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The Penguin Archives

Category Archives: The Penguin Archives

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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The Next Step

By | 100 Days Challenge, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

May 1997 It happens to all of us I think. The moment comes when what was impossible is possible, the unthinkable thinkable, the undoable done.  Thinking back to those first struggling steps, to the time when a mile seemed like the farthest distance I could imagine running, I never would have guessed I could run a half marathon just for fun. But I did. Remembering how hard it was to run 15 miles a week, I never would have thought about running a 50 mile week. But I have. And I have stayed with my running. I have learned how…

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The Olympian Inside You

By | 100 Days Challenge, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives | One Comment

I’ve never competed in the Olympic Games. I’ve never even been to the Olympic Games. I’ve never competed in any event that had national or international significance. I probably am, as my Team in Training colleagues say, the most famous runner who has never won a race. I have led a few races. Once I was leading until about 100 yards from the finish line when I had to pull off. That’s because I was driving the lead vehicle.  That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. I have. It’s just…

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Shoe Suede Blues

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I’ve admitted this before in this column. But, I suppose if confession is good for the soul, repeating the confession can’t hurt. I’m crazy about running shoes. I like to look at them, read about them, try them on, and buy them. And I’d be more worried if I didn’t know so many runners who were the same way. Have you ever been with another runner when they opened the trunk of their car?? BUSTED. Old shoes, old socks and shorts. Maybe a towel and a t-shirt with sweat that’s 4 years old. But… shoes for sure. Dirty shoes. Worn…

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Time to Run – May 1996

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It isn’t often that a non-runner asks me about my training or running, but it does happen. Usually it is to comment on the overstated health benefits of running versus a sedentary lifestyle. Other times it is to subtly suggest that perhaps all this running isn’t exactly a sane adult pastime. Occasionally, though, someone will ask out of genuine curiosity or mild admiration. Eventually, the talk turns to miles run which leads to training which leads to time. As I explain that, for someone like me, a 30 mile running week in combination with some cross-training means a major commitment…

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Number One

By | The Penguin Archives | One Comment

The Penguin Chronicles :: March 1995 :: You may be a Penguin I can see the finish line, and I feel an emotional rush that transforms me from a mere mortal into a mythical creature with winged feet. Well, OK, maybe not winged feet. How about a mythical creature with webbed feet? Forget eagles and sparrows, it’s time to celebrate the power of penguins.  The runner as Penguin? No way!! Gazelles, Cheetahs, thoroughbreds. The metaphors for runners always seem to conjure up images of fleet footed creatures moving swiftly across the landscape barely casting a shadow. What those metaphors miss…

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