Monthly Archives: July 2008

Gym Fitness : Obama Working Out

Last week I read in the news that Barrack Obama made three separate stops to Chicago gyms over the course of one day. It seems the busy campaign schedule hasn’t killed his love for working out!


With these multiple gym visits, am wondering is Obama running for Mr. President or Mr. Universe?


My theory is that there is a possibility Obama is addicted to working out. A few months ago the New York York Times published a report about “runners high“. Scientist in Germany proved that when you are working out your brain releases chemicals that alter your mood. You feel good and high! This is the reason why some people claim to be addicted to exercise.


Another theory I have read is that Obama is using gyms to conduct V.P interviews?  And what do you think of this theory from comedian Jay Leno “Obama is working out because he needs to be fit to do those Flip-flops

Official Qualify Times For New York Marathon

To qualify for New York marathon a marathon runner must show proof of meeting the following qualifying times in certified races.

Open (Age 18-39)** Masters (Age 40+)**
Marathon Half-Marathon Marathon Half-Marathon
Men 2:55:00 1:23:00 3:10:00 1:30:00
Women 3:23:00 1:37:00 3:38:00 1:44:00
Veterans (Age 50+)** Veterans (Age 60+)**
Marathon Half-Marathon Marathon Half-Marathon
Men 3:30:00 1:40:00 3:45:00 1:48:00
Women 3:52:00 1:50:00 4:13:00 2:00:30
Veterans (Age 70+)**
Marathon Half-Marathon
Men 4:00:00 1:55:00
Women 4:35:00 2:11:00
* All times must be run at, or faster than, the posted time.
** Your age on the day of the qualifying race.

The New York marathon also guarantees entries for the following group of runners

  • Members of New York Road Runners, who completed at least nine NYRR-scored, qualifying races during the calendar year.
  • Those who have completed 15 or more New York City Marathons.
  • Those who have applied but been denied entry for the last three years in a row

If you don’t meet the above qualifying times don’t worry!

Runners who don’t meet any of the above criteria can also apply through the New York Marathon lottery. Because the number of applicants exceed the number of spaces available, a draw is held and the lucky runners notified.

For more information on when and how to apply visit New York Marathon website

Source of Information New York Marathon Website

Spanish Athletes and New Found Self Belief

The Tour de France ended on Sunday in a now familiar script in sporting events: A spanish athlete is the winner! In June and July, Spain national soccer team won the European Soccer Championship and Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon. On Sunday spanish cyclist Carlos Sastre won the Tour de France. And today morning I just read in the papers that a Spanish race walker, Francisco “Paquillo” Fernandez has set a world best mark for 10Km.  Every man and woman in Spain must be walking with an extra bounce!

In recent years, Spanish athletes have also won the Basketball world championship, two formula one championships, five motorcycling world titles and a handball world crown. It is surely a golden era for a country who had a reputation of being perennial underachievers.

How do you turn perennial underachievers to winners?

A good case study is the Spanish soccer team. Just before the 2008 European soccer I remember reading a BBC report about the prospect of spain, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague said “I don’t think Spain can win Euro 2008. A good tournament would be reaching the last four”

“We’re not favourites,” Luis Aragones, the team coach had said on more than one occasion. “Nobody should be deceived by Spain because in the major tournaments we haven’t done anything.”

When a team coach talks halfheartedly you know you have a big problem.

In the same BBC report, the players had a different mind set.

“We have the players to create history for Spain” Fernando Torres their top striker.

“We want to live up to the prestige and pride of a whole nation” Defender Carlos Marchena

While the rest of Spain was stuck in a mind set of self doubt, the spanish athletes have moved on. Today they no longer doubt their ability, they believe they are good. They don’t fear the opposition but face him wholeheartedly.

As we get closer to Beijing Summer Olympics, Hopes are high the recent success will inspire Spanish athletes to bring home a host of medals. Spain are hoping to get close to the record 22 medals they won when Barcelona hosted the games in 1992.

The officials and public can hope but for an athlete to win ; You have to compete 101% with your mind and heart.

Great Tibetan: The Spiritual Marathon of the World

Imagine a marathon where the start of the marathon will be blown on long Buddhist horns, instead of the traditional shot by a starting pistol, and all runners are blessed by Buddhist monks, who also serve as helpers along the way.

It is the Great Tibetan marathon, it takes place on the Tibetan Plateau in northern India – also known as little Tibet. I found it appropriate to call it the spiritual marathon.

It happens in an altitude of 3,500 meters. The high altitude makes the oxygen level extremely low and the marathon equally more physically challenging. The first finisher in the marathon was timed at 3hrs 30min.

On the official great tibetan marathon site they have this tag line “The run and the scenery will take your breath away”

If the photos I saw on the website are to be believed, the place is beautiful!

The marathon has distances for runners of different abilities : marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K.

Beijing Pollution: How it Slows Athletes Performance

How bad will the pollution in Beijing affect athletes?

I was out this morning doing my morning run when a big truck overtook me, the truck moved slowly and at the back the exhaust pipe released a dark smoke. The dirty smoke filled the air and breathing became difficult. The little dirty air that got inside my system made me feel like vomiting!

From my Beijing like moment my answer to the pollution question is “unbelievably bad!”

The worst gas pollutant in Beijing will be Carbon monoxide, which has been filled in the air by the over 3 million cars in Beijing city. Carbon monoxide (car exhaust) attaches to hemoglobin far better than oxygen and so it reduces hemoglobin which reduces oxygen transport. The slower oxygen transportation the slower the athlete. Beijing is dealing with the Carbon monoxide pollution by banning some cars to the capital.

According to a post I read on Coach dean blog, The US olympic team is being prepared for Beijing Summer Olympics by  going to a training center set up in Korea. It will have low pollution.

ESPN “outside the line” have a video documentary of how the pollution in Beijing will affect athletes performance. Click to Watch the Video

Benefits of Leg Stretching

You can learn alot by observing! One evening I was watching a TV interview of  Hicham El guerrouj, the Maroccan Middle distance runner when I saw him do the following leg stretch.

Picture courtesy of chinese holistic health exercise

This is my favourite leg stretching exercise. The benefit of this leg stretching exercise is that you stretch the arms, legs and the back at the same time.

Benefit of this leg stretch

1. Relieves leg pain and lower back pain

2. Reduces risk of injury

3. Opens important energy channels from your spine to your feet.

4. You get the benefit of working three muscles at the same time. Saving your precious time

One important thing to remember when stretching, “Stretch slowly, gently & smoothly”

Cooling Down : The First Step of Recovery Process

If you have ever tried stopping suddenly at the end of your run you must remember how painful it felt. Most experts advice runners not to stop suddenly at the end of a run but to continue jogging to allow the heart rate to come down gradually.

Cooling down is the term used to describe an easy, full-body exercise that will allow the body to gradually transition from an exertional state to a resting or near resting state.

Importance of Cooling down

  1. Allows the heart rate return to it’s resting rate
  2. Helps remove lactic acid
  3. Allows the runner to mentally transition to non-exercise state.

How to cool down

  1. Slow jog
  2. Stretching
  3. Keep walking around.
  4. Drinking water

After the stress of running, cooling down is the first step in recovery process.

Bekele, Tune Fight over Beijing Summer Olympic Slots

I was reading the morning paper when I read the entertaining story of Ethiopian’s, Bekele and Tune who were involved in a heated exchange as to who deserves a place in  Ethiopia Olympic squad.

The Bekele here is not the famous Kenenisa Bekele but  Bezunesh Bekele a female marathon runner. While Dire Tune was the female winner of this year’s Boston Marathon.

The two faced off in a physical confrontation before their early morning training session. No serious injuries were reported from the incident.

The athletes are both vying for the last selection place in Ethiopia’s marathon squad.

With a few weeks remaining to the start of Beijing Summer Olympics the Ethiopian Athletics  Federation is yet to decide between the two girls. With the clock ticking, the girls are getting anxious and am not surprised they lost their cool.

To Ethiopia  Athletics Federation, Shame On You!

Mt Cameroon Marathon : Going up Live Volcano

This marathon was brought to my attention by Kate, a runner from D.C. This marathon is as tough as the Everest Marathon. This marathon-length race traverses over 10,000 vertical feet up a live volcano, one of the tallest on the African continent. The racers, mostly local farmers, compete for the equivalent of four years’ salary, but to win they must overcome altitude sickness, temperature fluctuations of 50 degrees, and loose volcanic rock- many wearing only plastic sandals.

Meet Running Queen of the Mountain

This gruelling competition attracts competitors and spectators from around the globe. More than 500 runners battle it out to be the first to race to the summit of Mount Cameroon and back again. Since it began in 1973, the winners have all been from the host nation and the Cameroonians are unwilling to relinquish their title. The star of this endurance race is a woman called Sarah Etonge, who lives close to Mount Cameroon. She has been dubbed ‘the Queen of the Mountain’ as in recent years she has won the race four times in a row. She tries to run to the top at least once a week as part of her dedicated training programme. Her accomplishments and dedication is even more of an achievement as when she is not scaling the mountain she is a single mother to seven children.

Mt. Cameroon marathon is held in February.

To get a feel of Mt Cameroon marathon read the story of a runner who has dared race up,

New York Governor, David Paterson Finishes 15k Run

When Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught in a sex scandal, Runners world magazine posted a photo of the former governor dressed in New balance trainers, shorts and a T-shirt. The comments of the photo were the only positive reviews of Eliot at a time when Comedy writers were having a great time.

Gov. Spitzer responded just a few hours ago. He said, quote, ‘I violated my obligations to my family and I violated my sense of what is right and wrong.’ Spitzer also admitted violating someone named Amber.” –Conan O’Brien

Me to Syndrome

Sometimes politicians behave like kids, when their rival gets something they also want it.  Eliot’s replacement has also begun in his quest to have a picture of him posted on Runners world.

Last week New York Governor David Paterson finished the Utica Boilermaker Road Race in a little over 94 minutes. Although many governors have participated, Paterson is the first to finish the 15K run.


The governor, who is legally blind, said his biggest trouble was finding the time to train for the race after ascending to the state’s top job following Eliot Spitzer’s resignation in March.


An avid runner, Paterson ran the New York City Marathon in 1999 and finished in 6 hours and 6 minutes.


This year’s Boilermaker was won by Terefe Maregu of Ethiopia, finishing in 44 minutes and 17 seconds.