Sunday, January 11, 2015

ElliptiGO Get On The Map Rewards

The ElliptiGO is tons of fun and a great workout and the ElliptiGO company is top-notch in every way. Last year they had a Get On The Map points competition where you could earn points for completing various activities and qualifying rides. At the end of October, they added up your earned points and you could choose rewards. I had enough to either get an engraved pewter chalice or an ElliptiGO jacket and shirt. I went with the practical over the very cool and a couple weeks ago got my awards. Now when I wear my ElliptiGO gear, I won't' get as many questions shouted out at me like, "What do you call that thing you are riding?" How many companies do you know that treat their customers so well with challenges, community, and even awards?

Here is recent ElliptiGO convert Brian Baker with me in front of Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth, MA. as we were riding the Cape Cod Marathon (and Falmouth Road Race) routes on our ElliptiGOs. I hope to do more rides with Brian and his brother Jeff as they both have recently purchased ElliptiGOs to deal with running injuries (and time off from running) or as a supplement to running training in order to stay healthier and get more training in without getting injured.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ron Hill's Amazing 50 Year Running Streak

Ron Hill winning the 1970 Boston Marathon
Former Boston Marathon champion (1970) and the second man to break 2:10 in the marathon, Ron Hill, is about to master another long distance and long running achievement. On December 21, 2015 he will have completed his 50th year of his running streak of running at least one mile per day. Here is an article by Jason Henderson at Athletics Weekly that explains Why Ron Hill is Running Royalty.

Boston Marathon victory
I didn't start running until 1973, however I knew a tiny bit about Ron Hill already. I knew he was one of the favorites at the 1972 Munich Olympics in the marathon and I knew about his string fishnet singlet that he wore at races like his Boston Marathon victory. I must have been aware of photos of him and the "science" behind his choice of clothing. Once I started running, I wanted to look like a runner, so I went to the local Bradlees store and found a fishnet jersey, probably in the underwear section, and bought it. It was my first ever running related purchase (even before getting "real" running shoes) and my inspiration was Ron Hill. Fifty years is an incredible running streak.

I continued wearing my "Ron Hill" inspired jersey for a few
years, including during my first Falmouth Road Race in 1975.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The "Inventing to Nowhere" documentary featuring the ElliptiGO

Bryan Pate and I at the End of Summer Classic
Last night was the premiere around the country for the Inventing to Nowhere documentary. I missed the local showing at an Imax theater, so I am glad they posted the video online today. The documentary highlights the dangers of patent reform in our country. One company highlighted throughout the video is ElliptiGO. There are three key sections on the ElliptiGO in the film. It explains the design and history of the product and bringing it to a proof of concept, protecting property rights, and even a call to a shop in China that is selling a knock-off through Alibaba (here is one example). ElliptiGO inventors Bryan Pate and Brent Teal are featured throughout. I had the privilege of meeting Brian at the first End of Summer Classic ElliptiGO race and Brent is the guy who holds the fastest American time for riding an ElliptiGO 100 miles. I am gunning for his record. As far as I can tell, I have the third fastest (2nd fastest American) century ever ridden on an ElliptiGO.

It is an interesting documentary and fans of the show Shark Tank will appreciate a lot of the background information in order to better appreciate the the challenges of being an inventor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Foot Locker Cross Country National Champion Race

Two great races at the Foot Locker High School Cross Country National Championship Race.

I watched both races in the early afternoon and finished the afternoon watching  4 Minute Mile while riding my ElliptiGO indoors for 25 miles. The recently released movie is currently playing on Netflix.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Is the Bionic Runner competition for the ElliptiGO?

The Bionic Runner looks like an interesting redesign of the ElliptiGO. It is on Kickstarter now and it seems if you are one of the first to order, it would be easily under $1000 shipped. Otherwise it seems priced at around $1250 which is one-half of what an 8-speed ElliptiGO would cost. It looks lighter, yet not as sturdy and it folds up for easy transportation. It also does not seem as speedy as an ElliptiGO as this page says that riders are going up to 20 km/hour on it which is about 12.4 mph. They are marketing it as "The only running fitness trainer to replicate the natural motion of running." and I believe this is based on their, "Patent pending 60:40 swing/stance phase timing." So in my thinking and in watching the video, it seems to have a shorter stride with a higher kick back. I am wondering if using their formula, it means that a person using an ElliptiGO has a longer stance phase. This article seems to report their feelings on how it is differentiated from an ElliptiGO.

When first seeing the Bionic Runner, many people may think that it's more or less the same thing as the ElliptiGO – which is essentially a two-wheeled elliptical trainer. According to Run4 co-founder Dr. Henry Thomas, however, there's a key difference between the two. 
"We discovered that running was a four stage process of leap, recovery, impact and drive," he says. "The existing cross trainers were all elliptical in nature or step machines. None captured the motion a runner's leg makes when they move." 
As a result, the Bionic Runner was designed to guide users through a mid-foot running gait, allowing them to engage the same muscles that they would when running on the ground – while also protecting their joints from over-exertion. Additionally, it provides a bit of lift at the "toe-off" of every stride, plus users are able to increase or decrease resistance by shifting it into higher or lower gears.

It looks promising as an alternative to running and the price is right, but I love my ElliptiGO, which looks sturdier, seems much faster, and has a company behind it that is top-notch.  I only have less than 200 miles to GO in order to hit the 6,000 mile mark for the year 2014!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

1976 Olympic Marathon Trials video with Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Don Kardong

Here is a video of the 1976 Olympic Trials Marathon. It is not the best quality, but seeing videos of these great runners of the 1970s is fun to watch.

This reunion flashback video is of a special movie made by Martin Darrah on the US men's Olympic Marathon trials in Eugene, Oregon. There is great footage and wonderful commentary by the leading runners in this race. The WVTC had 5 members who competed in this race. They were Don Kardong, Tony Sandoval, Chris Berka, Ron Zarate and Chuck Smead. Kardong would place third and make the team heading to Montreal. There is some fantastic slow motion video of Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers(1st and 2nd in this race) as well as Kardong and Tony Sandoval(who finished behind Kardong in 4th). Additional commentary can be heard from running author Joe Henderson.

Sat May 22, 1976 Eugene, OR 

Qualifiers: 87
Starters: 77
Finishers: 49
Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers ran virtually step for step at in what seemed to be a sub-2:10 pace until two or three miles from the finish Rodgers was affected by a leg injury and had to drop back. Shorter would become the first, and as of this writing only, man to win back to back Olympic Trials Marathons. Don Kardong would finish third in 2:13:54.

At the 1976 Olympics, Shorter would go on to win silver behind East German Wlademar Cierpinski who - in recent years - has been suspected of using performance enhancing drugs. Bill Rodgers led the Olympic Marathon in the early miles but fell back with the same leg injury that affected his Trials performance - he would however, rebound to handily win the 1976 New York City Marathon. Don Kardong in fourth place at the Olympics, missing the bronze medal by just three seconds.

1. Shorter, Frank ( FL) 2:11:51   
2. Rodgers, Bill ( MA) 2:11:58   
3. Kardong, Don ( WA) 2:13:54   
4. Sandoval, Tony ( CA) 2:14:58   
5. Fleming, Tom ( NJ) 2:15:48   
6. Varsha, Bob ( GA) 2:15:50   
7. Bramley, John ( CT) 2:17:16   
8. Pfeffer, Kirk ( CA) 2:17:58   
9. Galloway, Jeff ( GA) 2:18:29   
10. Burfoot, Amby ( CT) 2:18:56   
11. Busby, Bob ( MO) 2:19:05   
12. Hatfield, Carl ( WV) 2:19:18   
13. Sudzina, Marty ( PA) 2:19:55   
14. Forrester, Perry ( CA) 2:20:01   
15. Kurrle, Ron ( CA) 2:20:18   

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Which body part suffers the most in ultra endurance challenges?

Think about it. Which body part suffers the most in an ultra endurance challenge. If you can't think of the answer, maybe it's because you just recently did an ultra race of some type.

In an article on the limits of the aging body, David Robson on the Human body: The ‘ultra-athletes’ aged 60+ answers this question with a surprising result. It is not the cardio-vascular system nor the stress on the joints (although my body would beg to differ). Strangely, according to Robson, the brain may be the body part that suffers the most.
"Strangely, the brain perhaps suffers the most. One fMRI study, which scanned the brains of athletes (young and old) taking part in a 4,500-kilometre (2,800-mile) ultra-marathon found that the brain’s volume of grey matter fell by 6% across the course of the race. “It’s a very profound loss,” says Wolfgang Freund at Ulm University Hospital in Germany, who followed the athletes with a 50-tonne truck full of brain imaging equipment. However, it returns to its usual size during the following months. For this reason, Freund suspects the cells themselves weren’t dying, but shrinking as their nutrients were drained to feed the rest of the body. “The body is sucking everything it has to burn on the road.”"
 In regards to the aging question, the author says athletes over 60 still do well in these events, despite slower speeds and longer recoveries, although he doesn't acknowledge the fact that there are athletes who can no longer participate in these events due to the excessive mileage and deterioration on of joints and muscles that can no longer perform. Those over 60 still competing are the survivors or newer converts with less body mileage. In fact the author thinks that the older athlete may even do better in these events because of their stronger mental abilities.

The article is a great read whether you are over 60 or not and even if you have no desire to be an ultra endurance athlete. The takeaway is that you shouldn't be thinking about tapering your activities as you get older like we are sometimes told. Keep pushing those boundaries! I wish I had books like this years ago, before destroying my body doing marathons and triathlons: Build Your Running Body: A Total-Body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners - Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free Maybe I would be still be looking forward to hitting and competing at age 60 in a few years.