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The Penguin Archives

Category Archives: The Penguin Archives

The Popeye Syndrome

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People are always calling me names! I’ve been labeled a Baby Boomer, a Hippie, a Yuppie, Cool, Uncool, With it, and Clueless. I’m also, it turns out, a part of the Television Generation.  It’s true. I spent time every week with Roy and Dale, The Lone Ranger, Pancho and Cisco, and Sky King. I learned about truth, justice, and the American Way from Superman. A guy, who, by the way, ran around in a red and blue leotard wearing a cape. I thought families looked like Ozzie and Harriet and the Cleavers. Well, I thought other families did, because mine…

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Never Say Never, Again

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It’s not too late to be what you might have been One of the insidious diseases that strikes at middle age, and trust me at 54 I am solidly into middle age, is one’s memory fading. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition, I’m talking about the blurring of what was with what might have been with what really is.  It’s not so much that the older I get, the better I used to be, but that the older I get, the MORE I think I COULD have been. What I used to think of as merely broken dreams…

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A Year in the Life

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The Chronicles: December 1999 The late George Sheehan wrote that we are all an experiment of one. Considering how much experimenting I did in my 20’s and 30’s I must have agreed. I doubt, though, that what I was experimenting with would have please Dr. Sheehan. My running has been experimental, that’s for sure. Most of the time I’ve acted like a mad scientist mixing a potion in his basement laboratory. I tried new shoes, or a new training program, or a new diet and then stood back and hoped the results didn’t blow up in my face.   But…

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When to Say When

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It isn’t always easy being a runner. It isn’t always easy being the Penguin. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to be both and to be true to either. One of the canons of the Penguin philosophy is that running – all running – is joyful in its own right. It’s the act of running, being in the moment of the motion, that brings satisfaction. And it’s the process that matters most, not the outcome. But some runners wrongly think that this focus on participation rather than competition means that performance doesn’t matter. Folks who routinely finish races before I reach halfway…

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Running With Friends

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The “Penguin Chronicles” actually began in 1995 as a series of e-mails to a group called The Dead Runners Society. At that time the Internet was much smaller than it is now and most of the users were either academics or government workers. Marlene Cimons, a member of the DRS, sent several of the e-mail columns to the editors of “Runner’s World” and the rest is history. This column was one of the original e-mails, written in September 1995. Over the years, I’ve seen some really fast runners. I’ve actually known some pretty fast runners. And, I guess I’d say…

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Penguin Chronicle #1

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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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A Truly Remarkable Year

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No Need for Speed: December 2005 Everything I meant to tell you about Long-times readers of this column, especially those of you who have made the transition from “The Penguin Chronicles” to “The Chronicles” to “No Need for Speed” with me, already know that the December column is the annual wildcard. Eleven columns are year are for you. December is for me. This is because December has been the time of so many special events in my life. I was born in December, got my driver’s license, got drafted, got married, and celebrated a lifetime’s worth of holidays with friends…

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Relativity

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When my twin grandchildren were first born, my son and daughter-in-law worried that they would never get past the constant care and feeding of the babies, the lack of sleep, and just the general chaos. I told them that, from my experience as a parent, the days were long but the years were short.  I was reflecting on this as I started to close the books on 2006. This is the end of my 15th year as a runner. 15 years! I can remember when I first started running I would hear people talk about running for 10 or 15…

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Giving and Getting

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The Penguin Chronicles :: December 1995 :: Giving and Getting December has always been a strange time of year for me. In addition to the holidays, my birthday is in December and so this month has become a watershed in my year and in my life. This was the month that society granted me important permissions. In December I became old enough to drive, old enough to get married, old enough to vote, and old enough to drink. I also got my induction notice in December. As a child, though, December could be summed up with one word: toys. Toys!…

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Frankly Speaking

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For  years I  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 that, he…

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