By Alfredo S.Breaking four minutes in the mile is a feat that less than 2000 people in the world, 500 or so American citizens, and 3 Puerto Ricans have accomplished, me being in company of all. Ever since Roger Bannister ran the first sub 4 minute mile in 1954, which critics deemed impossible at the time, the mile has been one of the most popular track and field events in the world. Since I started training for the Mile, in late 2016, my goal was to be a part of that history. This year on January 13th I got a chance to add my name in the track and field history books by being able to get under that Barrier. This was a huge honor for me, seeing my hard training pay off and realizing one of my most important goals.
Training to break four was one of the toughest things I have ever done. There were days where I did not want to get out of bed and other days where I was ready for the challenge. However, I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goal that I had to put in the work, especially when I didn’t feel like it. I had to do every little thing to motivate myself when I didn’t want to train on any particular day. I knew if I slacked off that could potentially snowball into more and more complacentness. I had to do the little things, like wake up 10 minutes early to stretch, do core, lift, etc., in order to reach my goal. These little things are what made training for that goal hard, because in a busy society the last thing you want to do is lose time on something so meager. Still, these are the things that kept me healthy and able to train.
After a solid fall of training and staying healthy I got my first chance to get after a fast Mile on the 13th of January. My teammate, Sadiki White, agreed to rabbit me through 1000 meters in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. At about 900 meters I got antsy and passed him. I was left with just over 700 meters to run by myself, but I felt good. Lap after lap I was on pace to run under 4 minutes and the crowd was getting into it. With 200 meters to go I saw that I needed to run a 29 second last lap and from the help of the crowd, my teammates and family I was able to run 3:59.07. This meant the world to me, not only because I was able to get under the elusive barrier but because it showed that through hard work and perseverance anything is possible. It was fun to share that moment with my family, friends and teammates who all believed in me and helped me get there. The story is not done being written, as I am trying to lower my mile PR and qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The dream goes on…
MID LIFE CRISIS
By Calvin W.
When I hit my mid-life crisis, I knew it was time to do something different. Like those who might also be prone to them, I’d been living my life in a conventional, painfully routine way and I had to shake things up. I was at a resort on Hainan Island at the very bottom of China and it was the 4th of July, 2012. I walked out onto the beach…never looked back and…
Wild and crazy, huh? Actually, I’d done a little running a couple of years before for a few months, was with my tennis-playing young Turk nephew on a family trip, and only did 2½ miles, but it really was pretty radical for a guy who’d done little more than play a little Ultimate in college.
Upon my return home a few days later, I found a route in the neighborhood up the street from my house and started running a one-and-a-half mile loop a few days a week—close enough to home to bail out if an injury struck or if I just ran out of steam. When that didn’t happen and I started increasing the mileage using a few daisy-chained 3 mile loops I mapped (mapmyrun.com), I really cut loose and started fantasizing about…
Nine months later (I know! Nine months, start to marathon!), I finished the 2013 Garden Spot Village Marathon in Kinzer, PA, in 4:24:22. A personal record as the old running cliché goes. Not terribly long after I started I discovered the Wednesday 6:30 p.m. running club at Jenkintown Running Company. There I really cut loose and started…
Craft beers, to be specific, IPAs to be precise. Yep, it turns out the group was a drinking club with a running problem. With pizza when the numbers are right. Ooh, hold me back. What was great about the JRC RC was the motivation of meeting people who also wanted to move. And it turned out to be a really likeable group of peeps. The pizza and beer helped.
The group’s been around for years, but we really upped the ante by organizing with the help of Drew, a store associate. One order of business was to adopt a real name. You heard it here first, folks, we’re now the JRC Growlers. We’ve historically started at 6:30 p.m. and we pace from 10 minutes and easier up to a blistering 7 minutes per mile for the overachievers. We typically run 6.5 mile distances. Join us and help shape the future of the Growlers!
For my longer Saturday runs, I graduated from running solo to enjoying the companionship of the Shawmont Running Club (check out Facebook) most Saturdays. (Saturday distance runs are also in the cards for the Growlers, so stay tuned.)
If a mid-life crisis really is the abrupt realization of a life lived routinely and the urge for radical change, then running provided the change I needed. It provided challenge, new relationships, and new experiences, both moving my legs and working my bottle muscles. Since I started, I’ve run 10 more marathons—5 of them Garden Spot Village—dropped that first personal record to 3:49:51 (Steamtown Marathon, 2016), made a host of new, fascinating friends, picked up that taste for IPAs, and started drinking coffee (not because of the beer). I’ve also developed the discipline of negative splitting—i.e., finishing faster than I started—and managed to shake off more than one injury (happily nothing major) as my body has gotten stronger.
My wife of 31 years also figures into my mid-life crisis…
Following in my footsteps, she started running again for the first time since high school as the goalie for the field hockey team.
Calvin Wang has been an assistant professor and the sciences librarian at Arcadia University since 2005.
GET A NEW PAIR OF SHOES
By Mike T.
Now of course everyone says “So now you’re going to tell us to buy these particular shoes from you so you can make some money.” Cynical and potentially true in some ways, but what I want to talk about is the difference between a more expensive shoe and the $60 shoe you buy at a department or typical sporting goods store.
Sticker shock when you see a shoe at $120 isn’t an uncommon reaction for someone shopping for new shoes at a quality running store. So, what do you get for that extra sixty dollars?
First is the fit of the upper. The more expensive shoes, if they have overlays, use lots of stretchy materials and well-thought-out lacing patterns that result in a more comfortable fit than that of the $60 shoe. The current trend in more expensive shoes is towards an upper that has no overlays, which increases the shoes flexibility while decreasing its weight. Paying more gives you a more flexible, lighter and comfortable shoe.
A second difference is the midsole weight. Newer midsole cushioning systems last longer than the previous foams, gels and related midsole components while also being lighter. The $60 shoes typically use cushioning materials that were initially developed for top of the line shoes several years ago. As everyone realizes, a lighter shoe is generally a faster shoe. Paying more gives you a longer lasting, lighter, yet more cushioned shoe.
Third is extra cushioning. If you compare a $60 shoe visually to a more expensive one, you can often see the cushioning differences. With a brand like Asics you can easily see the size and placement of the gel units and although you can’t see that in every shoe, all brands reduce the amount and placement of the cushioning in their cheaper shoes. The extra cushioning is able to spring back into shape after the bending, stretching and compression that occurs during your running better than a less cushioned option. More cushioning also makes a shoe more durable. And as with the midsole weight, companies are rolling out newer cushioning systems that are lighter and more durable at the same time. Who wouldn’t want a more cushioned yet lighter and longer lasting shoe?
Finally, the more expensive shoe’s outsoles tend to flex where the foot actually does and be constructed of more durable rubber that lasts longer than the $60 model. This makes the “ride” of the more expensive shoe more comfortable while also lasting longer.
Which gets us to the point – spending more gets you a better fitting, lighter, more cushioned and longer lasting shoe. Does that mean that you should rush out and buy the latest $160 shoe and start training in it? Not necessarily and that’s where we enter your running story. For many people the $160 shoe is the wrong answer, just like the $120, $100, or $60 shoe might be. The only way to know is to be fitted in a shoe by someone who takes the time to not only learn all of the technical specs that would bore you but also learn about your running goals and preferences in fit, weight and cushioning. With many options available, we’ll be able to do that for you.
See you on the run!
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS -PART 1
By Alex H.
With hard work comes progress. From where you were, to where you are now, and where you are going, a journey takes development. Some of this comes with maturity, both physical and mental, and some just takes sheer will mixed with many trials and equally as many errors. It is learning from these errors that I have grown as an athlete and a person.
Every runner can point back towards a moment or time period when they first picked up the sport. I began running for soccer conditioning going into my freshman year of high school. I played soccer year round since I was 10, but was never very good. I knew I would have to outwork the more talented kids over the summer. I quickly began enjoying my daily runs more than I enjoyed the sport of soccer, and after two years sticking with it, I switched over to cross country. A big reason why I was not able to accomplish much as a soccer player was my size. When I started running competitively my junior year of high school I was a touch over 5 feet tall and not even 90 pounds. This didn't matter in running. I was always a really good trier, but in most other sports, If you're 60 pounds smaller than your competition, you're going to be at a major disadvantage. But my coach preached that effort is all he was looking for and I bought in. After 2 years of high school running that brought me just enough success to fully buy in to my potential in the sport and commit to competing at the next level , I continued to run at Monmouth University for the next four years.
Now, remember earlier when I said how a journey takes development? College is where I developed! Physically, I grew ELEVEN inches. Mentally, I would argue I grew even more. Next blog post, I'll discuss the 4 years of small gains and large setbacks that had to take place in order to pave the way for further success.
When you are out for a run the mind often wanders. This may lead to many different types of thoughts. Some may be positive; "I am making myself better" or "I can't wait to smash my PR". Others are often negative; "Why do I do this to myself" or "I'll never get into shape". And many thoughts are just thoughts. When you are out training the mind often wonders to far off places and this blog in many ways is a way for runners to share those thoughts and listen to other runners who may have new and interesting thoughts for others.
Our store owes much of its success to our community. For decades our loyal runners have checked in to get new equipment and share their stories. Runners we helped to fit in high school often come back from college and let us know how their seasons have been going. Even new runners who have goals of being able to complete a certain distance come back to let us share in their personal achievement. Our brand is grounded in our community and it only feels right to create a place where community members can have an even greater voice in it.
This blog will serve as a place for runners to come together. You will see posts from many of the awesome members of our running clubs as well as employees of our stores. We will do product reviews, answer training questions and share our personal experiences while running. So please, take some time to share your thoughts and stories too. Running is a lot less boring when we do it together!
If you have something to share please email us at Jenkintownrunco@gmail.com
tHE ORC cOMMUNITY
Since its founding, The Original Running Co. has been at the center of a proud community of runners in the Delaware Valley. This is a place where runners can come together and share their thoughts and ideas.