Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bill Rodgers on the Boston Marathon in 2009 - Unplugged

I love this video--a fun little Q & A with Bill Rodgers just before Boston 2009. He ran that year, just to run it..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More on Boston

The Boston Marathon, first run in 1897, is the oldest big city marathon as well as one of the most prestigious.  Everyone wants to run Boston, at least once, because of its history, the challenging course, and the the fact that you have to "qualify" to run it.  Qualifying means running a certified marathon course in the year and a half (approximately) before the year you want to run Boston, within a certain time frame, which is determined by age.  (Go here if you want more info on what you need to do to qualify for 2013.  You will see that next year's qualifying times are more stringent than this year's...  you will need to have run that qualifier five minutes faster.)

The course begins outside the city on Main Street in the town of Hopkinton and winds its way through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley, then up through the Newton Hills, then down to the city where it finishes in Copley Square near the John Hancock Tower.  A note about the Newton Hills...  there is a series of four moderately steep hills from about the 16-17 mile mark till about 20 miles, the last of which has been named "Heartbreak Hill," not because of any difficulty on getting over that last hill, but because of what happened during the race in 1936.  It was on the last of the Newton hills where defending champion Johnny A. Kelley (you can read about MY Johnny Kelley story and photo posted here) caught and passed race leader "Tarzan" Brown, giving him a tap on the shoulder.  That tap seemed to inspire Brown to surge ahead of Kelley and they fought for the lead briefly till Brown pulled ahead for good and went on for the win.  A Boston Globe journalist reporting on the race used the term "heartbreak hill" describing how Johnny Kelley's heart was broken as he lost the race on that hill...   and the name stuck.

Here is a brief "course tour" with Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray:

Last year I posted a video going through the course in 8 minutes. I'll post it again here:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Countdown to Boston!

It's taper time for my runner Sara, who is running her first Boston Marathon on Patriot's Day, April 16. Sara qualified in her first marathon, Miami 2011, with a time of 3:17. She bettered that time this past December in Jacksonville with a 3:11. Her training has gone extremely well: five 20+ long runs (even-paced and each one including time on "our hill" (the Linton bridge.. no hills in SoFL), plus another "bridge workout" each week, interval training to tempo runs to specific marathon-pace runs and a few races sprinkled in. She has gotten her mileage up in the 70+mpw up to 80mpw, and all with NO INJURIES! Yay!

I have found some fun videos to help her relax during her taper and visualize the great fun she's going to have! Here is one from 1979, during the years Bill Rodgers was winning both Boston and New York (I believe he won each one four times):

Friday, March 23, 2012

"The Perfect Runner"

I ordered a copy of the documentary film The Perfect Runner today after watching the trailer.  Anthropologist Dr Niobe Thompson, who directed and produced the film, explores our ancestrial past, the human body, and our society's obsession with participating in endurance events.  Here's the trailer:


Dr Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, who I have posted about here before, is one of the experts Thompson interviews, along with others:  Dr Larry Bell, Canadian chiropractor and national team therapist for many sporting events; Dr Herman Pontzer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College; Dr Ian Tattersall, Curator of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in NYC; Sentayahu Eshetu, Ethiopian running coach who coached Derartu Tulu to Olympic gold; Diane Van Deren, professional ultrarunner from Colorado, who has completed many of the world's toughest endurance events; and Tracy Garneau, Canadian ultrarunner, also completing (and winning) many endurance challenges.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whew! Totally Worn Out! Sorry - No Running Content Whatsoever

The last of them left a few hours ago, the California kids, my daughter Cristin, her husband Armando, and 19-month-old grandson Mateo, just left my house, flying back to L.A.

After a week out in L.A. helping them move we all traveled back to SoFL last week for son Charles' wedding on St Patty's Day.  Then the fun really picked up... family coming in from all over, rehearsal dinner here at the condo on Friday night, mani/pedi, hair and make-up, wedding on Saturday, send-off brunch on Sunday, kids sleeping on couches and floors...  What a beautiful, wonderful, fabulous, joyful time!

My son's friend Vinny is a wedding photographer and made this video for Charles and Cori.  Very sweet!

Donahue St. Patty's Day Save the Date Film from THE LXA INC. on Vimeo.
This was a real love story about how they met recreated as a save the date for all of their friends and family. We also showed it at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding :)

Here they are on the big day:

AND, I just have to post this photo of two of my favorite grandsons!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Time to Blog

Out in L.A. last week through the weekend, helping the kids move...

Home now, third child getting married Saturday, family coming in this week, and getting ready for the weekend...           NO time to blog!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Tornadoes in Indiana

You have probably seen in the news over the past few days about the tornadoes that moved across the Midwest and South...

Many of my extended family live in southern Indiana/northern Kentucky.  My parents both grew up in Henryville, the small town which was devastated by two tornadoes, one an F4 which is defined as having winds up to 200 mph.  Aunts and uncles and cousins of mine live in Henryville. has a piece here with a few of the stories coming out.  Elaine Dietrich Thoms is my cousin..  her house was leveled by the tornado, as was her parents' home (my aunt and uncle) and her brother John and his family's home.  Everyone survived with no injuries except for Martin (my cousin John's son-in-law mentioned later in the Time article) who has a broken shoulder but is doing well.  They all say they feel grateful they are alive.

We hear the news through another cousin of mine who lives in Louisville...   "Houses have been rented, and we will rebuild!"

Donations to the American Red Cross would be much appreciated.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Play - Our Most Important "Work?"

I had the most wonderful day yesterday... I spent the whole day playing with my three-year-old grandson.  We biked over to the park (him in the seat on the back of my bike), played on the playground--swinging, sliding, teeter-tottering, and playing "pirate ship" where the slide platform was our ship, and where we jumped off and swam with the dolphins and met up with a friendly shark and took him along with us as we then biked over to the intracoastal to sit on the dock and watch the boats go by as we had our lunch (friendly shark had fish for lunch).  After lunch we biked down to our local nature center (with friendly shark swimming along next to us) to walk through the butterfly garden and the natural hammock and climb the lookout tower.

                                                         This is our "pirate ship"
A few years ago I read the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D.  The title tells you what Dr Brown wants you to know..   People NEED to play, for so many reasons, AND all throughout our lives, not just as children.  The book begins with a scene where dogs, horses, adults and children have all come together in a spontaneous play moment that is "captivating, gleeful, unexpected, and short-lived..." that "energizes... enlivens... renews..."  But there's more, much more, than that to play.  Dr Brown says:
It has evolved over eons in many animal species to promote survival.  It shapes the brain and makes animals smarter and more adaptable.  In higher animals, it fosters empathy and makes possible complex social groups.  For us, play lies at the core of creativity and innovation.
 Of all animal species, humans are the biggest players of all. We are built to play and built through play.  When we play, we are engaged in the purest expression of our humanity, the truest expression of our humanity, the truest expression of our individuality.  Is it any wonder that often the times we feel most alive, those that make up our best memories, are moments of play?
I found this video on TED with Dr Brown...   Stuart Brown:  Why play is vital--no matter your age:

Play comes in all forms and is different for all of us.  It could be playing games of skill or running on the beach, or it could be writing software, playing the piano, or developing a new recipe.  I just finished reading Martha Beck's latest book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, where she advocates that "real play is actually a wildly creative application of deep practice.  It means picking something hard and doing it at a level that's almost too difficult."

Play is important, every day, for everyone.  Read these books!  And whatever form your play takes, get going and PLAY!

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