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Saturday, January 16, 2010

John "The Penguin" Bingham


I found John "The Penguin" Bingham on Facebook. He writes a colum for Runner's World. Below is a slightly edited version of what I wrote him:

John, I'm a fan.

New/not new runner here. 43, used to run in HS. Ran here and there in until I was 40, decided to get somewhat serious and began the slow crawl to fitness. Was 107 lbs in the 1980s, but at 40, weighed 145 or so. Hardly the 240 you weighed, but none of my 38 new lbs were muscle.

In HS, I was obsessive. In a good way, it helped me keep my grades up (I was a struggling student), but on the downside, I made it far more than it should be. Burned out along the way.

Ran into Olympian Jim Spivey, meeting him through a friend, just as I decided to run again, found out he has a weekly running club here in Wheaton, IL, and showed up one evening. That day's workout was 3x3x400s. I couldn't last halfway, and he pulled me out. Not only was I exhausted, but the meager zip I had in HS was no longer around. My 400s were 30 seconds slower. What was up with that?

I had the audacity to declare that I wanted to run a 20:00 5K. How hard could that be? After all, even well into college, I ran local 5Ks in semi-shape in the 17s. How hard? Very hard. I haven't yet. Squeezed out a 21:35, then ran aground of scheduling, and lost focus. Now, back at it, hoping to have a solid base for a change, run a half, then whole marathon, and find out if, at 43, that sub-20 5K is elusive, or achievable.

All that to say is, your articles are part of that experience. They keep me smiling, but also, I know you've fought through weight loss in your 40s and notched more than a few races. You tell you story well, and it helps.
Runner's World (1-year)

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