Running improvement


By Jack McDermott

I would like to thank everyone for giving me compliments for my rise to running respectability. I have even thought about changing the name of my column to “Middle of the Pack,” but I do not want to cause any confusion.

One thing that I have noticed is that when someone starts showing improvement, other runners flock to him or her like the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi in search of pearls of running wisdom. Up until now I have been tight-lipped, but I think the time has come to tell the truth. I can sum up the secret of my success into two words: Estrogen Supplements.

Estrogen Runnersworld did an article comparing male and female distance runners. For men and women who have equivalent 10-K times, the women average nine minutes faster in the marathon. Further research indicates that it is not the jock-strap that slows us men down, but rather women have estrogen that protects their muscles in long-distance races.

I used this tidbit of scientific knowledge and ordered some estrogen tablets over the Internet, and the rest is running history. Although my pectoral muscles have become a bit flabby, I have not grown breasts as some of you have predicted, but that is not to say that I have not experienced some side-effects. Since taking the pills, I have developed a bizarre urge to put the toilet seat down, and many people have commented that I do become quite irritable once a month. I have also started watching the Oprah Winfrey show.

Goals Now that I have been improving, it is a good time to re-examine my running goals. When I first started running, my goal was to finish the race before my ride left the parking lot. (I learned very quickly that if you are going to hitch a ride from another runner, be sure to find someone slower than you.) My next goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which I achieved, so now I have a much grander vision. My dream is to be able to run so fast that someone will ask me to take a drug-test. I would pee in the cup with a confident grin, and hand it to the race director and say, “Hey, buddy, there is more where that came from!”

Dieter Baumann Speaking of drug-tests, what ever happened to Dieter Baumann? You probably know that Baumann was the 5,000 meter gold medallist at the 1992 Olympics who later tested positive for a banned substance and suspended from international racing. What you may not know is that I am on the German Federation Athletic Committee, and it was my job to inform Dieter that he had failed his drug test. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The conversation went something like this:

“Now, Dieter, we have just received your drug-test results from our laboratories in Flegendorf, Germany, and I have some good news, and I have some bad news. The good news is that we did not find any illegal substances. The bad news is — it’s dog urine.”

“Dieter, it is our believe that you had your German Schnauzer, ‘Ludwig’ take the drug-test on your behalf. We were alerted to this possibility due to the high protein content of the urine, so we conducted additional testing. If this really is your urine you are going to have to explain to us why your runner’s diet consists of animal by-products (mostly Alpo), squirrel meat, liberal amounts of dirt, your own feces, and fleas.”

(What can I say — sensitivity is not my forte.) The good news is that I think he has retired from running, and founded the Dieter Baumann School of Pharmacology for Aging Runners.

The Awards I attended the Gulf Winds Award Banquet, and once again I was snubbed. I guess taunting runners at the 4-mile mark of the Bainbridge Sucker Run was not enough to give me the “Volunteer of the Year Award,” but at least they had free snacks.

Things are looking better for 2001 since I am now on the grand prix committee which historically has increased one’s odds of winning. However, I cannot let another year pass without giving my own awards. Let us call them the “Jack” awards. (I know it sounds stupid, but so do the “Oscars”). The 2000 winners for the Jack Awards are:

Most Likely to Hi-Jack a Beer Truck – Jeff Bryan Most Likely to Win the CBS Survivor Show in Antarctica – Dana Stetson Most Likely to be Deported – Dennis Silverman Most Likely to Join a Running Cult – Jay Silvanima Most Likely to Raid the Chenoweth Fund to Clone her Dog – Toma Wilkerson Most Likely to be Arrested at a Tent-Revival – Bruce Moore Most Lovable Runner – Bob Prentiss. Most Likely to Take a Hostage – Bob Prentiss

I leave you with one final thought. There is an old Irish saying, “May the Road Rise up to Meet You.” I never say that to people because the only time that has ever happened to me was when John Kalin took me on the Cadillac Trail and I was tasting dirt for the rest of the afternoon.