Tag Archive | dathan ritzenhein

2015 Boston Marathon – as a very wet spectator

Just click, it’s a crazy slideshow

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I’ve counted, and I’ve been to the Boston Marathon 5 times, 2 to race and 3 to spectate, including this past Monday. I think I’ll be in the spectating side next year too. As I was busy Sunday pacing the NYRR More Fitness Half Marathon, I didn’t decide to go up to Boston to cheer until the last minute… which means, after running 13.1, I slept a few hours and woke up at 5 to make it to Boston at 11 am. By 11:30 Lauren and I were at Mile 25, where we had planned to watch, and we merely caught the elite women by 2 minutes! Talk about perfect timing!!! Soon enough, we caught up with Daphne and we settled a bit before the Citgo sign, by the water station, it was empty there and we had a great visual, lots of space, and music. We saw the elite men go by and then the rest!!! We saw so many Whippets on the course (lots of them with sub3s), Carolina, who waved her arms telling me WTF, and then I’d get the same confused reaction from everyone on the course looking at me like who the hell are you? well, I was wearing 100 layers so I apologize that I confused you all!!! It was cold and rainy… what could I do?

I have to say, all morning I felt awful about the weather and wondered what would I have done if faced with that weather? It seemed AWFUL. It wasn’t just cold or wet.  It was 40s AND pouring rain, AND wind. WTF!!!!! For what I’ve been hearing since then, “it wasn’t as bad”, “it was better than it looked”, “I am sure it was worse for the spectators than us”, which makes me feel really good. And no, I have no idea what I would have done. Why worry with things I don’t have to deal with? Plus, many many friends had insanely huge PRs so maybe I’ll believe them that it wasn’t so bad…

It was a spectacle to see those runners right at Mile 25. Some looked really bad (HEY, Mile 25!!!!) but some people looked strong and happy. The disparity was insane. I also wondered for hours what would I have worn… why am I overthinking a race I didn’t do?!?!? I am weird. I am sure you’re too, so shut up.

We then walked all the way back to South Station, yes, from mile 25, like 3 miles, because the T was major chaos. I got my little backpack checked 72 times, which was amazing. The finish line area wasn’t crowded at all, it actually seemed really peaceful. The one other thing that I thought about that shocked me was this: every time I go cheer at a race I feel like a stooopid idiot that should have signed up and raced. Always. Always. I always feel race-envy when I am a spectator. I didn’t this time, at all. Maybe I am really over the marathon. Or maybe it was the dreadful weather. Nah.

Good job guys, I am SURE it was tough out there… and no matter what, training through this past winter earns you all the virtual PRs and BQs the course might not have brought, I say! GREAT JOB RUNNERS!!!!! ENJOY THE SPOILS!! (donuts?)



Running Drills for Better Form, Speed, Explosiveness, and Efficiency. DO IT.

Oh, YOU KNOW what I am talking about. Don’t ignore me! We all say, yes, of course and 98% of you don’t do them. Don’t give me that look. Stop it. You need to start doing it. Yes, I am looking at YOU. If you need me to tell you why you HAVE to do them, well… I don’t have the time. Here is the how, deal? Just trust me and you’ll thank me in 3 weeks. You will. Actually, send me a gift, you’ll want to!


I know why you don’t do them. You don’t know when, where, how, it looks stooopid, all of it. So I’ll make it easy for you.

WHEN: Lots of people do these as a warm up,to get the muscles ready and set good form, and definitely before short races. I like to do them on my easy runs (and before short races too), because when you run easy, your form tends to deteriorate more, so the drills help keep you on your toes (ha, pun intended!) and fixate good form. I also like that I have more time and energy to take this as a workout itself. Just make a conscious decision to start doing these, and when, and stick with it. Start with twice a week. It won’t take more than 7 to 10 minutes. Painless.

WHERE: The track is ideal, otherwise find a stretch of straight road (that’s better than sinewy/dirt), and bonus points if there is a line on the floor, but not that necessary. If you can be away from the masses, that’s great too so you won’t feel very self-conscious (that WILL go away! Probably…). I do these in Central Park, either on the main road on Engineers Gate before heading home or in any of the side paths if I feel like drills mid-run. Luckily, the park is big, and I am sure there’s more people doing drills, somewhere hidden, but I seldom see one. Maybe once a week I spot one. lame. Find a stretch you like, 50 to 100 meters is enough, done.

Then, you need to know WHAT you’ll be doing.

Here are a few videos with examples of lots of them.

Lauren Fleshman showing: carioca – high knee – b skip – butt kick – quick feet – russian dance

Dathan Ritzenhein showing: forward/backward arm circles – side skip arm circles – the ninja – a skips – b skips – high knees – butt kicks – fast leg / but kick – fast leg / b skip – karaoke – side shuffle – cross over step

Another one, if you are vicious: high knees, cross overs, backward running, carioca

Quick Steps

Here are a few lists with drills too, some of the same, some with explanations…

1, list of Run Drills

2, another list of drills

3, and another list

Now HOW on earth do we do these?

Pick ten you think you can handle, to start. Practice them in your apartment in front of the video.

Write yourself a little list, with the names, and a little explanation, in case you forget. For example, I did:

Bounding (Running tall, extend the push off phase and bound)

Karaoke (Sideways cross overs)

High Knee (bend knee up, skip). Clap under it.

Butt kicks (bring it UNDER the leg)

Straight Leg run (scissors/russian dance)

B-skips (leg up bent, then stretch out/kick, and pull back)

A-Skips (hop with high bent legs)

Run backwards

Running with hands on your head

Those are the ones I picked in the beginning. I printed the list, put clear tape of all over it so it wouldn’t get messed up with the sweat, and every time I’d go on a run, I’d bring the little cheat sheet with me. Eventually, the list lost the “explanations” part, got a little longer with extra drills, and then, after a while, I didn’t need the list anymore Make sure you do them slowly and focus on the form. Eventually you can do these 3 or 4 times a week. It’ll get really easy and become a part of your  routine, like, for example, putting your shorts on. Trust me, you will start doing them without thinking and you won’t feel so weird. Promise you’ll go and thank me later?


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