2/7/09

26.2 Random Running Facts About Me

"Don't attack a hill from the very bottom - it's bigger than you are!" Harry Groves

Taken off of facebook, 25 Random Facts...which is hillarious to get to know someone without asking them...but not knowing them that well...but seeing what they would actually put down to the public eye. These are my 26.2 Random Running Facts that I put together this morning.

1. In high school, I use to be a sprinter, rather than a long distance runner…no, really a 55, 100, 200, 300 …up to 400 meter dash specialist and that was it. I set two individual school records – 100 (11.0) & 200 (23.1) meters, in high school. One of them still stands (200 meters)

2. I started as an “X” runner, which means when I was a freshman; I ran the races never to reach the semi-finals or finals…just for time.

3. All my true friends in high school did track – maybe it’s a trend? (running and friendship)

4. I never ran in college – only recreationally.

5. My first race in New York City was the Manhattan Half marathon – I had never done a Half Marathon before and just wanted to complete it. Scary how I pick a Half Marathon as my first race…does this surprise you?

6. I started running on a team {The New York Flyers – (NYF)} to gain friendships, contacts in other fields and running advice.

7. I had to choose between two teams: NYF and Central Park Track Club (CPTC), knowing nothing about both clubs. Essentially, I wanted a team that represented New York and wanted that recognition whenever I went away to a different state. a. I found that CPTC wanted my qualifying times in all different race disciplines (which I never ran any New York Road Runner (NYRR) races before and they had charged $100 as a membership fee.b. NYF had a $25 membership fee and seemed like it had many members doing certain races at certain times…so, 3 years later, I am still on the team.

8. I started running marathons after completing 7 or 9 half marathons (completing all the 5 grand prix borough’s that year) running the first 9 miles with my sister in the Marine Corp Marathon.

9. My first marathon time was 3:28.54

10. I have a running spreadsheet based on the Year, race that I competed in and times. Also on the spreadsheet are NYRR races, dates and other local races around the tri-state area for the year

11. The first year with the Flyers I only ran races with them. I never knew the members of the club – only a handful – Glen W, Lara K, Chris M, Nicole C. and Eric S. were the first people I have met because they were about my pace and I recognized them through the races.

12. I never truly became a member until the First Downtown Group Run (DT). There I met Rocket man, Jordan G. and Jamie M. and other true friends on the club today.

13. I always carry a camera in all of my marathons to capture the moment. While running you think about so many different things and see so many different things, why not? I also get bored, so it keeps me company during a marathon.14. I never run with an Ipod because I nearly killed myself running straight into the west side highway. I also like to hear my surroundings when I run (except for those hard breathers or heavy stompers)

15. I am a night runner rather than a morning runner.

16. I put about 500+ miles on my shoes – I know it’s wrong...don’t lecture me.

17. I have a strong tendency to “coach” people – Though with my coaching aspects, I feel as though I am a hypocrite, telling people the right advice and not following my own advice myself.

18. I am most proud of my Personal Record (PR) in my Boston Marathon time – 3:00:09. Although, I always want to break it and join the sub-3 runners. Although everyone was with me on that day...

19. Favorite Running Quote – “At Mile 20 during a marathon, that is where the true race begins.”

20. I’m one of those crazies who takes up a running challenge – 2009 miles in 2009, completing 50 marathons in 50 states, etc, I take running to the extreme.

21. I am most comfortable with running and feel that I can excel in it due to the way I feel about it. I don’t have to think when I run. It’s the only time where I feel like I just do and know what to do. I feel that it’s my always time. My time, where I am free from my troubles, technology and the world…my own bubble.

22. I have a running blog, where to me I find writing about anything else tough. Running just flows. I can read and write about running and find the excitement and joy in learning new each day. My philosophy in running is: Always ask questions, knowing that the answer from a fellow runner’s advice you can take or leave and try out. Each person has a different body and philosophy.

23. My senior superlative of 20 years was: “Brian will be running in the New York City marathon while passing a building he had designed and constructed” – Got the first part done, now need to design a building and pass it along the marathon route. (Other’s say that this can be easily be accomplished by designing an architectural “model” and placing it on the side while running the NYC marathon, and passing it along the route…cheaters!)

24. I was secretary for my running club this past year (2008) and had to output a newsletter which I graciously appreciate James for helping me out. We had bitter fights, loves (luva) and cheers/jeers…I must have spent more or equal time doing this than training.

25. The last and most important, I run for the Alzheimer’s Association as a charity once a year to run for a cause and hope one day they will help find a cure. I run for my grandmother who has this disease and that is the reason why I take pictures during marathons.

26.I have a running tattoo of 26.2....but hidden in a phoenix and dragon.

26.2 Ah! You always hate the last .2 Go hard, Finish strong and finish, that's the most important thing...(no sexual connotations here)

Damn it...forgot another one:My parents have yet to see a marathon of mine...they are just too busy with work and their restaurant...but they are the first I call after every marathon to tell them how I did and that I am ok. Second person is my sister, who actually understands the whole running concept of time, pace and distance.

Rule Jostles Runners Who Race to Their Own Tune

By JULIET MACUR
Published: November 1, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 — At the peak of the marathon season, with one of the year’s biggest races set for Sunday in New York, a worry has emerged among some runners, and it has nothing to do with hitting the wall at Mile 20: Will BeyoncĂ© be there to push them to the finish? Will they be able to call upon Bon Jovi for support when there is no one else to turn to?

USA Track & Field, the national governing body for running, this year banned the use of headphones and portable audio players like iPods at its official races. The new rule was created to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge.

But trying to enforce such a rule on a 26.2-mile course filled with thousands of runners may be futile. The New York City Marathon, which strongly discourages the use of audio players, will not attempt to police its field on Sunday for lack of a surefire way to carry out the ban.

Technically, at last weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon here, and even at much smaller events like the Creaky Bones 5-kilometer race in Florida and the Corn Maze 4-miler in Tennessee, runners should not have had the luxury of listening to their favorite songs along the way. Marine Corps Marathon officials threatened to disqualify runners using headphones, but did not follow through.

“To ban them outright is just stupid, and if they want to disqualify me, they can,” Jennifer Lamkins, a teacher from Long Beach Calif., said before running the Marine Corps Marathon. “If they are banning them because we can’t hear directions, does that mean they should ban deaf people, too?”

Elite runners do not listen to music in races because they need to concentrate on their own bodies and hear their competitors, and some die-hard, old-school runners follow suit. Those runners — purists who prefer the sound of the crowd or their own breathing over, say, “Fergalicious” — cheered the headphone ban.
But for competitors who use music as a motivational tool while training and competing, the ban was frustrating, as if the race directors were forcing them to run barefoot.

With technological advances leading to smaller and smaller audio players that are easier to carry and conceal during races, the rift in the sport and the debate over the issue seems to be here to stay.

“They can ban iPods all they want, but how do you think they are going to enforce that when those things have gotten so small?” said Richie Sais, 46, a police officer in Suffolk County on Long Island, before running the Marine Corps Marathon.

“I dare them to find the iPod on me,” he said, adding that he had clipped his iPod Shuffle, which is barely larger than a quarter, under his shirt.

Some events strongly discouraged the use of audio players in the past, but the track and field federation’s new rule mandated an outright ban so that runners would be more aware of their surroundings and be able to clearly hear race announcements or warnings from other runners.

Jill Geer, spokeswoman for USA Track & Field, said the ban was “basically an insurance issue,” because rates rise substantially if headphones are allowed. Each sanctioned race receives liability insurance from USA Track & Field, and it would be up to each race director to enforce the ban. If the ban were ignored, the races would be liable in the event of an accident caused by someone using headphones, Geer said.
While race officials could not cite specific incidents caused by headphone users, they did say that the new rule would make races safer because it improves communication. Still, they fear that banning headphones may alienate some recreational runners.

“Years ago, the picture of people running marathons was these lean, mean Type-A male running machines, but today people running are your neighbors, just regular people,” said Tracy Sundlun, executive vice president for Elite Racing, which organizes marathons. “It’s a different sport now and we have to cater to these new people, not exclude them”

Coming up with a way to enforce a headphone ban — if enforcement is even possible — has been a challenge for race organizers. Some have already taken a hard line, like the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in June, which had a field of about 7,000 runners. Race officials collected iPods at the start and then mailed them back to competitors. Still, 30 maverick runners who broke the rules and used headphones were disqualified.

“We proved that it is very possible to enforce,” said Scott Keenan, the Grandma’s Marathon race director. “If other races are allowing it, then shame on them.”

Others are more lenient. The New York City Marathon’s race director, Mary Wittenberg, said it would be impossible to police a race with 38,000 runners moving through five boroughs. Wittenberg, who admitted that she used U2 songs to help get her through tough workouts, did not rule out a ban in the future. If all the major marathons agreed to enforce the rule, New York City would follow, she said.

“Our overwhelming concern is safety, but I think somebody is crazy to wear an iPod at this marathon for other reasons,” she said. “You want every single sense tuned in to the experience of running the race of a lifetime.”

Tucker Andersen, who has run in every New York City Marathon since 1976, scoffed at runners who rely on music to get them into a zone, and said it could create dangerous situations for other competitors. He remembered plenty of incidents in which runners, oblivious to the people around them, cut off others in a mad dash for a cup of water.

Andersen also said wearing headphones robs runners of the complete marathon experience. He remembered running alone across the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx in his first marathon, about to hit the wall at the 20-mile point, when a teenager leaned out of a building’s window and played the theme song from “Rocky” on a boom box.

“If I was wearing an iPod, I never would have heard that,” Andersen said.

But nothing, no magical stories of crowd noise or strict rules that threatened disqualification, deterred some iPod users in the Marine Corps Marathon from bringing their music along on the 26.2-mile journey through scenic Washington and Virginia. They tucked them into their shorts, taped them to the inside of their bras, shoved them into tiny belts. They hid their headphones under headbands and ball caps.

No matter the rule, Jennifer Rock, an Air Force officer from Little Rock, Ark., would have her Sean Paul. She had her mother, Denise, meet her at Mile 15 to hand over her iPod. The race director Rick Nealis said the marines guarding the start line would remind competitors to leave their headphones behind, but there was no enforcement. More than 20,000 runners flooded the starting gate, many with iPods strapped to their arms and unabashedly wearing headphones, including the huge foam ones, circa 1985.

And in sections of the race course where spectators were scarce, including Mile 20, those rule breakers pressed the play button when the marathon became lonely and cruel.

For John-Louis Kronfeld of Chester, N.Y., that was near the end, when he realized he was breaking barriers and running farther than he ever had.

At the foot of the final stretch of the course, a windy, steep road that leads to the Marine Corps War Memorial, Kronfeld did not think he could take another step. Then he heard the first few notes of a song that saved him.
Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ started playing,” he said. “In my head, I was singing, ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ and suddenly I got that last nudge through the finish.”

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