“The true measure of a runner isn’t in time, but rather in the effort it took along the way.”
Coach Jenny Hadfield,
Ask Coach Jenny blog,
Coach Jenny Hadfield,
Ask Coach Jenny blog,
Runners in particular and Americans in general are trying to make sense of the tragedy in Boston on Monday.
What does it mean for the running community? What does it mean for those who support runners, who make our running possible and worthwhile? What does it mean for Bostonians and what impact will this craziness have on our nation?
Here are some thoughts from bloggers and writers across the country:
• Sioux Falls, S.D., journalist Jacqueline Palfy Klemond achieved a dream in 2012 when she qualified for the Boston Marathon. She endured injury to make it to the start line. She finished her dream race — and shortly thereafter, tragedy struck. From her blog:
“I hate that for the rest of my life, this day will be marked not by the storied, amazing history of the Boston Marathon but by the tragedy at the finish.
I hate that my finisher medal is going to be a collector’s item for all the wrong reasons.
I hate that innocent people were killed or injured doing something as pure, as unifying, as cheering people on at the finish of a race.
I hate that the people in the back probably are the charity runners who raise tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of running the Boston Marathon.
But I don’t hate Boston. And I don’t hate marathons. And I don’t hate Monday, April 15, 2013.
For her entire story, follow this link.
• Like many runners, Ashley, a blogger from San Luis Obispo, Calif. who runs the blog ratherberunnin, dealt with the tragedy by going for a run. From her blog:
“I finished the run, took off my one and only marathon technical shirt and tried to wash off all of the sadness, fear, anger and pain that has been living inside me since 2:50 PM on Marathon Monday.
I hoped that those feelings would go away, but they haven’t.
I am still hurting and I want answers.”
To read how she is dedicating this running season to Boston, read her blog post here.
• Blogger Erin Gloria Ryan wrote about the special connection between the average marathoner and the spectators who add so much to the experience.
“One of the many puzzling aspects of yesterday’s attacks was the question of what, exactly, the perpetrators thought they’d accomplish by targeting what basically amounts to a celebration of human tenacity. If anything, the tragedy in Boston will further solidify the bond between runner and spectator. And when the Chicago marathon happens this October, I’ll show up to run harder, and they’ll show up to cheer louder. If anyone thought this attack would discourage the runners or the watchers, they’ve clearly never been to a marathon.”
You can read her entire blog post here.
• Novelist Dennis Lehane is a native Bostonian and his novels feature the gritty, determined town. Will this act of cowardice change the stoic Bostonians? Hardly, writes Lehane.
“Boston took a punch on Monday — two of them, actually — that left it staggering for a bit. Flesh proved vulnerable, as flesh is wont to do, but the spirit merely trembled before recasting itself into something stronger than any bomb or rage.”
Read his entire story from the New York Times here.
• Perhaps the New York Times had some of the best ponderings on the tragedy, because columnist Thomas Friedman offered some excellent thoughts in his column. We won’t let terrorists change our way of life, he writes.
“And while we are at it, let’s schedule another Boston Marathon as soon as possible. Cave dwelling is for terrorists. Americans? We run in the open on our streets — men and women, young and old, new immigrants and foreigners, in shorts not armor, with abandon and never fear, eyes always on the prize, never on all those “suspicious” bundles on the curb.”
Friedman’s column can be found here.
• Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby asserts that, despite the horror, Boston and America will bounce back — and will do so without giving up our most precious freedoms.
“If the years since 9/11 have taught us anything, it is that Americans are protective of their liberties and not about to relinquish them — not even in the cause of pre-empting terror. … Freedom still thrives in this country, and we are not about to surrender our liberties and our heritage by going overboard in pursuit of safety.”
Read his column here.
• When sports fanatics talk about the biggest, the baddest, the fiercest rivalries in sports, one match-up that’s sure to be discussed is that between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. But petty rivalries were set aside after Monday’s tragedy, as reported on ESPN-NewYork in this story.
What to say about the tragedy in Boston?
I can hardly think about the horrible events of Monday without getting choked up. Some monster has turned what should have been a day of triumph for so many into a day of tragedy.
But goodness will triumph over evil. I firmly believe this. Boston, her citizens and the running community at large will flip the storyline.
Until that day, here is a post that shows many ways that Americans displayed their mettle and their inherent goodness in the face of this heart-breaking event:
When a runner is out on the roads or trails, how can friends or loved ones check in on them? I’ve been using two programs that makes it pretty simple.
This past weekend, I ran an ultramarathon on the trails near Pekin, Ill. My wife was serving as a pacer, and she needed a way to easily track my progress along the 10-mile loop. For this, Apple’s built-in Find iPhone was a perfect solution. And a number of friends and family wanted to track my progress throughout the day, so with just a little set-up, I was able to allow live tracking via my Endomondo app, which is free in the App store.
Both of these solutions were based on me running with my iPhone, but I use my phone to listen to tunes and podcasts, so I was going to have it with me anyway. Similar programs are available for Android phones or other operating systems.
The accuracy and immediacy of Find iPhone is very good. My wife has used this to track me during my training runs, and it always finds my phone with great accuracy. We use it when my wife wants to meet me at a designated spot to pick me up or if she’s just trying to see where along the roads I might be.
The program is one of Apple’s built-in programs, so it comes pre-installed on iPhones and iPads. You need to have an Apple account, but if you have their phones or other devices, no doubt you already have an account.
Using Find iPhone is as simple as launching the app, entering your username and password, and then signing in. Within 15 seconds or so, it will locate all the devices that have been programmed for tracking.
I set up a slightly different arrangement for friends and family to track me during my race. I have used the Endomondo app for several years, and I like it quite a bit. I use it on many of my training runs, and it will post to Facebook automatically, if that’s what you want it to do.
It uses the phone’s GPS to track your progress, and it maps that progress on a Google map. It also features a dashboard that shows the distance covered, the duration of the current workout, average speed and much more.
When you sign up for Endomondo, you have to create an account. This account will log all of your workouts on a calendar, and you can track mileage and the like over the months.
To enable friends and family to track me live during the race, I pasted a link on my blog to my workout section of Endomondo. You could also email the link to those who want to follow you.
Then when you activate your Endomondo on race day and a watcher goes to the link, it will read “LIVE” at the top of the map. Voila! Live, or nearly live, tracking of your progress.
The link will be: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/user/123456 — where the “123456″ is actually your unique user profile number. You can find that number at the end of the URL for all your workouts.
You can also get the complete URL by clicking on “Workouts” at the top left of the Endomondo screen.
The map shown on this page will be your most recent workout, but when the runner activates the app, it will change to “LIVE” and it will be the current workout.
Unlike Find iPhone, the Endomondo app will lag behind your actual progress. I had a niece tracking me during my ultra, and she said it seemed to lag by about 10 minutes.
I also ran the race with a Timex Run Trainer and my wife ran with a Garmin 210. Both of our watches were a bit off in distance for the 10-mile loop, showing about 9.2-9.4 miles per loop.
Interestingly, the Endomondo app logged the entire race at 49.87 miles, much closer than either of our GPS watches. I find that for my usual training workouts on the roads around town that my GPS watch is much more accurate than the Endomondo app.
The ultra I participated in had a Facebook page, and friends and family were constantly posting on the page, asking others for updates on their runners. That worked, but it required relying on others for updates and the updates were really best guesses as to where the runner was on the course.
Find iPhone and Endomondo both have their strengths and weaknesses, but for tracking a runner live during an event, they sure beat relying on updates from others.
Ten years ago, I took up marathoning as a physical challenge. This year, as I celebrated my 50th birthday, I wanted to take that challenge to another level. And thus was born the idiotic idea of running a 50-mile race in my 50th year.
Actually, everyone around me thought it was idiotic. I thought it was pretty cool. I liked the symmetry of the thing. And since, at heart, I’m a stubborn guy, I stuck with my idea.
That stubbornness paid off when, after 15 1/2 hours on the trails on Saturday, I completed the Potawatomi Trail Run 50 in Pekin, Ill. (The race features 100- and 150-mile runs, too, but I’m not that crazy.) The race takes place in McNaughton Park, a large forest preserve on the edge of town, and features a 10-mile loop that I would have to complete 5 times.
It was an amazing experience — definitely one of the neatest events I’ve participated in. It started before the sun came up, and for me, it didn’t end until 2 hours after sunset.
Along the way, I met a lot of neat people, runners and volunteers alike. And the support I received from friends and family made the difference in my completing the event. I got texts and messages from all kinds of people before, during and after the run. Knowing I had so many people pulling for me made it that much easier to finish the race.
But I couldn’t have finished the race without the love and support of my wife, Barb. She planned on doing one lap with me — probably starting with mile 30. But she ended up doing two loops, and in the dark of night, her gentle encouragement and first-hand support was invaluable.
I am admittedly a neophyte at ultras, so take the following lessons with a grain of salt, but here are a few lessons I learned at my first ultra:
Click on any photo below to launch the photo gallery.
No more talking about my first ultramarathon. It’s time to do it. Thank god.
My crew of one — wife Barb — and I head to Pekin, Ill., on Friday afternoon to prepare for Saturday’s run in the Potawatomi Trail 50. The 50-mile race begins at 6 a.m. I hope to be done in 12-15 hours from the start.
I’ve spent much of this week in final preparations. I’ve set aside a bunch of shirts, socks and shorts. I’ve waterproofed four sets of running shoes. (The trail includes at least a couple of creek crossings.) I’ve prepared some maltodextrin-spiked water bottles. I’ve run my last couple of short, stretch-the-legs training runs. I’ve thunk and re-thunk this thing.
Time to run.
I’ll let you know next week how it went.
You can wish me well in the comments below. I could use all the support I can get.
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