All Posts By

John Bingham

All posts by John Bingham

The Inner Penguin

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

I’m a 90’s guy. Or at least I was. That all seems so… “20th Century” now. I’m not ready to call myself a “zero” guy, but I’ll bet there are others that might. I’m in touch with my feminine side, I know all about male bounding, and I am way too in touch with my inner child.  But, I am just beginning to learn how to be in touch with my inner Penguin. I didn’t even know that there WAS an inner penguin at first. I thought that being a penguin was about being satisfied with what I had, about…

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Running Ugly

By | The Penguin Archives | One Comment

We all have them. Runs when what we want and what we get are so different that we can’t hold it together. Runs when nothing goes right, nothing feels good, and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. I should have known not to expect too much from this one. I hadn’t been able to run on the weekend, so this was a mid-day, mid-week, 12-mile, solo make-up run. To make things worse, it was two loops, never the best solution for me. What made it so ugly? It wasn’t the course. I was running my favorite path…

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Are We There Yet?

By | The Penguin Archives | One Comment

I’ve always like traveling by car. And, I’ve always subjected my family to my terminal wanderlust. On many an occasion my then young son would moan from the back seat, “Are we there yet” My response was always. “Yep… we’re here”. He would sit up eagerly, and look out the window. Then, with a voice filled with disappointment he would say, “Aw Pop, this isn’t where we’re going” to which I would reply “But this is where we are” He was not a happy traveler. Whenever I started a journey of fitness and better health, including the “diet de jour”,…

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Great Expectations

By | The Penguin Archives | No Comments

October 1996 As I have met and corresponded with new runners, I’ve become convinced that the leading cause of running dropouts is not injury, time constraints, families, or jobs. I believe the reason most folks give up running is because their expectations are completely out of line with reality. Starting a running program is easy. Almost anyone can do it. You don’t need any special skills or talent. All you need is a pair of shoes and a place to run. This simplicity is one of running’s major attractions. The physical benefits are well documented. Even neglected bodies like mine…

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Of Penguins and Prefontaine

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Steve Prefontaine, arguably the heart, soul, and spirit of American distance running is quoted as saying, “To give less than your best is to disrespect the gift” On the surface, that wouldn’t seem like a penguin point of view. But it is. And at Hayward Field,  on the very track that “Pre” established his dominance over his opponents and his demons, I saw that spirit overcome some of the least suspecting runners. We had come to the university of Oregon for the first annual Penguin Invitational Track meet. I figured, if we’re going to have a track meet, why not…

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Unintended Consequences

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Unintended consequences can be roughly grouped into three types: * A positive, unexpected benefit  * A negative, unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect   * A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when a solution makes a problem worse) It may be hard to believe but getting active – running, walking, bicycling – was filled with unintended consequences for me. And, to be honest, there were positive, negative, and even some perverse effects of starting to live a healthy, active lifestyle. As I’ve written, for me there wasn’t some blinding epiphany. I didn’t have a heart…

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Opening Day

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If you live where there are 4 real seasons then you already know that there are 4 absolutely must run days of the year. These are the cut school, skip work, and get a sitter for the kids runs. It’s the run in the cool, gentle rain in the summer, the crisp fall morning, the first winter snow. And if you live in Chicago where winter starts before Halloween, the best of those days is the first day in spring when you get to run in shorts. It’s opening day. As a boy, a group of us cut school and…

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Par for the Course

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

Maybe it’s time to take a lesson from another sport. I played golf once in my life. It was supposed to be a father-son-brother bonding experience.  I didn’t really like it, although a shot a 97. It’s important to know that I shot that 97 on a par 3, 9-hole course. I managed to lose the golf balls I had been given, and those of my father and brother. Eventually, we had to quit because we only had 2 golf balls left! Since then I’ve watched people play golf with a mix of admiration and apathy. There’s no question that…

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Wrong Side of the Tracks

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

I’m not a rookie. I’ve run 45 marathons. I’m familiar with most of the marathon training programs and I’ve read dozens of articles on workouts, building mileage, tapering and race strategy. But no one has EVER mentioned what to do if you’re stopped by a train during a marathon. It was as pretty a day for a marathon as you can imagine in Portland, Oregon—crisp air, blue skies, plenty of sunshine. I was leading a group of runners who wanted to finish the race between 5 hours and anytime on Sunday. We were having more fun than anyone should have…

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A Body In Motion

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

For nearly 10 years I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many of the top runners of this and past generations. The one interview that is guaranteed to be filled with surprises, thoughtful nuance and outrageous proclamations is Olympic Gold Medalist Frank Shorter. Typically I’ll ask Frank what’s on him mind and 45 minutes later we stop. Recently I asked Frank how it was that he maintained his enthusiasm for running for so many years. His reply was that he simply loved to run. Training and racing weren’t things he had to do but things he wanted to do. More than…

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