Workaholicrunner’s Weblog

November 27, 2008

Columbus Turkey Trot Completed

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 4:49 pm

I worked until 11:00 pm yesterday and I am going to work on Friday too unlike most of the American workforce who have Friday off.  But I was up early for the 5 mile Columbus Turkey Trot.  It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit at the start and my goal was a leisureley pace of 10 minutes per mile for a 50:00 time.  You can’t really run at normal speed in this race because there are thousands of people crammed into a small street in suburban Upper Arlington, Ohio.

I’ve never run a race as cold as this although the sun was shining, which provided a bit of comfort.  I came prepared with three layers – thin long sleeved Adidas shirt, thicker long sleeved Adidas long sleeved shirt, thin Under Armour sweater, and long Reebok jogging pants.  The start was crammed with thousands of people that it reminded me of a 5K Race For The Cure I once ran with 40,000 participants.

Mile 1 – 10:07

The first 0.5 miles was really a slow jog due to the crowds.  Accelerate at your own risk.  I just was thankful that there I did not trip on someone.  

This first mile was all downhill.  Unfortunately, one cannot take advantage of the downhill course and speed up due to the mass of people.

Mile 2 – 19:47 (9:40 split)

It got a bit warmer … perhaps low 30s.  I took off the sweater and tied it around my waste.  I folded up my bonnet and put in my jogging pants pocket.  It was still relatively crowded and not very safe to accelerate at full speed.

Mile 3 – 29:20 (9:33 split)

At last some breathing room.  But the issue now is we are using only half the road since the other half is being used by people going back in this out and back course.

Mile 4 – 38:46 (9:26 split)

Should I drink or should I continue running?  I take a sip of 1/3 cp of water and move on.

Mile 4 – 48:49 (10:03 split)

This is all uphill.  Should I accelerate this last mile?  Nope. 

At last I am done.  Ending race temperature was about 38 degrees Fhrenheit.  I don’t feel tired at all.  This was similar to a leisurely morning jog.  I’ll do it again next year.

Next up on December 14 is a 4 mile trail run in Sharon Woods park.  This one will be mostly uphill all the way.


November 22, 2008

Getting Used to Cold Weather

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 5:43 pm

A couple of weeks ago when I came back from China, it was dfficut adapting the the 30-40 degree weather in Ohio.  I did most of my running on a treadmill.  This week the treadmill work continued.

Tue, Nov. 18 – 5K including 2 miles at 18:25

Fri., Nov. 21 – 5k including 2 miles at 18:27

I’m regressing a bit here towards my extremely gradual attempt at 17:42 for 2 miles.  But I’ll probably run two 2 milers on Saturday and Sunday evening.

I woke up on Saturday morning and realized that the temperature was 18 degrees Fahrenheit.  Insead of dozing off and sleeping in, I surprised myself by going on a 7 mile run in the cold.  I was well-layered and didn’t feel uncomfortable.  It’s amazing how fast the body adapts to cold weather.  A couple of weeks ago, I did not feel that I could run comfortably in 30-40 degree weather.  Now, I feel great running in sub 20 degree weather. 

I can’t wait for another cold morning run on Sunday.  According to the weather forecasters, Sunday morning will be between 22 and 32 degrees.

November 18, 2008

2009 Race Calendar (for recessionary times)

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 4:41 am

My goal for 2009 is to be like sfrunner … run as many races as possible.  In 2008, all my races were either marathons or half marathons with one 10 miler.  For 2009, I will try to add diversity to the race calendar and run at least a pair of races for a certain distance. 

Due to the recessionary times, one needs to save up for tough times.  Thus, I am reducing my travel expenses and will likely stick to local races and races that I can drive to easily (within an 8 hour drive from home).  No more fancy New York, California, or Arizona trips for now.  Los Angeles Marathon is probably now out of the question.


First On The First , Westerville, Ohio – Jan 1

Jingle Bell Run, Columbus, Ohio – Dec x

4 Miles

St. Patrick’s Day 4 Miler, Dublin, Ohio – Mar x

Holiday Run, Westerville, Ohio – Dec x

5 Miles

Father’s Day 5 Miler, Upper Arlington, Ohio – Jun x

Turkey Trot, Upper Arlington, Ohio – Nov 26


Run and Walk for Thought, Westerville, Ohio – May x or Jun x

Mt. Carmel Fitness Challenger, Reynoldsburg, Ohio – Sep 7

10 Miles

Pancake 10 Miler, Hilliard, Ohio – Jul x

Cap City 10 Miler, New Albany, Ohio – Aug x

Half Marathon

Capital City Half Marathon, Columbus, Ohio – May 2

Air Force Half Marathon, Dayton, Ohio – Sep 19


Around the Bay 30K, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – Mar 29

A Midsummer Night’s Run, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Aug 22


Cleveland Marathon, Cleveland, Ohio – May 17

Chicago Marathon, Chicago, Illinois – Oct 11

November 17, 2008

$13+ for a half gallon of ice cream

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 12:17 am

One convenient thing although not very helpful if I want to lose weight is that a Graeter’s Ice Cream store is a few blocks from my local rec center.  So after treadmill work on Saturday evening, I ended up gaining more calories from eating a scoop (in the US, a scoop is the equivalent to two scoops elsewhere in the world) of pumpkin ice cream,  The brand is so-so.  I’ve had better.  But their prices dor a half gallon of ice cream are outrageous … over $13!!!

Cold, damp, chilly weekend

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 12:11 am

Well, winter is upon the Midwest.  The sun showed up for probably 15 minutes this weekend.  Gray skies, rainy weather with some snow showers, and 30+ degree weather combined to make running somewhat difficult but not really impossible.  As for me, I enjoyed the relative comforts of a treadmill inside the local recreation center.

My shoulders and stomach has been sore all week.  Thus, no push-ups or sit-ups.  I am trying to gradually beat the Army Physical Fitness test standards which for me includes 2 miles at 17:42 and 42 sit-ups (2 minutes) and 36 push-ups (2 minutes).

Friday:  3.5 miles total including 2 miles run at 19:00 minutes

Saturday: 6.5 miles total including 2 miles run a 18:53 and another 2 miles at 18:47

Sunday:  6.5 miles total including 2 miles rin at 18:38 and another 2 miles at 18:30

After 5 gradual attempts, I am about 48 seconds off.  I think I could do 17:42 reatively easily tomorrow but I like manipulating the treadmill and watching television while I attempt to reach 17:42.  Once I reach 17:42, I will keep it stable at that pace and attempt to do two 2 mile laps at that pace.

November 15, 2008

Los Angeles Marathon moved

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 4:11 pm

I was planning to run the Cleveland Marathon on May 17, 2009.  However, I read yesterday, that the Los Angeles Marathon has been moved to Memorial Day (May 25, 2009).  In the past, the LA Marathon was held in the first week of March and then the organizers planned to move it to February for 2009.  I am glad they changed their minds and moved it to May 2009.  February would have been terrible for people training in cold weather states.  Just imagine trying to do a 20 mile run in the snow in sub-30 degree temperatures in January.

The one great thing about Los Angeles is that it’s got a wide variety of post-marathon culinary selections.  Name a country in the world and inevitably, LA will have a good restaurant serving authentic, inexpensive food from that country.  LA also as a wide seletion of affordable massage places where you can relax after a marathon.  I had a $35 one hour massage at a spa near the Hilton Hotel in an LA suburb after I arrived from my long Shanghai to Los Angeles flight.

Obviously Los Angeles has some drawbacks including the traffic and the hassle of a lot more marathon participants.  If I do go, I need to get a hotel near the start.  Trying to waddle through LA traffic before the marathon is not my idea of pre-race preparation.

Now I really have to consider Cleveland versus Los Angeles.  LeBron versus Kobe.

November 10, 2008

Obama Wears Asics

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 4:30 am

I saw a picture of President-elect Obama wearing Asics running shoes in the New York Times edition from Friday, November 7.  I could not tell what model he wears.

Run For Your Lives by Sanjay Gupta, M.D.

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 2:28 am

Here is a short article from Time Magazine about something we (runners) know all about but it does not hurt to keep saying again and again.  Health benefits of running:,28804,1703763_1703764_1853207,00.html

Having said that, no way does Time Magazine compare to the vastly superior The New Yorker.

Running To Beijing: The Making Of A Long Distance Runner

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 1:43 am

One of the advantages of being on the long flight back from the US to China was that I caught up in reading several back issues of The New Yorker magazine from the summer and early fall.  One of the better articles I read was about Ryan Hal’s quest for the gold in Beijing entitled “Running To Beijing:  The Making Of A Long Distance Runner.”

A few months ago, one of the running blogs I read had a discussion on why does running seem to be a sport of the upper middle classes.  Here are some excerpts from the article about that topic.


Keflezighi’s silver was a breakthrough—the first time an American male marathoner had stood on the Olympic victory stand since Frank Shorter. Also in Athens, Deena Kastor, another Mammoth Lakes resident and member of Team Running USA, took the bronze in the women’s race. Their performances suggested that, finally, after three decades, the nation was learning how to tap into its running boom.

Since 1972, there has been no shortage of American runners. In the old days, the sport attracted primarily oddballs and obsessives, but that changed steadily in the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Kenneth Cooper, the man behind the VO2 max tests of élite athletes, coined the term “aerobics,” and he published books that emphasized the benefits of exercising for health. People became more likely to run for rational reasons, and they trained accordingly; the hard-core competitiveness of my father’s generation slipped away. Mileage dropped for high-school and college runners, because of fear of injury and burnout. These days, recreational runners tend to be educated people with good jobs. The average participant in the ING New York City Marathon has an annual household income of a hundred and thirty thousand dollars. The people who read Runner’s World have a median income virtually the same as that of the readers of Forbes. When I talked to Cliff Bosley, the director of the Bolder Boulder, one of the largest road races in America, he said, “Running has demographics that are comparable to golf.” Charity has become a major part of marathons, as runners claim limited entry spots by raising money for worthy causes. Mary Wittenberg, the president of the New York Road Runners, the nonprofit that organizes the city’s marathon, told me that participants tend to be type-A overachievers who are attractive to advertisers. “Why are ING and the Bank of America involved?” she said, referring to the title sponsors of the races in New York and Chicago. “You want a customer that’s in it for the long run, somebody who is going to look to retirement. That’s a goal-oriented, driven person. It’s all about the quest.”

It’s not, however, about the time. Today, most marathoners simply want to finish, and races have become dramatically slower, at least after the top runners. In 1982, the hundredth finisher in New York ran 2:25:45. Last year, in a race with nearly three times as many participants, the hundredth runner crossed the line at 2:39:26. It was also in 1982 that an American last won the New York marathon. Since then, the men’s races have been dominated by African runners, who have gravitated toward the longer distance. For élite athletes, it’s smart to focus on the marathon, because races are wealthy enough to offer appearance fees and prize money in amounts that are extremely unusual at track events. In the United States, track has never drawn significant income from television, and neither has the marathon—but American marathons don’t rely on TV money. Nor do they need to sell tickets to spectators. Instead, the participants raise the cash, because they can afford to pay high entry fees and their demographic appeals to advertisers. Marathoning may be the only sport in which sponsors target the losers, and the losers pay for the winners. That’s how the running boom played out for the Kenyans and the Ethiopians: it created a lot of slow, rich American marathoners willing to pay big money to get beat.

For many years there was a sense that even the best American runners couldn’t compete with the Africans. Recently, though, coaches have realized that athletes simply need to train harder. The “Big Three” high-school class of 2001—Ryan Hall, Alan Webb, and Dathan Ritzenhein—trained seriously at a young age, and all have become professionals capable of challenging the top runners in the world. In 2004, an Oregon boy named Galen Rupp finally broke the high-school record in the five thousand metres, set by Gerry Lindgren, in 1964. (Rupp made this year’s Olympic team in the ten thousand metres.) Meanwhile, the big-city marathons have started using some of their wealth to support élite training groups. Each year, the ING New York City Marathon helps pay for the Team Running USA camp in Mammoth Lakes, which has already produced two Olympic medallists. In Oregon, Nike sponsors another top group. Shoe contracts have become a prime source of income for many track runners; athletes are valuable marketers for the hordes of affluent recreational runners.

When Ryan Hall won the Olympic Trials marathon in 2007, he dominated the strongest field in Trials history. Keflezighi, the defending silver medallist, finished eighth—during training he had struggled with injuries, but even in good health he would have had to run well to make the team. Dathan Ritzenhein took second, and he told me that top American talent is increasingly drawn to the marathon, partly because of the payouts. “If I was to say that the money doesn’t mean anything to me, I’d be lying,” he said. “But it’s not about that at the end. You can’t fake it at twenty-four miles.”

The best runners still have that quality—they’re driven by obsessions other than wealth. Ryan Hall has quickly become one of the most marketable distance runners in the world, drawing big appearance fees from races. Mary Wittenberg, of the Road Runners, told me that she expected to pay two hundred thousand dollars just to get him on the starting line of the New York marathon in 2009. But he was still in his home town, running the old routes, and his life style had hardly changed. He drove a three-year-old Honda, and his and Sara’s modest house in Big Bear Lake had a “For Rent” sign in front, because they leased it out to vacationers whenever they trained elsewhere. In Mammoth Lakes, they lived in a mobile home. “We kind of see the money we have as God’s money,” Sara told me. They supported a Christian charity called Team World Vision, which gets entrants to the country’s major marathons to raise money for development projects in Africa. Once, when I was at lunch with Ryan and Team World Vision organizers, somebody mentioned that marathoners tend to have high incomes. “Really?” Ryan said, his eyes wide. “I didn’t know that!”

Few professional runners seemed to realize that their paychecks came from the guys at the back of the pack. Ian Dobson, an Olympian in the five thousand metres who lived mostly on the earnings of a shoe contract, told me that he was under the impression that it was a tax writeoff for somebody. “I don’t understand the economics,” he said. “I don’t understand how it could be worth it for Adidas to pay me.” In a way, the sport creates an unusual intimacy between the recreational and the élite: in a marathon, they all gather together on the same starting line. But in truth the top guys are still on the fringes, isolated, pounding out the miles as in the old days. And from the African perspective it couldn’t be stranger. Michael Chitwood, the director of Team World Vision, told me that when he went overseas he had trouble explaining his funding. “I go to Africa and say, ‘Well, I work with marathoners and we raise money for these projects,’ ” he said. “They’re like, ‘What do you mean? You guys don’t have that many good runners in America!’ I say, ‘No, no, no, they’re not good runners!’ ”


If you would like to read this long, well-written article, the link is available below.

November 9, 2008

3 Weeks Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — workaholicrunner @ 5:00 am

It’s been three weeks since I last ran (Columbus Marathon).  Sunday, November 9 will be  the first day running again.  It has suddenly become chilly here in Ohio with temperatures dropping down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and probably 37 degrees on Sunday.  I have a cold too this week.  Thus, the first day back will likely be an easy 10k on a treadmill along with some sit-ups and push-ups (which I have neglected to do when training for a marathon).

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