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Monthly Archives: April 2013

(Contributed by Danielle Hashem, Pamakid member since February 27, 2013)

The lone runner is how I would describe myself up until a few weeks ago.  I started running six years ago in an effort to lose some weight and become more physically fit.  Running was something I had to grow to love, and that meant I had to take my training slow.  So, over the past several years it has been about increasing my base distances, but doing so at an easy pace.  I never followed any training program, never ran track, nor did I run with other people — I just ran alone.  I had set a few small racing goals to keep me motivated, and that was it.  Soon enough, I started to wonder what I was capable of achieving if I did intensify my training, if I incorporated speed workouts into my running regimen.  I suppose, sooner or later (or is it soonar or later?), most runners think about what it is they are capable of, and I was now reaching that point.

After finishing the Kaiser Half Marathon this past February, I finally decided it was time to move out of my comfort zone and join a running club, but which one?  I had asked a running friend for a recommendation on a running club that might work best for me. She suggested the Pamakids.  On February 12, I decided to test the waters, and I went to my first ever track workout with the Pamakids.  Walking up to meet everyone was a bit awkward; I had that feeling of being the new kid at school that no one knows; I was an outsider looking in.  After the tough track workout, there were lots of high fives exchanged along with words of support and encouragement.  As each week passes, the track workouts stay tough, while the social exchanges with the other Pamakids have become much easier.

On February 27, I took the plunge and officially joined the Pamakids and in doing so, I have signed up to participate in several races.  One of the races was the SACTOWN 10 mile race.  I figured this race would be a good starting point for me, a clean slate. I’ve never run a 10 mile race before, so regardless of my time I would set a PR.  No problem.  But with life, things are never easy. During the week of the race I relapsed into a dry cough that has been plaguing me for a few weeks.  I had a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia or anything serious.  All I could do at this point was rest and hope for the best.  I rested for 3 days, and headed up to Sacramento Saturday evening.  Regardless of my bronchial problem, I was committed to run this race.

Sunday morning I made my way over to the race bib pick up area and immediately saw several Pamakids gathering near the front of the Capital Building.  It was nice to see both new and familiar faces, all of whom were welcoming and sociable.  Up to this point, my experience with races went like this: I show up to the race by myself, run the race, collect my finisher swag, and leave.  There was no interaction with other runners, no encouragement, and no support; it was just an isolated event for me.  As one of the newest members of the Pamakids I will admit, it is undeniably better to have a group of people to talk with before and after the race.   As several more Pamakids gathered, we took a group picture in front of the Capital Building.  After the photo, we warmed up and headed over to the west side of the Capitol Building to the start area.  I lined up with several Pamakids near the front and the only thing I remember after that is the sound of the start gun.  It was official; I was off and running my first race with the Pamakids.

SACTOWN 10 Pamakid group shot in front of the Capital Building. Photo by Ryan Baird.

SACTOWN 10 Pamakid group shot in front of the Capital Building. Photo by Ryan Baird.

I haven’t spent much time in Sacramento, but the best way to see an unfamiliar city is to run it.  The SACTOWN 10 mile race takes you on a scenic tour through downtown Sacramento and its surrounding neighborhoods.  The course travels along tree lined streets with plenty of small cafes, shops, parks, schools and houses to see along the way.  And no matter where you were on course, there were friendly people offering their cheers and support.   The course was flat, with one small uphill around mile 4.  There were aid stations every 2 miles, which was plenty.  I enjoyed the scenery and just let my mind wander while trying to keep up a good pace.  With 2 miles left, I started to breathe heavy, but at that point I was committed to keep going with the same pace and finish.  The last mile was tough, just as the last mile in all races tend to be, and I was tired and ready to get to the finish.  As I turned the final corner I saw the Capital Building to my right, and felt a sense of accomplishment.   Crossing the finish line never felt so good.  I let my body recover for a moment and then looked down at my Garmin to see that I finished in 1:19:55 (chip time), a very close sub-8:00 finish for my first 10 mile race.

SACTOWN 10 Danielle Hashem on course. Photo by Ryan Baird.

SACTOWN 10 Danielle Hashem on course. Photo by Ryan Baird.

As people finished, we gathered again to stretch and discuss the race, and more importantly, to discuss brunch.  The entire group was extremely supportive and friendly which is… what a team is about.  It was at that moment I felt really proud, not because I finished the race, not because of my race time, but because I am no longer a lone runner, I’m a Pamakid.

In an anonymous survey, 40% of Pamakids admitted to cheating on their significant others with running. One female member said while her husband thought she was going into work on weekends, she was really sneaking in a 4-hour trail run. Another confessed that he would wait for his wife to fall asleep before sliding out the window to go for a midnight jog. A woman wearing a walking boot on her left leg said it was just a decoy to extinguish any fears of her fiancé that she was running without him. A few of the more liberal couples on the team knew their partners were cheating on them with running and actually encouraged them to do so in what they called an “open running relationship.” One went so far as to set her husband up with a group run. Just because she did not “have the energy to do it with him any more” did not mean that she wanted him to abstain from his running passion.

Also Inside:

Page 4 –

Local Woman Likes Her New Runner’s Body: Boyfriend and Creepy Neighbor Agree

Page 7 –

Waiting for the Green Smoke: Pamakid Board of Directors begin Conclave to Elect New Board

Health, Page C4 –

Ultra-running: A Growing Addiction

World, Page D6 –

Kim Jong-Un: Admits Running Would be Good for Him, Still Hates It: North Korean Leader Bans all Cardio in Country

(Contributed by Rosie Ruiz)

Justin Mikecz has finally come clean.

Mikecz confessed to doping in a taped interview with Oprah only hours after giving a wrenching apology to the Charity Committee and resigning his committee position. After years of denying the rumors and somehow avoiding being drug-tested, Mikecz admitted to using the performance enhancing drink (PED), chocolate milk. He told Oprah he starting using the PED when he was 5 and has been hooked since then. He contended that he only used it after races and workouts, not before, but acknowledged the hastened recovery it caused helped him exceed 30 miles of running in one week on multiple occasions.

After finishing in the top 60% of the PA cross-country championship 4 consecutive years, rumors were circulating that Justin Mikecz was doping. Asked by Oprah if it was “humanly possible” to finish in the top 2/3 four years in a row, Mikecz replied: “Not in my opinion.” During most of the interview, Oprah appeared dumbfounded by the responses she was receiving. At one point the tension rose to such a point that she finally confronted him: “So you are telling me after all these years of evading the press and the rumors circulating, the performance enhancer you used was chocolate milk?” Justin, with tears welling up in his eyes, said “Yes,” before pausing “and sometimes I added sugar if I needed an extra boost.” Oprah pressed more: “Do you really believe chocolate milk is a banned substance?” The contrite runner responded, “I was in denial for a while and tried to rationalize it by telling myself that the Masters Men had been lying about their ages for years and that what I was doing wasn’t as bad.”

Mikecz said he knew he could not hide much longer after a teammate had discovered a syringe with a frothy, brown residue at a recent trail race. An exasperated Winfrey looked for more, “You used a syringe? You put chocolate milk in a syringe and injected it?”

Later in the interview, Mikecz lamented all the sponsorships lost including Saucony, Osprey, and Trek. A Saucony spokesperson has since released a statement completely disavowing their relationship with the disgraced runner, “We have never endorsed Justin Mikecz, nor have we ever heard of him. His definition of an endorsement is a 10% discount at Sports Basement. This discount was not subsidized by Saucony or endorsed by any of its representatives. We do not condone performance enhancing drugs, especially for someone of his average caliber.”

Is there a moral to the story? “I can look back at what I did,” he said, “Cheating to finish in the middle of the pack, lying about it, bullying people. Of course, you’re not supposed to do those things. That’s what we teach our children. My children will know to steer clear of the dirty business of chocolate milk.”

[Editor’s Note: PA Sportswriter Rosie Ruiz was born in Cuba and rose to fame as a marathon runner. She was the first female to cross the line in the 1980 Boston Marathon in a recorded time of 2:31:56.]

[Editors’ note: One article was removed as upon further consideration it was felt potentially to not be in the best spirit of April Fool’s. (But all the other articles are true!)]

(Contributed by Noe’s Moustache, Pamakid member since Noe joined)

Donald Trump inserted himself into the Birther fray in a much-hyped announcement Sunday by demanding to see the birth certificates of the Masters Men of the Pamakids Running Club. Rumors had been circulating in the right-wing blogosphere for the last few years that the Masters Men are not Masters age, but this was the first time someone of Trump’s stature and hairpiece color had publicly entered the conversation.

Trump is contesting the ages of the Pamakids who run on the Masters Men team. “Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student at the best school in the country,” Trump continued, “I had friends at Wharton—the best school in America—lots of friends. Many of these friends looked much older in college than these so-called Pamakids. The reason I have doubt, just a little, is because they all grew up and nobody knew them. Andy, Tony, Adam, Denis, Tomas, just to name a few — none of them are a day over 35. I have it on reasonable authority that Jerry dyes his hair to look older. These guys are terrible. They will stop at nothing to get a leg up in the running circuit.”

The real estate mogul became more defiant as the press conference went on and offered the Pamakids $5 million to the charity of their choice “to come clean” and produce the Masters Men college records, passports, as well as their long-form birth certificates. “Many, many people have questions, and very serious questions.” It was reported by the Associated Press that Trump had already sent private investigators to the birthplaces of each of the Masters runners.

“I have people studying (Masters Men records) and they cannot believe what they’re finding… I would like to have them show their birth certificates, and can I be honest with you, I hope they can,” Trump said Sunday, “because if they can’t, if they can’t, if they weren’t born in this country, which is a real possibility… then they have pulled off one of the great cons in the history of the PA.”

When questioned why the country of birth would matter in the issue of PA masters eligibility, Trump snapped, “They’re all from Kenya. There or Ethiopia.” Pressed again to identify any PA bylaw that prohibits immigrants from running on a Masters team, Trump responded, “Everybody knows you can’t be president if you weren’t born in America. Andy Chan is President and we don’t know a thing about this guy. I question the validity of his presidency. You don’t have to be a Wharton graduate to know he is Kenyan. His speed is unnatural and he is way, way too skinny. Chan has 2% body fat. I mean, what American do you know has 2% body fat? The answer is none.”

The billionaire concluded the press conference by saying the President and the rest of the Masters Men team have until April 31st to meet his demands.

[Editor note: Noe’s Moustache is a resident of Noe Castanon’s upper lip. A former model, Noe’s Moustache now frequently participates in local ultra-marathons.]