Sunday, June 24, 2007

USATF Championships, etc.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of watching snippets of the USA Track and Field Championships, held in Indianapolis, on NBC. I am not very good with following the athletes, but I really enjoy watching this because it reminds me of how much fun the track used to bring.

You know you should be watching if you still feel a huge amount of tension when the starter says, "on your mark" and "set" as the runners are preparing to spring from the blocks (the metal thing where the feet are placed, for those of you who don't know). Interestingly, they put a speaker behind the blocks, so unlike me, they don't have to strain to hear the gunshot. In this case, the shot noise comes from behind, probably eliciting a faster/more panicked start, ha ha.

Anyway, while checking up on these championships, I noticed yet another place to map your runs online using Google technology. At the bottom of the USATF page, you can either search for routes or create your own. I decided to do a search for Los Angeles and actually came up with many hits. The interface is very much like the other mapping sites I have reviewed, so I won't go into details.

P.S. I will be reviewing another mapping site soon, due to a comment that was left. Ironically, I am not running much outside anymore due to the heat, leaving my Nike+ kit largely as a recorder rather than a distance tracker.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Accelerade off to a Running Start!

Holy moley... I get bored on the treadmill (aka, "dreadmill") after 10 minutes, let alone 24 hours. Infinite kudos!
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NEW YORK, June 22

An endurance runner covered a distance greater than five marathons over 24 hours to help kick off the introduction of a new sports drink.The launch of Cadbury Schweppes Beverages' Accelerade, a protein-enhanced sports drink, was highlighted by endurance runner Dean Karnazes, who ran on a treadmill for 24 consecutive hours, said a release from Accelerade.

Karnazes attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the longest run on a treadmill in a 24-hour period. He ran more than 130 miles but was just short of the record, the drink's Web site, www.accelerade.com.In addition, Karnazes raised awareness for prostate cancer and $21,000 for Athletes for a Cure.

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Link: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/75463.html

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pain Relief Warning

Methyl salicylate, an ingredient in common pain relievers such as Ben Gay, Tiger Balm, and Icy Hot, can kill if used on over 40% of the body or combined with aspirin use.

A hgih school cross country runner has recently succumbed to this stuff. If you're anything like me, you hardly use pain relievers at all, but if not, consider yourselves warned.

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See the story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19208195/

Who Wants to be a Speed Demonaire?

So yesterday after three miles at around 9:40-10:00 pace and 30 minutes logging away at the elliptical trainer, I ran my last mile at an 8-8:30 pace. I could have probably run that mile under 8 minutes had I been outside in good weather, but I was limited to the preset speed of the treadmill.

This may sound very slow to many, but as one who is short and naturally runs around 10-min miles, it was a little out of my comfort zone (and caused a little soreness the next day). My high school sprinter self would gag knowing that an 8-min mile breaks down into 4x400m at 2:00 each. My personal record was about 1:10.

I have heard someplace that most people should be able to run a mile in about 8:30 (about 7 mph). Can most people even make it through a mile? In fifth grade, I took over 10 minutes. In eighth, I was at about 9:15. I don't know if I could run a mile in high school. So to be able to run an 8-8:30 pace at age 22 is not such a bad thing.

I wish I had access to a nice track so that I could do more speedwork. I used to hate doing 400m repeats, or repeats of any kind, but I think it would be fun to do them at this point.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mapping My Run

Inspired to look at other sites that map runs, I visited http://mapmyrun.com/.

Like Favorite Run, Map My Run also uses Google maps. You don't have to register to use the site unless you want to save the route. It also marks off each mile and has options for you to mark stops along the way.

A screenshot is below. Interestingly, the site will prompt you when you have navigated away from the page so that you can reload the route on which you were working.


Although snazzy-looking, I think that this site is a bit more clunky than the other one, but it looks as though it has more features and probably has a larger user base. This means that you can find more saved routes here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Favorite Run

Long before I got a Nike+ kit, I tracked my outdoor mileage using some good "old-fashioned" Google maps. This website, http://www.favoriterun.com, uses Google to estimate the length of your runs.

You will need to set up an account. Once you're in, you can enter information about the run, such as the city, and save it for later use. I believe that this will allow you to import the map to e-mail or blog as well.





Once you enter the information, you can narrow down your area. Click on your start point (or nearest intersection) and then click at each turn. The site will keep track of the distance until you click on the "start" again (most of us run in loops, right?). You can also add flags for water fountains and other stops you may need to make.



I have since confirmed the accuracy of this system versus my Nike+ kit, and they are both within about 0.1 miles different, which isn't much for a recreational runner like me. If you think you can use this, just give it a try!

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Marathon in "Training" - updated

UPDATE: This race has been approved! I hope both you all and I are at the start!

As you may already know, Pasadena may be holding an inaugural marathon and bike tour next fall (2008). This is just the push I need to train for two marathons next year, since it is pretty close to home, and I am already pretty familiar with the area.

The landmarks seem nice. Usually, I go to Old Town Pasadena to read in the bookstore, sample/eat 21 Choices frozen yogurt, or browse the clothing and furniture stores. Paseo Colorado is where A Snail's Pace is located, so they will probably play a large role in this race. Due to the familiarity, I don't know if I'll be happy to see these places during a 26.2 mile trek. But, there could be some novelty: I've never been to the Colorado bridge. I believe I've been to the Rose Bowl. I was certainly spoiled by all the landmarks we got to see in the Los Angeles Marathon, but Pasadena may trump because of the fall weather.

Anyway, here is the website built in this new marathon's support:

www.pasadenamarathon.org

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Heely Hell

Isn't it annoying when some kid suddenly rips through a crowd, lollipop in mouth and all, thanks to their "heelys?"

For those who haven't yet been annoyed by them, this trendy piece of footwear looks like a regular shoe with a detachable wheel at the bottom near the heel. The shoes basically work as normal ones until the wearer shifts their weight to the heel, allowing them to roll foward.

I'm surprised that more kids don't get hurt on these than already reported. I mean, it's pretty much like wearing rollerblades or skates, but without the rule that says you need to wear a helmet or padding when using them.

And then I wondered, can people use these in races? Probably not. First, as this is a kids' thing, it would be hard to find the appropriate size. Second, if you were seen gliding through a course, you'd be DQ-ed or at least scorned by other runners in about a millisecond. Third, most courses have elevation changes that I'm sure would make some parts impossible to "heel" through (though you could, of course, run through them).

The moral here is not to even think of these as viable for runners, though I'm sure the thought has surfaced in them for at least a second. Thank goodness measures are being taken to ban their use in certain areas.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Fewer Miles

The link below is to a New York Times article, which basically says that more people are completing marathons now thanks to training programs that require 3+ days of running a week. Some even incorporate walking. As long as the "long run" (20-26 miles) is done, most people will be just fine. They cited some major races having a 99% finish rate. This is obviously not how things used to be. Only the "elite" chose to run marathons, those who ran 6-7 days or 50+ miles per week. The fact that I finished one shows that things are definitely different now. Bottom line: these lower-mileage programs work.

I must agree with the warning that even with these relatively easier programs, it is not easy to go from, "Hey, I want to conquer this before I die" to crossing that finish line (and doing it again). Even doing 3-4 runs a week is tough after a while, especially if you don't live in a good running area and have a full-time job. Unlike half-marathons, you can't expect to go into a marathon with little training. It's a commitment that will save you from pain and/or humiliation. And you have to be in some reasonable shape before you begin, lest you'll injure/burn out and never want to run again.

I was not perfectly following the 18-week program (read: 4.5 months) I was on, but I think I had about an 80% compliance rate because my body and life got in the way. I did not expect to have to walk during the race because I hardly walked during training, but still, I didn't have pain after the race. Granted, I have some background in running, but I am rather baseline lethargic, as proven by the drastic drop in mileage lately on my part. Thanks, training program.

Link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/fashion/31FITNESS.html?ex=1181275200&en=2a7b29f8aad61567&ei=5070&emc=eta1