Posts Tagged ‘nyc’

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With more than 330 disabled athletes  – in 150 wheelchairs, the TCS NYC Marathon has the largest fields of athletes with disabilities of any race in the world.  As part of our partnership with Runners World for this year’s marathon Amy Freeze caught up a New Yorker who has done more than 30 marathons on two wheels.

With arms that barely function and legs of diminished strength, Bill Reilly must use steady kicks in small motions to move his chair. What seems like a method against the odds – is actually the inspiration of an endurance athlete.

He’s become so familiar racing through the boroughs, the crowd gave him a nick name explains his guide Harold Chayefsky. “He’s famous on the course. They approve and they scream and they know him on the course after 25 years or so.”

“Backwards Bill,” is the nickname of Bill Reilly who has Cerbal Palsey yet claims nothing – not even training for 26.2 miles – to be difficult. He takes a trip in 1.5 hours to get weekly workout in every Saturday  with his team.

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He meets up with his Achilles Team Guides – and they simulate the steering and breaking they will do on race day – where downhills can take them to a 7 minute pace amongst their 10 minute pace.  On the course when runners are shoulder to shoulder on the course,  “First ave is tricky and in harlem some of the hills are tricky and 59th street brigdge…” Harold explains.

His never give up and never give in attitude comes from his family –

“Started with his mom – his mom they wanted to put him away – his mother said no he’s my son and I’m going to make him grow and productive.”  It’s the same  message Bill hopes others get from seeing him on race day.

Bill says, “Disabled people you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it!”

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NBA Basketball Pro Amare Stoudemire is not the only athlete in his family –  his wife and mother of their 4 children is taking on the TCS NYC Marathon this year.  Amy Freeze joined his her for a run in Central Park to hear about her training.

Athletics is nothing new for their family but – now the spotlight is on Alexis Stoudemire  – who is literally turning in to a  a marathoning mom! I have four children ages 9 8 6 and 16 months… I take the kids to school and then I’m running literally running after wards,” says Alexis.

Her training includes weekend training runs including all the ins and outs of marathoning from chaffing to goos. It’s a brand new sport mixed in with her duties as a supportive wife and doting mother – she’s pounding the pavement to help others!

 “My gf amber sabith whos husband plays for the ny Yankees signed me up!” Alexis said.  To run for charity!  What started as a way to raise money for the Sabitha’s inner city youth charity became a Bucket list item! http://www.pitcch.org/

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Alexis was an athlete growing up – but that was before babies and being and adult life took over! Now, she admits training is tough! “Its one of the hardest things ive ever done the discipline waking up and setting a schedule – figuring out when I can run.”

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After years on the sidelines encouraging Amare – she says her husband has become her biggest cheerleader – Watching over the kids while she does long runs on Sundays – and of course he gives her recovery tips!  “He knows how to recover rest and taught me to ice espon massage eat correctly have to recover –enough rest!”  And it’s all paying off!

Alexis said “I feel good about myself and I feel lean and healthy!!  It’s something that i’ve noever done before so that is the joy I’m getting out of it!

Goodluck – see you at the startline Alexis AMY FREEZE & TEAM ABC7

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Bionic Man

Posted: October 29, 2014 in PERSONAL, Running
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CLICK HERE TO SEE THE STORY 7online CLICK HERE

Amy Freeze with Marathoner Fred Volpacchio

Amy Freeze with Marathoner Fred Volpacchio

Natvie New Yorker Fred Volpacchio was concerned he would never be the same. the 55 year old had run 28 marathons when a high speed bike crash in Central Park took him off course.  Fred says, “I swerved to avoid a biker and I crashed.”  His wife got him trauma care at the Hospital for Special Surgery with Dr. David Helfet. “He fell off his bicycle – broke his pelvis and ball of the hip joint went into the pelvis… well, after this your lucky if you could walk without a limp,” Helfet says. 

Remarkably, Helfet performed a surgery that would put all the pieces back together using metal plates and screws. The process would allow the hip to heal instead of a total hip replacement.

Fred had not missed at new York marathon since 1995 and he still hasn’t!! Ironically his surgery was the year of Superstorm Sandy’s cancellation – now rebuilt, he’s become somewhat of a bionic man! “I’m actually in better shape now than I was before the injury.”

Dr. Helfet says “We are focused on an accident not being the end – get you back in the game back to what you were doing before…

Doc Helfet explains trauma care can make people whole again but he credits Fred’s pre injury active lifestyle and his marathon mindset to securing his full recovery. “For a guy like fred many marathons he had made up his mind mentally to get back to marathoning, back to doing that.” Fred ran new York last year and he’s looking for a 3:40 PR this race visualizing the last turn from Central Park South! Fred says, “tasting the finish and seeing it in front of you that little extra bit to spring and cross that TCS NYC Marathon finish line  is thrilling!”

See you at the finish FRED!

-Amy Freeze

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GO DAD!

GO DAD! Fred’s Wife and Daughter will be cheering him on on race day!

GO TO www.weatherplaybook.com

Making the Call: 2014 Super Game Forecast
by Meteorologist Amy Freeze

First Ever Cold Weather Big Game takes place in East Rutherford, NJ at Metlife Stadium

10 Day Outlook for Feb. 2, 2014
Forecast
High 37
Low 24
Winds NW 10-20mph
No Snow
Sunrise 7:05 am
Sunset 5:15 pm

How Weather Affects Football

I spent four seasons working with the Chicago Bears forecasting weather conditions for Soldier Field. Understanding weather changes prior to kickoff and during the game can definitely create a secret weapon on certain occasions. All opponents have to play in the same elements, but that’s not the bottom line. How athletes and even a coach approach extreme conditions in competition can make all the difference. Weather can often become a field advantage if you know what to look for and are ready to adapt. Before the game even begins, knowing the wind direction, speed and wind patterns in the stadium can help the coaches make their decision for the coin toss on which direction they want the game to begin. Knowing game time temperature and temperature changes during the game can help the home team pick a lighter jersey color in hot weather conditions allowing for cooler core body temperatures. Understanding the turf and how it might respond to incoming rain, impending freezing temperatures, etc allows equipment managers to adjust cleats and prepare for halftime adjustments. Wind direction and speed can help punters and kickers decide on angles, and understanding the wind may even affect a coach’s game strategy.

How Temperature Affects the Football

The temperature can affect how far the ball will travel, how easy it is to catch, even the impact of a punters kick. It has to do with physics.

Temperature can affect the ball in a few ways. There are a few variables to consider when looking at how a ball will be impacted in cold weather. The temperature can change the air pressure inside the ball which can make the ball seem over inflated effect if it was warmed, or and under inflated effect if it was cold. Here’s an example: A basketball that doesn’t have enough air in it won’t bounce that well. The bottom line is that the amount of air pressure for a ball is directly proportional to the temperature of the air. Colder = less inflated effect

Side note: Other types of solid core balls, like baseballs, golf balls also have temperature impact, but the mechanics are a bit different. Here the characteristics of the material inside the ball are responsible for the bounciness of the ball. For example the rubbery insides are affected by temperature, which impacts the ball’s performance.

Overall, a ball’s bounciness is dependent on the elasticity of its constructed materials. The characteristic of elasticity allows the ball to retain kinetic energy during a collision by having the ability to flex without breaking, the ball can then return to its original shape post bounce. This scientific measure of a ball and its material’s elasticity is called the coefficient of restitution. You can read about it in any high school Physics book. An object with a low coefficient of restitution will lose a great deal of its kinetic energy in a collision through breaking or deforming, or through the generation of sound or heat. Compare the kinetic energy transmission through steel balls suspended on strings as they bounce back and forth in an example of a high coefficient of restitution. Now consider a lump of clay or a piece of glass in a collision, both materials having very low restitution values – they simply do not transfer energy well because they are not as elastic.

But even materials that do can transfer energy well, like a rubber band can be affected by temperature. The colder a material gets, the less elastic it can be. Under cold conditions, the material can actually absorb energy rather than transferring it, giving it less movement or “bounce.”

Both inflated balls like footballs and solid core balls like a baseball rely on the principle of coefficient of restitution. A warmed, (over inflated) ball is more elastic and would likely be easier to grip, to catch, and to be punted farther.
While a cold, (under inflated) ball would be less easily handled and some athletes have described cold weather footballs like dealing with a brick!

There are plenty of game time examples of weather affecting football games and some are traced directly to temperatures!

New York Giants legend Y.A. Tittle played his biggest football games in cold climate weather. The Hall of Fame quarterback carried the Giants to three straight title games from 1961-63. The games were played in Green Bay, New York and Chicago. The Giants lost all three-title matchups. In the book “Tales from the New York Giants Sidelines,” Tittle told author Paul Schwartz that the Giants’ offense had meltdowns in cold inclement weather.
“Good Lord, I threw balls where the ball would come back and hit me in the face,” Tittle said of the 1962 game when winds whisked 30 to 40 mph. “It was miserable.” In 1963, Tittle’s last chance at a league championship, the Giants played the Chicago Bears in single-digit cold at Wrigley Field.
“We played on a field that Eskimos couldn’t have lived on,” Tittle told Schwartz. “It was frozen. It was just unbelievable.”
The most infamous cold weather field in the NFL The Frozen Tundra got its nickname during the Cowboys v Packers 1967 NFC Championship Game
On New Year’s Eve in 1967, Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys visited Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game.

It has come to be known as The Ice Bowl and is, in fact, the coldest game in NFL history with the official game-time temperature registering at -15 F, with a wind chill at -47.2 F. As the referee blew the whistle to start the game, it froze to his lips.

The Packers came from behind in the final seconds of the game when Lombardi called for a quarterback sneak by Bart Starr to give the Packers a classic win on their own turf.

How Wind Affects Football

While wind can have a huge impact on fans, it can also affect the game at field level in some stadiums. I’ve watched at field level amazing NFL kickers like David Akers and Robbie Gould check out wind conditions. I’ve had discussions with punters and kickers about how they change the angle of their kicks based on current wind conditions. None of them claim that it gives them a mental block. But they certainly are aware of the wind and it’s role in their success.

The dominant wind over an area can sometimes result in swirling wind patterns inside some stadiums. Swirling winds at MetLife stadium and the way it is constructed has very little effect on wind affecting the game.

But even a little gust of wind at the wrong time can ruin a play. It happened during the Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns during 1980 AFC Divisional Playoffs. With a wind chill factor of -36 F, it was fairly clear that the Cleveland Browns would be more comfortable in the frigid winter temperatures than the Oakland Raiders as the two teams met in the 1980 playoffs. The Browns had six wins on the season already where they edged in front in the dying moments of the game.

Trying to do so once more in the AFC Divisional against the Raiders, the Browns pieced together a remarkable 79-yard drive to get in field goal range. The only problem was that it was so cold that the Browns place kicker, Don Cockroft, already botched two attempts.

Browns Coach, Sam Rutigliano, opted for a more aggressive play, calling out the famous “Red Right 88.” Just as it looked like quarterback Brian Sipe would find Ozzie Newsome open in the end zone — an unpredictable opponent— the wind held up the ball and handed the Raiders an easy interception and eventual win.

How Sky Cover and Precipitation Affect Football

While day games in full sun can really create some glare on field for players, it’s rarely a showstopper. It might result in more of a running game until the sun angle changes but its impact is usually dramatically limited. All NFL stadiums also have a North South orientation and so a sun setting in the west is not a major problem.

However, low clouds can change the game when they sink to field level, which is what happened in the Bears v Eagles
1988 NFC Championship, also know as the Fog Bowl.
Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears hosted Buddy Ryan’s Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, and late in the second quarter, a mist started to set in. It didn’t stop, though, and by the fourth quarter it was a dense fog and visibility dropped to about 10 to 20 yards. Broadcasters were forced out of the press box to field level to call the game. Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham wasn’t affected as he still managed to throw for 407 yards.
Players could barely see the sidelines or the first down markers, so referee Jim Tunney had to announce each play over the microphone. The Eagles moved the ball well but couldn’t find the end zone enough as the Bears ended up winning 20-12.

If there is a storm during the game, expect that the rain and snow will affect play. When wet weather happened during the
49ers at the Greenback Packers 1996 NFC Divisional, it was cold but not below freezing at Lambeau Field. It was just warm enough that there was the unfortunate mix of rain and snow. The result: A soggy, sloppy and muddy field that made both offenses feel like they were working in quicksand.

The 35-14 score in favor of the Packers wasn’t indicative of how badly the offenses struggled. The Packers passing game was stuck in the muck, finishing with just 79 passing yards. Meanwhile, the 49ers offense totaled just 196 yards but gave away five turnovers thanks to the muddied conditions.

There’s a classic tale of field conditions changing the game from Bears v. NY Giants 1934 NFL Championship Game
The Chicago Bears had won 18 straight games and seemed invincible heading into the 1934 NFL Championship Game. Some force of nature would have to stop them and basically it did.

A freezing rain covered the Polo Grounds, and as the Giants were slipping behind (figuratively and literally), equipment manager Abe Cohen brought in nine pairs of sneakers borrowed from the Manhattan College basketball team.

The Giants made the switch at halftime and never looked back. The sneakers put them on better footing as they outscored the Bears 27-3 in the second half en route to a 30-13 win.

Perhaps the worst weather playoff game in recent history was the Raiders v Patriots Snow Bowl during the e2001 AFC Divisional Playoff With the Oakland Raiders visiting, Tom Brady threw an incomplete forward pass late in the fourth quarter, which resulted in another opportunity for the Patriots to play in overtime and eventually win. The weather was miserable as Foxboro Stadium was covered in a sheet of snow, earning the label of the Snow Bowl from Patriots fans — or the Snow Job from Raiders fans.

Making the Call:
A look a Mother Nature’s Playbook

Climate history tells us that more often than now, the weather is chilly with scattered clouds on early February evenings. And it makes sense to expect a bit of a wind chill during the game. When temperatures drop below 40°F, any wind will cause the apparent temperature to the human skin to feel significantly colder than the actual air temperature. This is common for the NYC area in February.
The exact time of kickoff is 6:28:30 Average temperature at that time is 35 degrees. Looking at climate data over 30 years, between Jan 25 and Feb 3 there is an average of 2inches of snow. THE NJ State Climatology Researchers say over 50 years of weather the temperature range is 19 to 51 degrees.

During the last 13 years the NYC area high temp has ranged from 32 to 50 on Feb. 2nd. There have been both rain and snow showers within two weeks of February 2nd including a recent, monster snow storm of 18 inches Jan 26-27, 2011

On This DATE in NYC Weather History
Feb. 2, 2013 Snow 31 degrees
Feb. 2, 2012 Partly Cloudy 50 degrees
Feb. 2, 2011 Snow 39 degrees
Feb. 2, 2010 Snow 33 degrees
Feb. 2, 2009 Partly Cloudy 53 degrees
Feb. 2, 2008 Partly Cloudy 43 degrees
Feb. 2, 2007 Rain Snow Mix 38 degrees
Feb. 2, 2006 Partly Cloudy 52 degrees

February Overall Extremes
Biggest Blizzard 26.9” 2006
Warmest Feb. Temperature 75 1985
Coldest Feb. Temperature -15 1934
Highest Pressure ever recorded in NYC was Feb 13, 1981 31.08”
Coldest Ever Feb. 9, 1934 -15 degrees
Biggest Storm Feb 11=12 2006 26.9”
Feb 201 Greatest Snow in a month 36.9”
The highest wind gust ever recorded during game time hours on February 2nd was 38 mph in 2001

The Farmers Almanac predicted a blizzard to hit between Feb. 1-3 The Almanac used words like piercing cold and bitterly cold and biting cold to describe early 2014. The 197-year-old publication uses planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles to make predictions more than a year in advance. The Farmers Almanac claims its right 80 percent of the time.
NJState Police commissioned a report from David Robinson a climatologist at Rutgers University (he’s been doing this more than 20 years.) Analyzing weather faces for the 1 days leading up to Feb. 2nd. Range of possibilities is listed out on his website http://www.BigGameWeather.com

Accuweather is doing a day by day update on http://www.WillitSnow.com

Interesting cold weather games in the NFL http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story?id=09000d5d80870a4e

This year the Big Game date is Feb. 2nd but here’s a look at
NYC Weather History on Past Big Game Dates (even though all these games were played in other fair weather cities!)

Feb. 3, 2013 30 degrees Snow
Feb. 5, 2012 40 degrees
Feb. 6, 2011 45 degrees
Feb. 7, 2010 34 degrees
Feb. 1, 2009 51 degrees
Feb. 3, 2008 50 degrees
Feb. 4, 2007 25 degrees
Feb. 5, 2006 55 degrees
Feb. 6 2005 53 degrees

Weather Discussion

Many blogs, websites, forecasters, and hobbyists will be talking weather and stats leading up to game day. But based on forecasting experience, climate data and current weather models it looks like the game will be cold and windy.

Average wind speeds hover around 10 mph in early February, which can create a considerable wind chill with low temperatures. Winds do tend to lessen in early evening which is game time.

Also keep in mind, the weather from NYC to Rutherford NJ can vary, after all they are two different states– even though the two spots are admittedly geographically close. When looking at the official reporting stations in NYC – the game is still actually being played over in NJ! This is an important consideration. For example, when eight inches of snow fell on Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field during the Dec. 8 NFL game between the Eagles and Detroit Lions, “the Meadowlands just got a dusting.” These two locations are also in the same region. Different spots get different weather!

So even though the media is referring to the game location as NYC, consider that it does actually take place across the river in East Rutherford. Here is a breakdown of the record climate data for the two spots where records are kept Central Park and LaGuardia Airport.

Feb.2nd Records NYC
Record High 59 1988
Record Low -3 1881
Record Rain 2.98” 1973
Record Snow 5.0” 1874

Feb 2nd Records LaGuardia 1948-2013
Record High 59 1988
Record Low -1 1955
Record Rain 1.75” 1973
Record Snow 4.3” 1955

The National Football League settled its last championship in New York, on Dec. 30, 1962 which took place at Yankee Stadium. The temperature at kickoff was 13 degrees and TV crews used bonfires to keep warm. More notable, was the game in 1934, the coldest New York winter ever, the title tilt at the Polo Grounds was played after a freezing rain made the field more ice rink than gridiron. But since 1967, winter weather during a Super Bowl has been as rare as snow in San Diego — which actually did see snow that year.


Looking at Climate Data to make a Prediction.

Looking at kickoff time temperature (observation closest to 6:30pm for each February 2nd at Newark Airport) Here’s what we know:
Warmest kickoff time temperature on record was 61° in 1973.
Coldest kickoff temperature recorded was 13° in 1976.
Average temperature at kickoff time on February 2nd is 34°.
90% of the time the historical data shows that kickoff time temperatures fall between 19° and 51° according to the NJ State Climatology Office. They have collected data with interesting statistical information.
From 1931 to 2013 57% of the time the temp was at or below freezing at the time the game would be played.
In years with below freezing temperatures, the average hourly temperature was 25°.
In years when temperatures stayed above freezing the average hourly temperature was 41°.
During those years, 26% of the time there was precipitation. If precipitation falls, there is a 29% climatologically, the probability is that it will be snow
54% of the time the winds are 10-20mph for the average of 1931 to 2013

Looking at Model Data for Predictions

Another forecasting reference is current model data. The National Weather Service long term trend outlooks, updated daily.
8-14 day weather outlook for temps Meteorologist Amy Freeze

Meteorologist Amy Freeze

Meteorologist Amy Freeze



 

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Thought I'd kick off my part of the blog with how I started running.  I've asked several runners I know to do the same.  I'll be including their stories in separate profiles.  Please share your story of how you were Raised to Run!

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Amy Freeze covering the running community in NYC's Central Park in 2012

Everybody has a story about how they started running as a sport. Mine started young. I began running road races when I was 8 years old growing up in Southern Indiana. My father Bill Freeze would get up on Saturday mornings and enter the local races of the 1980s. His example and love for running is why I am a runner today. He started taking my sisters and me along with him to races from the time we were in strollers.  

At first, we ran the kids “fun runs.” Looking back, I still think there was an energy and excitement to those Saturday mornings that is better than any party or concert or club. Plus, a race was my first brush with fame!  I remember meeting a local TV news anchor, the beautiful Jackie Hays (now retired from WAVE-TV) in Louisville.  She was so nice and even took a photo with us.  After years of running with my age group, I eventually got a number and joined my Dad in the 5Ks… and then 10Ks… and then my first Mini Marathon in 1983. It was such a thrill to run along side my Dad in the races. I grew up loving to run. In a time where there were not many sports for girls, I was taught a love of physical fitness that I have had my entire life. 


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My Dad was usually a “middle of the packer” but that didn’t keep him for admiring the guys that won the races. He met many of them and had his photo with them. And for many years, a personally autographed poster of Bill Rodgers hung in my father’s home office.  “Boston Billy” is still the only American born (Hartford, CT) US Citizen to have won the NYC Marathon.  I think I knew his name before I was able to write my own!

 

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Bill Rodgers 1979 NYC Marathon

Rodgers was the King of the Marathon boom of the 70s. Track & Field News ranked Rodgers #1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. Of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran, 28 were run under 2:15. In all he won 22 marathons in his career.  My dad tells the story of meeting Bill Rodgers in the early 1980s in Louisville KY at a Cherokee Road Runners 10K Race in Iroquois Park — where Rodgers actually placed 2nd.  He finished behind a young man in his 20s.  When asked why he lost, Rodgers replied, “this is a sport of fitness and he was fitter than I was today.”

The summer after my first Mini Marathon my Dad sent me to camp to learn how to run better.  I attended a running camp put on by the legendary Swag Hartel.

 

Rare Video of Swag Hartel in 1983 Mini Marathon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O56dWHXroew

At Swag's running camp, I joined other preteens learning form, how to run sprints, drinking just enough water before races and how to chose the right shoes. I still think about the tips Swag taught me during that camp:

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Form – holding my fists gentle enough to carry an egg!
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Sprints – sprints can be incorporated into any run… it’s called tempo training

  • Water- drink the day before a race, sip on race day

  • Shoes- ALWAYS get them at a Running Store so you have the right size

I ran Middle School and then High School Cross Country with my Coach Robert Calbert.  We traveled all over the State of Indiana to attend meets. I loved running and my teammates.  When I was a senior, two of my sisters and I made up half of our high school cross country team.  I didn't win many races but looking back, the most important victory was learning to run.

AmyhighschoolfinishAmy Freeze crossing the finish line in a JHS Cross Country Meet

AmyhighschoolteamJHS Cross Country Team 1992 Coach Robert Calbert

Running is a habit that I have had throughout my life.  Doing it I have found some of my fondest friends.  Training for races, I have learned to cope and endure.  Competing I have been able to travel and see great places.  And running has given me humility time and time again.   

“If you run enough marathons, you’ll learn that the race can humble you.  If you’ve been humbled, you can go on to greater glories.”

Bill Rodgers 

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By Meteorologist Amy Freeze

on Twitter  Amy Freeze

Raised to Run: Josh Cox

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Running
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COXJosh Cox, the 50k American Record Holder (31 miles), is a 4-time US Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier and 3-time US National Team member. In 2009 and 2011 his 50k was the fastest in the world, the latter effort was the second fastest in history, and missed the world record by a scant 7 seconds. Cox starred on ABC’s Bachelorette show and currently offers his professional perspective for NBC Universal’s marathon broadcasts. You can get tips, giveaways and be inspired by following him on Twitter and Facebook

Josh Cox is one fast, cool runner. I remember the first time I met him.  He came to visit the TV studios before the Chicago Marathon.  We talked about his high altitude training in Mammoth Lakes, CA and how he would take "natural ice baths" in the freezing cold waters of local creeks after runs.  Josh is easy to talk to about running and he's a curious guy who was interested in the weather.  I thought I'd give him a challenge in front of the green screen – but then again, is there anything a quick guy like him can't do?!  (See photo at the end of this artile of Josh in front of the weather wall!)  As you might imagine, he was a natural and has gone on to have some assignments of his own calling races on TV Broadcasts!  Since then, I've seen Josh race, met his beautiful family and shared time with him at the expo talking to other runners about race preparation.  His life on the run is motivational to me in more ways than one! For this year's TEAMABC7 blog Josh took time to answer some of my questions about his current career and shared insight on how he was "Raised to Run."  

AMY FREEZE:  JoshcoxandamyWhy do you run?

JOSH COX:  My first  response is to maximize the gifts entrusted to me, to discover what I can get out of the machine, to push limits. But in reality, running is so much more than that… it’s my outlet, my alone time, my thinking time, my praying time, my creative time, my time away from the calls, social networks and the busyness of life. Running has always served as my daily reset button – my therapist. It’s an easy thing to take for granted but dealing with an injury this year has brought it all back to why I first fell in love with running in high school… I love it for the act itself.


This past January, I injured my foot at mile 8 of the Olympic Trials. I tweaked my left plantar fascia in December, had some therapy, and never thought it would be a limiting factor in the race. The race went out hard, I reached 8 miles in 39:20. At that point, there was a 180 degree turn and in one stride it felt like a knife was thrust into the back of my arch near my heel. With every stride I felt the same pain, for a moment I thought about stopping but I stayed in the race because at this stage in my career I know the Olympic Trials is one of those races you always remember. I finished, in 2:13:50, but it came with a price. I couldn’t walk without limping for a month and couldn’t run for the next two. Initially, all I could think about was the next race, the next marathon I could run where I could pace myself to a PR but eventually I just missed running. Not the intervals, the tempos, the long runs and races but running the roads with friends, running the trails with my music, the feeling of the lungs burning, the heart pounding, legs light in flight and heavy in labor; I missed reaching the mountaintop and taking in the postcard perfect views that serve as the reward for the climb… ElliptigoI missed it all. I don’t intend to romanticize it but I really, truly just missed it, it was like losing a close friend. This was just my third injury since I started running my freshman year in high school back in 1989, so I don’t have too much practice with the whole injury thing. Normally when I have any sort of life issue I head out the door and running seems to bring clarity to just about everything, but when your issue is “you can’t run” – well, it’s problematic. Having an ElliptiGO allowed me to get outside and experience running without the pounding. It was really the only thing that kept me sane.

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AMY FREEZE: How did u start running?  Did someone or some event trigger your running?

JOSH COX:  I was a soccer player, I started playing year round in 5th grade. My first race, the first race that mattered anyway, was that same year, the Presidential Fitness Testing. This year, the sixth graders were the first to go. When I heard the result I was mortified, a girl had beaten all the boys, but that wasn’t the bad part, the bad part was the girl was my sister, she took first place in 7:15. 

I grew up in a family of six kids – 3 older sisters, and 2 younger brothers. Our family was divided, girls had one bathroom, guys had another, girls had certain chores, guys had the others. My sister, Merae, is 11 months older than me. Growing up, we were close friends, in that I love you but there’s no way you’re going to beat me at anything sort of way. For a time, our sibling rivalry was intense. This race was about one thing and one thing alone, beating my sister’s time. If I didn’t, life as I knew it would be over. She would own me. The race finally came. We started out on the far side of the field; it felt easy, as starts always do. I made a left turn toward the sandbox, ran off the grass and onto the blacktop, and heard someone was shouting from the street, “Goooooooooo, Josh!”

JoshamyatxpoI looked to my right and saw my mom’s large brown station wagon; she was right outside the chain-linked fence. She came to watch me race. I still have no idea how she knew what time we’d be running, but she was there. I was leading but we were only 30 seconds in, lots of race left. There I was – all 53 pounds of mean, lean, ten year old soccer playing machine – tearing around the sandbox and soccer fields. Faster… faster… faster…  head down, arms pumping, knees driving, feet pounding. I finished in 6:05.  I was exhausted but excited. I gave my mom the thumbs up.

We returned to class and after fifteen minutes or so the secretary came on the PA system, “Congratulations to Joshua Cox for setting a new school record in the mile this morning, he ran 6:05. Great job.”  My buddy Mike patted me on the back. I was all smiles, not because I broke the record, and not because the secretary announced my time over the PA, but because I knew my sister was in the next room over and had just found out she was not faster than me.

When I got home that day I was as gracious as a 10 year old could be to his older sister. Mainly, I just smiled a lot, Merae was actually impressed and told me good job. For years I had dreams of playing professional soccer but I soon realized running was the road to take.

AMY FREEZE:  What are your current running habits – are you training for a race?

JOSH COX:  I’m currently in the base building phase of training; a good base is the foundation for everything we do. Everyone wants to know the secret to running fast, and certainly there are lots of tips, specific workouts and diet but if you want one tip it’s this: lace ‘em up and get out the door for weeks, months and years and you’ll start reaching your potential. The truth is, most of us don't need more information & inspiration, we need more implementation & perspiration. We know what we need to do, we just need to do it.

As far as races go, I’d like to run another marathon PR (aren’t we all), and would like to make a run at the World Records for the 50k, 50 mile and 100k – I’d like to do all that in the next two years.

AMY FREEZE:  What’s your most favorite running/race experience? When/Where, etc.

JOSH COX:  I’d have to say representing the United States is always a huge honor, I’ve had the privilege on a few occasions and there’s something humbling and incredibly awesome about representing a nation. I always enjoy the major marathons, Mary Wittenberg and the entire NYRR crew put on amazing events at all their races, and I love the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series, they’re relentless in their pursuit of providing a fabulous race day experience. On a personal level, I love getting really fit and running for hours on the trails near our home in Mammoth Lakes, California. It’s a runner’s paradise.

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AMY FREEZE:  How do you overcome challenges in your running life – when you hit the wall, when injury strikes, when your life gets busy and it’s hard to get a run in, and all the other obstacles of life — what helps you keep running!

JOSH COX:  Obstacles: no one wants them but they’re a fact of life. Tough times are transformational, either for better or worse, and we each have the power to choose which path we take. Successful people learn from their mistakes, they get better not bitter. My biggest breakthroughs have always come on the heels of my toughest times and greatest disappointments. Now when dark times come, in running or in life, I see it as God’s way of preparing me for something bigger, something better. It’s in the tough times that we’re molded and shaped into the men and women we’re destined to become.

With respect to working out: don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others, be better than you were yesterday, be the best you, you can be. Don’t let being short on time keep you from working out, it’s not an all or nothing proposition. The shortest workout is infinitely better than no workout. Make your daily workout a priority, an appointment you keep everyday. Good health is the greatest gift we can give ourselves; without it we can’t enjoy anything else.

JoshDoesWX

Thanks Josh! See you… on the Run!  Check out Josh’s Gear Bag:

Favorite shoe: K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light

Long run fuel: Double Latte PowerGels

Water when I’m in NYC: Poland Spring

Recovery: CEP Compression

Watch: Garmin

Headphones: Polk UltraFit

JoshAmy

By Amy Freeze