Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2 Running Trivia Quiz Answers


Hello Everybody,

It's been really busy here, but I haven't forgotten about posting the answers to the trivia quiz. Guess you can be thankful for the extra time to compose your answers. :)

So, as promised, here they are. Hope you had fun testing your knowledge!

Below is a re-print of the original quiz questions, followed by the answers, which appear in red, italicized font:

Just for fun, here are some trivia questions to test your running-related knowledge. Let's see how well you can do. Questions will start out fairly easy & get progressively more challenging. Without looking these stats up on the internet or elsewhere, do you know the answers to following?

(1) Approximately how many miles is the 400 meter dash?
Answer: 1/4 mile (or 1 lap) on a modern, standard-sized (i.e., Olympic regulation) race track.
(2) Exactly how many miles is a 5K?
Answer: 5K = 3.106855961186669848087170921816 miles. (1 mile = 0.621371192237333969617434184363 kilometers, so the answer is achieved by multiplying that figure times 5. :) )
(3) Exactly how many miles is an 8K?
Answer: 8K = 4.9709695378986717569394734749056 miles.
(4) Exactly how many miles is a 10K?
Answer: 10K = 6.213711922373339696174341843632 miles.
(5) Exactly how many kilometers are in a marathon distance?
Answer: Marathon distance = 42.195 kilometers. (That's 26 miles 385 yards, or 26.21876 miles.)
(6) Exactly how many miles is a 50K distance?
Answer: 50K = 31.06855961186669848087170921815 miles.
(7) **Bonus question: Exactly how many kilometers are there in a mile?
Answer: 1 mile = 0.621371192237333969617434184363 kilometers.

(1) Name the starting & ending location of the very first marathon.
Answer: Going by the Greek legend as recounted by Plutrach's On the Glory of Athens, the answer would be from Marathon to Athens. (The first Olympic marathon, held in Athens, Greece in 1876, also had the same starting & end points.) However, there is some dispute over the historical accuracy of the legend, as well as the exact starting & end points. The Greek historian Herodotus records the starting & ending points as Athens & Sparta, respectively. (For a more detailed description of this history, please see the Wikipedia entry.)
(2) Who was the first person to complete the mile in under 4 minutes?
Answer: Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE. (3:59.04 in 1954.)
(3) Who was the first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon (without a bib number)?
Answer: Roberta (Bobbi) Gibb (in 1966). (BTW, on a semi-related note, Stamata Revithi was the first woman to unofficially run the Olympic marathon in 1896. She has a very interesting story of her own, which you can read more about here and here.)
(4) Where was the first triathlon held?
Answer: Mission Bay, in southern California.
(5) What year did Kathrine Switzer run the Boston Marathon with a number, and then get thrown out of the AAU?
Answer: 1967. (She ran as number 261.)
(6) When did the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series first begin?
Answer: The first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon was held in San Diego, California in 1998. (Source: WikiRun.)
(7) **Bonus question: Who is the Greek goddess of running? (Careful, it's not as obvious as you might think. :) )
Answer: Atalanta.

World Records:
(1) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest mile?
Answer: Hicham El Guerrouj of Morrocco is the current male world recorder (3:43.13, 7/7/1999 in Rome) and Svetlana Masterkova is the current women's world record holder (4:12.56, 8/14/1996, in Z├╝rich).
(2) Who are the current male & female world record holders for the fastest marathon?
Answer: The male record holder is Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia (2:03:59, Berlin Marathon, 9/28/08), & the female record holder is Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain (2:15:25, London Marathon, 4/13/03).
(3) Who is currently the oldest (living) person to ever have completed a marathon?
Answer: Fauja Singh, from Ilford, Essex, who at age 94, completed the 2004 London Flora Marathon in 6:07. (His current personal best: 5:40 in the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, at age 92.) (Although not currently living today, the oldest person ever recorded was Dimitrion Yordanidis, aged 98, who, in 1976, completed the marathon distance in 7:33 in Athens, Greece.)
(4) Who is currently the youngest person to ever have completed a marathon?
Answer: Budhia Singh, who was four-years-old when he first completed the marathon distance on May 2, 2006.
(5) Who has the world record for the most marathons ever run in a lifetime?
Answer: Horst Preisler, 73, of Hamburg, Germany. There are conflicting accounts of the total number of marathons he's completed thus far: According to the most recently logged statistics at the 100 Marathon Club website (in Germany), Horst's record, as of December 30, 2008, was last reported as 1250 marathons & 349 ultramarathons, or a total of 1599 events equaling a marathon distance or longer. However, a more recent account, dated August 19, 2009, from Guernsey News, reports his current marathon total as 1640. Yet another news media service, Frankfurter Allgemeine, reported 1621 marathons on June 6, 2009, an even higher total marathon count reported at an earlier date than the previous account. (On John Wallace's blog, in a post dated August 23, 2009, he reports that Horst has now run a total of 1604 marathons, but I am hesitant to quote blogs as definitive references or confirmed information sources, since there is no way to definitely officially support or deny the factual nature of this particular claim without first corroborating the information against verified, official sources. Of course, I'd prefer to go by official, public records. Towards this end, I've tried searching the Guinness Book of World Records website to confirm these records, but strangely enough, I can't find his name listed there, nor any information about this current world record.)
(6) What's the official record for the longest consecutive distance a person has ever run?
Answer: Dean Karnazes ran 226.2 miles with only several stops of little more than a few minutes. Technically, if the clock's still running, a distance is considered to be "non-stop" whether or not the individual rests for a few seconds or minutes. ;-) There's also an unverified claim that a Canadian ran 240.11 miles in 48 hours on a treadmill at Club One Square One in Mississauga Ontario, Canada on November 28-29, 2004, but since I can't corroborate the source, I'm hesitant to mention it at all. Ahem, I would really like to know this person's name, and what official entity was present to verify this claim! :) Also, according to one contributor of Yahoo! Answers , who goes by the username, 'Yeti' (a highly ironic name that doesn't exactly reinforce the credibility of his claims ;-) ): "Yiannis Kouros supposedly covered 456 miles in 4 days in 1988 without sleeping, ...ultimately covering 1000 miles." No verifiable source is listed, so again, this claim is circumspect at best.

On a somewhat related note, this contributor, also lists the longest certified endurance race as the Sri Chinmoy 3100-Miler, (well actually he lists it incorrectly as a "1300 miler"! ;-) ), in which (acccording to the official event website) participants "must average 60.7 miles per day in order to finish within the 51-day limit."

(7) **Bonus question: What's the the record for the longest, non-consecutive distance a person has ever run?
Answer: Robert Garside, of Great Britain. According to Guinness World Records, he ran over 30,000 miles in 5 years and 8 months, starting in the second half of 1997 and finishing on Friday, June 13, 2003. He was credited as the first person to run around the world. However, this claim is not without controversy, and has been hotly disputed by various leading figures in the ultra running community.

So, how well did you do on this quiz? Hope you had fun & learned lots of new facts and figures about the sport of running!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

0 Some Cool Philly Marathon Links & Resources :)


Hi All,

Just letting you know about two groups for people training for the Philly Marathon & other related events on that day:

"Philadelphia Marathon" group on
"Philadelphia Marathon" group on

The above two group are for those who have participated or plan to participate in events associated with the Philadelphia Marathon, including the Philadelphia Full & Half Marathons, Rothman Institute 8K, etc.

Also, for those training for the Philly Marathon & related events, we currently have a "Countdown to Philly" Challenge on that you're welcome to join. The goal is to help motivate yourself & others to build mileage for your training.

These groups & the challenge are for both Philly Marathon newbies & vets alike. Hope you'll join us!

Good luck!

P.S. I just found this really cool simulated, digitized tour of the Philly Half on YouTube:

Now does anyone know where I can find the digitized tour of the full? ;)

1 Update: Marathon Training Progess


I'm headed out the door shortly for a run, but before I go, just wanted to give a brief "progress report" on my marathon training:

As many of you probably already know, this is going to be my first marathon. I've done everything from a mile to half-marathon racing distances, but have yet to conquer the marathon.

So, for the benefit of those who might also be training for their first or are curious to learn more about what's involved, I'd like to briefly share a bit of what I've been doing to prepare.

The training plan: I'm doing a modified version of the FIRST marathon training program, which has been specifically designed for first-timers. The reason I say "modified" version is that I've had to modify my goals due to some training setbacks. (One of these setbacks was an extended bout of respiratory illness in May & June that sidelined my training, & so I had to adjust accordingly. I basically went from running 10-13 miles in May to pretty much going back to the starting block with 3-4 miles!)

Also, even after I'd recovered, my training had been rather spotty from June to July, & not surprisingly, my pace had slowed down considerably from what it was back in January-April, so the goal has changed from finishing in 4:30:00 (which would be a 10:18 pace) to just finishing. :) A more realistic pace goal might be finishing under 5 hours. :)

If I ran a 11-minute/mile pace that'd put me at 4:48:12, and a 12-minute/mile pace would put me at 5:14:24.

The standard wisdom is that your half-marathon pace is helpful in approximating your marathon finish time. So, if we follow this guideline, then I should be able to finish in well under 5 hours. :)

I just ran 13.22 miles two days ago (i.e., this past Sunday), at an 11:44 pace, which is the first time since the beginning of May that I've run anywhere close to this distance, and that was almost 4 months ago. So, I'm really at the mileage rebuilding phase right now. Of course, this pace is somewhat slower than the 11:27 pace I ran during my half-marathon in the beginning of May. And honestly, my training had been rather inconsistent in the month leading up to the half-marathon race; so, if I'd have kept up the speed work I did back in January-March, I could've done a lot better in that road race. Example: During training runs for the speed development program I did back in January-April, we regularly ran 14-milers at an 11:00 pace on average, (& that was a training pace, not race speed), so I know I more than have it in me to best this time. Just earlier this year, I ran a mile in 8:30 (during a speed work session on a track), a 10K race at a 9:44 pace, and a 10-mile training run at a 10:00 pace.

Anyhow, enough about pace. I'm not trying to set any records or prove anything to anyone except myself. :) Right now, I honestly don't care about speed, because my first-time marathon training is about mileage-building. I'm a couple weeks into the FIRST marathon training program, at the beginning of week 13 (the numbering goes backward in "countdown" fashion from 18 to 1).

I base my daily and weekly mileage on how my body feels, instead of rigidly adhering to the training schedule like a pre-programmed automaton. :) Example: So, even though the program said "do 12 miles for your long run" last week, my body & brain felt like doing 13.22. :) Likewise, if I need to scale back on a particular day, I will also make the appropriate adjustments. I might toss in a shorter run somewhere in the week to make up for missed mileage, or just scale back altogether, and then be sure to get back on track the next week. Whatever I do, I try to adhere to the "10% rule" of running, never running more than 10% of the mileage I ran the previous week.

If there's one thing I've learned during my 30+ years of running & training for races, it's that it's SO important to be flexible, train gradually, and listen to your body during training; conversely, rigidity in one's approach to training typically results in illness & injury.

Anyhow, I've gone on a bit longer here than originally intended, & it's time to run, so I'll finish posting about other training details as time allows. There's so much still to cover -- fueling, hydration, sleep/naps :), gear, etc. Guess that these topics will have to wait for future blog posts. :)


One final note: Since I'm now a full-time contributing writer as well as the Managing Editor of Running Hoosier Magazine, I might very well be reversing the trend I spoke of earlier: Whereas I started this blog as a journal & it then developed into more of an "advice column" about running, I will probably be reverting this blog back into a journal while I marathon-train.

As usual, I will also continue "journaling" my running activity & experiences on DailyMile. The DailyMile posts are more in the vein of "daily running reports," whereas the marathon-training blog posts will be more about observations & reflections on the marathon-training process itself.

Due to my magazine & coaching duties, I have a finite period of time that I can spend right now on social media (including blogging), so if I'm in the mood to write an article, in all honesty, it's probably going to end up in our running publication versus here for obvious reasons. [Part of the reason for this is that any material posted to the magazine needs to be original material and can't be culled from previous blog posts. :) ]

Of course, I will continue to post/share information about running-related subjects here, but for the time being, these entries will most likely be in the form of observations and insights about marathon-training and the marathoning experience itself. :)

Basically, any findings on the marathon-training process will go here on this blog, whereas the more "journalistic" style articles will be found in the new running magazine. So, if you'd like to read those articles -- along with many other writer-runners, including Josh Cox, Chris Russell, Dane Rauschenberg, Blaine Moore, Mark Dilworth, Ann Brennan, Julianne Chai, Tim Wilson, Steve Heath, and many, many other exciting and talented writers! -- you are welcome to subscribe to our magazine, which is only $1.67 per issue (or $10 for 6 issues)!

OK, I really do have to go on that run now. Have a great morning! Later.....


Sunday, August 23, 2009

0 Quick Post Before A Run


Lily (i.e., the family bulldog) and I just had our respective breakfasts this morning after her daily walk. No one else in the household is up yet, so I thought I'd write a few words while both of us digest breakfast and Lily naps at my feet, which is probably her way of digesting breakfast. :)

Or would that be a doggie "food coma"? Am not quite sure. :)

I'm really enjoying visiting in PA -- life is quite idyllic here, and every time I say I'm coming home in a day or so, then it seems I add another day or two to my stay. :)

It's also been a nice respite from my usual roster of responsibilities & tasks. I must admit that I'm also enjoying being a little less "plugged into the matrix." The only constant online activity I've been doing lately is recording my mileage on DailyMile. :) Other than that, there's been the occasional blog post here and there, some Facebook status updates (all via DailyMile), and zero tweeting. Yes, highly unusual behavior. :)

This stay has been really great. It's been great fun hanging out with Mom & Dad, and family friends.

Lily is getting used to her early morning walks with me, and I'm going to miss her when I leave. Then, it's back to Erik & cats, & friends in DC I go. I do miss everybody at home, but all the same, don't really want to leave PA just yet.

Maybe I'll head back on Tuesday? We'll see. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

0 Brief Weekly Update: Cyberpenguin's Gone Fishin' in PA :)


Just wanted to write a brief update before I go out for this morning's run.

Here are a few things that've been going on here:

--We did the Lewisburg Triathlon last weekend as a relay team. A young lady named Johanna did the 600 yard swim, my Dad did the 15 mile bike ride, and then I did the 5K race portion at the end. It was lots of fun. More on that later.

--Robert Overton and I, and the rest of the magazine team have been hard at work on Running Hoosier's premier issue, due out in September. For more details, please visit

--For friends and family who aren't already aware, I just wanted to inform you that I'm in still visiting in PA, and will respond to your emails & other correspondence as time allows. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be returning to the DC area, probably Sunday at the latest.

OK, time to hit the trails. Have a great morning!

Monday, August 10, 2009

3 Life Before Internet Access -- Did It Exist? ;)


Let me just say up front: This post has NOTHING at all to do with running. However, since the topic at hand has affected my ability to post, I thought it deserved a brief mention. :)

My internet access was just restored late this afternoon after being down for several days. Without trying to sound melodramatic about it, I felt like I'd been marooned on a desert island. :)

Of course, being forcibly disconnected from the online world is certainly one way to get a sense of exactly how much one actually does rely upon it as an essential resource and communication tool for everyday existence!

As a person who works from home & relies rather heavily on internet access for all sorts of information & communications -- weather, news, business conference calls, staff correspondence, work-related research, etc. --it basically felt like I had been cut off from the outside world. :)

And what's most maddening about it all is not being able to tell people en masse "what has happened," (i.e., why I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet! :) ), or not being able to explain to them why I haven't yet responded to their time-sensitive communications that I can't even view in the first place (but just know are piling up out there in cyberspace). Maybe it's worth getting a smartphone just for some emergency backup internet redundancy. :)

TV? Radio? Nah, these days, I prefer the internet as my primary go-to information source. And thanks to TiVo, I don't really watch live TV anymore, with a few rare exceptions. The bottom line is that the internet is just the most convenient, readily-available source for pretty much almost anything and everything.

Even though I have been known to text on a rare occasion, I'm not really part of the texting generation -- Not having an actual text plan probably has something to do with that! (Friends, please take particular note of this announcement. Thanks! ;) )

Frankly, I would rather tweet, DM, & IM for the most immediate forms of communication. As for Twitter, I'm not really into the Twitlonger app, so any correspondence over 140 chars will usually be relayed in an email or IM.

Notably absent from the above list are unscheduled (mobile) phone calls. :)

This is not to say that I don't enjoy talking on the phone; however, when it comes to time-sensitive information exchange, I prefer email. It's much more efficient, & I tend it check it more often than my voice mail. (Again, family & friends, please take note of this.)

This is one of the beauties of IP phones; at a former workplace, I used to have my voice mail autoforward to my email. Ah, now THAT's my idea of sheer perfection. :)

Frankly, I dislike having to check messages which are scattered about in a zillion different formats & locations. The bottom line is that people have enough to do, let alone keep track of messages in a zillion places -- For most of us, our memories are stretched to capacity as is. Plus, why create more needless tasks? After all, people are not squirrels or ferrets. :) Centralized messaging & tasking (with filtering/sub-folders) is my idea of absolute bliss.

Heck, if I could, I'd like to create one big cron job for all of the scattered messages across various social media & communication formats & tools (i.e., Twitter DMs & replies, Facebook, IMs, voice mails, emails, etc.), & anything else requiring my action or attention, & just be done with it. :)

Video teleconferencing via Skype is another preferred communication, but I prefer to schedule these first via email, IM, & Twitter.

Friends and family, you might want to make note of all the above, because it probably explains a lot about why you might not be getting timely responses in some communication formats & snappy responses in other formats. :)


I realize some people might not understand or relate to this post. I'm OK with that.

You see, for many of us, being a geek isn't just a job description. Those of you who are into the joy of technology for its own sake, take pleasure in discussing new ideas that have yet to be born, & prefer to think "virtual media" as an enhancement of our existing realities, versus simply an extension of alternate realities -- those of you who live & think on that mental plane -- will know exactly what I mean.

Heck, some of my friends sleep with their smart phones underneath their pillow. I have not taken to doing this behavior, but then again, I don't yet own a smartphone. :)

Like Sam Altman, (founder of Loopt), predicted, I also believe that the current trend of "nontraditional" mobile phone usage (i.e., functions other than "verbal communication" :) ) will only continue to increase in the future.

But seriously, it's time to re-evaluate how we view our technology usage patterns, because they are going to change even more over the next few decades. I'm sure it's tempting for some to make fun of what they don't understand, or to ridicule differences. A lot of times this is done to create an artificial barrier between those who resist change and the entities representing that change. However, many of these changes are largely positive improvements & enhancements to our lives, & should be welcomed. Even if some of them present new social constructs & corresponding issues, we will no doubt come up with new ways of managing them all.

In fact, I would wager that some of these very same people who initially resist these changes will probably be eating their words at some point, as they gradually begin to take on some of the same technology-based activities of those whom they have made fun of most often. :)

Once the beacon beckons & the light bulb in the brain turns on, there's no turning back, baby! We can't make others see those wonders until they are ready to see it, but once their life is made quantifiably easier through the advent of new technology, it all somehow begins to make sense to them. Of course, personalizing the power of technology & showing people its instant applicability in their own daily lives is a small step on the pathway to enlightenment. :) Then, the process of technology transfer can truly begin.

It's like the old Gertrude Stein truism about how first everyone says no, and then gradually, they all say "yes." :) That applies to many societal patterns, of which the incorporation of technology is just one example.

Or to quote Douglas Adams (or heaven-forbid, Star Trek - LOL!), "Resistance is futile/useless." :)

While some may choose to hold out against trends in technology for various reasons, or choose to mislabel the technologically-enlightened as "addicts," others will choose to see these technology transfer patterns for what they really are.

Yes, for many of us, technology is just that essential to our lives. And even for those people who aren't yet a part of this reality, this truth is gradually becoming all the more apparent.

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