Thursday, May 29, 2014

Walk Like a Man (FAI Hip Surgery Part 5)

Mark this down: May 27, 2014: surgeon gives (wait for it) the "green light"!!
no, this is not me - this kid is faster & stronger 
this is also not me - but, I now can, "Walk Tall"
So - this week, I saw my surgeon for the requisite 7 week follow up to find out when I can start "weight bearing" on my right leg; it has not escaped the more "vocal" [read "old man cantankerous"] that I may in fact reference my rather intense dislike of the death sticks a bit much.
Tough. I hate them. (most excellent) surgeon Dr Iyeni indicated all is going swimmingly, and then directed me to "walk" - I actually asked him "what?" as he and I had talked about possibly weigh bearing after 6-8 weeks, but I wasn't ready for full on, no-crutches-to-lean-on, walking with no "transition" - he looked at me like I was an idiot [sadly a look I am all too familiar with from most people] and so he repeated it, this time more emphatically: "WALK".
You would think it would be easy to just "walk", especially when you have been thinking of this moment for 7 weeks. 7. LONG. WEEKS. (*Dad - that was for you - hahaha).
In fact, I was kinda nervous to put put weight on my right leg so I just stood there in the middle of the exam room [see, above: "idiot"] - and then tried to walk.
It wan't pretty - but I took 1, then 2, baby steps before I had to grab the exam table as I was about to keel over.
(**this is how I felt walking, stumbling, then walking again. Then nearly falling. Then getting up and walking. 'cause that is how we roll.)

Anyway - Dr I was pleased. Like a new father watching his first born walk for the first time, he smiled - no, he positively beamed - beautifically...ok, fine, that is wayyy too overly dramatic, but whatever - it was cool.
yes, I am alive and walking
Dr I said keep at and I should be able to walk sans death sticks in 1-2 weeks. Loose 1 in a week, then the other in 2, and maybe even skip the "cane phase". Booyaa.
But - he scolded that I can't even think of running - and even then only 1 min max to start -  until July at the earliest; no flip turns in the pool until mid July; and  no hills on the bike until July either.
Whatever - I can a man, or as Kendi says, like a BOSS MAN.

See ya on the roads - in July
Mellow Johnny

ps - go 'Hawks!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Race Report: Run for the Spring Wardrobe (FAI Hip Surgery Part 4)

So, week 6 on the death sticks - and it is Spring (finally).
One thing I have noticed since before my surgery in mid April, sadly, has been a massive loss of any sense of time: viz [which is Latin for "namely" - I have to justify my law degree on occasion], I went into the hospital on blustery rainy, winter day and suddenly it is late May - and sunny/warm/green and 28 degrees C.
And so I never got to wear my "Spring wardrobe" [ya, that sounds kinda fey even to me]; I noticed last weekend that all my running gear is laid out for winter/spring training & racing: gloves, hats, buffs, tights, jackets, etc. And yet, if I was suddenly allowed to start running tomorrow, I could easily head out in shorts/singlet/and yes, my trusty visor - alas, I am not yet running, so the idea is somewhat academic.
But, as usual, I digress.

I have been hard at rehab/recovery since the (external) stitches came out last month - swimming 3-4 days a week, water running, rehab exercises in the deep end of the pool, physio, chillaxing...
But the most fun [kidding] has been my twice daily spins on my(road) bike - on my indoor Computrainer.
you should always ride with a helmet
Let me begin by noting I have never had such a sore butt in my life, as unlike riding outside, on the trainer, you don't move much, especially when ordered by your surgeon too not "screw" up all his incredibly delicate surgical mastery; I was told, emphatically, "not to walk / run /  put your right leg on the ground at all or on your bike pedals with any pressure (and while I have valiantly attempted to follow that edict, I have, on occasion, slipped into near-full-on pedalling) or you will tear out your anchors.Tear. Out. Your. Anchors."
one of six new anchors screwed into my hip
And so when riding, all your weight is on your butt as it sits on one spot on a saddle that is 5/8" at its widest, for the entire ride - until you cry, like an aging boxer, "no mas" (shout out to Nurse Ratched in Barthelona!). Upon reflection, if I had been blessed with a more bountiful booty [I Like big Butts - not mine though...] instead of the ratty bony ass I have, maybe this wouldn't be such an ordeal.
not Johnny's butt
So for the most part, my daily indoor trainer rides have been, pun intended, pedestrian: my wattage has crescendoed on most days at a massive 100 watts (to put this in perspective: Team Sky's Ian Boswell: power readings from Tour of California (last week) where Boswell cracked out 388 watts on the last recorded stage. Ya, I realize I am, and remain, a punter.

this is how I feel riding on my trainer

Given that while I had entered but was forced to miss all the Spring road racing, like: the famous Sporting life 10km (with a major shout out to my friend and race director Cory F who put together a fantastic race this year!!); Goodlife Marathon, where I was to head out on the 5km; and John Salt's awesome Multisport Canada triathlon series, with the season opener in Woodstock this past weekend - I was seriously bummed about not only not being able to race, but missing out on all the comradarie of seeing all the old boys/gals I race with every Spring/Summer.

However....and yes, there is a point to this blog today - I did want, in the recent tradition of all modern racers, to update you with a blog piece about the epic event I was able to take part in last weekend, here in Toronto: the 1st Annual Run for the Spring Wardrobe.
This heretofore previously unheralded event is actually a Spring Classic, one which many taken part in - without even possibly realizing it.
So here is a recap of the 2 day, multi-stage event:
DAY 1: The Hipster 3 Miler
The day began with me laying out all my gear: Crutches? Check. Dark sunglasses to avoid the sun (and eye contact with any bearded urban hipsters)? Check. Water bottle rigged on crutches for continuos hydration - and safety spraying of said bearded urban hipsters when they get within my drafting zone of 7 meters? Check. Massively expensive hip brace? Check. Spare Oxy? Nope - what if I do well and there is drug testing after...? How do you spell "Lance".
At 1pm my trusty driver took me to the race start at Bathurst and Queen, where we found a great spot to set up - race conditions, however, were dicey with the possibility of rain, but, what are we athletes if not tough and ready for anything? And before I knew it, Day 1 was on! We walked/crutched thru probably every single boutique/shoe store/designer store/purse store/shoe store/ on Queen West...EVERY. SINGLE.  ONE.  While this was not an Ironman distance event, it certainly felt like it could be a long, tough day.
I am a dead man
Moving on crutches thru the (Saturday) crowds was remarkably similar to weaving thru the wave starts in an Ironman swim / bike - it required speed, dexterity, poise, patience and most of all, cunning strength. But I had brought my "A" game for Day 1, and aside from a few hiccups - stumbling on curbs, wicked sore hands from 3 hrs on the death sticks, and, being polite in the face of repeated "oh my God  - what did you do???" I finished the day strong but a little weary - and Nurse Ratched was likewise thrilled with her results.
DAY 2: The Suburban Mall Indoor Meet
Like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day", Day 2 was eerily similar to Day 1 - with the exception that today's event was an indoor meet, taking part in the august halls of that athletic colossus, "Yorkdale".
Needless to say the day unfolded remarkably like Day 1 [reference: Groundhog Day"]. To be honest, I have little memory of what unfolded on Day 2, as I was fading hard after 3 hours -  but I dug deep and managed to pull off, yet again, a really strong finish. Thankfully I kept an eye on nutrition and hydration and with a brief stop to take in a gel, and some 'tater tots I had in my pocket, we were good to go.
race ready nutrition
So, there it is: the Spring Classic "Run for the wardrobe" is sure to be an annual event,  and yet surprisingly similar in scope and effort to those other seasonal Classics: the Summer, then Fall, then Winter "RFTSW".
All Classics - all the time. Every year.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Can you tell I really, really need to get off these crutches?
See ya out there shopping
Mellow Johhny

Thursday, May 1, 2014

FAI Hip Surgery - F.U. Crutches

Pardon my little tirade this time around: I just want to put it out there - I truly dislike* using crutches.

I am not going to sugarcoat it: Week 2 and 3 post surgery, on crutches, has so far sucked.
No other way to describe it.
Your arms constantly hurt, you can't carry anything like a plate or bowl [wtf? no ice cream?! I thought the whole point of surgery recovery was to eat whatever the hell I wanted!]; don't even get me started on 4am trips to the bathroom to pee (it is like organizing a trip to Everest, all the pre planning you have to).
Stairs? F.U. stairs. Going up 2 flights of stairs on crutches is sysiphysian at best, and "cruel & unusual punishment" at worst. You make it half way and realize, "damn it, I still have 1 more flight". If this doesn't set me up for some wicked triceps, well, I don't know what will [and for those that have seen my "pre-surgery" bi/triceps, I need ALL the help I can get].
And going downstairs? Simply put - you have four options (well, there are in fact "5", if you count falling, but let's not go there):
1. use the crutches - doable, but on carpet, fraught with peril, not too mention awkward.
2. hop on good leg [in this case, my Left] - again, awkward, and puts a massive load on the L hip, which is also not good - and it is just generally stupid looking hopping down the stairs
3. finally, dropping with an extreme lack of elegance and grace onto your ass and "bumming" down the stairs.
4. there is an option "4" - wherein Nurse Ratchet stands behind you, kindly offering to "help" you down the stairs. Note to self: never, ever, ever allow this to happen (see "possibility 5" above).
Nurse Ratched
Then of course there is that phrase every man fears from his wife (worse than "do you want to go shoe shopping in Yorkville with me?")(or, "which shoes/scarf/necklace/earrings/ etc...go with this suit?"): "let's go for a walk". So after taking at least 15 minutes to get ready (me, not Nurse R), out you venture for 2 blocks, maybe 3, at which point I'm so friggin' tired - which, given my quasi athletic background, is not only humiliating but downright emabarrasing - especially because when you arrive at said destination of the walk, not only do you have to turn around and head back 2-3 blocks, but, you have more stairs. (And speaking of "stairs"...let's talk about the "stares" you get from people in the neighbourhood - the ones that say "Oh my, is that our neighbour from up (or down) the street? Well, it's his own fault; for goodness sake, all that man does is swim and ride his bike and run - what did he expect at his age. And his poor wife - she must have to everything for him". News flash -  I want to punch those people in the face, but of course I can't, because I need both hands to hold my  damned crutches. But I know who they are and I will remember, oh yes, I shall - and revenge is a dish best served off crutches).

When I do take a break (pun intended) from the death sticks, I end up standing entirely on my Left leg - and while I have mastered the zen-like mastery of balance, it has become tiresome to say the least (laugh now, my friend: you try, for example, shaving and then showering and then towelling off - all one one leg. My left ass cheek is so ripped I look like a Brazilian stripper with a half butt implant). And if one more person calls me "Peg" - see above for retribution.
what I think I look like
what I actually look like
ok, fine: this is what I actually look like
My last comment - for now: I had my first post op meeting with my surgeon this week. Good news: the new X-rays looked clean, so going forward looks promising. Bad news? 6 more weeks (6 -SIX - MORE. FREAKING. WEEKS!!!) on the crutches - no weight bearing on my leg at all, which means, in no particular order: no touching my foot down, no walking, no driving, no riding any bikes outside, no kicking ass of the neighbours who openly mock my poorly executed "crutch walk" etc. And of course that ultimately means no (quality) racing this summer. Hell, even Nurse Ratched will be faster. Merde.
Oh well, could be worse. Wait, no, it couldn't.
I can't wait for week 4.
see ya on the roads. Actually, I won't - but, whatever.
Mellow Johnny

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FAI Hip Surgery - Day 1

As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “so it goes”…
yesterday I had my (very long awaited and much needed) surgery on my Right hip for "FAI" [femoral acetubalur impingement] work:

The nature of the injury/impingement etc is well chronicled in my previous Blog postings, and, there is a mass of information online (see link above) - so I won’t bore you with technical sets. A good start is here: FAI movie - a blockbuster of hipster proportions!

Suffice it to say, I was finding my race performances really going downhill and even the every day routine aspects of life were becoming unbearable [don’t even ask about sitting - hated that the most] so I was thrilled - and anxious - when i got the confirmation of surgery scheduled for April 14. Having been on the wait list for over 1.5 years, I was more than ready for this.
Johnny's worst nightmare 
*NB: Nurse Ratched and I just got home from McMaster Hospital, and as I am on major drugs (who knew how great Percs are? hahaha) , I can't be held accountable for anything I write here.
However, in a moment of rare brevity, here is a quick post surgery update:
my poor messed up hip
Overall, the surgery went well - I was scheduled 1st up at 8am; had to be there at 6am - which was fine for me [got used to to those early morning swim practices]. Nurse Ratched, however, did not dig that 5am drive!
“Check in” was effortless - met with both my surgeon, Dr Ayeni [AWESOME orthopaedic surgeon - can't recommend him enough] and the anesthesiologist - both took me thru the surgical protocol and expected procedure.
My R hip was marked in marker - no surgical “oops - wrong leg” problems therefore!

Surgery time was just over 2.5 hours; however, the surgeon said my hip was wayyyyy more messed up then he was expecting to find; once he dislocated the femur head from the hip socket [NOT FUN!], he found 3 major issues he wasn't expecting:
1. Nearly 70 percent of my labrum was shredded - 2 yrs ago on the MRI It was only (“only” - hahaa!) 15 percent torn - I guess I sorta over did it the last year; at least that explains why racing all season on the indoor track hurt so much. I also had much more detached cartilage then expected as well.
2. Dr A  also had to do a “micro fracture[overview of Microfracture surgery]
in the acetabulum (as the cartilage was so thin, he could see some bone = arthritis) which basically involved drilling several holes into the  acetabulum, letting it bleed into the socket; the blood clots and forms a scab that is made up of similar cartilage material as acetabulum = regrowth of cartilage. ta da!! In order for full recovery and stability, Dr A set 3 (4? can't recall) internal "anchors" which are screws holding my acetabulum together. Nice new hardware.
3. the "cam" and "pincer" impingements were pretty pronounced as well - requiring some significant shaving of the femoral head.
(Dr A told me after the surgery that with my hip the way he found it, he couldn't believe I had been racing tris etc, let alone at the competitive level, for the last year - he just shook his head and muttered "athletes". Nurse Ratched just rolled her eyes and gave me the "look", the one all husband's fear).

After my close shave, I was popped over to post op recovery, drugged up, and then the nurses noticed significant bleeding thru my bandages/surgical dressing. So, they called the surgeon who sent his resident - and they had to redo my post op dressings as I continued to bleed like a stuffed pig. 
Fun times today.

Overall, I have a lot of stitches and the 3 or 4  internal "anchors" which are holding my acetabulum together - they have to stay in for 2 yrs. 
And so now instead a few days "non weight bearing" (not putting my right foot down on the ground) - it was at first indication going to be 2-3 weeks.
Now, however, much to my major disappointment, it looks like recovery from FAI surgery which, like mine, involves the “micro fracture” procedure, I likely have to be non weight bearing for [wait for it…] 8 weeks or more.
Damn. So much for a quick return to racing this summer.

The one upside of all this is…wait, there is no upside, at least not today.
My hip and adductors etc feel like they have been dislocated and shaved down and screws imbedded into my femoral head [which is sorta exactly what happened]. But, and this is the last cliche for today, “that which does not kill you, makes you stronger”.

However: just so we're clear: I'm still gonna kick ass at the Tri World's in Edmonton this August!! (ok, probably not, but I can dream, right?).

still a hipster
Mellow Johnny

ps: a truly special thanks to Nurse Ratched - couldn't have done this without here. I owe you one.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

12 Dreadmill Myths... Busted!

As it turns out, the "1% incline rule" isn't the only one that's baloney.

Do you adjust your treadmill's incline to 1% or 2%, to better mimic the effects of road running? If so, stop it immediately, because that whole notion is bunk and you're only making yourself look foolish. Honestly, I'm sort of embarrassed for you.
This is the takeaway from a blog post published recently by a notable biomechanist named Casey Kerrigan. Basically, the "1% incline rule is BUNK, which means you're probably feeling pretty dumb right about now. Nobody likes to learn that he's been following a bogus rule for years: Go read this: No need to raise the treadmill to 1% unles you run fast...
So, I hope you're sitting down. Because there's more where that came from. I have done some further investigating, and it turns out that we've all been buying into lots of “treadmill truths” that are, to borrow a word from Ms. Kerrigan, "garbage."
Here are 12 of the most shocking.
1. If you have sex on a moving treadmill, you can’t get pregnant: MYTH. You can, and probably will. Trust me on this one. 
2. The “Calories Burned” figure is accurate: MYTH. Your treadmill is lying to you. It also doesn’t really think you look “terrific” in that outfit. You should hear what it says to the other treadmills, after you’ve gone.
3. The Eskimos have 100 words for “treadmill”: MYTH. They have one word. It’s “treadmill.”
4. Calling the treadmill the “dreadmill” is clever: MYTH. It’s not. Stop it.
5. The guy next to you doesn’t know that you're looking at his treadmill’s display, because you’re doing it all cool-like: MYTH. He knows, and honestly he's sort of embarrassed for you.
6. Grasping the bar on the front of your treadmill, making a “revving” motion with your right hand, and saying “Vroom! Vroom!” isn’t cool: MYTH. It’s the coolest.
7. In the southern hemisphere, treadmills run in the opposite direction: MYTH. Treadmills run counterclockwise no matter where they are.
8. By law, treadmills must be a dull gray or black color: MYTH.There’s no reason your treadmill can’t be a brilliant yellow, blue, or pink. Just be sure to paint it when the trainers aren’t looking.
9. Falling on a treadmill is dangerous: MYTH. Falling on a treadmill is hilarious, as George Jetson and any number of YouTube videos demonstrate.
10. If you enter your PIN in reverse, a treadmill will summon the police: MYTH. That’s for ATMs, not treadmills. And even for ATMs it’s a myth.
11. The young woman on the adjacent treadmill is totally into you: MYTH. Not. As if.
12. People smile while using treadmills: MYTH. That happens only in stock photos.
see ya on the roads -
ok, I'm lying: this freakin' "polar vortex" and all this snow lately has ruined running outside. so see ya on the dreadmill. oh, wait, see #4 above. darn.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Do Asthma Inhalers Make You Faster?

As most of you may - or may not? - know, I race with asthma, and am also part of "Team Asthma" here in Toronto: TEAM ASTHMA BLOG.

I admit I am not very diligent at using my inhalers properly, but lately, especially with the epic cold spell ["f u, polar vortex"], I have been had to use them in order to stay healthy. I actually need the bloody thing - just last week, in the middle of a heinously difficult swim set at the pool, I ended up on the side of the pool barely able to get a breath down, and without the puffer I carry with me, that could have been ugly..
Anyway, last week before my 3000m race on the indoor track, I took a couple of puffs as per my doctor's directions - only to have a guy beside comment "hey - isn't that cheating...?".

My first reaction was:

 But, all I said was "Ya, 'cause I really feel the need to suck back meds in order to take the massive - MASSIVE! - cash prize at the end of the race". Oh, wait - there is NOTHING awarded at these races (and for what it is worth, regardless of what is on the line at each race, aside from hoping to race my best...I WOULD NEVER USE A PED!! Maybe a little blue pill when I am old and grey but that is a different blog - haha).  
But his comment did get me thinking about whether people actually understand what an "asthma puffer" does, or, does not do. So, to that end, I write this blog for the guy whose snarky aside left me, pardon the pun, huffing and puffing:

Q: Will using an asthma inhaler make you a better athlete? Some athletes believe the answer is yes — but science says no.
The asthma medications of interest in terms of performance are the bronchodilators (such as salbutamol, albuterol and formoterol), which open closed airways and relieve the symptoms of asthma, including shortness of breath and wheezing. However, some athletes obtain bronchodilators for off-label use, believing the medications will further relax the muscle linings of their healthy lungs and provide an advantage over other competitors.Such logic is fallible, says Dr. Michael Koehle, a sports medicine researcher with the University of British Columbia. In a 2012 study performed by Koehle’s team, cyclists were given either salbutamol or a placebo inhaler before performing two 10-kilometer time trials. Though lung function did improve in the salbutamol group, it did not have any effect on time trial performance.“Numerous studies from a variety of research groups (including ours) can show no definite advantage for these medications,” says Koehle. A 2011 review of 26 studies on asthma inhalers found that the medications did not improve “endurance, strength or sprint performance in healthy athletes.”
sucking air after the Binbrook triathlon 2013

What’s more, the off-label use of bronchodilators can come as a cost — side effects such as tremor, palpitations, and jitteriness can derail an athlete’s training or racing efforts. Overuse of these medications in asthmatics may also, under certain circumstances, render them less effective when they are needed. As inhalers are a delivery system that can be used for the administration of a variety of drugs, it is important for asthmatics utilizing an inhaler to check the status of their medication on the WADA Prohibited List. Some medications administered by inhaler are prohibited, some are not, and some are considered threshold medications on the WADA Prohibited list, which means they are allowed in certain quantities, but prohibited in excess of that quantity. If an athlete has a legitimate medical need to take a prohibited medication, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) may be requested, which, if granted, allows them to take the medication in a therapeutic dose.“A substance or method will be considered for the WADA Prohibited list if it meets at least two of three criteria: It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance, it represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete, and/or it violates the spirit of sport,” according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The independent organization is responsible for managing the anti-doping program including testing, results management, education and scientific initiatives, for all U.S. athletes in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and ParaPan American sports, including USA Triathlon.

So - bottom line? If an athlete has asthma, see your doctor and don't worry about a puffer giving you an unfair advantage; in fact, to the contrary, it may even save your life. And to the fellow athlete who questions your use of meds (and thus, implicitly, your integrity)? Just take them down hard at the line.

see ya on the track
Mellow Johnny

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Old Runners and Great Knees

I donneed no stinkin' draft...
So, I have run a couple of indoor track meets so far this year - racing 3000m on the boards is like returning to an old, but fierce, friend - and while I am definitely not dropping down times like I used to a few years back, I am still having a blast.
And yet when "non jock" peers (as in like 99% of those I work with) hear about our crazy exploits, one of the first things I tend to be asked, aside from "are you nuts?" is: doesn't running wreck your knees?
I hate that question - and this is generally what I hear when "over the hill desk jockey's" start blathering about the horror and evil of running, doing Ironman, etc:
 blah blah blah blah 
                             However, in the interests of continuing on my Zen like path to enlightenment, I will answer their query as best I can:to wit [more law jargon - it always adds to the general high brow tone of The Blog]: Is there any scientific study to substantiate the claim that older people (over 45) should limit high impact exercises such as jogging, sprinting, etc.?

Much of the recent science about high-impact exercise by “older people” like me — I prefer the term “seasoned,” by the way — reaches the opposite conclusion, suggesting that in many cases high-impact exercise can be beneficial for those middle aged and beyond. A seminal 2003 study of people aged 30 to past 70, for instance, found that while sedentary adults lost about 10 percent of their maximal endurance capacity every decade, young and middle-aged athletes who regularly engaged in intense and high-impact exercise, such as running intervals, experienced a much slower decline, losing only about 5 percent of their capacity per decade until age 70, when the loss of capacity accelerated for everyone.
There is also little evidence to support the widespread belief that high-impact exercise speeds the onset of arthritis. In a 2013 study, adult runners, including many aged 45 or older, had a lower incidence of knee osteoarthritis and hip replacement than age-matched walkers, with the adults who accumulated the most mileage over the course of seven years having the lowest risk, possibly, the study’s author speculated, because running improved the health of joint cartilage and kept them lean as they aged. Similarly, a 2006 review of studies about jogging and joints concluded that “long-distance running does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees and hips for healthy people who have no other counter-indications for this kind of physical activity,” and “might even have a protective effect against joint degeneration.”
my home running turf
                   Running and similar high-impact activities likewise have a salutary effect on bone density, wrote Dr. Michael Joyner, an exercise physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and an expert on aging athletes, of whom he is one. Over all, he concluded, he is “skeptical” of the idea that older people should avoid high-impact activities. “A lot of concerns about age-appropriate exercise modalities have turned out to be more speculative than real over the years,” he said, adding that during his research and personal workouts, he’s seen many seasoned adults pounding the pavement without ill effects.
So, no excuses; as the dreaded corporate hydra Nike once sagely adverted: Just Do It.

see ya on the boards,
Mellow Johnny

Thursday, January 23, 2014

the Death of a Running Legend: Chris Chataway

Chris Chataway, the British runner who helped Roger Bannister achieve 
the first sub-four-minute mile, then broke world records himself and 
became a member of Parliament and a cabinet minister, died last
Sunday in London. He was 82.

Chataway was best known for helping Bannister, 
his fellow Oxford graduate and good friend, 
break the supposedly unbreakable barrier in the mile. 
For months, Bannister, Chataway and Chris Brasher 
trained together to prepare for the attempt.
It came on May 6, 1954, at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, 
an hour outside London. According to plan, Brasher, 
a steeplechaser, led for the first two of the four laps. 
Chataway, primarily a 5,000-meter runner, led for the third 
lap and a little beyond. With 300 yards to go, Bannister 
raced past and finished in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, 
an achievement that made the front pages of newspapers
 around the world.
The three ran a victory lap together, and Bannister 
subsequently said many times, “We had done it, the three of us.”
                 Chataway congratulating Bannister on the 1st sub 4 min mile
While Bannister’s record was monumental, it was also fragile. 
In June that year, John Landy of Australia lowered it to 3:58.0 
in Turku, Finland. He gave much credit to the runner who 
pressed him for most of the race — Chris Chataway.
That summer, Chataway set a world record of 13:51.6 for 
the 5,000 meters. In a 10-day period a year later, he set 
world records of 13:27.2 and 13:23.2 for three miles. He also
 ran a mile in 3:59.8.

Chataway was not as successful in the Olympics. In 1952 
in Helsinki, Finland, he was leading on the last lap of the 
5,000 meters, fell back to second, tripped on a curb alongside 
the track and fell and finished fifth. In 1956 in Melbourne, 
Australia, he finished 11th. After that, he retired as a runner.
For years, Chataway was unhappy with the path the Olympics 
had taken, and what he saw as a shift from the Olympic ideals. 
In 1959, he wrote in The New York Times Magazine:

“Are the Olympic Games a force for good or ill in international 
relations? The answer is probably that they are not much of 
a force at all. They are worthwhile for what they are: 
the best sports meetings in the world.”

“In my experience,” he added, “the average athlete does not run, 
jump or throw for the greater glory of his country. He does 
it to satisfy himself, to meet his own competitive urges, to prove 
something to nobody but himself. My motive force was purely 
personal, never patriotic.”
Chataway started running again in his late 50s. At 64, he ran a 5:48 
mile on the Iffley Road track, his first race there since Bannister’s 
sub-four-minute mile. John Hartley, Chataway’s television 
colleague, said Chataway had told him that as he stood on 
the starting line this time, he calculated that in the 41 years 
between those two miles, he had absorbed 400 pounds 
of tobacco and 7,000-plus liters of wine.

Chataway, Bannister and Brasher remained close until 
Brasher died in 2003. In 2004, at age 73, Chataway ran a 
10-kilometer race in 49:08. The race was the Chris Brasher Memorial.
The starter was Bannister.

January 19th: a sad for running...
see ya on the roads, Chris.