The Week That Was In Running: January 9-16, 2012

Instead Of Looking Back, We Use Last Week's Action To Cause Us To Look Ahead To The 2016 US Olympic Trials Marathon

January 19, 2012

Most of the last week was focused on getting ready for and then recapping the 2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon. We hope by now you've read our Analysis Of The Women's Olympic Trials Marathon or our Men's Marathon Trials Analysis And Reaction.

However, a few other things happened in the world of running. So we start by reminding you of those events first (without any analysis) in case you didn't see them before we fall back into more US Olympic Trials Marathon talk. Only this time, we focus on the 2016 Trials, not the 2012 Trials, as we name names and give you 5 leading early contenders for the 2016 Olympic marathon team. Then we return with 5 parting thoughts on the 2012 Trials, plus our Road Race Of The Month, our Email Of The Week and more, including a plea to Dathan Ritzenhein to not give up on the marathon quite yet.

Non- US Olympic Trials News Of Note From The Last Week

Double World 5k/10k Champ Vivian Cheruiyot Loses
Vivian's Win Streak Comes To An End: Linet Masai Crushes Cheruiyot In Seville XC
Vivian's last loss was in a XC race to Masai in Nairobi a year ago. *Yahoo Photos From Seville

Luke Puskedra Runs Fast
Luke Puskedra Runs 1:01:36 Half Marathon Debut As Feyisa Lilesa Picks Up $17,500 With 59:26 Course Record
The Oregon Duck's half marathon debut was super-impressive on a day where all 4 course records were broken in Houston (Tariku Jufar 2:06:51, Alemitu Abera 2:23:14 and Belaynesh Oljira 1:08:26 outkicking Boston Champ Caroline Kilel). Recap and interview with Puskedra on his decision to try a half in the college season.
More: *Puskedra Interview *Scott Bauhs Interview *All Four Records Broken In Houston

Martin Fagan Tests Positive
Martin Fagan Comes Clean On EPO Positive
Ian O'Riordan of the Irish Times has two lengthy articles on Fagan admitting to EPO use after testing positive. The longer one has more of the facts and Fagan claims the first time he ever injected himself with EPO was in December while training in Tucson, Arizona and that very same day is the day he was selected for a random test. The second article "Injecting myself, thinking this is how the junkie feels" focuses more on Fagan's emotional state and how he says thoughts of suicide and financial pressure drove him to EPO. The top link is to the thread discussing all of this.

More Drug News:
Officially, Gert Thys Is Not A Drug Cheat
The 4th man ever under 2:07 gets his conviction reversed nearly six years later because the same technician tested his A & B samples.

Fast 1ks
Previously Unknown PSU Freshman Robby Creese Sets Collegiate Record & Destroys US Jr. Record In 1,000
Running in the 1st individual race of his collegiate career, Robby Creese, who came into the meet with modest PRs of 1:54.00, 4:10 and 9:17, went through 800 in 1:51 and slammed home a 28 to get the CR by running 2:19.53. In the process, he obliterated Robby Andrews' old American JR record of 2:22.28. Unbelievable. Also PSU's 1:45 man Casimir Loxsom bettered his own school record in the 600 by running 1:16:66. *Creese Bio *MB Discussion: Creese's Record Run *PSU Mid D Training
More 1k News: *Canada's Taylor Milne Runs 2:20 1,000m, World-Leading Time On Janauary 7th

Alan Webb News
Ray Flynn Says Alan Webb Is Happy & Healthy With Vig
*Alan Webb Talks For 11 Minutes After His 1:55 800

More Transfer News (We Have No Idea Why Small Schools Allow Themselves To Be Feeders To The BCS Programs)
MSU's Patrick Casey Transfers To Oklahoma *Discuss

A Crushed Simon Bairu Fails To Qualify For Canadian Olympic Marathon Team, Will Turn Focus To Track Nice article from Canadian Running Magazine. Wejo's not sure he has ever seen an athlete as emotionally disappointed after a race as Simon was.

Lukas Verzbicas Drops Out of His Olympic Distance Triathlon Debut

Nick Symmonds' Arm Tattoo Goes For $11,100

The 5 Most Likely Members Of The 2016 US Olympic Men's Marathon Team

Predicting a race 4 years away isn't easy, but we do our best by giving you the five men and women we think are most likely to represent the US in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics.

If the Trials showed us anything this year, it's that talent wins out and PRs matter, as the people with the four best marathon PRs went 1-4 in the men's Trials. For the women, it was more of the same, as the top four finishers all were ranked in the top 5 on marathon times that came within the qualification window.

Ranked In Order of Most Likely To Least Likely To Make The Team

1. Galen Rupp - The 26:48/60:30 performer will (we predict) be a seasoned marathoner by the time 2016 rolls around. People should realize he will by no means be a youngster, as he'll be 30 when the 2016 Games take place.

2. Ryan Hall - The fastest American in history over the 26.2 distance won't be young either, but at age 33 by 2016, he's liable to have at least a few good marathoning years left. If he makes it, he'll be the first 3-time US Olympic marathoner on the men's side.

3. Dathan Ritzenhein - We know Ritz is frustrated by the marathon but he just PRed in Houston after going out in a very ambitious 63:25 - after missing 6 months of running earlier in the year. That was by no means a horrible performance. And although Ritz was frustrated with the marathon in general immediately after the race, Wejo talked to him 24 hours after the race and Ritz said he still intends to run the marathon in the future but with it not being the sole focus of each year. The full 24 minute interview is here if you want to watch it, but we plan on recapping it by Saturday.

Ritz should look to South Africa's Hendrick Ramaala for inspiration. Ramaala was once viewed as a guy who, despite great success at shorter events (27:29 10,000, 59:20 half marathon and 2 world half silvers), could never truly figure out the marathon.

Ramaala's first six marathons were similar to Ritz's in that he has just one sub-2:10 and one sub-2:11 to his name.

Hendrick Ramaala's 1st Six Marathons
2:09:43 - 5th London 2000
2:16:19 - 12th OG 2000
2:12:02 - 9th London 2001
2:11:18 - 5th New York 2001
2:10:06 - 6th Paris 2002
2:17:10- 14th New York 2002

Dathan Ritzenhein's 1st Six Marathons
2:14:01 - 11th New York 2006
2:11:07 - 2nd US OT New York 2007
2:11:59 - 9th OG Beijing 2008
2:10:00 - 11th London 2009
2:12:33 - 8th New York 2010
2:09:55 - 4th OT Houston 2012

Well, Ramaala went on to break 2:09 in his 7th marathon (2:08:58 in London). But it wasn't until his 11th career marathon that Ramaala finally came through in a truly big way when he won New York in 2004. In his 14th career marathon, Ramaala ran his PR - a 2:06:55 at London 2006 at age 34. And as recently as his 22nd career marathon (London 2009), Ramaala was still running under 2:08.

Ritz will only be 33 years old at the 2016 Olympics.

4. Luke Puskedra - The collegian ran a 61:36 half marathon in Houston last week. He'll be 25 or 26 depending on when the Trials are in 2016.

5. Chris Derrick - We view the 13:29/28:26 Stanford senior as a slightly better talent than Puskedra, but who knows if Derrick even has a proclivity or desire for the marathon? Puskedra clearly does because he ran the impressive half last week. Derrick will be very young in 2016, as he just turned 21 in October, so there's a higher likelihood he'll still be trying to run the 10,000.

Others To Consider (In No Particular Order):
We know there are others who deserve mention, like top 15 Trials finishers Fernando Cabada, Jimmy Grabow and Patrick Rizzo, who all ran sub-2:14 while being under the age of 30, but the point of this exercise was to come up with our 5 leading contenders. Plus we didn't even look at Tim Nelson or Andrew Carlson. In looking for our top five, we came up with four names very easily and then started putting in random names into to see who we liked at #5. Then we remembered that we had ignored Ritz simply because Ritz had seemingly lost faith in himself. Ritz may have lost the faith, but not us.

Ryan Vail - 25-year-old impressed with a 2:12:43 for 12th in his debut in Houston. His 5,000 and 10,000 PRs of 13:32 and 27:57 (faster than Bill Rodgers ever ran) make us think he could be a 2:09 (or better?) guy eventually.

Scott Bauhs - The 13:28/27:48 performer skipped the Trials to run the half in Houston. His 61:30 at age 25 is pretty impressive.

Brett Gotcher - With a 2:10 and 2:11 to his credit, Gotcher is a proven marathoner. He'll be 31 in 2016. The problem is he is basically a 28-flat guy who so far can't seem to beat the 27:30 guys on their best days.

Nick Arciniaga - The 28-year-old has run three 2:11s. Very consistent, just overmatched by superior talent. It will take an awful lot of luck (bad races or non-starts from several favorites on the same day) to make the next Olympic team as a 2:11 guy.

Chris Barnicle - The 24-year-old 13:36/28:10 performer is a real talent who seems to be motivated after underachieving at Arkansas. Working with Renato Canova. Has run 62:43.

Ian Burrell - 13:45/28:41 performer ran 2:14:03 in his debut in Houston at age 26.

Ricky Flynn - Former DIII champ impressed with 12th place showing at Trials in 2:13:41 in his debut. Problem is he's got a 29:21 10,000 PR as of now, so he's giving up about 2 minutes to some of the others in the 10k.

Bobby Curtis - While dabbling on the roads, the 27:24 guy has run 61:52 for the half and 2:16:44 for the full. He'll be 31 in 2016.

The 5 Most Likely Members Of The 2016 US Olympic Women's Marathon Team

Coming up with the women's top 5 was very easy. Just take the top 4 finishers from 2012 and add in one more member. The only thing that makes this hard is figuring out who might or might not be out due to a pregnancy.

1 Shalane Flanagan - She'll only be 34 in 2016.
2 Desiree Davila - She'll only be 32 in 2016
3. Amy Hastings -
The 27-year-old was the youngest of the top 4 finishers at the 2012 Trials (she turns 28 on Jan. 21st). Unless she makes the 2012 team on the track, she'll be the hungriest in 2016 after finishing 4th this year.
4. Lisa Uhl - The 24-year-old has PRs of 14:55 and 31:08 and is the training partner of both Flanagan and Goucher.
5. Kara Goucher - She'll be 37 in 2016. Yes, 37 is starting to get up there, but not if she's motivated.

5 More US Olympic Trials Thoughts

1. The LetsRun community may have been shocked that Ryan Hall lost, but we weren't.

Heading into the marathon, Ryan's wife talked about how Hall was a different man now that he'd left the Mammoth TC and Hall talked very confidently about his training. However, considering that was founded at high altitude, one thing which made us very nervous was that Hall didn't train at altitude or live at altitude, as altitude can make a big difference for altitude responders.

Thus, we thought it was crazy that Hall had more than 20x as many first place votes as anyone else in the field except for Ritzenhein (12.5 times more) and we wrote: "Hall is a 21-1 favorite in the LRC picks. Now that's crazy. Stupid stuff happens in a marathon. No one in the world wins a high-caliber marathon 21 out of 22 times." We thought Hall might be vulnerable; however, we picked the wrong upset winner.

Hall's 2:09:30 race without rabbits was by no means a bad race. But properly-timed altitude living/training alone could turn that into a 2:08:00 race.

2. The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away
It was hard not to sort of chuckle when we hear Ryan Hall say the wind started to bother him at the Trials. After the 2011 Boston marathon, which was incredibly wind-aided, so many in the sport were unwilling to admit the huge role the wind had in the fast times at Boston. As wind analyst John Kellogg says, "When you have the wind at your back, you don't often realize how much it's helping, but when it's in your face, you certainly know how much it's hurting."

3. The Trials Was The First Of 7 Career Marathons Where Desiree Davila Didn't Set A New Marathon PR
The streak was glorious while it lasted. Davila started out with a 2:44 in 2007 before getting down to 2:22 (wind-aided, of course) in Boston. The 2:25 she ran at the Trials was actually the 2nd-fastest of her career.

4. USATF's online mile-by-mile tracking of all of the runners was a great idea that was horribly implemented.
The site crashed midway through the race, so the runners couldn't be tracked online. But when it was working, it was glorious and it's what every elite marathon should do.

The men's mile-by-mile splits are now back online and thus you can see what your favorite runner ran for each mile of the race. You get every mile split as well as how much they moved up or down on that mile. The only thing you seemingly can't get is all 26 miles listed at once. You have to look mile-by-mile.

The women's mile-by-mile splits are still missing.

5. Ever Wonder Happens If You Just Run With The Leaders For As Long As Possible?
Former Air Force runner Sean Houseworth went into the Trials with a 63:12 half marathon PR. That didn't stop him in running with the lead chase pack for basically as long as possible. He went through 13.1 in about 63:40 and as late as mile 18 was in 5th place. On mile 19, he lost 7 places as he ran a 5:22 mile. Mile 20 was a 5:46. Now considering he'd lost 43 seconds per mile in just two miles, the last 10km stood to be exponential - a real bear. Remember, some have claimed that a marathon doesn't really start until mile 20. But we'll never know how bad it would have been, as after that, he dropped out of the race.

We wonder if Houseworth's plan was to just run 20 miles with the lead group. Anyone know? Email us. (Editor's Update: Flotrack has emailed us and let us know they have done a post-race interview with Houseworth and it was clear he was really going for it. "I thought I was gong to do something special. I thought I really had a chance to make it." Running Times has also emailed to say the following about Houseworth, "He said plain and simple that the distance got him. He was feeling good, feeling good, bam, out. He wasn't too discouraged; he had no original plans of doing the Trials (RnR Las Vegas was his qualifier), so, just like many track guys (his heart is still in the 10,000m), he was doing it for the experience.)

Road Race Of The Month: These Photos Us Make Us Want To Train Even In January In Upstate New York

Tired of your local boring road race? Well, read this and get your butt to the Netherlands for next year.

One of the best parts of working on is reading the LRC email inbox each morning, as very interesting things come in there.

Last week, we got an email encouraging us to look at the "beautiful aerial photos of the PWN Egmond Half Marathon," which runs along the North Sea in the Netherlands. To be truthful, we get a lot of press releases from races which often seem to exaggerate things to a great degree, but boy are we glad we clicked on the link.

The race truly looks spectacular. See for yourself.

PWN Egmond Half Marathon

Now this isn't some local fun run. It's a huge race with 12,500 entrants each year and an elite professional field.

And the crazy thing is how fast the elites can run on the course, which features one loop through "the coastal village Egmond aan Zee, 7 km across the beach and 9 km through woods and dunes."

Guess what the men's winning time was this year ...

60:46 thanks to Dawit Wolde's course record run on January 9th (fellow Ethiopian Meseret Haily won this year's women's race in 1:11:18). That's ridiculous - 60:46 and most of the race isn't on the road? Truly incredible.

After looking at the incredible aerial race photos, we wrote the race organizers and asked for more info on the race. They sent along an old press release and we loved how it didn't shy away from the fact that the race can be a challenge.

      Challenging sports event along the North Sea coastline
      PWN Egmond Half Marathon

      On January 8th thousands of sports enthusiasts come to the Dutch coastal town Egmond aan Zee to participate in the PWN Egmond Half Marathon. These spectacular event, with his course along the beach and through the dunes, attract yearly 12,500 runners. Among them hundreds of athletes from countries like Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland and Norway.

      Participatingin Egmond aan Zee is a real challenge. Each year, the beach, the wind and the weather determine the course. Many cold, stormy races are still fresh in every participant's memory. Of course sunny, almost spring-like editions can be remembered too. Always, however, the beach plays first fiddle.

      The PWN Egmond Half Marathon celebrates this year its 40 year anniversary. With an attractive anniversary program the organization pays extra attention to the illustrious history of this winter classic, whose first edition took place in 1973. The PWN Egmond Half Marathon is the toughest 21.1 km in Holland, because of the loose sand, the rolling dunes, the low temperatures and strong winds. The race consists of one round through the coastal village Egmond aan Zee, 7 km across the beach and 9 km through woods and dunes. Thanks to this unique variety, the PWN Egmond Half Marathon is always an enormous success.

More: *Race Website *Race Photos *Ethiopia's Dawit Wolde Runs 60:46 In Debut To Break CR At Egmond Half Marathon

NRR: Email Of The Week

Since in the previous section we were talking about emails, we thought we'd share our Email of The Week. Admittedly, this email has nothing to do with running, but it does prove that we get a lot of interesting emails each week.

The email talks about the writer's current FreeCell win streak.

"My current streak, which is still ongoing, is 3454. I have played 7919 games and won 7913 of them. All six of the losses were caused by technical circumstances. It has taken up to four days to solve one game and a number of games have taken three days.

    J.K Corson, Wedowee, AL."]

Initially, we couldn't figure out why we received the email but then we found a 5-year-old message board thread entitled: Post your best FreeCell streak.

And the more, we think about it, the post does have something to do with running. One of our favorite saying about training is, "The human body is capable of doing some truly amazing things." Many HS kids think they are training so hard at 40 mpw and yet there are pros that consistently run at least 3 times that much. Don't limit yourself!!!

Quotes Of The Week (That Weren't Quotes Of The Day)

#1 From A Disillusioned Former Lance Armstrong Supporter

"Who wants to support a foundation that was founded by a cheater? Not only a cheater, but a person who lied about it."

- Michael Birdsong, a former LIVESTRONG supporter, now disillusioned, talking in an Outside magazine piece on Lance Armstrong's charitable organization LIVESTRONG. The article is billed as an exposé of sorts of questionable dealings by the charity, but in our minds largely comes up short on that front. But Birdsong's quote says it all in our opinion.

#2 - Ryan Hall Talking About How His Fame Extends Worldwide

"One of my Kenyan buddies told me, 'You're famous in Kenya. You're the white guy everyone knows about.'"

- Hall talking in a pre-Olympic Trials USA Today feature.

#3 The 2009 Boston Marathon Champ Talks About The Hardship He Had To Overcome To Rise To The Top

"I woke up before 6am for training and would go on an empty stomach, train hard and then go to school for the whole day without eating. I would then go to the farm to tend to the cattle and might not eat until later in the evening. I tried to go to school, but I could not. It became a choice between training and school and I chose training."

- Deriba Merga talking in an IAAF piece where it talks about his upcoming clash with 3-time London and 2-time New York champion Martin Lel at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 27th.

Recommended Reads

*NY Times Article On Australia's LJer Mitchell Watt, Who Quit Track For 5 Years But Came Back And Got 2nd At The World Champs Apparently he was convinced to keep competing by a "12 page email" from his coach.
*Some Updates From Paula Radcliffe She talks about training in Kenya with Mo Farah, her thoughts on the 2012 Olympic Marathon, and having to miss her daughter's birthday. She says, "My gut tells me it's going to be a good year. I guess your gut only knows so much. So we'll see. But I'm feeling good. I'm feeling strong."

Quotes Of The Day From The Week And Last Week's Homepages:

Note: To see a particular day's homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date on the left. The quote's hyperlink will take you to that particular article - not that day's homepage.

Monday 1/16: "When the camera's not watching, when the newspapers are not there, we work very hard at what we do. It's not easy ... there are so many obstacles as distance runners that we face ... We work very, very hard at what we do. When the opportunities come, you take them ... If you believe and work hard and do the right thing, (then) God has a good plan."

- 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials champion Meb Keflezighi with words that ring true for every distance runner. Maybe it's all time we read Meb's book. It's actually free for Kindle owners with Amazon prime membership right now.

Sunday 1/15: "When the camera's not watching, when the newspapers are not there, we work very hard at what we do. It's not easy...there are so many obstacles as distance runners that we face... We work very, very hard at what we do. When the opportunities come, you take them... If you believe and work hard and do the right thing, (then) God has a good plan"

- 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials champion Meb Keflezighi with words that ring true for every distance runner. Maybe it's all time we read Meb's book. It's actually free for Kindle owners with Amazon prime membership right now.

Saturday 1/14: "The training's gone well, I have nothing to lose and I'm here to make the Olympic team."

- Brian Olinger and ??? percent of the men and women toeing the line in Saturday's Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston.

Friday 1/13: "All Dathan's training has gone great, and he's one-hundred percent healthy. He's trained as well as he ever has under me, and we're very optimistic at this point about his race. We're both feeling relaxed and very confident that he's in good shape. God willing, he'll run a great race on Saturday."

- Alberto Salazar talking to Amby Burfoot in a RW article about Dathan Ritzenhein's chances for Saturday's race. Remember, in 2009, Ritz ran 12:56 for 5,000 and 60:00 for 13.1 (bronze medal) under Salazar. If this quote is true, watch out. Even though Hall is the #1 favorite and by a 38-1 margin over Ritz, we are a bit concerned Hall hasn't been training at altitude for this marathon and have shockingly picked Ritz to win in the Official 2012 LRC Predictions as a result.

Thursday 1/12: "People hear that I'm going to the Olympic trials, and they're like, 'Oh, you can make it in the top three!'" Chin said. "And I'm like, 'No, no. It's really pretty hard.' And they're like, 'You never know!' But I know."

- 2012 US Olympic Trials qualifier and 2:44 marathoner Kelly Chin talking in a WSJ article entitled 'Racing With No Chance of Winning.' Qualifying is a huge accomplishment, but in our OT preview, we state that only five (maybe six) women in the field of 223 female qualifiers have a chance.

Wednesday 1/11: "I wanted to be held more accountable. Alberto was taking on some big time athletes and has to travel a lot more than he used to, so I was by myself quite a bit, and it was just Adam and me (laughs). I could slack a little bit, or I could tell him, 'I was up all night with the baby.' He wasn't going tobe, 'No, Kara, suck it up.'"

"When I'm with a group of women, they don't care if I've been up all night. They're hitting the pace, and I'm going to get left behind if I don't have the pace."

"[Workouts are] mind-numbingly long. They go on for hours, and I want to kill myself ... I thought I was working as hard as anyone else, and I've learned that I haven't been."

- Kara Goucher talking about her move from Alberto Salazar to Jerry Schumacher's group and the differences in the training.

Tuesday 1/10: "It starts with a kind of hopeless commitment. No guarantee of where you'll end up. The 'hope' is atop the podium or on one of the two adjacent steps; but you could very well end up hovered over a porta john ..."

"... Total immersion in any race build-up, but particularly one with the gravitas of the Olympic Trails marathon, forces one to get in touch with a few key things, not all of them cheery and inspirational. Amidst the endless miles, the underlying fatigue and general grogginess there appear occasional moments of clarity about where commitment takes you in this sport."

- The start of Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Patrick Smyth's blog, where he talks about the reality of running for the majority of professional runners who make up the "'elite' within the not so 'elite' subset of American distance runners."


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