns With New Running Shoes http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/mbt-returns-with-new-running-shoes_149502 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/shoes-and-gear/mbt-returns-with-new-running-shoes_149502#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 18:45:42 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149502

MBT's 2016 running models (clockwise from bottom left): Zee 16, Speed 16, GT 16

The brand uses a rocker design to stand out.

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MBT's 2016 running models (clockwise from bottom left): Zee 16, Speed 16, GT 16

Now that the running shoe revolution has died down a bit, MBT, one of the original innovators, is back with a variation of one of its original ideas.

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, MBT debuted fitness walking shoes with a unique rocker profile. What’s a rocker profile? It’s a convex or outwardly curvy shape to the bottom of the shoe that creates a rolling sensation during a walking or running gait. In other words, the unique geometry of the underside of the shoe helps the foot immediately roll forward upon contact with the ground. The shoes gained notoriety and those who liked them swore by them. In fact, it helped spawn a trend, too. But some unsubstantiated claims related to the “toning shoe” fad circa 2009-2010 led to the downfall of the brand—and many others that made similar claims.

However, the premise of MBT—which originally stood for Masai Barefoot Technology in the brand’s original incarnation—was just as applicable to running and not just fitness walking when Swiss engineer Karl Muller conceived it. Rocker designs have emerged on several brands in the interim, including Hoka One One.

In 2013, a new organization bought the MBT brand out of bankruptcy and it has since been working behind the scenes to develop running shoes that utilize the rocker technology to serve up a soft, smooth ride. In March, it launched its first three models—the lightweight, race-ready Speed 16 ($110), the performance/cushioned GT 16 ($150) and the maximally cushioned Zee 16 ($170)—at MBTRunning.com and select running stores around the U.S.

MBT has made many types of casual dress shoes and lifestyle sandals, but the running shoes officially launched in early March. Although each of the three running models are distinctively different, each incorporates a rocker profile, a stiff nylon shank in the midfoot and a tri-density foam midsole that is softer in the heel, semi-firm in the midfoot and firm in the forefoot.

A few retailers think the new rocker-bottomed MBT running shoes could be an ideal solution for oft-injured Baby Boomers.

Competitor’s wear-test team has done preliminary testing with the shoes and has reported that the rolling sensation is very pronounced and creates a propulsive forward flow. Running in the shoes takes some getting used to—at least compared to what more traditional shoes feel like—but most our our testers appreciated the rocker concept once they found their groove. A few of our testers weren’t sold on the more thickly cushioned models, but the Speed 16 shoe ranked as the hands-down favorite.

“Each of the models is different, but they seem to distribute the weight more easily than most shoes. There are less pressure points that you’d find in traditional running shoes,” says Steve McCachren, footwear buyer for SageSport, which has stores in Boone, N.C., and Mt. Airy, N.C. “They have a unique design that seems to work well with a midfoot-striking gait or a slightly forefoot-striking gait.”

McCachren says SageSport has found that older runners and joggers who appreciate more cushioning trend toward the GT 16 and the Zee 16 models, while younger, faster runners seem to like the Speed 16.

Sue Orischak, C.Ped., a registered pedorthist and owner of Foot Solutions in Scottsdale, Ariz., agrees with the idea that the MBT shoes are ideal for older runners and walkers who might be suffering from a variety of foot, knee and back ailments. (There have even been studies to support that idea.) Foot Solutions was one of the original MBT dealers during its first incarnation and Orischak was eager to bring in the GT 16 and the Zee 16 this spring. She’s already sold through her inventory of those shoes and ordered more.

“With the aging of the (Baby) Boomers, there is a strong place that delivers the functionality and the soft ride,” Orischak says. “The stable rocker bottom helps off-load pressure from the lower back.”

MBT brand director Ken Ueda says the fact that the brand is offering something entirely unique gives it its best chance for success in a crowded running shoe marketplace. Ueda said the running shoes are off to a good start— 300 pairs of its running shoes were sold in its first two weeks and strong sales continued through the first two months. In the coming years, Ueda says MBT will roll out a stability shoe and a trail running shoe.

“We feel that we have a very impactful technology that really benefits walkers and runners,” Ueda says. “We’re trying to tell our story about being a new brand with new products, something different. In the running marketplace there is so much ‘me too’ product with similar types of foam with different names or stack heights. But with our tri-density construction, the nylon shank and the rocker profile, we feel like we have three unique things to talk about that really benefit runners.”

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6 Small Running Brands Making Big Impacts http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/6-small-running-brands-making-big-impacts_149628 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/features/6-small-running-brands-making-big-impacts_149628#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 23:01:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149628

A wave of entrepreneurial spirit is flowing through the running world.

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The running marketplace has been and still is mostly run by industry giants. Nike, New Balance, adidas, ASICS and similar brands dominate. However, smaller running-specific brands are entering the playing field with one-of-a-kind products, innovative ideas and quality, purpose-driven gear. They’re setting trends as opposed to following them. They’re expanding the definition of running. In this age of startups, we profile six of the most influential micro-level running brands and the entrepreneurs who founded them, and what they have to offer the sport that’s game-changing.

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Beer & Running: Running-Themed Microbrews http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/running-themed-microbrews_149614 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/running-themed-microbrews_149614#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 19:57:24 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149614

Numerous breweries have produced seasonal or one-off running-themed beers in recent years, including Pace-Setter Belgian-Style Wit

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Numerous breweries have produced seasonal or one-off running-themed beers in recent years, including Pace-Setter Belgian-Style Wit (Mavericks Brewing Co.), Blue Mile Extra Pale Ale (Flat 12 Bierwerks), Runner’s High-P-A (Lagunitas Brewing Co.), Tail Wind IPA (Big Boss Brewing Co.), 200-Meter IPA (Rogue Ales Brewery/Track Town Ales) and Marathon Blonde (Toner Brewing Co.). Those beers have all gone away, but the photos below depict six running-themed brews available now.

RELATED: Beers Brewed Just for Runners

VIDEO: A Running Store with 20 Beer Taps

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Photos: 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-2016-pittsburgh-marathon_149591 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-2016-pittsburgh-marathon_149591#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 17:35:33 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149591

More than 18,000 runners took to the streets of Steel City.

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Cloudy and cool temperatures with some rain welcomed more than 18,000 runners to the streets of Pittsburgh for the 2016 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday. Kenya’s Kipkoech Ruto won the men’s race in 2:17:27 and Ethiopia’s Hailemaryam Ayantu Dakebo won the women’s race in 2:42:47. A half marathon and marathon relay also took place.

Here are photos from the race, taken by P3R Photography:

 

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Photos: KiDS ROCK Nashville http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-kids-rock-nashville_149567 http://running.competitor.com/2016/05/photos/photos-kids-rock-nashville_149567#comments Sun, 01 May 2016 23:45:35 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149567

More than 3,500 future marathoners took over Nissan Stadium for Kids Rock Nashville presented by YMCA of Middle Tennessee. Local children

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More than 3,500 future marathoners took over Nissan Stadium for Kids Rock Nashville presented by YMCA of Middle Tennessee. Local children in kindergarten through seventh grade completed a marathon-training program, where they accumulated 25.2 miles over a four to eight week training period and then finished the final mile today on race day. The non-timed, non-competitive event has become synonymous with introducing the fun of fitness and running to kids for more than 15 years. Photo Credit George Walker

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Familiar Faces Win St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/familiar-face-wins-rock-n-roll-nashville_149562 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/familiar-face-wins-rock-n-roll-nashville_149562#comments Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:54:37 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149562

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There are certain guarantees in Nashville. Fantastic country music, sumptuous barbecue and Scott Wietecha winning the

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There are certain guarantees in Nashville. Fantastic country music, sumptuous barbecue and Scott Wietecha winning the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon.

A 34-year-old elementary school P.E. teacher from Hendersonville, Tenn., Wietecha won the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon for the fourth year in a row today, in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 42 seconds.

Brian Shelton of Cookville, Tenn., finished second in 2:34:43.

In the 201st race of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, Wietecha became the first person to win one of the events four times. Meb Keflezighi has won the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon three times.

Melanie Kulesz of Oak Ridge Tenn., won the women’s marathon in 2:59:12. Megan Hovis of Charlotte, N.C., took second in 3:04:52.

Roosevelt Cook of Hesperia, Calif., captured the men’s half marathon in 1:11:15. Julie Stackhouse of Jacksonville, Fla., won the women’s half in 1:22:17.

As if Wietecha didn’t have enough motivation trying to win the race for the fourth year in a row, Shelton gave him extra incentive. The two runners are friends and Wietecha didn’t find out Shelton was running the race until Friday night.

“He told me he was going all out, 100 percent,” said Wietecha. “Me? My preparation was like 85 percent. He was trying to be this sneaky little hobbit, stealing the dragon’s gold. All he did was wake up the dragon.”

At about 16.3 miles, Wietecha came out of First Tennessee Park, the minor league Nashville Sounds’ ballpark, as Shelton entered the ballpark.

“I knew I had about a two-minute lead,” said Wietecha.

He spent much of the remainder of the race looking over his shoulder, trying to spot Shelton, who was nowhere in sight.

“I didn’t want the guy coming in my back yard, stealing my thunder,” said Wietecha. “I didn’t want to lose in front of my (students). You’ve got to protect your home turf.”

Wietecha earned $500 for the victory, plus a $250 bonus for running under 2:26. His fastest time at Nashville is 2:22:41. His marathon PR is 2:17:02.

Kulesz, 24, was also a repeat winner. The former UNC-Ashville runner lopped more than five minutes off of last year’s winning time of 3:04:28. Her goal was to break her 2:58 marathon PR but after starting out fast enough she fell short.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Kulesz, who laughed, then added, “Actually, I know what happened. It got hilly.”

Cook, 36, flew in from California and won the half marathon for the second straight year. Afterwards, he watched age groupers finishing more than an hour after him, admiring their effort.

“We all celebrate the sport we love,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow. We’re all suffering. It’s all relative.”

The morning began with the runners getting drenched by a morning rain. The start was delayed by about 30 minutes because of the weather.

Of the lure to run on a damp morning, Nashville’s Latissa Hall, said “It’s the atmosphere, the excitement. Everyone being here. All the bands, the support.”

“And,” said her friend, 57-year-old Renee Buford, “to support St. Jude.”

Formerly known as the St. Jude Country Music Marathon, the event has been rebranded as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series for the first time in 2016 as the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. The musically themed road race attracted more than 30,000 entrants who took on the 26.2, 13.1-mile and 5K courses, while passing many of Nashville’s best live bands performing along the route. Nearly 300 runners took the Music City Challenge by running the 5K plus the full marathon or the half marathon. In addition, 3,500 junior racers will participate in KiDS ROCK Nashville presented by YMCA of Middle Tennessee.

During the marathon, thousands of St. Jude Heroes run for a reason, and this year, they hit their goal of $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Over the event’s 6-year partnership, nearly $8 million has been raised for St. Jude

On Saturday evening, the race continues the strong tradition of great music combined with the premier running event in Tennessee as The Wallflowers take the stage for the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series at the Bridgestone Arena featuring Marc Scibilia as their special guest.

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Photos: St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/photos/photos-st-jude-rock-n-roll-nashville_149543 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/photos/photos-st-jude-rock-n-roll-nashville_149543#comments Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:59:41 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149543

More than 34,000 participants weathered the rain and took to the streets of Nashville for the 17th running of the St. Jude Rock ‘n’

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More than 34,000 participants weathered the rain and took to the streets of Nashville for the 17th running of the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon. Returning champions, Roosevelt Cook in the half marathon and Scott Wietecha in the marathon, reclaimed their titles with finishing times of 1:11:15 and 2:25:42 respectively.

Credit: Donn Jones

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Puma Introduces ‘Raceable Tech’ With the BeatBot Pacing Robot http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/video/puma-introduces-raceable-tech-with-the-beatbot_149486 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/video/puma-introduces-raceable-tech-with-the-beatbot_149486#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:06:39 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149486

A training tool of the future?

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Introducing the BeatBot, a self-driving robot that can serve as a pacer—or a challenger—during workouts.

As you can see in the video above, Puma’s innovative robot can follow a line (like on a track) at the pace you can control. Think a mechanical rabbit for humans.

According to a Fast Company article, the BeatBot is only available to Puma-sponsored athletes and teams for now. But it could be a glimpse at a training tool of the future.

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Binge-Eater Turned Marathon Training Coach Loses 100-Plus Pounds http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/binge-eater-turned-marathon-training-coach_149479 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/binge-eater-turned-marathon-training-coach_149479#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 18:30:04 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149479

Kevin Collier (right) running last year's Chicago Marathon.

Kevin Collier, who is running the St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon this weekend, lost more than 100 pounds and became a marathon

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Kevin Collier (right) running last year's Chicago Marathon.

Three hundred and eighty-seven pounds. Kevin Collier might stand a sky-scraping 6 feet, 9 inches, but 387 pounds? And this is on a guy who weighed 170 pounds his senior year in high school, a guy who played football, basketball and ran track.

“I like to eat. I like to drink, and was pretty lazy is the best way to put it,” says Collier, 45, a middle school technology specialist in St. Louis.

Today, Collier is a sliver of his former self, weighing at 274 pounds. He’ll be among the 34,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes pounding the streets on April 30 for the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2.

“Running truly saved my life,” says Collier, who will be running his sixth marathon

So how do you go from 170 pounds in high school to 387? One bite of pizza at a time and one sip of beer at a time. Before he turned his life around, Collier says it was routine for him, four or five nights a week, to order a 16-inch pizza, garlic cheese bread, and a deluxe salad. Then, over the course of five to six hours, consume an entire case of beer.

At 24 12-ounce brews, that’s 288 ounces of beer.

“I wouldn’t throw up,” says Collier, who was also smoking almost two packs of cigarettes a day. “I could probably pass a field sobriety test. I guess I was blessed with a high tolerance level for alcohol.”

One day at work at a different technology job, Collier began feeling chest pains. His boss told him they needed to call 911. Collier declined, reasoning the feeling wasn’t uncommon, that it was probably indigestion.

That night he told his then fiancée about the incident.“We’re not going through with the [wedding] until you see a doctor,” she told him.

On Dec. 31, 2007, at 37 years old, Collier visited a doctor and experienced what he calls his “ah-ha” moment. The doctor told him he was pre-diabetic. His cholesterol numbers were shockingly high.

“It scared me to death,” Collier recalls. “More than anything, it was the first time somebody finally told me, ‘You’re obese.’”

That same day he signed up for a 5K nine weeks down the road, and found a running program online called “The Couch to 5K Running Plan.”

“I remember telling people, ‘Hey, if you want to come make fun of me and see the fat guy running a 5K, come out,’” Collier says.

Wearing high-top basketball shoes, Collier finished the 5K, and thus began a metamorphosis.“That’s when I was reborn,” he says.

Raw vegetables and salads began replacing 16-inch pizzas. He weaned himself off cigarettes, quitting completely seven years ago. Workouts combining walking and jogging shifted to just jogging.

He ran as many 5Ks as he could afford in 2008, stretching himself to a 10K later that year. In 2011, he ran his first half marathon. His weight dropped to as low as 262 pounds when he ran the Chicago Marathon last October, finishing in a personal best of 5 hours, 16 minutes.

“And I’m not done,” Collier says. He longs to drop his half marathon PR from 2:10 to sub-2 hours. He vows to break 5 hours in the marathon.

Now, Collier is paying his love of running forward. He’s a marathon and half marathon training coach at the Fleet Feet running store in St. Louis. He trains a lot of first-timers and at the beginning of programs, e-mails them an account of his story.

Last year at Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville, Collier helped train a woman, who was a St. Jude national fund raising coordinator, to her first marathon finish. This year, he’s doing the same for his girlfriend.

“I run the races with these people and every time I see them cross the finish line it takes me back to my first 5K,” Collier says. “There’s no better feeling than that.”

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Improve Your Diet—Don’t Replace It http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/nutrition/improve-your-diet-dont-replace-it_149372 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/nutrition/improve-your-diet-dont-replace-it_149372#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:44:36 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149372

Most runners, like most non-runners, don’t eat as well as they should. The minority of runners who do eat as well as they should reap a

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Most runners, like most non-runners, don’t eat as well as they should. The minority of runners who do eat as well as they should reap a variety of rewards, including better workout performance, faster post-workout recovery, lower body fat levels, and reduced injury risk.

If you want to enjoy these same rewards, you may need to change your diet. There are two general ways to approach this process. One way is to replace your diet with a new and better one. The other is to simply improve your existing diet. Both scientific and real-world evidence suggest that the second approach is more effective. In particular, recent advances in the psychology of habit change indicate that dietary modifications are more likely to stick if they build upon existing routines and preferences rather than replacing them wholesale, as most popular diets require.

Building Better Habits

A diet is simply a collection of eating habits. As everyone knows, habits of all kinds are difficult to change. Nevertheless, people succeed in changing their habits every day. What are the factors that account for these successes? One of them is what I like to call the principle of minimal disruption. According to this principle, a person is more likely to succeed in changing a habit if he or she changes it to the smallest degree that is necessary to achieving a goal. Applied to diet, the principle of minimal disruption calls for us to change our eating habits to the smallest degree necessary to achieve our health and fitness goals.

There is plenty of research showing that altered eating habits are most likely to last when they are least disruptive. For example, a 2007 study by Stanford researchers comparing the effects of four popular weight-loss diets with widely varying ratios of carbohydrate, fat, and protein found that long-term adherence was pretty good for subjects who were randomly placed on a diet whose ratio was reasonably close to that of their current diet and was abysmal for those who were randomly placed on a diet that required drastic changes in their accustomed macronutrient balance.

Of course, the diet you’re most likely to stick with is your current set of eating habits. But your current set of eating habits is not providing the health and fitness outcomes you seek. So you’ve got to change something. What, then, is the smallest degree of change that will do the job?

There are only two things you absolutely must do with your diet to get the results you want. The first is maintain high diet quality. This means getting most of your nutrition from natural, unprocessed foods from every major food group. The other thing you must do with your diet is eat enough to fully satisfy your body’s energy needs but not so much that you accumulate or fail to shed excess body fat.

These two musts leave all kinds of wiggle room. There is an almost infinite variety of different eating habits that fall within the parameters they establish. The likelihood of you sticking with a diet that obeys the two musts will be greatest if you exploit this wiggle room in a way that indulges your personal tastes and preferences, cultural norms, and lifestyle. The smart way to eat better, therefore, is not to trade your current diet for a one-size-fits-all popular diet but rather to measure your current diet against the standard of the two musts and tweak it as necessary to bring it up to standard.

If you were to pick up and skim through any given popular diet book, you would probably find that its author had absolutely zero interest in your current diet—what you like, what you don’t like, what agrees with you, and what doesn’t. Regardless of which specific diet is being peddled in the book, the underlying message is, “This is the way you have to eat. Abandon your current way of eating and start over with this diet.”

By contrast, in my work as a sports nutritionist, I ask clients lots of questions about their current eating habits and then I suggest specific ways to make them better, applying the principle of minimal disruption. I find this approach to be more humane, more pragmatic, and more effective.

The Cheeseburger Example

In large part, the process of improving a diet rather than replacing it consists of adopting healthier versions of preferred foods and meals. Take cheeseburgers as an example. Suppose you have a weakness for fast-food cheeseburgers and you eat them often, despite knowing full well that they are unhealthy.

Many popular diets would require you to give up eating cheeseburgers entirely. The meat patty disqualifies this food for vegans, the bun prohibits it for Paleo dieters, and so forth. But the principle of minimal disruptions allows you to continue eating cheeseburgers, requiring only that you make your own healthy ones at home instead of grabbing them at the drive-thru window.

A standard fast-food cheeseburger is made with processed beef, processed cheese, a white-flour bun, and nothing much in the way of vegetables. All of these foods are harmful to health. A healthy cheeseburger comprises a grass-fed beef patty, real cheese, organic tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles, and a 100-percent whole-wheat bun. All of these foods are beneficial to human health.

And I’ll guarantee that this healthier cheeseburger also tastes better!

 

 

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Shoe of The Week: Montrail Caldorado http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-montrail-caldorado_149465 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-montrail-caldorado_149465#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 21:15:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149465

The new Caldorado is a versatile trail running shoe with a good mix of cushioning, flexibility and traction.

A versatile shoe that works on a variety of trails.

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The new Caldorado is a versatile trail running shoe with a good mix of cushioning, flexibility and traction.

Montrail, one of the original trail running shoe brands, is back in a big way this year, starting with the Caldorado. For a firm, noticeably supportive shoe that can handle burly mountain terrain, it feels lightweight and comfortable, and flexes well at the forefoot for a smooth ride. The mid-foot stability was appreciated by those who tend to pronate on smooth terrain, and helped neutral runners fight foot fatigue on long runs. The midsole/outsole blends responsive cushioning with solid traction and a jab-blocking, hard plastic protective rock plate under the forefoot. The seamless upper is comfortable and breathable, while overlays and a toe bumper provide structure and abrasion protection. The insole wraps high around the sides of the foot, adding to the seamless feel of the interior.

This is the shoe for you if … you want a versatile shoe that will work well on a wide variety of trails, from dirt roads to technical routes strewn with rocks and roots.

Price: $120
Weights: 11 oz. (men’s), 9.1 oz. (women’s)
Heel-toe offset: 8mm; 19mm (heel), 11mm (forefoot)

RELATED: Shoe of The Week—Nike Lunar Tempo 2

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Like a Crowd? These Are the Largest Road Races in the U.S. http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/news/like-a-crowd-these-are-the-largest-road-races-in-the-u-s_149463 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/news/like-a-crowd-these-are-the-largest-road-races-in-the-u-s_149463#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:44:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149463

The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the U.S. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Running USA recently reviewed 2015 statistics and compiled a list of the largest road races in the U.S. for that year. While some of the

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The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the U.S. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Running USA recently reviewed 2015 statistics and compiled a list of the largest road races in the U.S. for that year. While some of the races are mainstays atop the list, a few are of note.

The top five largest races in 2015 were also the top five largest races in 2014—the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta (54,752 finishers), the New York City Marathon (49,365), BolderBoulder (45,336), the Lilac Bloomsday Run (42,294) and the Chicago Marathon (37,395).

A few items of note:

  • Only six races topped 30,000 finishers in 2015. There were nine in 2014.
  • Among the top 50 largest road races in the U.S., 19 are half marathons.
  • The cities with the largest races? Chicago and Washington D.C. each had four races in the top 50.
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series made the top-50 list nine times, led by Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas (16th with 23,092 finishers).

Running USA also broke down the largest races in the U.S. by distance. Here are a select few:

1-Mile: NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (6,320 finishers)

5K: Hot Chocolate 5K Chicago (23,096 finishers)

10K: Peachtree Road Race (54,752 finishers)

Half Marathon: Brooklyn Half Marathon (26,479 finishers)

Marathon: New York City Marathon (49,365 finishers)

The complete report can be found at Running USA.

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Trail of the Week: Red Hill Loop, Carbondale, Colorado http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/trail-running/trail-of-the-week-red-hill-loop-colorado_149456 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/trail-running/trail-of-the-week-red-hill-loop-colorado_149456#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:47:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149456

Photo: Ann Driggers

A great route in Colorado.

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Photo: Ann Driggers

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project, a crowd-sourced collaboration by and for the running community. Thanks to Jason Smith for mapping and describing this route.

This route touches on most of the great singletrack in the main Red Hill trail system. However, there are many options to run trails in a different order or direction. You can also do a much longer run by extending out to Elk Traverse / North Side Loop.

On the front side, the main volume of traffic usually ascends Three Gulch & descends Blue Ribbon. If you want a steeper, more direct route with fewer bikers, consider going up Mushroom Rock and linking to the trails on the backside from there.

Expect people, dogs & bikers. Feel free to bring your dog, but please clean up after them because this area is a heavily used. Be on the alert for cryptobiotic soil, stay on the trail to avoid damage to sensitive ecosystems.

The Data

Miles: 6.2

Runnable: 86 percent

Average Grade: 7 percent

Max Grade: 22 percent

Total Ascent: 1,139 feet

Total Descent: -1,137 feet

Highest Elevation: 6,987 feet

For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos courtesy of Trail Run Project:



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At 70 Years Young, His First Marathon Awaits http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/70-years-young-first-marathon-awaits_149451 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/70-years-young-first-marathon-awaits_149451#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:18:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149451

The longtime runner will go for 26.2 at St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville.

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Tim Klement is 70 years old but probably has to flash his driver’s license as proof. At a sinewy 6 feet 1, 170 pounds, he often passes for being in his 50s.

“He gets it all the time,” said Myra Klement, Tim’s wife of 25 years. “‘I can’t believe you’re 70. I can’t believe you can run this far. I can’t believe you’re in this great of shape.’ He doesn’t fit the mold of what people think of as a 70-year-old man.”

Come Saturday at the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon, Klement will offer more proof that age is just a number by attempting to run his first road-race marathon. Anyone betting against the semi-retired St. Petersburg, Fla., entrepreneur finishing will be tossing money in the sky and watching it blow away.

The guy has already run the marathon in training too many times to count.

“I run them all the time,” Klement said. “Sometimes I run 30 miles. I’ve done marathons in training for four or five years.”

Boy Scouts are less prepared than Klement, who grew up in the Midwest, says he was the slowest runner on his high school cross country team and used running to manage stress during his professional career.

Klement is so detailed about preparation that in the past two months he tried four different mental approaches during training runs that stretched close to the marathon distance, the goal being to feel relatively fresh at the end.

In one workout, he broke the distance down into four 7-mile runs. “It tired me,” he said. “I couldn’t keep the pace up.”

In a second workout he broke down the race into three 8 3/4-mile runs. “It didn’t allow me to keep my pace,” he said. “You’re sucking at the end.”

Next, he sliced the race into two half marathons. “The first half was too long to make the second half work,” he said.

Finally, he hit a formula that worked, breaking down the workout into two 10-mile runs, topped by a 10K. “At 10 miles, it didn’t feel like I did anything,” he said. “The next 10 didn’t do anything. Then there’s only 6 miles and I’m like, ‘Wow, I can do this blindfolded.”

Klement does not think of himself an athlete.

“I consider myself myself someone who stays active,” he said.

He grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, then attended Cal, earning a degree in physiology.

Professionally, Klement worked in managerial positions at multiple companies, often hired to analyze, then oversee changes that increased the companies’ productivity and value.

“Sometimes I was a hired gun,” he said. “I really worked in a situation that a lot of people would have folded under the stress.”

Running represented his stress outlet.

“You go out on a run, enjoy that freedom, release stress and think,” he said.

He began running 5Ks in his 40s, then completed his first half marathon about eight years ago. He estimates he has run three dozen half marathons.

Wanting his first road-race marathon to be more than just crossing off a bucket list item, Klement signed up as a St. Jude hero and has raised nearly $1,000 for the organization, which focuses on children’s catastrophic illnesses.

Said Klement, “I had a mentor who taught me that when you understand you’re not the most important person in your life, you will succeed.”

Besides the fact that he’s 70 and older than probably 99 percent of the participants in Saturday’s marathon, Klement is different that most first-time marathoners in one other sense.

He’s not nervous.

“I know of a variety of ways that I can get from the start to the finish,” he said. “There are times I’ve been out in St. Pete and the temperature’s 80-85, the humidity the same. I was out running. I know how to deal with those types of issues, so I’m calm.”

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Out There: What’s Fair? http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/out-there/out-there-whats-fair_149446 http://running.competitor.com/2016/04/out-there/out-there-whats-fair_149446#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:07:13 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=149446

If everything was fair, it wouldn't be nearly as fun.

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As I type these words, I’m sitting in the corner of my neighborhood coffee shop watching a kindergarten meltdown of epic proportions. I’m not sure what prompted this explosion of wails and snot, only that this tantrum-tastic girl has been wronged.

“NO!” she keeps screaming over and over, swinging an umbrella at the adults in her midst like a miniature Britney Spears, “It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAAAAAAAIR!

Girl, I get that. I’ve done the exact same thing in my past. And by “my past,” I mean “sometime in the past week.”

The law of “fairness” is one that we enforce from an early age: Charlie got a bigger half of the cookie than I did! It’s not Jenny’s turn to sit in the front seat! We believe that fairness is a black-and-white issue, where everyone takes turns and gets an equal share of the pie.

“Life isn’t always fair,” our parents would sigh in response to our whines, and we pooh-poohed such a notion. If you do the work, you should get the reward. If it’s your turn, no one else can have it. If there are two people, the pie gets precisely sliced down the middle. It’s all so simple, really!

This mode of thinking doesn’t change much as we get older, by the way. We just get better at stifling the temper tantrums. The idea of fairness, though, still saturates our brains.

It’s particularly true of running. In this sport, we’re led to believe that if we work hard, we’ll reap the rewards. If a person runs consistently, they’ll get stronger. If someone does speed work, they’ll get faster. We’re told that if we want to get a PR or qualify for Boston or lose those 10 pounds, we just have to do the work. It’s all so simple, really!

Except that it’s not. Speed work sometimes leads to injuries, not PRs. Consistent running can sometimes lead to burnout, not glory. Some weeks, running can feel like pushing a rock up a hill until it rolls back down on you while some fresh-faced runner skips past while laughing and IT’S NOT FAAAAAAAAIR.

It’s not fair that _________________ (he got into Boston on the first try, she can run faster than me, spandex shorts don’t give her a muffin top, those shoes don’t give him blisters, he got a lottery spot to my favorite race, she recovers faster, she only has one chin in race photos, he never gets injured).

Tell me you’ve never once said that, not even in your head.

Riiiiiiiiight. I haven’t, either. (Wink. Nod. Air-gun.)

Except for every single time I’ve been injured. Or when a colleague of mine announced she scored a last-minute charity entry to Boston and would run it on zero training. Or this morning, when my husband took off his shirt and I realized he went from “winter weight” to “six-pack abs” overnight.

Hey! I’ve worked my ass off, too! How come I don’t get the same rewards? It’s not fair, you guys! Sure, I’m happy for my faster friends and my good-looking husband, but that doesn’t keep the green-eyed monster from popping up from time to time. The injustices we suffer make us want to throw ourselves onto the ground and wail.

Our parents were right: Life isn’t always fair. And maybe that’s a good thing.

You see, if everyone followed the same straightforward trajectory, there would be no big, scary goals; we would already know that X plus Y equals Z. It would all be so boring.

The alchemy of the human experience shows us there’s more than one way to succeed. These so-called injustices give us inspiring heroes, scrappy underdogs, and unexpected life lessons. We need those just as much as – if not more than – we need formulaic tales of triumph.

If you do the work, you get the reward. It may not be the reward you want right this second, but eventually you might see it’s what you need. So stop your temper tantrum, wipe your nose, and get cracking. There is something to be gained from pushing the rock up the hill.

It’s all so simple, really.

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). Susan lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete husband. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke.

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