Friday, October 4, 2013

Joe Salter Sets Backwards Marathon Joggling Record

Joe Salter, the man who introduced the world to triathlon juggling, is back at it again. This time, Salter ran a marathon backwards while joggling. Check out his video from the Quad Cities Marathon, which Salter completed in 5:51 with two drops, the same number as my forwards marathon joggling record.

Thanks to Salter, I guess I now need to start specifying the forward part when I tell people about my record. And Wilson Kipsang also needs to be clear that he holds the world record for the fastest non-joggling, forward-running marathon.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Soon-to-be Guinness World Record for Joggling 800m

Success! Sort of.

I ran. I juggled. I didn't drop. I set what will likely be a new Guinness World Record for the fastest joggling 800m (pending verification) with a time of 2:15.61, but fell short of the overall best recorded time of 2:13.24.

It's important to stick your tongue out when joggling at high speed. Photo: Doug Smith.

Ontario Masters Athletics organized a special joggling exhibition race for me at the Relay Ruckus this past weekend at York University in Toronto. Since there were no other jogglers around and I had no pacer this time, I ran the race solo.

Under near-perfect conditions, I took off at a solid pace with a 64.5-second first lap – right on target. I was hoping to hold on for a 66- or 67-second second lap, but things started to fall apart with about 200 to go. At this point in an 800m race, you really need to dig deep and go for it with everything your body has to give, but when you add juggling into the mix, this becomes absurdly difficult.

The last time I attempted this record indoors, I dropped with 100 to go, and now that I've tried this a second time, I know why: the full-body fatigue messes with your motor skills. Juggling three balls is really easy standing still, but at this point I had to concentrate on every toss and catch as if I were just learning how to juggle.

I slowed down, but didn't drop, and crossed the line in 2:15.61. Now to send off my documentation to the good folks at Guinness.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Guinness World Record Attempt for Fastest Joggling 800m

Let's try this again, shall we?

On August 25, I'm going after the Guinness World Record for the fastest 800m while joggling. The unofficial record for the distance is 2:13.24, but Guinness tells me that there is no official mark logged with them. This means I basically just have to finish the thing, sort out my paperwork and video evidence, and I'll be guaranteed the record. Not a bad deal.

When I tried to break 2:13 earlier this year indoors. I dropped the ball near the end and never bothered to log my time as a record. The thing about drops is the more you think about them, the more likely you are to drop. So I'm not going to think about it.

What: Guinness World Record attempt for the fastest joggling 800m
Where: Toronto Track and Field Centre, York University, Toronto
When: Aug. 25, 12 p.m.
Open to public: Yes
Admission: Free
Kicking of joggler's balls: Not permitted

Friday, April 19, 2013

The True Champions of the Boston Marathon

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The final stretch of the Boston Marathon leads to one of the most iconic finish lines in sport. Almost 26 miles into the 26.2-mile race, you make a final left-hand turn off Hereford Street and onto Boylston, and there in the distance, you can see the blue arches of the bridge that’s mounted above the blue and yellow finish line painted on the road.
I’ve run the Boston Marathon five times and this last quarter-mile always brings me to tears. Runners are often an emotional wreck this far into a marathon, but there's something magical about Boston, with its 117-year history, that brings out a powerful sense of being a part of something big.
When you cruise down that last straightaway, you can’t help but feel an incredible bond with the spectators who line the street on either side 10 or 15 people deep. Their cheering, clapping and high-fiving propels you through those final torturous strides toward your goal.
The two explosions that struck near the finish line at the 4 hour and 9 minute mark of Monday’s race hit densely packed areas of crowds – probably some of the same people who cheered me on the last time I ran Boston in 2011. And the thing about spectators in Boston is that they’re not just there to cheer on friends and family. This race has enough of a tradition that it brings out families, college kids, construction workers and just about anyone, to cheer on some 24,000 runners they’ve never met.
You might think it would be boring to stand on the street for hours watching people drag their tired selves through the end of a race, especially hours after the winners have come through, when the throngs of recreational runners come pouring in. But Boston Marathon spectators know better. They see the looks of determination on our faces. They know how hard we’ve worked to get to this point. They care.
If you’ve ever set your mind to train for any kind of athletic endeavor, you know how much it means to have other people recognize that commitment, and the marathon offers a unique experience to have thousands of people cheer you on as if you were a pro sports star. With 500,000 spectators along the point-to-point course, the Boston Marathon is the Super Bowl of amateur athletics, and as a runner the cheering crowds make you feel like you just caught the game-winning Hail Mary pass.
My best memories of approaching the Boston finish line are seeing the looks of excitement on the faces of all the little kids that I high-fived. It’s incomprehensible that one of those boys was killed. Some of the runners were injured in the blasts, but it was the spectators who suffered the brunt of the damage. They are the real heroes of the race. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Joggling 800m: I Really Dropped the Ball On This One

I learned a couple of valuable lessons in my 800m joggling world record attempt on Saturday:
1) Don't slow down on the second lap.
2) Don't drop the ball with 50m to go.

Pacer extraordinaire Jay Brecher – who runs a sub-2 800m – agreed to go out at a 32 first lap and 65 for 400m, but I lagged behind a little too much and hit the 400 in 66 or so. The third lap felt pretty good but I was still a couple of seconds behind schedule at 1:40. The good news was that my legs and cardio felt relatively fresh heading into the final 200, and I still thought I had a good shot at a 2:13, with a 33-second last lap.

Down the backstretch, I made a solid move, and started to gain on Jay, who was still running on a 2:12 pace. Coming around the final bend, I put the hammer down, but my leg turnover suddenly fell out of synch with my juggling and one of my tosses went too high. I tried to regain the pattern, but moving at a 4-minute-mile pace, this proved impossible and I dropped.

By the time I scrambled around to pick up the ball and start up again, I lost about four or five seconds. Looking at the clock as I finished, I dropped again just as I was crossing the line, which I also did in my joggling marathon record, but in that case I had a couple of minutes to spare. In the 800, every second – and every catch – counts.

I'll try again in an outdoor race, and maybe even take a crack at the mile record of 4:42.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here Goes: 800m Joggling Record Attempt March 16

Mark your calendars, joggling fans (all five of you)! The stage is set for my attempt to smash the 800m joggling world record of 2:13.24, set by Eric Walter at the 2011 IJA Joggling Championships in Rochester, NY. I'll be chasing this record this Saturday, March 16, in a special exhibition event at the Canadian Masters Athletics Indoor Track & Field Championships at York University in Toronto.

My University of Toronto Masters Track Club teammate Jay Brecher is going to rabbit the race with a goal of hitting 2:12. This will be a chance of pace from the marathon. And if I drop a ball, I'm pretty much toast.

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Goal: 800m Joggling World Record

It will be mine! Oh yes, it will be mine!

I've been training at the 800m with the University of Toronto Masters Track Club and have decided to make a go at the 800m joggling world record, which stands at 2:13.24. That's a brisk pace for sure, but should be within reach based the 200m time trial I did in 31.8 seconds indoors.

Now I'm wondering if I could make a run at the mile record of 4:43. Hmm, that's a tough one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Joggling Makes "Unusual World Championships" List

Joggling made the list of "Unusual World Championships" in Mishpacha Magazine (the "#1 Jewish family magazine" – is there more than one?). There I am at the bottom looking very serious wearing a GoPro camera on my head as I joggle the Chilly Half-Marathon in Burlington, Ontario. Thanks to photographer Peter Hein for sending along the image.

Seeing this photo reminds me that I'd like to get some better POV joggling footage. The angle of the head-cam for that one was a bit too high, so you couldn't really see my hands, just the beanbags popping up into the frame. Next time I'll tilt it down to get the full effect. 

I switched up my training recently to specialize in 800m track racing. I haven't tried joggling this event yet, but last time I checked the 800m joggling world record was 2:14. A very tough record, but within the realm of possibility. Maybe I'll give it a shot ... with a GoPro.