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Friday, January 7, 2011

Red Bandana: Things A Runner Can Do While Sick

Read this week's column: Resolutely Speaking: Fighting for Fitness in 2011

I have the flu.

Since Christmas, I have been sleeping around 13-14 hours a day. I am well accustomed to the various shadows that appear on my ceiling. I can now distinguish which neighbor is leaving by the sound of their car. Also, I now have researched all 421 ways of shuffling a pillow to make it more comfortable.

I have not run. I have not walked. I did drink some Gatorade. My physician told me it was a good idea. Those of us with the flu sweat a lot, and drinks like Gatorade can help replenish necessary fluids and electrolytes.

What can you do if the flu hits you this season? Besides rereading through the amazing library of "Red Bandana" articles, there are some good, creative choices in movies and books.


"Spirit of the Marathon"
Filmmaker John Dunham follows six very different, average runners as they train for the Chicago Marathon. Filled with interviews, some documentary-style info about the marathon, and appearances by legendary runners such as Dick Beardsley, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, Toshihiko Seko and Grete Waitz.

"Prefontaine" or "Without Limits"
Two biopics about legendary runner Steve "Pre" Prefontaine who died in a tragic car accident at the height of his career. He ran for Coach Bill Bowerman at University of Oregon, and in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Very inspiring.


"The Competitive Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Guide to Running 5Ks through Marathons" (Bob Glover)
Glover gives hard-core, nuts and bolts info for all levels of fitness. Solid how-to, without the fluff of running psychobabble.

"Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide" (Hal Higdon)
Lots of training tips and anecdotes from runners Higdon has trained, mostly in the Chicago area. Great for the first-time marathoner.

"The Quotable Runner: Great Moments of Wisdom, Inspiration, Wrongheadedness, and Humor" (Mark Will-Weber)
Quoted here are great runners and writers about running, from Shakespeare to high school mile record holder, Alan Webb. Distance star Rob de Castella on marathoning, "If you feel bad after 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal." Finland's great Olympic marathoner, Lasse Viren enthusiastically revealed his secret to racing success, "Reindeer milk!" Whatever might be dubious about Viren's claim is difficult to argue. Viren won four gold medals. Oprah Winfrey is there more than once, including, "I'm never going to run another marathon."

"Galloway's Book on Running" (Jeff Galloway)
This has become a running classic, providing the basics about running, training, and racing for years. Galloway does not presume the runner is a casual "New Year's Resolution" jogger who will likely quit in a month. Instead, he looks to build a foundation of sensible workouts, leading to genuine fitness, endurance and speed.

"Once a Runner: A Novel" (John L. Parker)
Very popular among runners as one of the few novels with running as a focus. It looks at the ego of the self-consumed runner, what it means to be a competitive runner devoted to a single-minded pursuit of excellence.

"Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" (Alan Sillitoe)
Maybe you read this short-story in high school, about the same time as you read "Catcher in the Rye." A sharp, lean book -- it is a tale of rebellion, courage, and independence. When Colin Smith is tossed into a prison school for delinquent youths, he finds long distance running allows him a kind of emotional escape. It turns out he is very fast, and officials put him up against a prestigious public school. If he wins, there is PR for the prison and early release for Colin. That's not how it goes, but I'll let you find out what happens.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Let's Get This Party Started" Pink (2001)
New Year's is here. Parties, parties, parties. You will hear this wedding reception classic at least once this season. More importantly, think of it as a command to get back into gear for running. Restart your goals, and refocus on getting fit for spring. Get it on your iPod and get going.

"Get this party started on a Saturday night
Everybody's waiting for me to arrive
Sending out the message to all of my friends."

Freelance writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. I look to running as I battle midlife and my mid-section. See or e-mail me at

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