Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lances uses an I-Pod, so I shouldn't worry.

Race rules ban use of portable players
By Eleanor Yang Su
and Marcia Manna
January 19, 2008
NANCEE E. LEWIS / Union-Tribune

Kristen Fitzgerald said she plans to use only her left earbud during the
half-marathon in Carlsbad. Tomorrow morning, as thousands of runners grind
their way through the Carlsbad Marathon, Darrell Gordon will hustle to the tunes
of Dire Straits and The Beatles – in blatant disregard of race rules banning
headphones and portable music players.
Runners in races from Carlsbad to New York City are being urged to leave their iPods at home for the sake of their own safety. Bruce Springsteen and U2 may distract runners and make them unaware of those trying to pass them, including fellow marathoners and ambulances carrying injured racers, the thinking goes.
IPods and other players also could provide some runners with an unfair competitive edge.
The ban, passed in December 2006 by USA Track & Field, the sport's governing body, has sparked a national debate among runners that far surpasses the typical disputes over the best shoes or carbohydrate-loaded gel packs.
Unlike most road-race rules, which are written to regulate elite athletes, this one has the biggest impact on the masses, the recreational runners who rely on music to carry them through the race.

“I always run listening to music,” said Gordon, a 57-year-old from Solana Beach who will be racing in the half-marathon tomorrow. “It relieves the boredom of running, and there's a little psychological effect. When I'm listening to music, I don't hear my heavy breathing, so I don't think about getting tired.”

Some racing purists, however, have heaved a collective sigh of relief over the rule. They say races are meant to be absorbed, from the cheering crowds to the sign-toting kids. Where else can one be part of a sea of people, bounding down the street, all working toward the same goal? “I don't believe running and iPods should go together,” said Greg White, 49, a 48-time marathoner who organizes one of the larger running groups in San Diego. “Running is a very social sport. When you're with friends, you should enjoy being with them.”

Race directors appear similarly split over the issue and have wrestled with whether, and how, to enforce the year-old ban. Carlsbad Marathon race director Lynn Flanagan has decided simply to announce the rule at the starting line, but not disqualify or penalize runners who ignore it. In years past, runners were discouraged from wearing headphones, but the message was often ignored.

“It's virtually impossible to enforce,” Flanagan said,
adding that nearly 10,000 runners are registered for the marathon and
half-marathon. “We'd have to depend on volunteers to look out for the
headphones, and that would distract them from their other duties. It could
become a sticky situation.”
Race officials elsewhere have taken a more stringent approach. At Grandma's Marathon and half-marathon last year in Duluth, Minn., organizers confiscated two MP3 players at the starting line and mailed them to their owners after the race. Thirty renegade runners spotted with MP3 players were disqualified.
“To the race directors who say it's not enforceable, we enforced it and we feel we did a good job doing it,” said Bob Gustafson, public-relations director for Grandma's. “Thirty people broke the rule out of 17,000.”
Other organizers have decided to flout the ban.
Coordinators of the Portland Marathon, held in October, have issued an
“MP3-friendly” policy. The marathon course is closed to cars, bikes, skateboards
and dogs, so MP3 users will be safe if they use common sense, organizers said.
Similarly, organizers of San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in June say they
will not discourage the use of portable music players.
“This is what our participants do and want,” said Tracy Sundlun, executive vice president of Elite Racing. “We have to take our sport to the people. As long as it's not presenting a health or safety hazard, we try to create a marvelous environment for them.” Technically, the headphone ban applies to the 4,000 road races sanctioned by USA Track & Field, which include all major marathons, spokeswoman Jill Geer
said. But she added that race directors have discretion over whether they
enforce the rule, which can be difficult at large events. The ban was
implemented as a precaution against injuries and lawsuits, and is not based on
statistics for headphone-related accidents, Geer said. The hope is to avoid a
dangerous confluence of trends: The ranks of American runners have swelled
beyond 30 million, and MP3 players have become ubiquitous as the size and cost
of the devices shrink. Another concern is unfair advantage, said John
Blackburn, the organization's rules committee chairman. Some serious and
recreational runners play songs to calibrate their strides or to provide
feedback on their times. Lance Armstrong reportedly used an iPod and shoe
sensors to hear pace information in the New York City Marathon.
Music also can help runners' performance. A 2002 study by the U.S. Sports Academy showed that runners shaved their times by 5 percent to 9 percent when listening to
techno music, compared with silence. “If you're able to select the style of
music you listen to, it can give you an edge,” said Fred Cromartie, chairman of
university's sports management department and co-author of the study. “It can
make you do a little more than what you thought you could do.”
USATF officials acknowledge that the ban has been controversial, and members are set to re-evaluate it later this year at their annual meeting. As long as the
rule stays on the books, enforcement will be a challenge. In Motion Fit
coach Katie Johnson, who has trained about 500 runners for the Carlsbad
Marathon, estimates that at least half the group uses iPods.
“I'm not a proponent (of listening to iPods while running) because it's a safety issue,”
said Johnson, who has competed in five marathons and earned a degree in
kinesiology from UCLA. “If you have something in your ears, you aren't going to
hear people or cars that might run into you.” Kristen Fitzgerald, a
43-year-old Carlsbad homemaker, has worked out a compromise for tomorrow's
half-marathon. She plans to use only her left earbud. If her heels start
dragging, which sometimes happens at mile 10, she will put on her favorite
running song, Ace of Base's “Beautiful Life.”
“It just makes me happy and makes me want to sing,” Fitzgerald said. “And I will sing.” Softly enough, though, to hear runners trying to pass.

Marcia Manna covers North County community news, arts and entertainment for the Union-Tribune.

Let's face it. I run alone. It gets boring. Listening to my body is something that I can do with the headphones on.

This Week In New York Road Runner Club History:

January 20, 1985
In a snowstorm, Pedro Garcia wins the NYRR Frostbite 10-Mile in 54:38.

January 20, 2001
Alan Webb, an 18-year-old senior at South Lakes High School in Reston, VA,
runs the first-ever sub-4:00 indoor mile by a high school boy, clocking 3:59.86
at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory. NYRR’s Ian Brooks
announces the race, and NYRR president and CEO Allan Steinfeld and vice
president and COO Mary Wittenberg congratulate him at the finish line. (In 2007,
Webb became the American record-holder in the mile.)

2cup (8 fl oz)Coffee, brewed from grounds, prepared with tap water500090001
11 bagelThomas Mini Bagels - Strawberry14010022027164
21 bagelThomas Light Mini-Bagels 20010046044828
0.3cupMilk, nonfat, fluid, with added vitamin A (fat free or skim)25001314042
128g 1 oz Kraft® - Philadelphia Cream Cheese - Original10010130901012
11 tbspOlivio Butter Spread80820950000
2Serving - 20 GSMUCKER'S - JAM - STRAWBERRY 48 OZ PLASTIC JAR1000000260240
0.52 waffles 70g Eggo® - Buttermilk Waffles - frozen95411021014113
1cupGrapefruit juice, white, canned, unsweetened940002220221
0.51 Whole Breast`Whole Chicken Breast14231736400027
0.75cupRice, white, medium-grain, cooked181000040003
0.33cup, choppedPeppers, sweet, green, raw1000012110
31 serving/28 gCape Cod Reduced Fat Potato Chips390185033054306
2.512oz. bottleBeck's Premier Light Beer16000000000
2.5link 3 ozSausage, Italian, sweet, links31318763119740034
0.25cup choppedOnions, yellow, sauteed2920032000
1servingNABISCO, NABISCO RITZ Crackers7941012410011
12 oz 56g Russer® - Fat-Free Smoked Virginia Ham4800255503039
11 ConeSkinny Cow Low Fat Ice Cream Cone - Vanilla with Caramel15032485293194
Water Tracker

Boy, I really fell off the wagon today didn't I? I new this was going to happen. My goal for the weekend was not to lose, but not to gain either. On Friday, I weighed 160.4, then Saturday morning I went down a pound to 159.4. This morning I hit the scales at an even 159. Let's see if my overage on calories without exercise, has completely derailed me. I pray not.

In other news.....
The Giants win the NFC Championship. Let's Go Giants!

oh, and there is the matter about this check that I am owed for winning the bet from Florida.....Don't even think about doing double-or-nothing for the SuperBowl. The Pats are probably going to win it all anyway...Check Puhleeze!
It was a great game!

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