Friday, July 29, 2011

Who Looks Funnier - Tired Joggers or Wet Dogs?

Photographer Sacha Goldberger has a great series of photos of joggers immediately after their jog, and then later once they have showered. No wonder I can't recognize a fellow runner in their business attire!

You can find more of these photos at PetaPixel.

For you pet lovers, check out these hilarious photos of dogs shaking water off, put together by pet photographer Carli Davidson for her series “Shake“. It reminds me of that slow-motion scene in Chariots of Fire where the sprinters faces are all over the place.

Here's the Chariots of Fire videos (face flying around 1:40'ish):

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Has More Strides Per Minute, You or Usain Bolt? Answer - It's the Same!

The Post Game has a nice article about Peter Weyand's study about how all runners basically have the same stride rate, and differ only in force and the amount of time the foot is on the ground. That means you and Usain Bolt have the same stride rate!

Peter Weyand, a science professor at Southern Methodist University, conducted a study on speed about a decade ago. Comparing athletes to non-athletes, Weyand clocked both test groups as they ran at their top speed. What he found shocked him - stride rates are basically the same, but force and foot time can vary widely. He uses an analogy of super balls vs beach balls to compares the tight bound of a professional runner vs the rest of us, citing that a pro leaves their foot on the ground about .08 seconds vs our .12 seconds (a 60% difference), and exert 1000 lbs of force vs our 500-600 lbs. Pretty interesting!

The article then goes on to talk about why Usain Bolt is unique with his speed and height combined. Read the full story here.

Kudos to Michael Norton for passing this on...

- SD

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prize Money for the Everyday Runner

Eager to change the standard award allocation of "top three overall and age group winners", the crew at the Syracuse Festival of Races has announced a format where anyone can be a prize winner...and pick up some cash to boot! It's called AnyRunner Prize Money.

Here's how it works - they announce a number of target finish times for a 5k, such as 16:19, 17:19, and 21:19, and the runners who come closest to those finish times get to split the prize pot. The racers are chipped, so watching the finish clock doesn't necessarily guarantee you hit it right. Still, I imagine there are some funny finishes when XX:19 rolls around!

Below is more info about the format, and the race is scheduled for Oct 2nd. Go get your tempo work rolling! I hope somebody gets a video of a bunch of people trying to hit a time. ;-)

- SD

Syracuse Festival Of Races Announces AnyRunner Prize Money˙ Times

$2,400 Up for Grabs in First-Ever, Performance-Based Prize Money for
Middle-of-the-Pack and Back-of-the-Pack Runners

SYRACUSE, N.Y. ˆ The Syracuse Festival of Races (SFoR) has announced the twenty-four 5K finishing times that runners from throughout the U.S. will be aiming for in the world‚s first performance-based prize money race for middle-of-the-pack and back-of-the-pack runners. The new AnyRunner Prize Money˙ will debut in conjunction with the Men‚s 5K and Women‚s 5K at the 19th annual SFoR on Sunday, October 2nd.

"As the name implies, AnyRunner Prize Money˙ is intended to give runners finishing throughout a broad range of times the opportunity to enjoy the experience of racing for˜and winning˜prize money," says Dave Oja, founder and race director of the SFoR. "Nearly every runner in our 5K fields will be capable of running one of the twenty-four AnyRunner Prize Money˙ times, and we expect that scores of them will hit those times."

The key to winning a share of the $2,400 prize purse, however, is to be the first to finish in one of the twenty-four AnyRunner Prize Money˙ times. In the Men‚s 5K, the twelve AnyRunner Prize Money˙ times for 2011 are: 15:19; 17:19; 19:19; 21:19; 23:19; 25:19; 27:19; 29:19; 31:19; 33:19; 35:19; and 37:19. In the Women‚s 5K, the twelve AnyRunner Prize Money˙ times for 2011 are: 17:19; 19:19; 21:19; 23:19; 25:19; 27:19; 29:19; 31:19; 33:19; 35:19; 37:19; and 39:19.

With entries already received from thirteen states, and a limit of 800 in each of the two 5K races, Oja expects the Festival‚s 5K race fields to fill completely. "How cool is it for runners who‚ve never even won an age group award to have a chance to win $100?" he asks.

In addition to the Men‚s 5K and Women‚s 5K, SFoR events include the MVP Health Care 3K Fun & Fitness Run, the Tops Friendly Markets Community Walk, and the Fitness Forum/Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists Joint Replacement Run & Walk. Participants in the various SFoR events range from area pre-school children and their families to world-class age-group athletes as old as 93 competing in the 2011 USA Masters 5 km Championship.

Additional information regarding the 19th annual Syracuse Festival of Races, including an AnyRunner Prize Money˙ Questions & Answers page, is available at:

Monday, July 18, 2011

The True Masters of Track and Field Competing in the Marathon at the World Masters Athletics Championship

As luck would have it, the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships, an annual international IAAF track and field event that pits the best masters athletes age 35-101+, was hosted in Sacramento, CA, this year, so I signed myself up for the marathon. Although it wasn't my best day, I had a great time donning the stars and stripes and running with a field of exceptional athletes from around the world.

(At the start)

(Jean Pommier, far more awake than me)

(Poland, UK, France, Columbia...from everywhere!)
You could tell from the 5am starting line that this event was going to be pretty special. A few hundred runners were warming up in the unusually cool morning, with another couple hundred "track nerds" lining the course start to cheer on their countrymen and women. Flags/singlets from the world were everywhere - Italy, Columbia, Poland, Brazil, Canada, Japan, etc. - and their languages filled the air with universal tones of encouragement and support. Some athletes were former Olympians, while others had joined the sport later in life. Most were already friends, passionately speaking of events from the previous week, like M80 phenom Ed Whitlock winning three events (including an age group world mark in the 1500m) or Neni Clark setting a new age group world record in the hammer throw, or 101-year-old Trent Lane doing the throw pentathlon. Honestly, 101 years old and throwing the shot put?!? That's insane. It's impressive enough just to BE 101 years old. Track nerd-dom is definitely an international phenomenon, and this is the perfect way to celebrate it!

(M80 Ed Whitlock crushing the 1500m)

I went through the warm up motions, already showing signs of unusual fatigue and sore spots from a wonderful 2,500-mile family road trip over the last three weeks. On top of that, I had a grand total of nine hours sleep in the previous three nights. Well done, Scott, nice prep! But it's tough to create excuses when the three guys warming up next to you are in the highly competitive 70-75 age group. Can you imagine the kinks and sore spots they are working through? Crazy. So I figured it's best to just go out fast and make the most of a PR-possible course of five loops along the American River. Luckily, I ran into ultrarunner Jean Pommier, fresh off getting 8th in his age group in the 10k a few days earlier, and knew that I could just hang onto his shoulder for the first half to be in the 1:18-1:20 range. Jean looked like he was going for 100k with his handheld water bottles, but I suspect he would be a contender for his M45-49 age group for sure. If I needed to slow a bit, ultrarunner Annette Bednosky would certainly be in the 3-hour range (I know this because she said "3:10'ish", and she usually comes in faster than expected).

We made a quick loop around the CSU-Sac campus before getting onto the American River Parkway, and the pack quickly split up with a few dozen running sub-2:45 pace. The Bay Area's Tony Torres, very capable of a 2:30 marathon, was up front and feeling good that neither the Ethiopian or Kenyan marathoners (posting sub-2:20 qualifying times) could make it. I hung on with Jean, who was going fast enough that our conversation was sparse at best, citing only the deja vu of running this bike trail in the dark (a la the American River 50 or Helen Klein 50). By the time we completed the first lap (mile 5), the sun was illuminating the cloud filled sky. Just as predicted, Jean was pulling us at a 6:09 min/mile pace with ease.

(Early AM on the course)

(Jean takes us over the footbridge to finish the first lap)
I got a better view of the runners around me in the light, and we had five continents represented in our little pack. Cool! You could really tell when we hit one of the bridges full of spectators who would shout out in more languages than I could count. When Jean and I came by, it was "go USA!" from everyone, and that little boost of pride kept out strides going quickly. Such fun to represent your country!

(77-year-old Mogens Dam from Denmark going strong, and wondering what the hell I'm doing with a camera)
At mile 9, I had to (quickly) stop for a bio-break, while Jean stayed on pace. One thing about his water bottles is that he never had to slow at an aid station! My right shoulder was nagging me (that's the deltoid responsible for holding 4-month-old Quinn), as was my right heel (the gas pedal foot!), and I chuckled that I hadn't properly recovered from all that driving. Ah, life as a 40+ year old! You even need to recover from driving. I slowed the pace to 6:30 min/mile to let my GI tract find some balance, running along with 50-year-old Hector Juarez from Alcapulco, Mexico. We found a good rhythm, trading off the pace making and hitting the 13.1-mile point in 1:22:01.

We began lapping the slower runners quite regularly at this point, and I was really impressed with how fast they were going. M80, F75...nobody was walking, not even on the climbs. They were all true and trained athletes, and to be honest, I was jealous of all the hardbodies. Boy, I sure wish I can look that good in 30 years! Most of all, I loved seeing the smiles on all of their faces. There is no place any of them would rather be.

(80-year-old Michio Kumamoto smiles on his way to Gold for Japan in 5:56)
I took another unexpected-but-demanded bio-break at mile 20, and my body gave me a colon shiver as if to say "go ahead and try and keep sub-6:30, and I'll show you some stars and stripes...stars in your head, and stripes down the backside of your legs". Ahem...duly noted! I slowed up to 6:40 min/mile, counting on Hector to pull me along if I slowed too much. Although we didn't share a language, he was always there to say "come, come!" if I slowed on the climb, and I did my best to reciprocate on the flats where I was a bit faster. We picked up Sally Gibbs from New Zealand (F45) along the way, who was happy to have someone else pace after leading her little pack for 20+ miles. She was comfortably in first place among all women.

Hector pulled me all the way to mile 25, then kicked it up a notch to sprint to the finish and urge on one of his teammates. I came in 26th place in 2:52:04, not bad for an off day. Jean did great, coming in 2:47 for the bronze in his age group and securing the age group win for Team USA, as did Annette who won gold in her age group with a PR 3:01 (see what I mean?). Nice! I got some hydration and cheered on the runners, simply astounded by some of the finish times. USA's Terry McCluskey finished less than a minute behind me to win the...gulp!...M60-64 age group! Damn, that's quick. He didn't think so, and pointed out that the whole M60-64 podium would go sub-3. Whoa! Columbia's Hernan Rio clocked at 3:17 at the ripe age of 71...and our very own M40 Tony Torres won in 2:32 (all results). Everyone brought their "A" game for sure.

(Some of Team USA members chatting at the finish)

(Hans Heidelberger goes 3:01 at age 57...and sacrifices a nipple for his country)

(Team Mexico had some great finishes, like Meliton Bautista Carba's 3:05 in the M65-69 age group)

(The man who set the pace for me nearly the whole race, Hector Juarez, after his 2:51:58 finish)

(Top Masters women - the hilarious Verity Breen from Australia, USA's Sara Gigilotti, and winner Sally Gibbs from New Zealand)
I hopped back in the car to head home, honored and inspired to have been a part of this unique event. How could I not be? The passion for running is deep all over the world, and the WMA's show that champions can be made, or even remade, at any age. Heck, I might even be competing here in my 70's while my Dad is in his 100's, both of us wearing the stars and stripes. How cool would that be? Uniquely inspiring.

The next WMA is in Brazil if you are interested. Thanks to all the great volunteers and officials for a fun event!

- SD

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - Amazing new site/podcast for endurance athletes!

If you haven't found it yet, be sure to check out for some fresh new web and podcast interviews and articles (iTunes users go here). The team behind it - Julie Fingar, Scott Warr, Eric Schranz, Don Freeman, Scotty Sandow - have put together an AMAZING amount of content in their debut effort. Best of all, the interviews are crystal clear, paced well, and funny!

Here are a few examples:

Gordy Ainsleigh and Tim Tweitmeyer give great history lessons on Western States. I love that in Gordy's first attempt, he stashed gallon jugs of water in what would later become the famous ten aid stations.

Kami Semick talks about her encounter with a bear at Mile 99 in her 2nd place finish at the 2011 Western States.

Dr. Sunny Blende, ultrarunning's most popular (and chipper) nutritionist, gives tips on fueling up.

Podiatrist David Hannaford talks blisters, foot care, and more (also see the entertaining black toenail hall of fame).

My hat is off to the new voices of ultrarunning! Keep it up!!!


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Stanford Athletes Sleep for Better Performance (SF Chronicle)

I'm quoted in this article saying some very insightful stuff like "sleep more for better performance".

Gee, Scott, really? ;-)