Category Archives: FEBRUARY 2016

All posts from Feb 2016

Interview with Justin Borton, by Dale Peterson

This month’s interview is with Justin Borton of Taylor Mountain Tuesday fame.  To anyone unfamiliar, there is a small but dedicated group of runners who show up every Tuesday morning to run up the short but steep trail to the top of Taylor Mountain.

Justin was raised in NYC by his father, an actor and marathoner.  Justin spent summers with his mother at Maharishi International University in Iowa where he later enrolled in the University of Iowa.  Justin has been living in west Sonoma Co. for the past twelve years.  He has four amazing daughters and a loving supportive wife.  Justin has been running for two and one-half years and has logged approximately 2,500 miles in that time.

How did you become a runner and what motivated you to get into running?

Justin:  I spent most of my life as a sitter… not a baby sitter or dog sitter but just a sitter. I was good at sitting. Maybe great. I could sit just about anywhere, on anything. I did it at work. I mean I got paid to sit! Even on my vacations I was sitting. Once I sat in Leadville CO at over 10k elevation. I just sat there like a champ! So, yea, I knew I could sit. But could I move? Could I run? If I took the same passion for sitting and morphed that excellence into movement… well I could maybe be the greatest of all time (GOAT).


By all accounts you are the driving force behind “Taylor Mountain Tuesdays”.  When did you start doing those runs on a regular basis and how did the group form?

Justin:  Shawn Sullivan and I started TMT about a year ago. It’s a funny story how it started. I was on Taylor giving a cow a long soul hug when unbeknownst to me some crazy trail runner came up from the other side of the cow and tipped it right on top of me. Ouch and what fun! It turned out to be Shawn! We all collapsed in a pile of cow, mud and friendship. We had so much fun and we knew there might be others out there just like us! So special! So we started TMT to recruit runners into our cow cuddle mud puddle.

What would you tell people who might be a little daunted by doing such a super steep hill-climb early in the morning on a work day?

Justin: Oh well I’d say to them you should be a little daunted. Summiting that mountain as the sunrises to greet you is pure pleasure. But you know pleasure is a double-edged sword right? And at the other edge of pleasure is pure suffering. But it’s organic, ethical and and local suffering so it’s good for you!


You seem like you have a lot of fun with your running based on all of the photos I have seen.  What do you attribute that to?

Justin: I made the decision long ago around when I was born to try and have fun with everything I do. But some things are inherently not fun; like work, family, cleaning, loved ones, sad movies, and museums. So when I run I try to have a good time. Running down the street is fun but sometimes it isn’t fun. Like when you’re late for the bus. But running a trail is always fun. Nature’s never late and doesn’t make scheduled stops.

What are some of your favorite things related to running?  Why?

Justin: I really loved the movie Chariots of Fire and also I am a huge fan of the band NWA’s song 100 miles and running. That song is about my TMT co-founder Shawn. I’ll tell you one event I did not like and will never run… the trail of tears. Just awful. RIP.

What does a typical week of training look like for you?  Do you keep to a regular schedule?

Justin: I start my week on a Wednesday with a flat fun run with my favorite friends. I then move backwards a day to Tuesday with TMT followed by PowerYoga. I take Monday off or cross train at the gym. Sunday and Saturday are long trail runs. Friday is an off day or gym, Thursday I do some cardio and again hit the PowerYoga. By moving through my week backward I dont allow myself to get too complacent with my workouts.


Outside of running, what are some of your other passions?

Justin: I love to hug people. Mostly kids. But also baby goats (Greatest Of All Time). And I’m a family man so I don’t care for responsibility much but I am passionate about getting out of the house. I’m also passionate about aliens and Bigfoot (the mythical beast not the monster truck).

Any advice or lessons you’d like to pass on to your fellow Empire Runners?

Justin: Yes. Stay in school, don’t be no fool. Don’t eat tempeh and keep your cool. Always keep your heart open and try toe-socks. Don’t free your Willy and also I know a guy who will botox your buttucks.

Sara Bei-Hall: Empire All Star, by Alex Wolf-Root

(An ongoing series of interviews of redwood empire runners by Alex Wolf-Root)

Feb16WolfRoot01The Redwood Empire has been familiar with Sara Bei (Hall) since her earliest days as a Montgomery HS Viking. She was the first girl to win four CA XC State Championships, she was the 2000 Footlocker National Champion, and still holds the Empire 3,200m record. As a professional, she’s represented the USA in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track (including a PanAm Gold), and has now turned her attention to the roads. She’ll be racing the Marathon at the upcoming Olympic Trials on February 13th, so be sure to tune in to watch!

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today Sara! I know you’re busy, so let’s get right to it: In just about two weeks you’ll toe the line at the US Olympic Trials in the Marathon. When did you know you wanted to be a marathoner, and why do you think it took so long for you to turn to the marathon?

Trying a marathon was always something on my bucket list, but not something I felt I would really be good at until I ran my first half marathon back in Sonoma County in Healdsburg. It was just for fun, not a fast course, but I loved it and made me wonder how much faster I could go! Then I started the training for it later in the year and really loved the training. Unfortunately my appendix burst and I had to delay my debut but it affirmed in my mind I wanted to try the distance.

While your debut at the LA Marathon didn’t give the results that were expected, you bounced back incredibly well in your next attempt at Chicago. To what do you attribute this change? And should we expect to see similar improvement at the Trials?

I’m not sure if it’s possible to take that much time off again 🙂 but I felt I finished Chicago curious how much more was there. The Chicago course and conditions were much more forgiving, and I learned that I do really love the distance as I thought I would. I just had too many weakness exposed in my first one. The LA Marathon was the most I’ve ever hurt, and I’m stronger for it.


And it’s not just the marathon that you’ve excelled at. If anything, the roads may be your least successful terrain thus far. You’ve won a national title in XC and earned PanAm gold in the steeplechase, so you’re clearly a very versatile athlete. What is it about yourself that makes you excel across the disciplines?

I played a lot of sports growing up and feel like I have more of a general athletic gifting by God than having a specific endurance pedigree. I’ve always been willing to work really hard and not be afraid to try new things. All those successes came with an equal number of failures of events I tried that didn’t go well! I’m not afraid to fail and I enjoy mixing it up.

 On that topic, if you could be a legitimate contender for the best in the world in any event in Athletics, which would it be?

Good question. I don’t think I’m near that in any event but my best may be the half marathon… With a few hurdles and mud thrown in 🙂

Stepping back a bit, let’s talk about your (Montgomery HS) Viking days. You made history by being the first athlete to win the CA State XC meet all 4 years. Additionally, you were a Footlocker National Champ. What do you think led to such incredible success during your prep career?

I had great coaches at Montgomery in Larry and Tori Meredith and later help from Shannon Sweeney that gave me a good foundational base. Larry gave out summer schedules before my freshman year that were “beginning, intermediate, advanced” so being the over-achiever personality I was I followed the “advanced” to a T even though it had me running 15 mile long runs, etc. I’ve always loved challenging myself. Plus living across the street from Annadel didn’t hurt! 🙂

Beyond your coaches, was there anyone else who had an extra special impact while in HS?

Early on, Julia (Stamps) Mallon set the bar high for me in all my races from local to national, so I’m grateful for that. Later my Stanford teammate Lauren Fleshman really mentored me thoroughout my college career, and after that Deena Kastor in the 5 years I spent in Mammoth Lakes was very influential.

What about any favorite memories or races from your time as a Viking?

It’s hard to top winning the state championship as a team! It began as kind of a pipe dream and I almost couldn’t believe it when it happened.

And while you had a great career at Stanford as a many-time All-American, you weren’t quite the world-beater you were in HS. How was this transition back to being great, but not the best?

The level of competition is much higher. It’s easy to succeed in high school just by working really hard, especially because when I was in school that wasn’t the norm. I think I placed 2nd at NCAA nationals like 4 or 5 times. And the time I was most likely to win I got tripped in the final sprint. There just wasn’t a lot of room for error and yet I am thankful for all the 2nd place finishes and leading our team to a NCAA XC title.

Feb16WolfRoot04While at Stanford, you met your husband, who’s also an elite distance runner. How has that relationship helped your performance on the roads/dirt/oval?

I would definitely not still be running if it wasn’t for Ryan’s inspiration and support. He has believed in me at times when I gave up on myself and he is my biggest fan. Now he coaches me, which has made for a fun new season!  Of course there are times I’ve had to sacrifice my career for his and vice-versa, but we are a team.

While obviously Ryan is a marathon great, some were surprised to hear of this coaching change. How did that come about?

Yeah, it just made sense when we were taking on the adoption of 4 girls from Ethiopia. I would need to be more flexible and have someone present to adjust things. Plus, he knows the marathon inside and out and now that he took a step back from competing has more time to be present at my workouts.

The biggest news there has to be your starting a new family. Congrats! What led to the decision to adopt, especially as you’re in the prime of your athletic career?

It was a leap of faith and far from a career move, but one we felt called in our hearts and have not regretted it for one minute. We wanted to grow our family through adopting kids that may not otherwise have a home and that are typically older kids and are special needs kids. Our girls are amazing and have added so much joy to our lives! For more details on our story becoming a family, see the Press Democrat article 🙂

And that’s hardly the first way you’ve done good for Ethiopia and her children, thanks to your Steps Foundation. Can you tell our readers a little bit about how this came about, and about it’s current mission?

Seeing extreme poverty first hand in Africa and other areas totally changed me as a person and the trajectory of my life. I thought I’d go straight into development work after college but had the opportunity to still run and here we are 10.5 years later, enjoying it more than ever! But I haven’t forgotten about the calling I feel is on my life to bring justice in these areas, and engage the running community to do the same. Currently our funds are focused on famine relief and orphan care in Ethiopia.

Well thank you for doing your part to help those in need. Hopefully many of our readers will check out the Steps Foundation website and do their part, too.

Now, some flash questions:

Favorite trail in Annadel: Spring Creek

Favorite workout: Hard long runs

Favorite race distance: Half marathon

Favorite post-workout meal: Chocolate Muscle Milk pancake

What final words of advice would you have for those reading this, especially for current Empire Prep’s gearing up for their T&F season?

Enjoy the team aspect of the sport! That is one thing that changes after school. Eat well – don’t look for shortcuts by losing weight – or you may not be able to enjoy running later in life. Be “you” to the fullest rather than comparing yourself to other people. Find your identity in who God made you to be; root yourself in that and you can run free of fearing failure.

Thanks for the chat Sara, and good luck in LA! All of the Redwood Empire will be rooting for you!


Photo Essay – Anthony Rink, 2015 XC State Championships

(Local runner and photographer Anthony Rink went to the 2015 state XC championships, and here are some of his photos with captions.)

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Sonoma Academy girls team post race at the finish line of the CIF state cross country championships. At this time all athletes have to remove the electronic chips from their shoes before leaving the finish area. Athletes Rylee Bowen, Mckenna Sell, and Kayja Mann.

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Start of the division one girls race, just over a quarter mile from the start. This leads down the road to the entrance of woodward park where they take a hard left turn onto the park course.

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Two leaders of the division four race. They are just past the two mile mark of the three point one mile course. On the left is athlete Morgin Coonfield who finishes second overall.

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Just after the start of the division three boys race. As the runners begin to sort out their best position to be in for the race.

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First place division three boys race. Athlete Austin Tamagno finishing in 14:45:9 as the second fastest overall athlete to compete.

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Almost one mile into the division five girls race. The pack of runners begins to thin out as they get further into the race. Sonoma Academy athlete Rylee Bowen hangs onto the front pack of runners to pull her through the race.

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This is the two mile mark of the division five girls race. As the front pack of the race thins out Rylee Bowen is positioned right behind the first runner. Bowen continues to move up and win the race.

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Finish of the division one girls race. Athlete Delaney White on her final push to the finish line, placing 12th.

Running is not punishment, by Catherine DuBay

It happens on the soccer field. It happens on the basketball court. It happens in PE classes. It happens in our Armed Services and probably got its start there. It even happens on the track. And IT drives me crazy. IT is the use of running as punishment.

As an athlete or parent of an athlete you have probably seen it or experienced it yourself. You are at soccer practice and your team is goofing off. The coach has had it and so he/she sends the team out to run laps. Or you are late for basketball practice so while the rest of the team does warm up drills you are sent out to run around the gym 2 times. And my favorite of all is the PE teacher who has the kids do pushups who aren’t behaving. I thought I had mellowed out on my frustration with this until I recently witnessed another misuse of fitness as punishment. I caught the tail end of a practice (sport, location, etc. need not be revealed) where several of the players were running “lines” while a few were standing and watching. I asked why this was and was informed that the team that won the last practice game didn’t have to do the run. What is this teaching about our view of exercise? The losers do drills and the winners watch? When in reality the reason the winners are winners are that they DO the drills and they work hard and it pays off!

Why are coaches, teachers and fitness professionals using running (and exercise in general) as a punishment? What message is this sending to the kids about how the ambassadors of sport and fitness feel about exercise? No doubt my friends, that running is hard and so are pushups, burpees, raising kids and most everything else in life that is worth the effort. This concept of hard work should be celebrated instead of used as punishment. Wouldn’t we be better served if we could find a different punishment for misbehaving athletes? Pick up trash around the field or gym? Sit out the first 10 minutes of the next game? Go sit in the corner by yourself for 15 minutes. Go play chess for an hour. Stop-I am kidding! Chess shouldn’t be used as punishment-it is really closer to torture.

What’s the solution? I believe it is not a matter of changing how coaches are coaching but simply in the message they are delivering. A coach should use running laps to settle down his/her athletes that are distracted and not focusing. Running has a way of settling restlessness and sharpening our focus. A coach should send kids out to run laps to settle them down a bit. Just don’t call it punishment. Tell the athletes why they are running; it will sharpen your focus. It will settle some of your extra energy. It will warm you up. All this is true and accomplishes the same task but with a different message about exercise.

I came across a story about Deangelo Williams, an NFL player with the Steelers this year, who grew up with coaches using exercise as punishment. He said that every time a kid got “punished” and had to do push-ups, suicide runs, laps around the field, etc. he would join in with them because he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to get extra conditioning and certainly didn’t want any other kids getting an advantage because they were doing work while he watched.

In conclusion; I have a great appreciation for our youth coaches and PE teachers. I have been a coach and know that it is a huge amount of work for a little amount of money (if any). I have seen how coaches have changed people’s lives and instilled a lifelong love of fitness and athletics in our youth. Keep this love of sports and activity alive by showing kids how hard work and physical discomfort are not punishment but necessary aspects of achieving great success in sports and in life.

Run on my friends.

Got Blisters? An interview with Rebecca Rushton, by Doug Murdoch

Feb16Murdoch03(This is an interview with podiatrist Rebecca Rushton, author of  The Blister Prone Athlete’s Guide To Preventing Foot Blisters. You can also visit her website,


Hi Rebecca! I must admit that being a blister sufferer, I had scoured the internet looking for information to no avail. When I came upon your book and website, I said to myself FINALLY!! Why do you think it has taken so long for something so important to be written about in a comprehensive way?

I’m at a loss to explain it, Doug. I’m as surprised as you. Especially considering blisters are such a common injury in sport and everyday life. But it’s been a pleasure to plug that gap. Thank you for your kind words – it’s very rewarding to make a difference in such a specific way.

You know sometimes you think about particular types of doctors    (I won’t mention them here) and you wonder how in the world they became experts in a particular area? So…..blisters……..what is it intrinsically about blisters that caught your interest enough to become an expert on them?

Well, as a podiatrist, if I was going to be an expert on anything, it was always going to be something about feet. The reason that thing is blisters is because I happen to be blister prone. I get foot blisters very easily – when I go for a walk, run, play hockey, new shoes. It’s so annoying. But I’ll tell you what hurt most was the moment I realised I couldn’t fix my own foot problem when it was my job to fix foot problems. That was the impetus for delving deeper into this injury.

It seems to me that many runners and athletes think that certain types of blisters are no big deal, so they really don’t take the time to treat them correctly or prevent them. In your experience what are the most common blisters, and if runners put some effort into it, are they preventable?

Blisters anywhere on the feet are absolutely preventable. The reason people don’t put much effort into blister prevention is that too many of the things they’ve been told to do, don’t work. And so blisters are deemed to be inevitable. Have you noticed that athletes tend to glorify blisters like they’re a sign of how far they’ve run or how hard they’ve worked? It’s a sorry state of affairs, but they don’t see any way around it. So it’s very satisfying to help turn that reality around. I want for athletes to be able to understand blisters and their options a bit better so they can troubleshoot issues themselves. That’s why I’ve spent such a long time researching the literature to help explain what’s going on, in a way that’s easy to understand.

It seems so obvious after I read it in your book, but it never occurred to me that the foot bones move around under the skin which can cause stretching under the skin – you call it shear. It’s probably just something people don’t normally think about. Does the amount of movement differential between the skin and bones vary significantly among individuals?

It does Doug. That means we can have an impact towards blister prevention with certain biomechanical interventions that reduce bone movement – things like orthotics, stretches and changes in running technique. Another variation we see between individuals is that of the skin’s resilience to that movement differential between skin and bone (shear). Even with the same running speed, distance travelled, terrain, shoes, biomechanics, training regime and everything else being equal, some athletes are going to blister sooner than others, just because of the intrinsic shear strength of their skin.


Friction seems to be a very important concept to understand – can you briefly telling about this in relation to blisters?

Friction has a double meaning. One is rubbing, the other is resisting rubbing. This one factor alone has led to a confused mainstream blister prevention paradigm. Everyone’s out there trying to stop the rubbing on their skin, but this shouldn’t be our aim. Our aim should be to lower the resistance to rubbing. This is what reducing friction means.

Put simply, friction is the level of grip between the surfaces of the shoe, sock and skin. High friction levels cause them to grip together, and this makes that movement differential between skin and bone to be bigger, leading to more blisters, bigger blisters and blisters sooner. Our aim should be to reduce the grip – make it slippery. If you can have an impact on friction levels, you will go a long way to stopping blisters.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that different types of running can cause different types of blisters. For example if I’m running significantly faster or sprinting, I know that my foot strike and body mechanics are different. Or if I run trails I may get certain blisters I don’t get otherwise. I suppose it’s less important but I didn’t see anything in your book at particular types of running causing blisters.

You’re right Doug. When you run in a straight line, your foot plants and your foot bones continue to skid forward until they come to a stop. That’s the movement differential we call shear. And the opposite happens in the propulsive phase. So the shear happens in a forwards/backwards direction. Compare that to trail running. The more challenging the trail becomes, the more your bones slide from side to side. And the more you might load other areas of your foot in different ways. So you’re quite right – different terrains, different blisters.

Your book covers the treatment of heel blisters, arch, under the ball of your foot, and all types of toe blisters. Which blisters are the most problematic? Can blisters actually be chronic?

Feb16Murdoch02Toe blisters seem to be the most common. I took a poll on my website and 36% of 1,136 respondents had toe blisters. The next most common was blisters under the ball of the foot (28%) and I think these are the most problematic for runners. The main reason is runners don’t want to take time off running to let blisters heal. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s very hard to run when you’re trying to keep the weight off your forefoot.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how long is my blister going to last”. The fact is, your blister won’t resolve in a hurry if you haven’t reduced the shear load on that part of your foot. To get your blisters to heal as quickly as possible, you have to reduce friction levels (I’m not talking about rubbing, I’m talking about how your shoe, sock and skin all grip together – you have to make it slippery at one of these interfaces). That’s the best way to reduce shear. Plus I’d try to reduce pressure if it was possible. There are lots of ways to achieve these things, but it depends on where on your foot the blister is. Different blister locations require different strategies for best results. That’s why I focus on the ten most common blisters by their anatomical blister locations in my book, and describe the most useful prevention strategies for each.

It seems to me that most peoples understanding of blisters is pretty pathetic……whenever the subject comes up, the standard response is “are you using Moleskin?” which really irritates me since I know it does not really work well, at least for me. That’s why I found your discussion of taping, felt donut pads, and ENGO patches quite informative. Tell us about the ENGO patches since I don’t believe many people have heard of them.

I agree Doug. I feel the same way about taping. I can tape my heels til the cows come home but I’ll still blister under the tape. But you can’t deny the fact that less blister prone runners only need a little bit of something to keep them blister-free. I used to wish I was one of those people. But thankfully I’m not, because it has made me delve deeper and find real solutions for even the most blister prone athletes. ENGO Patches are the things that keep me blister-free. I actually found these patches and fixed my blister issues before I started looking into the science of blisters. When I found they worked so well, I had to figure out why, because they didn’t fit into the paradigm as I understood it at the time. That’s how I figured out that paradigm (ie: stop the rubbing) was flawed.

ENGO Patches are made by Tamarack, Minnesota, USA. They’re self-adhesive, low friction patches you apply to your shoe, insole or orthotic, rather than your skin, so they’re quite different to other strategies. They last month on month for around 300 miles and they’re very thin. They reduce friction in a targeted way, which is the best way to manage friction. I highly recommend them for anyone blister prone and any athlete bothered with blisters because of their sport.


Tell us about your website, and is it possible for runners that have serious problems to contact you for treatment via email, skype, or ?

My website is and it’s a treasure-trove of practical advice on specific blister prevention strategies, on the different blisters based on their anatomical location, on sport-specific blister issues and on blister treatment principles. I have a slant towards runners, particularly multiday ultramarathon runners, and blister prone people – so I focus on the advanced techniques needed to make a real difference. If your readers are having trouble, I urge them to have a good look at the topics covered – I’m sure they’ll find something new they can try. Unfortunately, I’m quite busy with my own podiatry practice that I don’t have a lot of time to speak to people one-on-one. But I do have an online consultation service if anyone wants me to take a look at their blisters and walk them through their best options. Other than that, I go to one 6-day ultramarathon a year to provide foot care, which I really enjoy doing. This year I’ll be at the Big Red Run, Australia’s annual 6-day ultramarathon in the Simpson Desert. It’s going to be fun.

Where can runners buy your books?
My book is available from Amazon at on Kindle and as a paperback.



Jim Crowhurst’s Running Blog!

The following is from  Albert Caruana at Cross Country Express –

For those of you that were faithful visitors to Jim Crowhurst’s sites that covered Cross Country and Track & Field in the Redwood Empire (NBL, SCL and CMC), you are in luck. Jim has the site back up which you can find at the link below. The site includes tons of statistics dating back many decades and will be a great resource for those 3 leagues for this coming track and field season.

The site is no longer associated with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat so donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the site. Check the link on the site for more information in regards to donations.


Running S.M.A.R.T.

It must be January. I just logged on to reserve an evening slot at my TRX gym for tomorrow night, and the dreaded “wait list” message popped up. Most of the year there’s enough space for everyone to get into their preferred class, but January brings out the New Years Resolution folks with good intentions. I won’t be petty enough to say aloud “they won’t last long”, but resolutions are hard, and easily broken.

My favorite article on the ER blog this month is Mike Wortman’s article on running S.M.A.R.T., where he breaks down those letters to lead us on the path to successful running goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. It’s a great formula for sticking to your resolutions, especially when added to the ER secret weapon: training partners. When you’ve articulated your goals to the runners that you normally train with, motivation and commitment become that much easier. So make your SMART resolutions, wear them on your sleeve, and get out there and soar!


So I’ve done it again. Depending on your perspective, I’ve been elected, drafted or sentenced to being club president for another year. Fortunately, we have continuity and enthusiasm on the Board of Directors, with Tanya Narath and Luis Rosales joining Karen Frindell-Tuescher, Nuvit Salz and Chris Mason, with Peter Kirk replacing long-serving Bill Browne. Thanks to some stalwart and dedicated volunteers we all have a great club to support and enjoy. Run Happy!



“QUICK STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS, 8 Weeks to a Better Runner’s Body”, by Jeff Horowitz, Velopress, Boulder, Colorado, 2013. Pp 198

Speaking from a pure runner’s perspective, I ask you, would you rather go on a nice run in Annadel or spend 45-60 minutes in a (smelly) gym pounding the weights, running on a treadmill or busting the exercycle? I don’t know about you but I would pick the run seven days out of seven, no question. The problem with doing so much running and so  very little pre and post-run training is that it often will result in injuries (especially as we increase mileage, intensity and as we just age).  And usually the injuries are not quickly healed. So for those of you (us) that think you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for pre and post run training think about how many injuries you have had over the last couple of years. Now think about how much time you were unable to run due to those injuries. If you are like me and have had multiple injuries and been off running for up to 2-3 months at a time (sometimes even longer) an extra 60 minutes a week In the gym might be time well spent. As well, I feel a regular strength training program will not only minimize your injuries but will also improve your training and racing times/consistency.

198 pages may seem like a lot of reading for a training guide.  It could just as easily have been in formatted simply a guide and would still have been very good. The first 45 pages are background and simple running physiology. If you have a background in physiology or have read any of the previously reviewed running physiology books you could easily bypass the first 45 pages or read it later (in lieu of watching the final season of ‘American Idol).

The next 85 pages are a well written explanation of 40 exercises and the minimal amount of equipment needed to perform them. Each exercise is also differentiated into easy and advanced styles. There is also a TIP which will clarify proper technique and a COACHES NOTE which explains the why and/or an ‘attaboy’(‘-girl’).

The next 50 pages are dedicated to the training sessions delineated by the week (weeks 1 through 8). Depending on your physical strength you can choose easy or advanced but the guide is setup to start easy on week 1 and get progressively more advanced and more intense with each week. If that seems like just too much there is no reason not to go at a slower, less advanced rate and with 40 exercises to choose from you could develop your own ever changing program.

The training is 2-3 20 min sessions per week so everyone should be able to make that time available to improve overall fitness and your running with a minimum of equipment (dumbbell, balance ball, medicine ball and a balance/bosu board) as your strength improves and you want to try the advanced exercises. The book finishes with a small chapter on continuing the program while travelling.

This is a great book and guide that if followed 2-3 times per week will definitely improve your strength, running and overall health.

Rating:   4.8/5             Usefullness:   5/5


(An ode to the Montgomery XC team by Val Sell)

’Twas the night before practice and all through the house,             Every creature was running, including the mouse.                                    The singlets were hung by the chimney with care,                                         In hopes that fast times soon would be there.

The athletes were nestled all snug in their beds,                                        While visions of torture danced through their heads.                             And Karen with her Banjo and Brad in his cap,                                                  The coaches were ready, soon needing a nap.

When out on the track there arose such a clatter,                                                   I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.                                              Laced up my old shoes, and then ran oh so fast,                                                 The field I would go, like the youth from my past.

The moon on the breast of the up coming season,                                         Gave the light of mid-day, for all the good reasons.                                   When what to my wondering eyes should appear,                                             But the kids doing warmups, some chasing a deer.

With the boys at the lead, so lively and quick,                                                              I knew in a moment, it must be ole SLICK.                                                            More rapid than Pumas, his mates they all came,                                           He whistled and shouted, and called them by name.

Now, JAZZY! now, JESSIE! now PEETY and MAYO!                                            On, NOODLE! on, ACORN! on, SKIPPER and CHEETO!                               To the curve on the line, the start I will call,                                                          Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

With summer came Humboldt, hill training and more,                              Dorm slumber, hall dining, and talks while you snore.                                      The runs were a plenty and the stairs were a sight,                                                If you woke before Kevin, you would be alright.

 The miles now run, and the team looking good,                                                  Now surely was time, to return to the hood.                                                             So run as they might, as I stood all aglow,                                                                  The coach had high hopes, with her ducks in a row.

The season then started, with all the new faces,                                                   The oldies, the newbies, and all kinds of paces.                                                      The days they were hot, and through it high-n-low,                                              Our only retreat, was to swim Il-San-Jo.

The park was their friend, the place they would train,                                            At times they would fall, at times they would strain.                                        The trails there are many, roll up and then down,                                             The freedom was joyous, the laughter abound.

The coaches were there, with all kinds of wisdom,                                              To train them, fix them, and teach them of epsom.                                            What to eat, what to drink, and sleep we’d agree,                                               We gather, and lecture, remind of rule three.

Now it wasn’t all fun, our days in the sun,                                                            Some ran even faster, though others were done.                                                 The races were few, and gave each, time to shine,                                              Their goal was quite simple, a Duckie of mine.

The Finals upon us, the end was now here,                                                           Don’t worry, you’re ready, there’s nothing to fear.                                                 The friends here are many, and memories had,                                                Some stories don’t tell, or make Val really mad.

The time has now come, for the old coach to part,                                              For the last fifteen years, has brought to my heart,                                               A wave of fond moments, too many to mention,                                               I hope you had fun, for that was the intention.

Your story ends not here, this is just the start,                                       Wherever life takes you, and while we’re apart,                                              Think back to this team and the time that we had,                                                 Be happy, be joyous, be merry, be glad.

The Long and Short of It – Solo, a poem by Dale Peterson

Escape the chatter.  Unplug.

Put away want – put away need.


Stop thinking.  Just drift.

Hear the birds.

Feel the breeze.


Hear the foot-falls.

Feel the air moving in… and moving out.

Hear the water-song playing over stones.

See the marsh-hare – sense the bobcat.

Feel blood moving and muscle contracting.


Feel and hear heart-beats.

Feel the sun and the shadow.

Smell the ocean.   Waves crashing.

Hear the sea-lions.

No past, no future – only now.