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The Penguin Archives

Category Archives: The Penguin Archives

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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Running Home

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Originally published online and in Runner’s World Magazine There are many advantages to starting to run later in life. Among them is the ability to use running as a means to rediscover memories long forgotten. For me, running is the key that has unlocked the most foreboding doors in the cellar of my psyche. Having had a life before running means there are many people and places which exist for the pre-running me. As that pre-runner recedes into my past, I’ve found I need a guide to take me from the person I was to the person I am becoming….

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Band on the Run

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Marching to the beat of a different drummer Most people’s lives don’t move forward in a straight line. I know mine has had the usual zigs and zags, ups and downs, even an occasional U-turn. But recently my life circled back, in a way I never anticipated. From 1971 to1976, I was a member of the U.S. Army’s premier musical organization—TUSAB, THE U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own). Those were the days of the draft and the Vietnam War. The military was the last place most of the band members wanted to be. It was an unusual time for us and…

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When to Say When

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Okay, it was the right thing to do. So why does it hurt so much? 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…

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If I Can Make it There…

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A few things that New York City Marathon runners – and spectators – can teach the world. One of the biggest thrills of my former life as a trombonist was working with Frank Sinatra. And one of the biggest thrills of working with Sinatra was performing “New York, New York” – it just doesn’t get any better than that. So standing with more than 35,000 runners on the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge at the start of last year’s ING New York City Marathon and listening to Frank blasting through the speakers made me more than a little emotional. It is, after…

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