Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If You Like Running ...

... You'll like tonight's blog entry. But first, I must acknowledge the courage and compassion of 16-year-old U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, who I watched last night in the all-around team competition.

As most folks probably know, Johnson's teammate Alicia Sacramone had a rough night, falling twice and performing under expectations. Johnson had a near-flawless night, but both women had to settle for silver as the Chinese took gold. This excerpt from a New York Times article speaks volumes about Johnson.

Several rooms away, Sacramone was confronting her own issues. She wondered why she had made crucial mistakes. Still shaken, she was surrounded by teammates trying to console her. Johnson took her aside and said, “Were you mad at me when I messed up at worlds last year?” Sacramone said no.

Johnson said: “OK, well, we’re not mad at you. We all still love you.”

That young lady is a champion.

OK, let's talk about running. In recent years, as I've run more, I've had some folks say things like, "You shouldn't run long distances; it's bad for you," "you're gonna mess up your knees," and "I'm worried you're going to have a heart attack." Well, guess what came out today! A Stanford University study that suggests otherwise:

" ... Middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run. ... Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. ... The study also showed that people cannot use the risk of injury as an excuse not to run -- the runners had fewer injuries of all kinds, including to their knees, [than non-runners]."

You can read more here and here.

Running may be slowing my aging, as the report also suggests, but I sure didn't feel young on Tuesday morning's three-miler. I expected to feel sore after Saturday's long run and Monday's quick run, and I was. This evening after work, Will and I went over to the local park which has a 1/3-mile loop. I started the night with two nine-minute miles, then ran three hard 1/3-milers (pace was a seven-minute mile with 1/6-mile recovery walks in between). I finished with eight 75-yard dashes for a total of about four miles.

The weather is still nice. I can't believe it's August in Nashville. We have Cape Cod temps with Rocky Mountain dry air. I see more good runs ahead. Even better, some generous people have contributed checks and matching contributions of $2,250 the last few weeks. That takes our team well into the five-digit range.


Laura Creekmore said...

I love posts like this....inspiring in lots of ways. :) I hope I can get my legs strong enough so that my knees can take some more running. Have been working on the elliptical the past couple weeks and I can really feel a difference already.

Jim said...


I'm proud of you for getting after it. The elliptical is a great place to start improving your aerobic conditioning. Keep us posted!