Adventures In Running


NYC, a Storm Named Sandy and a Marathon

Written By: The Hornet - Nov• 02•12

By now you have all heard the numerous controversies surrounding the storm ravaged city and the NYC Marathon.  If I may, I would like to examine the arguments posed by critics and have a logical discussion omitting all of the hysteria and hyperbole.  At the conclusion please post your comments and vote in the following poll.

First, runner safety.  Most of the New York City residents are calling for the marathon to be cancelled, which had led to rumors of widespread anger directed toward many of the participants.  There are people calling for spectators to block the course and hold protest signs while booing.  Let’s take a step back and look at the situation without involving Freudian displacement issues.  Is the fact that the race going forward the fault of the runners?  No, it is not.  Should they cancel their trip that many have planned for quite some time?  Once again, no.  So why must they be the targets of unruly city dwellers who are clearly thinking with emotion alone?

Currently the NYC death toll from Hurricane Sandy stands at 40 but is expected to rise.  Some people have lost their family members and homes, while millions are still without electricity.  It is going to require an enormous amount of money to repair and rebuild after this storm.  Taking that into account, I have to ask you, is it not a good idea to proceed with the marathon?  This race (the largest marathon in the world) typically brings $340 million to the city that is clearly, desperately needed.  It does not make sense to eliminate an event that helps local businesses thrive after the crushing blow dealt by Sandy combined with a stagnant economy.  Many residents, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, want to postpone the marathon. “The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day.” said Stringer.  This is probably even more ludicrous than cancelling all together.  There is simply no way that tens of thousands of athletes coming from all over the country and the world can reschedule effectively enough for the race to be a success. 

Others have voiced concerns over “first responders” being stretched thin to cover the event.  Mayor Bloomberg has assured everyone that this will not be the case, but only time will tell.  The storm that wreaked havoc on Monday and Tuesday demanded all of New York City’s resources.  While this storm was not on the same scale as Katrina, it did manage to cause massive devastation to the northeast.  Three days after the storms departure, police and fire are still scrambling but the bulk of the life and death emergency operations are over.  Still, there are many reports of looting in the hardest hit areas.  Police and security forces will be greatly needed to prevent the plunderous parasites that inhabit all major cities from stealing business blind during the event.

Apparently there are reports of most, but not all, hotels kicking out victims of the storm to accommodate the arriving athletes.  Let’s try not to be emotional and employ some logic here.  Runners made their reservations far in advance of this storm and a hotel is a business that must honor the commitments it made.  While my heart goes out to the people that cannot return to their homes, I offer this as a suggestion:  Why can’t the city relocate the victims residing in hotels to accommodations that would be cheaper outside city limits for a couple days?  Runners would get what they paid for and storm refugees would be moved to a setting with some much needed normalcy.  The bottom line is that you MUST get this revenue into New York City to help with the cost of long term aid and reconstruction.  I want to assist the people affected by the storm as much as anyone else, but please don’t lose sight of the big picture.  If the money does not start flowing from events like this, it will never get there.  Soon the reporters will be covering another story, people around the country will go back to their everyday responsibilities and no one will think twice about the people displaced by the storm.  Everyone with a mouth will have had their righteous rants over the next couple days, shouting about how it’s “immoral” to carry on with the marathon, but will soon forget about the New York City residents and their continuing needs. 

While making the decision to let the race go on as planned is a controversial one, I happen to agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Probably for the first time ever).  Not because I am a runner but because I am an American.  When did we walk away from the American spirit of continuing with life as “normal” while still dealing effectively with a crisis?  Letting this race go forward will show America’s resilience to the rest of the world as we always have in times of disaster.  Are we still the great nation we once were or would we rather wallow in depression after such a catastrophe?


“Keep” On – Running

Written By: The Hornet - Oct• 24•12

Before we get started, I would like to inform everyone that we have randomly chosen a winner in the Core Power Protein Giveaway Contest.  Congratulations, to Pauline from Maine who selected chocolate as her flavor!  A fine choice.

Not too long ago I was extended the opportunity to test and review a very unique style of running shoe.  Those of you that read my articles on a regular basis know that I am not one to hold my tongue when I have something to say, regardless of consequences.  What’s more, I am also one of the most resolute skeptics you will ever meet.  Tell me the sky is blue and I will ask you to provide credible sources to backup your claim.  With this as my standard, I accepted the chance to test the On Cloudrunner.

Beginning with a headquarters based in Switzerland, this running shoe upstart has managed to make a global splash in the athletic community.  They boast a rather lengthy and impressive list of athletes from around the world who endorse their shoes.  This has never swayed my opinion of a product in the past but it is a promising sign.

As runners, we are all aware that many of us suffer from pain and injuries due to the force exerted upon our legs during forward motion. In an effort to resolve this, an engineer set forth with the goal to keep the benefits of modern running shoes that minimize downward force and add new technology (CloudTec) to reduce the shock of forward movement.  From this concept, On-Running was born.

When the pair of Cloudrunners arrived at my door, I eagerly opened the package to find a very distinctive looking running shoe encased in one of the nicest shoe boxes I had ever seen.  It was adorn with clouds and attached to the inside was an almost credit card quality registration card.  This is when I became suspicious.  “Why would you put your product in such an elaborate box if the product can stand on its own?”  I thought, being the eternal pessimist.  Putting my reasoning aside for a moment, I slipped on both shoes and stood up.  It was a very strange feeling, to say the least, and my first inclination was to take a trot up the road for a short distance.  The noticeable characteristic of the Cloudrunner was a greater “springiness” than other running shoes, yet they seemed to stick to the pavement when planting your foot, as if there were tiny suction cups attached to the soles.  I returned to the house with a grin imagining the possibilities if these shoes could hold up beyond my first impression.

After some varying distance runs in the Cloudrunners I determined my first assessment was correct.  They provide complete control that most runners are unaware they are lacking in other running shoes.  With the increased traction I was able to focus more of my energy in moving forward faster.  It is a very different running experience initially and takes a little getting used to, but well worth the short learning curve.  The best analogy I can think of to describe it would be to say that if your old shoes were the equivalent of the NASA space shuttle, you have now laced up something that can take you beyond light speed. So much for the theory of relativity.  But I digress….

Click To Enlarge

I do not fall for gimmicks and have repeatedly criticized scams that go on every season with regard to running shoes.  I must say that when I pulled the Cloudrunners from the box I was positive it was all glitz, but (wait for it….) I was wrong.  In the soles of these shoes are tiny rubber “gear teeth” that lock together when pushing off, providing greater traction on pavement and trail.  How do I know they also work on trail?  I decided to lace them up for the Harvest Trail 5K that turned out to be very wet and very slippery.  Hazardous conditions indeed, when combined with hairpin turns and forest debris hidden under a blanket of leaves.  So dangerous was it, that one runner DNF’d with a broken ankle.  The gun sounded and I darted forward to fall into approximately 20th position overall.  I ran cautiously until realizing these shoes were sticking to the trails as well as they did on the pavement.  With this ability in my arsenal of running tricks I cut every turn tight and fast which allowed me to continually gain ground on the leaders and pick off runners one by one.  By race end, I finished 7th overall and 1st in my division.  This was acceptable, considering my first mile was run very conservatively.  

Cloudrunners and 1st Place Medal

These shoes are outstanding for all distances and a variety of terrain.  All runners should keep an eye on this company or better yet, try “On” a pair of their shoes.  Most of you will have to go to a participating running store to try them but I will offer this to my local friends:  If you know me and have a size 10 1/2 foot, I would be glad to let you take them for a spin.  It is nearly impossible for me to convey how great these shoes really are.  It’s much easier for you to experience them for yourself.  My only regret is that they did not send the Cloudracer speed shoes for review because I could tear up the 5K’s if they are anything like the Cloudrunners.  This company should consider changing its name from “On” to “Keep-On”.  Keep-On Running, that is.  Thumbs up!

Run for fun but race to place everyone!