Your Online Source for Running Mon, 25 May 2015 13:06:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Makes the Bolder Boulder 10K Such a Special Race? Mon, 25 May 2015 13:06:08 +0000 The Bolder Boulder 10K, now it its 37th year, has been run every Memorial Day in Boulder, Colo., since 1979. It’s been one of the

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The Bolder Boulder 10K, now it its 37th year, has been run every Memorial Day in Boulder, Colo., since 1979. It’s been one of the largest races in the world for years, with more than 50,000 runners expected to run in this year’s race. We caught with some of the U.S. pro runners racing in this year’s International Team Challenge to talk about what makes this race so special.

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Catching Up With Kara Goucher Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00:39 +0000 We caught up with two-time Olympian Kara Goucher on May 23 in Boulder, Colo., to see what’s next on the horizon for her as she

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We caught up with two-time Olympian Kara Goucher on May 23 in Boulder, Colo., to see what’s next on the horizon for her as she approaches the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon next February in Los Angeles.



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Boulder Trail Runner Dave Mackey Survives Gruesome Mountain Accident Sun, 24 May 2015 23:47:15 +0000

Members of Rocky Mountain Rescue Group help stabilize Dave Mackey before evacuating him off of Bear Peak on May 23 in Boulder, Colo. Photo: Bill Wright.

Elite ultra-distance trail runner Dave Mackey is recovering in stable condition after sustaining severe leg injuries that resulted from a

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Members of Rocky Mountain Rescue Group help stabilize Dave Mackey before evacuating him off of Bear Peak on May 23 in Boulder, Colo. Photo: Bill Wright.

DaveMackeyRescue - 3
Elite ultra-distance trail runner Dave Mackey is recovering in stable condition after sustaining severe leg injuries that resulted from a fall off of a rocky ridge near the top of Bear Peak in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday morning.

After a dramatic rescue that took several hours to get him off the mountain safely, Mackey underwent surgery to repair his shattered tibia and fibula bones in his left leg. Doctors inserted a metal rod, numerous plates and multiples screws to help reassemble the leg bones, but more surgical procedures will be needed to repair soft tissue damage and to clean out the wound to eliminate the possibility of infection.

Mackey, 46, long one of the top mountain runners in the U.S., is known as one of the toughest, strongest and most humble athletes in Boulder. He also suffered cuts and bruises on his head, chest, arms and right leg. As of Sunday afternoon, he was resting in his hospital bed and had a positive outlook, although he admits he’s lucky to have survived the accident and said he’s very grateful to everyone who played a part is rescuing him.

“If there is a tougher, more bad-ass dude than Dave Mackey…well, I don’t believe that,” said Boulder trail runner and climber Bill Wright, who was on the scene shortly after the accident and helped stabilize him before Rocky Mountain Rescue Group volunteers arrived. “His ability to stay calm, endure intense pain, and handle a horrific injury was inspiring, astounding, and had everyone involved shaking their heads.

“If anyone can come back from this, it’s Dave, and I’m sure he will, but I suspect it is going to be awhile before he’ll be once again beating us all at everything.”

Mackey, a Hoka-sponsored pro runner who works as a physician’s assistant, has won U.S. trail running championships for 50K, 50 miles and 100K distance and won the Montrail Cup trail running series in 2004 and 2011. He has set numerous speed records on the trails and mountains of Boulder and previously held the Rim to Rim to Rim record for the 42-mile double-crossing of the Grand Canyon (6:59:57 in 2007). He is an accomplished rock climber and formerly competed on the international adventure racing circuit.

The three-time U.S. ultrarunner of the year said he had planned on doing a fairly typical mountain run up and over several of the big peaks that make up Boulder’s skyline on Saturday morning. Amid temperatures in the mid-40s and rain in the forecast, he ran up the rolling trails to the base of the mountains and then ran up Shadow Canyon to the top of 8,549-foot South Boulder Peak, the highest peak in Boulder. From there, he ran down a ridgeline and up another trail to Bear Peak (8,461 feet). He said he was considering running up and down Green Mountain (8,144 feet) too, but was going to run down Green-Bear Trail and see how he felt before deciding whether to make the third ascent before heading home.

However, as he was making his way down a common scrambling route off the west side of Bear Peak just after 8:30 a.m., Mackey stepped on a rock and it gave way. As he began to fall, he grabbed onto another rock that gave way and he started a violent crash of about 20 feet over a mix of rocks and the branches of small mountain shrubbery. A massive rock estimated at 300-400 pounds came to rest on Mackey’s leg, although it is believed the compound fracture to his lower left leg occurred earlier in the fall based on the nature of the injury.

Mackey started yelling for help and two hikers immediately answered his call. They reportedly used a large stick to pry large rock off of his leg. Within a few minutes, numerous other trail runners and hikers were on the scene and called 911. Several first-responders helped keep Mackey stabilized and warm on the rugged ridge where he landed, but witnesses said he was remarkably calm and coherent for being in such severe pain. Among the first responders were John Christie, who held Mackey in place on the ledge more for than an hour and a half without moving, and Paul Gross, who held Dave’s splintered and badly bleeding left leg in place until rescue personnel arrived.

Boulder-based Rocky Mountain Rescue Group mobilized numerous volunteers trained to evacuate injured victims from mountain accidents. Several rescue personnel had been nearby lower on the mountain to recover the body of a deceased 17-year-old girl, who authorities believe committed suicide 24 hours earlier. That evacuation had to be delayed because of bad weather conditions, but when the call came through about Mackey’s accident, rescuers began heading up the steep trails that lead to Bear Peak.

Because of the severe nature of Mackey’s injuries, the precarious location of the incident and the wet and rainy conditions, it took several hours to evacuate him off the mountain. Ultimately a team of more than two dozen Rocky Mountain Rescue personnel—including two emergency room doctors—helped stabilize him and safely belay him down a scree field from a fixed rope before using a wheeled litter to get him down a trail on the back side of the mountain, where Mackey’s wife, Ellen, was waiting, along with an ambulance and other fire-rescue personnel.

Mackey said Sunday that he has taken that scrambling route off the west side of Bear Peak hundreds of times and stepped on the exact rock that gave way almost every single time. Boulder has had an unusually wet spring that has included considerable rain as well as snow and sub-freezing temperatures on top of its tallest peaks. He admits he was lucky that the accident happened early in the day when numerous other people were out on the trails as opposed to during a late-afternoon ascent when his call for help might not have been answered.

Mackey was planning to run in the Western States 100 on June 27 in California and had hoped make an attempt at the Colorado 14ers speed record in early August.

Most recently, Mackey placed second at the Black Canyon 100K on Feb. 14 in Mayer, Ariz., and finished second in the Leadman multisport competition last summer in Colorado. (Leadman includes five off-road events in the Leadville endurance series, including a trail marathon, 50-mile mountain bike race, 10K trail run, 100-mile mountain bike race and 100-mile trail run.)

“Aside from all of the athletics and his victories and records, he’s just an amazing person, husband and father,” said longtime friend and Boulder resident Bob Africa, a frequent training and racing partner. “To see someone like that hurting and in pain is hard. But to see someone that tough handling it the way he is inspiring too.”



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Shoe of the Week: New Balance 870v4 Fri, 22 May 2015 22:54:25 +0000

The New Balance 870v4 is lighter and more energetic than previous editions.

A lightweight stability trainer is on its fourth incarnation.

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The New Balance 870v4 is lighter and more energetic than previous editions.

The New Balance 870v4 is lighter and more energetic than previous editions.

The New Balance 870v4 is lighter and more energetic than previous editions.

The process of updating a specific running shoe model is no easy task, but New Balance has successfully upgraded the 870 stability trainer one more time. Designed for mild to moderate overpronators, the shoe features a fairly traditional undercarriage design with a semi-firm medial post serving as the main tool to offset inward rolling of the foot after impact. But several modern design elements—including an asymmetrical heel counter (lower on the lateral side than the medial side)—make this shoe special. First, new materials (a new upper with welded TPU overlays and a lighter foam package) make this shoe lighter than the first three incarnations, but it’s also more flexible and offers a more snugged-down fit too. Those will all come as huge highlights for runners who run in stability shoes because, while this shoe definitely has a feeling of rearfoot and midfoot stability, it also feels fast, flexible, light and athletic. With the configuration of lighter, springier foams in the front of the foot and the addition of more toe spring (the upward-arcing forefoot design), this shoe has enough pep for tempo runs and fartleks while also serving as an everyday trainer that is comfortable and reliable on longer slower runs. Certainly modern stability shoes have become lighter and faster across the board, but based on our tests—and knowing how this shoe improved—we’ve deemed this one among the very best of this year’s crop. And to that point, it could be a game-changer for someone looking to set a new half marathon PR this summer.

This is the shoe for your if: … You’re looking for a lightweight, well-cushioned and very stable shoe for consistent training for races from 10K to the marathon.

Price: $115
Weights: 9.3 oz. (men’s), 7.9 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 8mm; 27mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)

RELATED: Shoe of the Week—Hoka One One Bondi 4


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5 Places to Run In…Philadelphia Fri, 22 May 2015 00:03:26 +0000

The Rocky Steps are a good starting point for a city full of good running spots. Photo:

The City of Brotherly Love has plenty of running routes to cherish.

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The Rocky Steps are a good starting point for a city full of good running spots. Photo:

Philadelphia may be best known for its rich history, perennially frustrated pro sports teams (and fans), and Rocky Balboa. But it also offers many great places to run as well as quirky tourist spots and restaurants that will make you forget the iconic cheese steak.

Here are five great places to run, from historic parks to iconic speedways.

Philadelphia Art Museum and Kelly Drive

Remember that scene in the movie when Rocky ran up the Art Museum steps? Well, he’s still there—in statue form. After you pose next to him, head west on Kelly Drive (named for Olympic rower John B. Kelly Jr., actress Grace’s brother) and run past the 12 clubhouses of Boathouse Row, where crew teams store their boats. Continue to Falls Bridge and either turn around to return to the start or keep going to tally 20 miles by the time you arrive at historic Valley Forge.

You’ll have great views of the Schuylkill River, but Kelly Drive can get crowded with runners, walkers, roller bladers and baby strollers; if it bothers you cross over the Schuylkill River at Falls Bridge and take the quieter (and closed to vehicles April to October) Martin Luther King Drive, aka West River Drive, back along Fairmont Park and the Philadelphia Zoo. Either route nets you about 8.5 miles.

Schuylkill Banks

In 2014 Philadelphia opened an $18 million shore-style boardwalk. Unlike the beachside version this one is made of concrete, not wood, but it offers runners and walkers a unique, run-on-water experience in the downtown area. Called Schuylkill Banks, it’s 2,000 feet long and part of the Schuylkill River Trail, itself 27 miles long, so you can start further north, and run out and back for your desired distance. Or you can start at the Boardwalk’s northern end, then continue onto the South Street Bridge at the south end of the Boardwalk to go to Penn Park, near the University of Pennsylvania—to get there you’ll pass Franklin Field, home of the historic Penn Relays. Penn Park is a small oasis of green, and it’s marked in quarter-mile increments if you want to do a little distance-specific speed work.

Forbidden Drive

Wissahickon Park’s Forbidden Drive sounds somewhat mysterious, but the “forbidden” refers to motorized vehicles. It’s human-power only in this 1,800-acre park, laced with 50-plus miles of multi-use trails (some of the other users are horses, so watch your step).

There are multiple entry points: if you start on the southern end, at Lincoln Drive, you can see the restored early settlement of RittenhouseTown. Start in the middle, at Valley Green Inn, and you’ll have a convenient refueling spot, and if you start at the northern end, you can visit the Cedars House Café for sandwiches and smoothies. In any case, you’ll feel like you are deep in the woods (the park is a noted birding area). If you stay on Forbidden Drive, you’ll have a flat run, as it parallels the Wissahickon Creek; take a side trail for some elevation. You’ll also see bridges and dams built during the late 1930s by the New Deal agency Works Progress Administration.

FDR Park

If you’re comfortable with a slightly more gritty environment, head to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia. It was designed by the Olmsted brothers, who also designed New York City’s Central Park. There’s a lake and golf course, sports fields, a skateboard park built beneath heavy-use artery I-95, and the arresting American Swedish Historical Museum—if you’re craving lingonberries, the museum store has them. Start your run north of FDR, at Marconi Plaza, where a statue honors Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, then head south toward FDR’s Pattison Avenue entrance. Run a lap of the park, keeping an eye out for the lake, the golf course, and the gazebo, for about 3 miles. Want more? Continue south to the Navy Yard, a mixed-use industrial-retail area right on the river: you can see the boats being built.

Ben Franklin Bridge

This 8,300-foot span carries more than 100,000 vehicles a day over the Delaware River, but luckily there’s a pedestrian path. Time your run for sun-up or sundown for spectacular views, and the on- and off-ramps give your quads a nice hill workout. Run from New Jersey to Philadelphia, and you’ll exit the bridge at Penn’s Landing, right next to the historic district. Snake through the narrow streets to see Elfreth’s Alley, which has 32 homes dating from the early 1700s, the atmospheric Christ Church Burial Ground, where Ben Franklin rests, and Franklin Square, one of five parks planned by Franklin as part of his original vision for the city.  You can add miles by running south from the Bridge on the Delaware River Trail, with a view (and breeze) from the river, and take in the Korean War Memorial.

RELATED: 5 Places to Run In…San Francisco

RELATED: 5 Places to Run In…Boston

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New Movie About Steve Prefontaine Nearing Completion Thu, 21 May 2015 23:30:41 +0000

The film's crew is largely made up of Coos Bay, Ore., natives.

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A new documentary about American running legend Steve Prefontaine is being produced by a group with Coos Bay, Ore., connections.

It’s been 40 years, but Brad Jenkins still vividly remembers watching Steve Prefontaine run.

Jenkins, like “Pre,” is a native of Coos Bay, Ore., and watching the small logging town’s favorite son come home to set an American record of 5:01.4 in the 2,000-meter run on the Marshfield High School track left an indelible impression on him. The May 9, 1975, event, which Prefontaine helped organize as part of a tour with some top athletes from Finland, was called the South Coast International Track Meet and it also included several top University of Oregon and Oregon Track Club runners.

“I was 12, back when I was in the sixth grade, and my dad said, ‘we have to go see this guy run,’” recalls Jenkins, who is now 52. “I didn’t know who he was at that point, but it was pretty cool to see him run. After his race, he came over and signed autographs for me and all of my little buddies. We thought it was awesome. He was larger than life.”

Naturally, Jenkins was devastated—as was most everyone Coos Bay, not to mention the entire American running scene—when Prefontaine was killed in an auto accident on May 30, 1975. At the time, Pre held every American record on the track from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters.

“He was my new hero for about three weeks, and then he was killed in the car accident,” Jenkins recalls. “It was the saddest day in Coos Bay history. Everyone was so upset. I remember they let us out of school at noon on the day of the funeral so we could attend it.”

RELATED: Jeff Johnson—What Makes ‘Pre’ So Special

Pre’s legacy has remained strong through the years and his legend has grown—especially in Coos Bay. Through the years as he got older, Jenkins would tell that story to friends, colleagues and business associates, and those who knew Pre or watched him run would share their stories with Jenkins. Then four years ago, he came across a copy of the official meet poster (see above) and reprinted it so he could share with friends.

After hearing hundreds of stories from fans, friends, coaches, fellow Coos Bay residents and current and former athletes, Jenkins had the epiphany to make a documentary film called “Pre’s People” by interviewing everyone he could who had a story to tell about Pre. Two Hollywood films about Prefontaine were released in the late 1990s (“Prefontaine” in 1997 and “Without Limits” in 1998) following the “Fire on the Track” documentary that came out in 1995.

RELATED: The Best 25 Running Movies Ever 

Four years later, Jenkins and his cohorts at Pirate Films are nearly finished with the movie. They have a 2-hour, 2o-minute director’s cut of the film, but Jenkins said it still needs editing and final sound and color adjustments.

Although Jenkins’ original intent was to “make a film and put it on YouTube,” he’s now thinking much bigger—partially because of the roughly $100,000 that he and his collaborators have sunk into the project. They’ve shown it to representatives of several big brands, potential investors and media companies with hopes of developing a national distribution strategy for the finished product. But as of yet, there have been no public viewings of the entire version.

A sneak peak of the final 45 minutes of the film was shown at a fundraising event on May 21 at the Fleet Feet Sports running shop in Bend, Ore. (Interested fans can donate to the cause through Pay Pay.)

“Ultimately, we hope to edit it down to about an hour long and show it for the first time at the Prefontaine Memorial Run (on Sept. 19) in Coos Bay,” Jenkins says.

RELATED: 14 Great Quotes from Steve Prefontaine

To make the film, Jenkins recruited several fellow Marshfield High School graduates with experience in various fields, including co-executive producer and director of photography Travis Johnson, soundtrack composer George Whitty and illustrator Chris Peterson. But they’re more than fans of Pre and his legacy: Johnson is an Emmy-winning director with 25 years of TV experience, Whitty is a Grammy-winning keyboardist who has played with Herbie Hancock and David Sanborn, among others, and Peterson is an Oscar-nominated illustrator who has worked on numerous Hollywood productions. Also on the team is Jenkins’ father, Tom Jenkins, a retired former Marshfield High teacher, coach and athletic director, who is serving as the film’s historian.

“Pre is still pretty big in Coos Bay, even now,” Brad Jenkins says. “His legend is even bigger now than it was before. If I were the mayor of Coos Bay, I’d changed the name to ‘Prefontaine Bay’ and make it really big.”




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The Basics of A-Skips Thu, 21 May 2015 23:13:52 +0000

Photo: Scott Draper

This drill can help make you a better runner by improving on your running form, functional strength and efficiency.

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Photo: Scott Draper

This drill can help make you a better runner by improving on your running form, functional strength and efficiency.


A-Skips is a basic drill that helps develop lower-leg strength while encouraging knee lift and promoting an efficient footstrike. Many elite athletes do A-skips as part of their warm-up routine before a race or speed workout to get the key muscles firing for faster running.


Skip forward, lifting your lead knee to waist height while keeping your back leg straight as you come off your toe. Continue moving forward in this manner—alternating legs—and striking the ground with your mid-foot or forefoot while swinging your opposite arm in unison with your lead leg. Note: When doing this drill for the first time, walk through it to get the motion down and gradually progress to skipping.


Perform two 30-meter reps, progressing to 50-meter reps once you build strength and coordination. Do this drill two to three times a week after an easy run or before a speed workout or race.

RELATED: Essential Form Drills for Speed and Efficiency


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Will a Gluten-Free Diet Make You a Faster Runner? Thu, 21 May 2015 18:30:39 +0000


A gluten-free diet is necessary for some, but is it beneficial for all?

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Gluten-free diets have become popular among runners and other athletes. Just how popular is not known, but 41 percent of more than 1,400 athletes who completed a recent scientific survey administered by researchers at the University of Tasmania reported eating gluten-free most or all of the time. (Self-selection bias probably inflated the percentage of gluten-free participants relative to the general athlete population.) Seventy percent of the survey respondents identified themselves as endurance athletes. None of them had Celiac disease, a rare, genetically based disease where the consumption of gluten—a protein in wheat—provokes an immune reaction that damages the intestinal lining.

Among non-athletes, the most common reason for adopting a gluten-free diet is a self-diagnosis of gluten sensitivity, which causes gastrointestinal discomfort after wheat is consumed. A majority of the athletes participating in this survey went gluten-free for the same reason, but many had a different or secondary reason. Based on this finding, the creators of the survey concluded that the choice to go gluten-free “may be driven by perception that gluten removal provides health benefits and an ergogenic edge in NCA [nonceliac athletes].”

This perception was a cause for concern among the researchers because, at the time the survey was conducted, there was no evidence that removing gluten from the diet would provide an ergogenic edge (i.e. enhance athletic performance). In fact, there wasn’t even a theory as to how removing gluten from the diet possibly could enhance athletic performance. Nevertheless, the lack of evidence or a proposed mechanism for such an effect did not rule out the possibility that a gluten-free diet might somehow give athletes a performance boost. So the same researchers did a follow-up study to find out if it did. The results have just been published in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise.

RELATED: What Is the Purpose of Sports Nutrition?

The participants in this new study were 13 competitive cyclists, eight men and five women. None of them had Celiac disease or a history of GI problems. All of the cyclists were placed on a gluten-free diet, but half supplemented this diet with food bars containing gluten (supplying 16 grams of gluten per day) and the other half supplemented the same diet with gluten-free food bars. They were not told which bars they had been given.

After seven days, the subjects went back to their normal diet for a 10-day “washout” period and then spent seven days back on a controlled diet and eating whichever bars they hadn’t received in the first part of the experiment. At the end of each seven-day intervention all of the cyclists completed a performance test consisting of 45 minutes of indoor cycling at 70 percent of peak power followed immediately by a 15-minute time trial. The subjects completed this time trial neither faster nor slower after a week of gluten-free eating than they did after a week of eating gluten. The authors of the study expressed no surprise at this result because, again, there is no physiological reason to expect a gluten-free diet to elevate performance.

Throughout period of the study, the researchers also collected information from the participants on GI systems experienced both during and outside of exercise as well as indicators of intestinal injury and markers of inflammation (there is some evidence that gluten promotes inflammation even in healthy individuals). The removal of gluten from the diet of these athletes had no effect on any of these variables.

These results suggest that most athletes will experience neither performance nor health benefits by going gluten-free. So it appears that the only scenario in which you might benefit from removing gluten from your diet is if you experience gastrointestinal discomfort after eating wheat. In that case it will be worthwhile to remove wheat from your diet and see if the symptoms resolve. If they do, keep going. If not, make an appointment with your physician for help in getting to the bottom of your problem.

One word of caution: If you do remove wheat from your diet for any reason, don’t make the increasingly common mistake of eliminating all other grains as well. Grains are the most concentrated food source of carbohydrate, which runners need to fuel their training and recovery. Runners who go grain-free often develop signs and symptoms of overtraining syndrome, including persistent fatigue and declining performance.

Finally, even if you have no digestive issues, you may want to consider eating less wheat and more whole grains of other types, for reasons that have little to do with gluten. Most of us in this society eat a lot of wheat, and while it’s good stuff, no food is good in excess, whereas there is no such thing as excessive dietary diversity. Amaranth, anyone?

RELATED: Want to Run Faster? Burn More Carbs!

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Got Color? 36 Wild Shoes Sure to Make You Stand Out Thu, 21 May 2015 17:58:57 +0000

Color is all the rage in running shoes, and these 2015 designs take that to the extreme.

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Color is all the rage in running shoes, and these 2015 designs take that to the extreme.

RELATED: 2015 Running Gear Guide: Road Shoes


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Out There: Something Positive Thu, 21 May 2015 15:16:30 +0000

Photo: John Kropewnicki /

A lot of good comes out of the running community.

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Photo: John Kropewnicki /

In the last few weeks, I’ve been clipped by a car while riding my bike, saturated on a run by a semi driving through a giant puddle, and berated by mountain bikers for having the nerve to hike on “their” trail. I’ve listened to my neighbors rant about having our street closed down for the local marathon, received a stern glare for asking if I can share a lane in the pool, and been honked at for taking too long to run through a crosswalk.

As a result of this hefty dose of negativity, I’ve come down with a debilitating case of “Everyone’s an Asshole Syndrome.”

Though there’s something to be said for a good temper tantrum now and then, it’s exhausting to have anger as a default setting. It’s even more exhausting to vent about these unfortunate events to others, as they are apt to reply with a few vitriolic stories of their own. Pessimism feeds pessimism, and “Everyone’s an Asshole Syndrome” is highly contagious, I’ve learned.

Lest I infect you with my piss-poor attitude, I’ve relinquished my storytelling hat in this week’s column. Instead, I’ve asked my fellow runners to share their stories of good in the world. As it turns out, not everyone is an asshole after all. In fact, people can be pretty great.

Read these stories of people doing good deeds, then go out and do some good of your own. It may not completely rid the world of bad drivers and cantankerous lane mates, but your inoculation of kindness could certainly boost someone’s immunity to them.

* * *


It was 2005, pre-smartphones, and for me at least, pre-common sense. I was spending December break in my otherwise deserted college town in rural Minnesota, and one late afternoon, went out for what was meant to be a 10-mile run. I was on the cross-country team, and not unfamiliar with the area. Long story short, I got very, very lost. I was incredibly underdressed for winter in Minnesota, the sun was starting to set, and I was beginning to have…digestive issues.

In an act of desperation, I knocked on the door of a random house with no answer. I then stood out on the road. Now, I’m a goody two-shoes and had never hitchhiked in my life, but I started waving my arms to get the attention of passing cars (I now realize this is not how you hitchhike).

Finally, a minivan slowed down. I said a small prayer that I wouldn’t be kidnapped before saying, very pathetically, that I needed a ride back to town. The somewhat bewildered couple said they were on their way to mass, that their daughter was a runner, and of course they would drop me off at my apartment.

I was incredibly embarrassed, and I’m sure they are still giggling about the dumb college kid they picked off the side of the road way back when. Or maybe not! In any case, I’d probably still be out there if they hadn’t stopped.

* * *


I had several friends that were running the Suwanee Gateway 13.1 last January, and I decided to cheer at a few spots along the course. It was relatively cold for Georgia—low 20s with windchills in the teens—so I made sure to always move to keep warm.

I was standing on a curb to the left of all the runners near the 4 mile mark when a runner I had never seen before crossed all the way over from the right side of the course. She was taking off one of her gloves as she made her way over to me, then she grabbed my hand – and put a hand warmer in it.  She never broke her stride and kept running the entire time!

It was such a simple, kind, considerate gesture. I was blown away by it.

* * *


During the Colorado Marathon in 2012, I was on course to qualifying for Boston when at about mile 20 I physically fell apart. My quads were cramped and I couldn’t keep pace. It was particularly warm, and we reached a section of the course that opens up on a paved bike path. This guy comes along—also a racer—sees me stop and walk, pats me on the back and says “it’s going to hurt no matter if you run or walk.”

I started running again. He was right next to me, though we didn’t say many words after. At the finish, I turned around to thank him and he was gone. I have never walked again in a marathon.

This guy has been on my mind every single race since then. That little pat on the back from a stranger was incredibly powerful.

I also asked Twitter friends for their stories of goodness as well. Booster shots of kindness, in 140 characters or less:

A guy swapped my sweaty sports bra dollar bills for his fresh ones so I could get water from a vending machine during a HOT long run!

During my 1st 50-mile trail race, my ITB flared up badly. Another runner who was a PT stopped and worked on my injury. Over the next 15 miles, he walk-jogged with me.

I was stopped 1/2 mile from the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The outpouring of help & kindness was awe-inspiring.

As a heavy sweater in my 1st 26.2, I saw a woman do sign of the cross as I shuffled by. Didn’t help my mood, but she meant well.

At Chuckanut 50K two of us were bombing downhill and my thigh cramped. He noticed, ran back, and offered salt tabs & help down to aid station.

While running in bitter cold, snowy conditions—a woman pulled over her car to clap, cheer and gave a thumbs-up as I went by.


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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Video: Exercise Physiology 101 Thu, 21 May 2015 06:16:20 +0000

Learn about VO2 max, lactate threshold and more.

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What is VO2 max? How about lactate threshold? Dr. Jordan Metzl breaks down some of the basics of exercise physiology and lets you know what you can control through certain types of training.

RELATED: Med Tent: How Do I Treat Back Pain?

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How to Train for Your First Half Marathon Wed, 20 May 2015 23:33:02 +0000


Your first half marathon can be an experience you'll never forget.

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So you’ve been bitten by the running bug, have you?

Maybe you started running because a friend cajoled you into your first fun run. Or maybe you started running for weight loss and got hooked on local races in your city.

After the novelty of racing 5K and 10Ks wear off, you may be left thinking ”Ok, what’s next?

Before you jump into marathon training, you may want to consider your first half marathon.

The half marathon is the fastest growing race distance in the United States. According to Running USA, there was more than 2 million half marathon finishers in 2014.

RELATED: 13.1 Tips for Running Your Best Half Marathon

More runners are flocking to the 13.1 mile race distance for good reason—it’s the perfect blend of endurance and speed. The distance requires new runners to build their fitness substantially, but the training required to run a successful half marathon isn’t nearly as grueling as for the marathon.

Your first half marathon can be completed with just a few “upgrades” to standard 10K training. If you’re ready for a new challenge and want to take the next step with running a longer race, the half marathon is the race for you.

What Makes Your First Half Marathon Different

Most beginner runners can finish a 5K with just a few weeks of consistent running. After a 5K gets easier, just another month or two will get you ready to finish a 10K.

But the half marathon is different: at more than double the distance of a 10K, it requires greater focus on endurance and long runs than shorter races.

You might have been able to “fake it” through a 10K race, but that will be virtually impossible in a half. Training should be taken seriously and approached with care.

But don’t worry, most new runners can successfully run their first half marathon within 6-9 months of starting to run.

With a focus on two key training components, your first half marathon will be a smashing success.

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Meb Keflezighi to Make Masters Debut at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Wed, 20 May 2015 20:30:17 +0000

Meb paced Rock 'n' Roll San Diego last year, but he's competing this year. Photo:

Meb, who turned 40 on May 5th, will compete in the half marathon.

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Meb paced Rock 'n' Roll San Diego last year, but he's competing this year. Photo:

In a bit of serendipitous fate, the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon has been selected to host the USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships, and Meb Keflezighi will make his masters debut at the May 31 event.

Keflezighi, the former New York City and Boston Marathon champion, plus the 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist, turned 40 on May 5.

“I was debating whether I should pace the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon like I did last year or race it,” says Keflezighi, who finished eighth at the Boston Marathon last month in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 42 seconds. “Since my recovery from the Boston Marathon has gone well, I’ve decided to race.”

With excellent weather conditions, an anticipated elite field, plus history on its side, it figures the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon will yield fast times for the elite masters. In 2013 the race produced the fastest half marathon ever on U.S. soil when Kenya’s Bernard Koech won in 58 minutes, 41 seconds.

American runners alone boast a crop of Olympic medalists who have become masters in the past year—Keflezighi, Bernard Legat, Deena Kastor and Jen Rhines among them.

“I think the USATF liked the opportunity to take their championships to the biggest stage possible,” says Tracy Sundlun, senior vice president and co-founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

Adds Don Lein, the USATF Masters Long Distance Running Chair, “San Diego is always a great venue for a race. You don’t have to worry about the weather and the race itself is always professionally run.”

Says Sundlun, “We know the USATF is interested in putting their championships where their runners want to go, and San Diego fits that bill. It’s a great race with a fast course in a great city.”

The Masters Half Marathon National Championships will offer $10,000 in prize money. Making the race more fascinating, the event will be age-graded (or adjusted), meaning an older runner with a slower time may still finish ahead of a younger athlete with a faster time.

The half marathon, featuring a predominantly flat and rolling course, begins at Balboa Park, stretches east to Normal Heights and finishes next to PETCO Park. The majority of the race unfolds in scenic Balboa Park.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the race that kicked off the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. For the first time the weekend will also feature a Saturday 5K. American rock band O.A.R. will headline the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series at Petco Park

As for turning 40 and competing, Keflezighi says, “I am looking forward to my first competition as a masters athlete. I am so fortunate to run my first race as a masters athlete in my hometown of San Diego.”

RELATED: Meb Talks Training for Runners Over 40

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Workout of the Week: Dylan Bowman’s Lactate Threshold Repeats Wed, 20 May 2015 18:20:24 +0000

Adding focused, faster workouts to his training schedule has helped Bowman take his race performances to the next level. Photo: Jason Bowman

Boost your fitness and improve your confidence with this challenging interval session.

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Adding focused, faster workouts to his training schedule has helped Bowman take his race performances to the next level. Photo: Jason Bowman

Boost your fitness and improve your confidence with this challenging interval session. 

Despite some immediate success in his first few years of racing ultramarathons, Dylan Bowman didn’t know much, if anything, about the importance of including faster workouts in his training schedule. Relying on his natural athletic ability—honed from years as a competitive lacrosse player—the tough-minded Bowman finished third in his first crack at the Leadville 100 in 2010, placed second there in 2011 and posted a seventh-place finish at his Western States 100 debut in 2012.

“I didn’t run on a team growing up, so I didn’t even know the meaning of tempo, VO2 max, fartlek and things like that,” Bowman told me earlier this year.

In September of 2013, he began working with Jason Koop, director of coaching for Carmichael Training Systems, who introduced structure and specific intensity into his training routine. The results since have spoken for themselves.

RELATED: Dylan Bowman Making Things Happen On The Trails

After winning and setting a course record at the Sean O’Brien 50 Miler in February of 2014, Bowman battled to a podium spot at the Western States 100 few months later, finishing third, and closed out 2014 with a fifth-place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships on his home trails in the Marin Headlands, north of San Francisco. So far in 2015, the 29-year-old Colorado native has posted the first international wins of his career, taking top honors at New Zealand’s Tarawera 100K in February and winning The North Face 100K Australia on May 16.

One of the secrets to his success? Intervals—and lots of them—of varying lengths and intensity levels, depending on the focus of his current training block.

Bowman’s favorite interval workout is a session of 5 x 10 minutes—preferably uphill—at 80 percent effort with 5 minutes of jogging recovery between reps.

“I do the workout to develop the lactate threshold system,” explains Bowman. “I also do it to improve my climbing ability and overall confidence at an intensity that’s a touch faster than race pace.”

Bowman, who under Koop’s guidance does three focused workouts per week on average, switches between steep and technical sections one day and more gradual, runnable grades the next. He warms up for the workout with 30 minutes of easy running and cools down with some easy jogging.

“During a lactate threshold block, that’s all we work on,” Bowman explains. “We do not vary the intensity or try to develop other systems. Because of this, I’ll usually do a workout very similar to this three days per week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.”

In the final 3-4 weeks of preparation before a big race, Bowman will do this workout on trails that most closely mimic the terrain he’ll encounter at the event.

“Essentially, I just slot into an intensity that’s slightly faster than 50-mile race pace and try to maintain the same effort for the whole workout,” Bowman says. “Koop stresses the importance of repeatability in these intervals so it’s important to not go too hard in the first couple repeats.”

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Trail of the Week: Green Mountain, Boulder, Colorado Wed, 20 May 2015 17:09:51 +0000

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project. This is a quintessential trail run in the

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Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project.

This is a quintessential trail run in the running mecca of Boulder, Colo., sending runners up the 8,150-foot peak that shares the local skyline with 8,459-foot Bear Peak to the south. It is a physically demanding route with considerable uphills and downhills, but it  pays off with stunning vistas and a backcountry feel without much risk.

This route highlights some of Boulder’s most well-traveled trails. During the summer months especially, expect heavy use by hikers, trail runners and dog walkers alike. (Mountain bikes aren’t allowed on the trails near Green Mountain.) Some flood damage from the September 2013 floods is still evident, especially along the Saddle Rock Trail, but the trail has been repaired without changing the route or the ambiance of the run.

Starting from the main trailhead at Chautauqua, start running the Baseline Trail. Though near the road, this relatively flat trail offers stupendous views of the majestic flatirons through the meadows. Try to peel your eyes away from these awe-inspiring geologic formations enough to watch your step. Follow this to the Gregory Canyon parking lot and find the Amphitheater Trail or Gregory Canyon Trail. (Once the parking lot at Gregory Canyon is repaired, you could park here and shorten your run a bit.) Each route ascends dramatically over a mix of dirt trails and rocky terrain, with Amphitheater Trail connecting with Saddle Rock Trail and E.M. Greeman Trail and Gregory Canyon connecting with Ranger Trail. (Although there are two separate trails to the summit, the routes connect midway up the mountain to offer variety for the ascent and descent.)

From the top, runners can see Denver and Denver International Airport on the plains to the east and numerous peaks along the Continental Divide to the west. (A brass plate on very top of the peak highlights 24 peaks and their respective elevations.)

The Data

Miles: 5.0

Runnable: 59 percent

Singletrack: 100 percent

Average Grade: 17 percent

Total Ascent: 2,298 feet

Total Descent: -2,301 feet

Highest Elevation: 8,144 feet

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

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Jeff Johnson: What Makes Pre So Special Wed, 20 May 2015 16:44:09 +0000

Photo: Jeff Johnson

Running pioneer Jeff Johnson fondly remembers the track and field icon.

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Photo: Jeff Johnson

Although Steve Prefontaine continues to be widely remembered, idolized and celebrated 40 years after his fatal car accident on May 30, 1975, few think as highly of him as Jeff Johnson.

Before he became Nike’s very first paid employee (among other innovations, he came up with the name “Nike”), Johnson was a renowned photographer for Track & Field News, where he first came into contact with the high school running prodigy from Coos Bay, Ore. Over the next several years, as Johnson shot some of the most enduring action photos of Prefontaine, and then later worked with him at a fledgling running shoe company that featured waffle-iron outsoles, Johnson became a huge admirer of Pre, and frequently speaks about him to Nike employees, high school track teams and runners of all ages.

“[Pre] was an enormous force in the lives of those who saw him,” Johnson says now. “And I wanted to capture a sliver of that experience for young people, because there’s never been anyone like him since.”

The following is a speech about Prefontaine that Johnson has given many times, and has kindly given Competitor permission to reprint.

RELATED: 14 Great Steve Prefontaine Quotes—and the Stories Behind Them


I want to tell you about a boy. A boy who became a legend among American distance runners. People who never saw him run ask, “What was so special about him? He was just a runner.” Well, I will tell you.

It was the summer of 1969, and I was on the campus of the University of Miami for the National AAU Senior Men’s Track and Field Championships. I was just beginning a career as a photojournalist, and this track meet was one of my first assignments. I wanted to do a good job.

And so, I was preoccupied when I stepped into the elevator. As the doors closed, a small boy squeezed in behind me. From the look of him, he was about 12 years old. I ignored him, but as we began our ascent, I became aware that he was looking me over.

“What event do you do?” he asked.

In that distant summer of 1969, I was 27 years old, fit and undamaged by time. In that elevator of the athletes’ dormitory, one might reasonably have mistaken me for a competing athlete. The boy obviously had. I told him I wasn’t an athlete. I was a photographer for Track & Field News. Then I went back to ignoring him.

“What’s your name?” he persisted.

I told him.

“I’ve seen your pictures,” he said, then proceeded to recall specific pictures I had taken and his opinions of them. I was really impressed. Who even notices the tiny photographer’s credit alongside a picture in a magazine, much less remembers it? This kid was a real fan.

For a moment, I thought he was going to ask me for my autograph. I didn’t ask him his name.

The next evening I saw this boy again. He was standing on the starting line of the three-mile run, nearly lost among the shadows of America’s best long-distance runners, a gate-crashing child to be pulled aside by officials at any moment so the race might begin. Or so I thought. Then I noticed the mustard-colored vest clinging damply to his chest, and the single word—Marshfield—arched across the front, and recognition finally dawned.

“My God, that’s Steve Prefontaine.”

Few of us knew Pre in that summer of ’69, but nearly everyone had heard of him—the fiery high school runner from Coos Bay, Ore., who that spring had set the scholastic record of 8:41 for 2 miles and who was already known for his audacious, front-running style. In less than six years he would be gone, but in that brief time Pre would gain a reputation that has already spanned a life greater than his own.

He left us the records: Four consecutive NCAA track titles at three miles, a feat never before accomplished; American records at every distance from 2,000 to 10,000 meters; five years without a loss to any American at any distance greater than a mile. At Hayward Field, his home track, in front of his fans, his people, he never lost a race longer than a mile to anyone, American or foreign. Never.

But it isn’t for the record that Pre is remembered. He is remembered for how he competed. And how he lived.

I didn’t know Pre very well, but I’m not here to tell you what he was like. I’m here to tell you why he affected us so much. But I find I can’t do the one without the other, so I’ll tell you what I do know.

I know that Pre was just an unsophisticated, small-town kid. Bill Bowerman called him ‘Rube’ because he was so direct and upfront with people. When they asked him what he meant to do, he would tell them: he was going to win, of course. The media portrayed Pre as cocky. But Pre merely had a child’s enthusiasm for his own potential, and a fierce confidence born from the consistency of his training. According to his coach, Bill Dellinger, in Pre’s four years at the University of Oregon, he never missed a workout. Not one.

Pre had a child’s look about him, too—the girls thought he was cute—an image which pained him and which he tried to change midway through college by growing his hair long and adopting an outlaw’s mustache. But no one was fooled. Though he became a giant slayer, Pre was still just a boy, and the people of Eugene, Ore., embraced him and made him their own.

Pre had a charisma, a personal magnetism that drew people to him, but in every other way he was just a normal college kid. Bill Dellinger described him as just “someone who didn’t know any better and went out and did whatever he said he was going to do.” To his teammates, Pre was easygoing, “just one of the guys.”

He lived in a trailer and survived on food stamps.

He took his dog to class with him.

He grew his own vegetables.

He started a jogging club, then jogged with the joggers. He went to schools and talked with the kids. He went to the state prison and got involved with their programs; he even worked for an inmate’s parole. He seemed to have limitless energy and a desire to make a difference. He was Oregon’s Man of the Year in 1975. A college kid. An athlete. A runner.

He personally organized a track tour to bring Finnish athletes to compete in Eugene, including Lasse Viren, who had beaten him in the ’72 Olympics. And he publicly criticized the AAU—which was then the national governing body of the sport—specifically for not taking the lead in creating more opportunities for international competitions, and generally for its shabby treatment of American athletes. He spoke out against the status quo and stood up for athletes’ rights when few would. And he took considerable heat for it.

He had a kindness about him, especially with children. A father tells a story of taking his son to a meet to see Pre run. Before the race, the boy went to the warm-up area to get Pre’s autograph. When he came back, he told his dad, “Pre wouldn’t sign.”

“Well,” said the father, “Pre is getting ready to race. Ask him later.” After the race, the boy tried again. This time Pre signed. Recognizing the boy from before, Pre asked him, “What are you doing for the next few minutes? Come warm down with me.” As the father tells it, that warm-down jog with Pre changed his son’s life.

He was intensely loyal to his teammates. In 1971, Pre won the conference cross-country title with Oregon finishing second. The school was going to send Pre, but not the team, to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Knoxville. But Pre said he wouldn’t go without his team. So they sent the team. Pre won, leading Oregon to its first-ever NCAA Cross Country team title.

He was loyal to his fans as well. One fall day in 1974, Pre was in Eugene training for a 5,000 that he would soon run in Europe. To sharpen, he had planned to run a fast track mile, and though it was just a workout, no one in Eugene ever missed a chance to see Pre run. One thousand people showed up that day, which was also “field-burning day” in the Willamette Valley, the one day each year when the farmers burned the stubble left in their fields after the harvest. The smoke was so thick you could barely see across the track; it was no day to even be outdoors, much less training. But there were those thousand people. For them, Pre ran his workout mile in 3:58.3 and coughed blood at the end. And then, his lungs gravely wounded, he found a bullhorn and thanked the people for their support.

That wasn’t the first time Pre had sacrificed himself for his people. A year earlier, in a four-way track meet that included arch-rival Washington State, Pre ran a 3:56 mile and a 13:06 three-mile, at the time the greatest distance double in history. It was a routine college track meet, but Washington State had come with a top recruit from Kenya and the stands were full. The effort knocked Pre off form for a month—you could see he wasn’t himself—but just 13 days later in a Twilight Meet, running on “dead legs,” Pre answered the call of his people again with a 3:55-flat mile, at the time the third-fastest mile ever by an American.

From the crowds of people that came to see him run, Pre drew energy. And they loved him for it. But when they cried for him to surge too often, break away too soon, run harder than he needed to to win—and when he responded as he always did—it robbed him of strength that hurt him later in the year, especially when he raced in Europe, months away from his conditioning base. But the most important thing in Pre’s mind seemed to be to please his fans, his people. He ran for them, never holding anything back, and they loved him for that too.

But for all that he was—for all the energy and responsibility, for all the confidence and charisma, for all the involvement and commitment—Pre remained just a sweet kid, warm and friendly. In conversation, he would often reach out and touch you, connecting with you. If he hadn’t seen you for a while, you might be in for a hug. Though his fame gave him rock star status, he hated it because it tended to isolate him from people, made him doubt their motives. He wanted you to call him “Steve” because “Pre” was his rock star name, and he hated that, too. He was a star who didn’t act like a star.

* * *

He was not a pretty runner, flowing over the ground like so many of the great ones. Someone said Pre had scoliosis, which caused him to run with his body slightly twisted, like a tightly coiled spring. With his head cocked to one side as if listening to a secret voice, Pre forced himself around the track, running with a ferocity that denied relaxation, as if straining against the leash of his own limitations. Pre made running look hard, and you sensed his suffering.

Pre once said, “I like to make people say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’” And I suspect that’s why he always ran so hard—not just to win or set a record, but because there might be someone in the stands who had never seen him run.

For several years, I continued as a track photographer, so I was at ground level to notice that Pre had a strange habit before his Hayward Field races. Warming up, he would circle the infield, acknowledging friends on the track and in the stands with a wink and a smile. It struck me as peculiar, his outer-directedness before a race, his apparent lack of focus when you would expect just the opposite.

Then one day it occurred to me what his behavior reminded me of. It was show time, and Pre was “checking the house” like a stage actor peeking through the curtain before the show to see who was in the audience. But more than that, he was inviting us to participate in the performance he was about to give, and acknowledging that we were his inspiration. “A race is a work of art,” Pre once said, and if that is true then surely it is the only art form in which the artist breaks himself down as he proceeds through his work, breaks himself down to the point where the work is finished at the moment of the artist’s collapse; and the impact of the art, its capacity to move us, is determined solely by the courage of the artist.

Majestically, Pre would prance onto the track with authority of the alpha male claiming his territory. The gun would rise, then bark, releasing a tumble of athletes from which Pre would instantly emerge, seizing the lead and pressing the pace. Pre’s nature wouldn’t permit him a sit-and-kick race. He was impatient, hyper, and, knowing that he lacked finishing speed, Pre would counter with an intense pace all the way. Almost immediately he would go on the attack, punishing the field with savage bursts. When Pre ran, victories ensued, records fell. But they never seemed to be the point. The point was simply to run harder than anyone else, to take effort to a plane where no one else was willing to go. For Pre, it was never about winning or losing. “I don’t run races to see who’s the fastest,” he said. “I run races to see who has the most guts.” Pre came right at you. He was a smash-mouth runner, the only smash-mouth runner I ever saw.

At first, Pre’s impossible combination of pride, confidence and success irritated his opponents. But soon they came to respect him, then revere him—even love him—for he always gave them his best. He challenged his competitors to respond in kind, to go deeper into themselves than they had ever gone before, to run the race of their lives. And they either met that challenge or Pre would bury them. Runners came to measure themselves as athletes by whether they approached their races with Pre with eager anticipation or with dread and intimidation. When you took on Pre there was never any doubt: He would challenge your talent, your toughness, your training and your heart.

The last laps of his races were almost unbearable to watch. The pressure built, the pace increased, and Pre’s surges—like sword thrusts to the heart—began to separate him from his remaining rivals as, one by one, they faltered and broke. Pre ran for his people, he was ours and we were his, and as each opponent was dropped we roared our approval, a hoarse blood-roar unheard since the days of ancient Rome. He would come off the last turn staggering, almost falling, sustained only by the thunder which rose from the East and West grandstands, a thunder that deflected downward from the wooden roves, downward to the track where the athletes ran through sound so great, so dense, so deafening that it had the force of wind. Often, at the finish, with both hands Pre would grab the yarn which spanned the track in those days before electronic timing, a final gesture of dominance and defiance, like a predator seizing prey.

You didn’t have to understand running to be awed by Pre. You just had to understand effort. And will.

A man once said, “To see others will themselves to do what seems impossible is to understand what the body is capable of achieving, and finally to see what a glorious thing … what a glorious thing being human is.” And there you have it. That is what set Pre apart from anyone we had seen on the track before. That is what still sets Pre apart today, and why we who saw him run still speak of him as we do. Pre willed himself to do impossible things. He drove himself to the brink, not just once or twice, but every time he set foot on the track. More than once he rallied from almost certain defeat to give his people one more victory; more than once he overcame crushing fatigue to deliver one more record. The amazing thing about Pre was not that he raced so well, but that he raced so well so often. “I want a race,” he said, “where it comes down to … who can push himself the farthest into that kind of exhaustion where running is unnatural, where you have to whip yourself to go on.” Pre made sure he got that race, made sure he got it every time, the kind of race that transforms talent and training and courage into near invincibility.

And here it bears repeating, that amazing record: For six years—the track seasons of 1970 through 1975—they came to Eugene, the best in the nation at 2, 3 and 6 miles, the best and 5,000 and 10,000 meters. They came for dual meets and quadrangulars, for Twilight meets and invitationals, for national championships and Olympic Trials. For six years they came to Hayward Field, ready and rested, believing that this day they would defeat that punk, that Prefontaine, on his home turf. But they never did. No one. Not once. Never.

* * *

Pre created a kind of madness in Eugene, a cult of admiration and adulation. Pre’s people were not so much fans as followers, and events at Hayward Field ceased to be mere track meets and became instead hand-clapping, foot-pounding, lung-busting, hysteria-induced revival meetings.

When Pre ran, we felt better about ourselves, glorious in our shared humanity. When Pre ran, we dared to imagine—then believe—that we, too, had deep within ourselves, embers of that same extraordinary fire. Pre inspired us to accept challenge, to attempt, to strive, to risk, to endure. We fed on his unfailing strength and heart, and he, in turn, fed on our frenzy. He blazed through our lives like a shooting star, an incarnation of courage and will. There never had been an athlete like this boy who ran with the fury of an enraged bull. There never had been a sound to match the din of 10,000 berserk people, on their feet, a tempest howling “Go Pre! Go Pre!”

And then he was gone. John Donne wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me,” but the death of this man, this boy, diminished an entire sport. The grief felt at Pre’s loss went beyond the loss of a great athlete, or the loss of a boy, a youth, however dear. The loss of Pre meant, as well, the loss of our exemplar, our standard, our beacon. The light was out.

Steve Prefontaine died on May 30, 1975. But we don’t have to believe that if we don’t want to. Heroes like Steve Prefontaine never really die. They live on in our hearts and perform their warrior deeds on the big screens of memory and imagination. They define the excellence to which we aspire. They arouse our spirits. They fire our souls.

We just have to somehow get past the tears in our eyes, the bloody spike-wounds on our hearts, and the loss that will stay with us until our final day.

RELATED: New Movie About Steve Prefontaine Nearing Completion

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3 Ways to Lace Up Your Running Shoes Wed, 20 May 2015 05:44:55 +0000

Different lacing methods can bring different a feel to your running.

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Shoelaces come untied, loosen, bind and can be a knot in your stride. Too loose makes for sloppy striding, too tight and shoes bind and pinch.

Here are three lacing methods to keep you running in your sweet spot. (Our step-by-step directions come from Ian’s Shoelace Site)

RELATED: 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Running Shoes

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Radio Personality Embraces Running as a Way to Give Back Tue, 19 May 2015 23:03:10 +0000

Tommy Sablan (right) lost more than 90 pounds and is now an avid runner.

The KyXy host will run Rock 'n' Roll San Diego on May 31.

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Tommy Sablan (right) lost more than 90 pounds and is now an avid runner.

The KyXy host will run Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego on May 31.

The mirror is difficult to miss. It spans the entire side of the North County Fair escalator in Escondido, Calif. You can admire your wardrobe if you wish, check out your latest haircut or take a peek at someone attractive without offending the gawking police.

Or, if you were Tommy Sablan four years ago, you turned your head because you loathed the reflection in the mirror.

“I couldn’t look in the mirror because I knew it was coming up and I’d just look away,” says Sablan, executive producer of the KyXy 96.5 “Jeff and Jer Showgram,” San Diego’s highest rated radio show.

Sablan stands 5-foot-7.

“On a good day,” he jokes.

In November 2011 he weighed well north of 250 pounds.

That day, curiosity got the better of Sablan. He glanced in the glass.

“I didn’t realize it was me,” he says.

He turned sideways for a profile.

“I said, ‘Wow,’” Sablan recalls. “‘I’ve got to do something.’”

He pauses. “That North County Fair mirror taught me a lot.”

Sablan now weighs 190 pounds. He dipped as low as 178, a 90-pound loss from his zenith. Medifast jump-started Sablan’s weight loss, helping him drop 50 pounds the first 2½ months. Running has helped him maintain his fitness. Sablan will join about 25,000 others for the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and ½ Marathon on May 31. By Sablan’s count, it’ll be his 15th half marathon.

Sablan, 51, grew up in Chula Vista, graduating from Castle Park High. He was active through his early teens, playing basketball and football before music, the guitar and dreams of becoming a rock star grabbed his attention. By his account, the listed weight on his first driver’s license was 125 pounds.

He married at 30, along came his daughter Vanessa (now 20) and his son Eddie (18). The radio show took off and for a young man who grew up in a Guamanian family with limited discretionary income, he enjoyed the good life, often taking the family out to dine.

Fast food restaurants became a magnet. Ten extra pounds turned into 20. A paunch begat a gut which begat turning fat.

“In my mind, I wasn’t accepting that I was getting fat,” he says. “In my mind I was saying, ‘I’ll start working out tomorrow.’ Tomorrow never came. It was the perfect storm.”

But deep down, he knew there was a problem.

“I didn’t want to go anywhere,” he says. “I didn’t want to be seen by anyone.”

Then came the mirror’s reflection. Less than 11 months after joining Medifast, Sablan ran his first half marathon. His PR is 2 hours, 19 minutes. This year will mark his second Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half.

“I love the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half,” he says. “There’s music, it’s a fun crowd and everyone’s smiling. If you’re only going to do one half marathon in your life, it’s gotta be Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Sablan ran with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program for his first 13.1-miler, which is fitting. For a man who has used his radio platform since the show’s inception in 1988 to raise money and awareness for social causes, it figures that by pushing his body he would help cancer patients.

Sablan helped create Chelsea’s Run, which honors Chelsea King, the former Poway High student-athlete who was murdered by a sex offender on Feb. 25, 2010 when she went out for a run.

He has been a part of the “Jeff and Jer Showgram” team that organizes the Breaking and Entering Christmas bit where struggling families are given everything from food to gifts to cars for the holidays. Last year, 26 other radio stations nationwide emulated the program.

Sablan helped form the Human Flag that showed support for military troops during the Persian Gulf War. And the show’s annual Jingle Ball concert raises funds for Becky’s House, which supports victims of domestic violence.

Away from the show, he reads at elementary schools and speaks to youths at juvenile halls. Two of Sablan’s older brothers died of heroin addiction.

“That’s actually who I am,” says Sablan regarding his passion for reaching out to youths. “Yes, I’m on the radio. But in my heart I love talking to high schools kids, talking to kids at juvenile hall about making good choices.”

 “He’s always, always thinking about other people and putting them before himself,” said friend and training partner Anita Bartram.

Asked where the root stems for his sense of helping others, Sablan credits his spiritual faith, his mother and the radio show’s listeners, who move him to want to give back.

“Our listeners are more like a family,” he says.

As for training, Sablan runs three or four times a week, averaging about five miles. He walks his dog Carlos four miles every day and often throws in running stairs or a trip to the gym.

“I’m a personal trainer and a lot of people think I’m the one pushing Tommy,” says Bartram. “When I’m not training somebody it’s really nice not to have to tell somebody what to do. When we’re running, a lot of times it’s Tommy pushing me, telling me, ‘Let’s go farther.’”

Meanwhile, the mirror still takes up the entire side of that escalator at North County Fair. Today, though, he’s not shy about checking out the man in the reflection.

“Now,” Sablan jokes, “I look and say, ‘Wow, that dude’s hot.’”

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The Beer Relay: Drink Beers, Run Trails, Repeat Tue, 19 May 2015 21:54:26 +0000

The Beer Relay race poster has a tagline of "Drink, Run, Repeat." Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Fit Inc.

Another example of how beer and running intersect.

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The Beer Relay race poster has a tagline of "Drink, Run, Repeat." Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Fit Inc.

The Beer Relay race poster has a tagline of "Drink, Run, Repeat." Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Fit Inc.

The Beer Relay race poster has a tagline of “Drink, Run, Repeat.” Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Fit Inc.

Here’s another example of how beer and running go together.

C’mon, who hasn’t craved a tasty, cold beer after a run? OK, that might be a no-brainer, but how about guzzling a beer during a run?

The intersection of beer and running has gained a lot of notoriety in the past year or so as the line between fitness activities and post-workout beverage consumption has become significantly blurred.

From happy hour runs starting and finishing at brew pubs, the notoriety around running a beer mile and even a running store that serves beer, two activities that used to be separated at least by some post-run stretching are now commonly intertwined.

What’s next? Introducing The Beer Relay, a six-hour team trail running relay slated for May 30 in Lyons, Colo., and July 18 in Brevard, N.C. Billed as the first ever drinking/singletrack trail running races, The Beer Relay will give runners the option of drinking a 12-ounce Oskar Blues microbrew before running a 5K singletrack trail loop and then tagging a teammate to follow suit on the next lap. Each beer consumed will result in a 2-minute time deduction from a team’s total time. The team with the most laps and the best time wins.

A team can consist of two to 10 runners ages 13 and older, but each runner drinking beer must be at least 21 years old.

The Beer Relay, which has a tagline of “Drink, Run, Repeat,” is being put on by Adventure Fit Inc., a company that has organized numerous bike and running events around the U.S.—including the Shape Magazine Diva Dash, the New Belgium Urban Assault Ride, and the Oskar Blues Old Man Winter Bike Rally. Many of those events have included beer, either during or after the athletic activities.

“Our passion is producing events with a twist. We take traditional activities and pair them in unusual ways,” says Sharon Cutler, Managing Director of Adventure Fit Inc. “When we came up with the idea for The Beer Relay, we started bouncing it off people at running shops and in the running community. At first, people thought it was a lot of running and a lot of drinking, but depending on your team size you might only be drinking a beer every two hours or so. Once people understood that, everyone started to embrace it.”

The entry fee for The Beer Relay is $50-$65 per person, depending on the size of the team. (For example, a team of four costs $180 using the code “letsparty” when signing up at Included in the fee is a custom BUFF headband, free Oskar Blues beer during the relay, aid stations with water and Clif Bars.

In each location, The Beer Relay will be part of the Burning CAN ExtravaCANza, a festival featuring 200 canned beers from 58 craft breweries around the country organized by Oskar Blues Brewery. (Colorado-based Oskar Blues, which also has a brewing facility in North Carolina, was the first craft brewer to can its own beers back in 2002.)

The Burning Can festival official kicks off at 4 p.m. and extends to 7 p.m., but a lineup of live music acts are expected to start at 3 p.m. and go until 10 p.m. (Relay runners can get $30 off the $45 Burning Can admission fee by using the code “drinkrunrepeat” when signing up at Camping is available on Friday and Saturday nights.

(The Beer Relay should not be confused with the Brew to Brew Relay, a 45-mile point-to-point relay race between two breweries held in mid-April in the Kansas City area. Also, the Seattle Running Club puts on the Fat Glass 50K, a late September relay race in which runners drink a beer and run a 5K lap. Then there is then the Bend Beer Chase, a 70-mile team relay in Bend, Ore., that sends runners to 19 breweries.)

Naturally, Shoes & Brews, a running specialty store that also serves beer in its adjacent bar just 15 miles down the road from Lyons in Longmont, is entering a team in The Beer Relay. And it appears to be the team to beat, with former collegiate track runners Rob Vermillion, Stephen Pifer and Colin Anderson ready to pound some beers and run some trails.

RELATED: Shoes & Brews: A Colorado Running Store with 20 Beer Taps

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Shoes & Brews manager Ashlee Velez, who is also running on the relay team. “We’ve  always considered running a social event and craft beer is a social thing for us, too. It’s nice to see the two are catching on together in bigger way.”

The Colorado event, which will be held 25 minutes north of Boulder, is also connected to the Lyons Outdoor Games, a multisport festival that includes kayaking, slacklining and cornhole competitions. Each event will also have live music, including a free concert from The Revivalists after the Colorado trail relay.

Why are beer and running so intertwined nowadays?

“It’s part of the social aspect of being active,” Cutler says. “It’s all about camaraderie and community. When you go for a run with your buddies, you want to go hang out and have a beer with them too. It used to be people were doing it on their own—and they still are—but now there are events and communities built around it.

“Personally, I’m waiting for tequila to become the social drink of choice for active-minded people.”

RELATED: How to run a beer mile

RELATED: NYC Marathon—5 boroughs, 5 beers


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Summer Running Camps For Adults Tue, 19 May 2015 20:30:39 +0000

A good way to improve your running this summer.

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Instead of doing what you’ve always done, use this summer to boost your running performance and break out of a rut by lacing up for a running camp or running vacation. Runners of all abilities can benefit from focused training and spending a few unencumbered days doing what they love. All programs are set in stunning locations best explored by taking to the trail. Built-in running partners, campfires, river floats and good food are all welcome bonuses. Amenities range from self-service dorm living to full on catered comfort. Choose the level of adventure and support to suit your budget and get ready to feel like a kid again.





















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