January 13, 2013
To read last week’s Weekly Recap, click here.
This week we try to put Mary Cain’s 9:02 in perspective, praise Mark McGwire and rip Lance as we get ready for Oprah, catch up with Mo Farah & David Rudisha hanging out in Kenya, talk about the fastest marathoners that have never won in history and get words of wisdom from Sheila Reid and Ryan Vail and Andrew Wheating. Plus we wonder why more pros don’t do x-country?
Last week we said runners we weird. Apparently everyone thinks so – in fact the general population thinks we apparently are scary as a result, as shown by this story:
We guess we see why it happened. It’s pretty logical actually. A 4th grader sees some guy in a ski mask outside in freezing cold temps and assumes the worst as they think, “Why in the hell would anyone be outside right now?” In reality, it’s some 45-year-old making sure he gets his mileage in.
Putting Mary Cain’s 9:02.10 In Perspective
Last week, the performance of note from a media/significance standpoint was high school junior Mary Cain‘s 9:02.10 3,000 that she ran at the University of Washington meet to shatter the US high school record. When we recapped that performance by the Alberto Salazar-coached Cain, we tried to put in context for you. In an article entitled, “Mary Cain Runs 9:02.10 For 3,000 – Arguably The Greatest Distance Performance In High School History,” we wrote the following:
“Cain’s 9:02.10 converts to 9:45.47 for 2 miles and 9:41.96 for 3,200 – well below the fastest times ever recorded at those distances by a high schooler indoors or out. The fastest 2 mile ever run by a high school girl came when Fairchild ran her 9:17.7 3k as she kept going and ran 9:55.92 for 2 miles back in 1995. The fastest 3,200 ever run came outdoors when Kim Mortensen ran 9:48.59. In terms of the mile, according to LetsRun.com coaching stats guru John Kellogg, Cain’s time today is the equivalent of a 4:30.78 mile and 4:10.72 1,500. Cain is the US high school record holder outdoors as she ran 4:11.01 in placing sixth at World Juniors last year.”
What we wrote is true but we feel a bit bad about our headline as it’s a bit misleading. When we said ”arguably the greatest distance performance in high school history,” we were catering to our American-based audience. It should have technically read “in American high school history” as it’s a far cry from the best worldwide.
Now admittedly, when it comes to age group world records, many people are often skeptical as African birth dates are often less than 100% reliable. But that’s not what we are talking about it in this case.
Consider this stat. As good as Cain’s US record is, do you have any clue as to what South African/Brit Zola Budd ran at age 16 – the same age as Cain?
Go ahead and guess.
At 17, Budd was even better as she ran 8:37.5 and 15:01.86 for 5,000. So basically Cain needs to be able to run a 5,000 at the same pace she’s running 3k right now to be as good as Budd was in high school. Wow.
In terms of junior world records (19 and under), Budd holds the 3,000 record at 8:28.83. The 5,000? Good luck on that one. Tirunesh Dibaba ran 14:30.88 at age 18.
Japan Running News’ Brett Larner has pointed out to us that the Japanese high school 3,000 record is way better than the US’s – 8:52.33 by Yuriko Kobayashi from 2005.
Kobayahi’s PR today? The now 24-year-old has run 8:51.85. Let’s hope Cain continues to improve.
Of course, US boys face it even tougher. The world junior records for 3,000 is 7:28.78 (Augustine Choge) and 12:47.53 for 5,000 (Hagos Gebrhiwet – 2012).
More: *LRC Mary Cain Runs 9:02.10 For 3,000 – Arguably The Greatest Distance Performance In High School History
*MB *Not so fast Mary Cain – Japanese HS jr runs 9:06 3k *Cain 9:02!!! *Mary Cain 9:02!!! *How many boys state 3200/2 mile can mary cain win? *NOW what do you think about a Baxter-Cain face-off at 3200 / 2-mile? Hmmmm?
Not All Drug Cheats Are The Same/A Role Model For Lance Armstrong
Using PEDs is wrong and shameful. But we’ve always felt that not all drug cheats are created equal. How they react when caught makes a big difference to us. We wish all cheats, and particularly Lance Armstrong, was more like former baseball slugger Mark McGwire.
When McGwire cheated, there were no steroid tests. He could have easily gone to Congress and lied under oath about alleged PED use as Lance did in his deposition. Instead, he did not lie. You can read a transcript of his Congressional testimony from 2005 here.
Then, afterwards, he didn’t go to Oprah’s couch and try to regain the public’s admiration like Marion Jones (and Lance this week). Instead, he quietly retreated to life as a batting coach.
And now, he’s quietly admitted what he did and shown real remorse as the following McGwire quote from Sports Illustrated shows.
“It’s a mistake that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I have to deal with never, ever getting into the Hall of Fame. I totally understand and totally respect their opinion and I will never, ever push it. That is the way it’s going to be and I can live with that.”
“One of the hardest things I had to do this year was sit down with my 9- and 10-year-old boys and tell them what dad did. That was a really hard thing to do but I did it. They understood as much as a 9- or 10-year old could. It’s just something, if any ball player ever came up to me, run away from it. It’s not good. Run away from it.”
McGwire didn’t also hire lobbyists to get Congress to try to stop investigations of him and he never had the gall to tape a Nike commercial saying he didn’t dope or say that he couldn’t possibly dope as he’d never risk his body, being a cancer survivor.
One other thing McGwire didn’t do – he didn’t attack those who came after him or “incinerate them” as USADA head Travis Tygart said so perfectly last week on the debut episode of 60 Minutes Sports.
Yet Another Reason Why Lance Armstrong’s No Positive Test Claim Is Meaningless
If you want to get ready for the Oprah/Lance fest, we recommend you watch the debut episode of 60 Minute Sports which aired for the first time last week as it really does a nice thing of putting the whole Lance mess in perspective. If you missed it initially like us, you can probably find it On Demand (that’s where we found it on Comcast). If you can’t watch the whole show, you can watch 3 minutes of it here on CBS.
Tygart said something on the show that was stunning, but many people probably didn’t hear about it as the interview was overshadowed by the announcement that Lance was going to be appearing on Oprah.
As Velo News’ Shane Stokes wrote:
(Tygart) said that (Martial) Saugy (the head of the Lausanne drug testing laboratory) met with Armstrong after the rider’s suspicious test for EPO during the 2001 Tour de Suisse, which he won.
“Saugy sat down next to me and said, ‘Travis, in fact, there were samples from Lance Armstrong that indicated EPO use,’” Tygart said during the programme.
“And I asked him ‘Did you give Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel [Armstrong's then manager on the US Postal Service team - ed.] the keys to defeat the EPO test?’ And he nodded his head yes.”
“As far as we are aware it is totally inappropriate to bring an athlete who had a suspicious test and explain to them how the test works.”
So there you have it. Lance was allegedly told how to beat by the EPO test by the testers themselves. If that doesn’t outrage you, then realize to try to keep US testers in his good graces, Tygart also confirmed last week that Lance offered them $250,000 in 2004.
Lance Armstrong’s Victims
Last week, we came across a piece we loved from former pro cyclist Matt DeCanio, who was once fired from pro cycling for posting anti-doping articles on the Internet. His incredibly raw piece does an incredible job of explaining how Lance crushed the dreams of those who dared to tell the truth. Lance ruined some people’s lives and yet he may now be confessing out of the hope that he’ll be allowed to compete in triathlons. What gall. As DeCanio wrote:
Lance has promoted himself as the man who has lived strongest. But in reality he has never lived real, and living real is the hardest thing to do in this world. Never has Lance had to wash dishes, cleaning up maggots, while watching the Tour de France on T.V. seeing all of the faces who have slandered, oppressed, and put him in this position of hard labor as I have. Lance has never had the feeling of not being able to live his dreams, maybe only slightly now with him losing his ability to race triathlons.
I will promise you one thing if Lance really knew how hard the lives have been of those he has affected within the sport and the turmoil he has caused amongst us he would he would be writing a direct apology letter to each and all of us. But Lance is so far self absorbed into the legend he truly believes he is that he is no closer to doing that than winning me back as a fan.
If Lance does confess, DeCanio hopes people don’t fall for it:
Regardless if Lance does finally admit to doping, nobody should respect him. Nobody should give him the applause, because he needs to feel the dead silence of no cheers. He needs to understand that his attempt to lead the entire next generation of cyclists into a life of doping, cheating, fraud, and corruption is over. His power over the industry to destroy brands of anti-doping supporters, careers, and to play God in our sport is over. Just as many great dictators of the world have fallen, Lance has fallen. He does not deserve a hand to get back up. He deserves to be punished.
He is not a champion and never was. A true champion will deny the cheat codes of the game and will defeat those who use the cheat codes. It simply does not count when you cheat, because your accomplishments are not real.
We said that Lance ruined lives.
Well, while he definitely destroyed a slew of people financially, he didn’t ruin everyone’s spirit. Last week, in looking for some Armstrong info, we came across an informative piece written by The Guardian’s Kim Willsher in October on former French pro Christophe Bassons aka “Mr. Clean.” The Mr Clean nickname was well deserved, as when the Festina team went down at the 1998 Tour de France in a doping scandal, it came out he was the one cyclist on the team who had refused to dope. The next year, if the Tour had been clean, maybe the sport could have gone in the correct direction, but instead 1999 was the first of Lance’s TDF drug-induced titles. And in the middle of the 1999 Tour de France, Bassons could tell by Armstrong’s performance was too good to be true and he said to the media he was “shocked” by what Armstrong was accomplishing. The result? Armstrong flipped out and had the gall to tell Bassons to “go home” as Armstrong said the following at the time: “His accusations aren’t good for cycling, for his team, for me, for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he’s wrong and he would be better off going home.”
As for Bassons, he was soon ostracized from the sport – teammates wouldn’t share prize money with him. But he’s now a 38-year-old professor at the French ministry of sport who spends a lot of time helping the anti-doping fight. Is he bitter? Far from it. As Bassons told The Observer in October:
“I don’t feel bitter at all. I think if you were to compare the situations today of both Lance Armstrong and myself you might ask who is the happiest, who is the most content, who feels the best about themselves and what they did? I certainly don’t have any regrets. Lance Armstrong cannot be feeling very comfortable today.”
*Matt DeCanio’s Lance Armstrong Oprah Show Official Comment
*Mr Clean Christophe Bassons “not bitter” towards Lance Armstrong
*The Guardian: Ten Questions That Oprah Winfrey Should Ask Lance #2 is key in our book.
*Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey analyzes why Lance is going on Oprah *WSJ’s Jason Gay: “What Lance Wants From Oprah”
As we type this on Monday morning, it seems as if Oprah and Lance aren’t the only ones getting ready for their interview, as lots of publications have pieces out this morning on Lance. Anyone see the irony in the mention of Justin Gatlin in this excerpt from the New York Times on the Livestrong foundation and how Lance used it and his fight against cancer to enrich himself?
In 2004, the foundation’s fortunes increased drastically, and almost overnight, with the introduction of the yellow wristbands emblazoned with the word Livestrong, an idea developed by Nike. As Armstrong won his sixth Tour that July, nearly every rider wore the yellow wristband. The next month at the Olympics in Athens, the American sprinter Justin Gatlin won a gold medal wearing one. By 9 a.m. the next day, more than 300,000 wristbands were sold on the foundation’s Web site. By the end of the year, the foundation had earned $26 million from wristband sales.
Stat Of The Week/More Doping News
Major league baseball announced last week that they will start doing random in-season HGH testing. The fact that the union agreed to that shows the tide is turning. Management and players are finally realizing that a clean game is in everyone’s best interest.
The HGH testing grabbed the headlines but there was a buried detail in baseball’s new drug policy that might be even more significant. The LA Times says the new drug policy ”includes a more rigorous protocol for detecting synthetic testosterone.” That is huge.
We’ve always said athletes in all sports should welcome drug tests with open arms and it seems as if people are finally realizing this.
Stringent drug tests aren’t an unwarranted invasion of privacy – they are something that is necessary to keep players from feeling pressured to cheat because “everyone else is” and they are something that is necessary to keep the statistics meaningful. And statistics in baseball (and track) are a key part of the sport’s appeal – or at least they are supposed to be. There isn’t a whole baseball can do with the fact that many of it’s most hallowed numbers have been made meaningless thanks to the steroid era just as there isn’t a whole lot track and field can do with the fact that many of its world records are drug-induced (other than maybe just erase them and start over, which is an idea we kind of like).
50-plus homers in a season is something that is supposed to be special, not something common.
Here is a stat for you.
From 1920 until 1994, a 50 home run season had only been done 18 times in history.
From 1995 to 2010, it was accomplished 24 times.
Someone Remind Us, Why Don’t More Pros Do Cross-Country?
We got emailed a great picture – two actually – from LRC visitor Keith McClure, who attended the 2013 Bupa Edinburgh Great Cross-Country meet a few weeks ago. We forgot to put it in last week so we are sharing it this week.
The picture pretty much says our feelings 100%. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words:
Don’t those guys look like they are having fun? We know there is little money in it as the shoe contracts aren’t really tied to it, but cross-country should be a big deal. If cross-country can’t be made part of the Winter Olympics, we really think the 10k should be booted from the Olympics and replaced with XC. The 10,000 in the modern era is so boring. In cross, people don’t wait around until the last 20th of the race to go to the lead. They do it from the start.
We know one guy who had fun in Scotland – Bobby Mack. Here is a picture of him winning the individual title.
Photo Of The Week
While the photos above are fantastic, they aren’t our Photo of the Week. While most of our American audience was freezing its butt off last week, gold medallists Mo Farah and David Rudisha seemingly were enjoying the sun in Kenya.
A 2:05:25 Guy Finally Wins
The Houston half and full marathons were held last week. And we loved this stat that came out of it thanks to Ken Nakamura.
The winner of the men’s marathon in Houston was Ethiopian Bazu Worku, who ran 2:10:17 in awful conditions to pick up his first career win in 9 career marathons, meaning that Worku is no longer one of the fastest men in history with multiple marathon starts who have never won a race.
Imagine being a 2:05:25 guy and yet you are 0 for 8 for your career. But that was the case for Worku.
Worku’s career marathons according to Nakamura:
13 Jan 2013
28 Oct 2012
10 June 2012
22 Apr 2012
27 Jan 2012
WC – Daegu
4 Sept 2011
26 Sept 2010
30 May 2010
5 Apr 2009
The fastest man with multiple starts without a win? That’s Ethiopia’s Dino Sefar.
Dino Sefar (four marathon starts without a win)
Olympic Games – London
12 Aug 2012
27 Jan 2012
29 May 2011
12 Dec 2010
#2 is Kenya’s Jonathan Maiyo (five marathon starts without a win)
30 Sept 2012
14 Apr 2012
27 Jan 2012
9 Oct 2011
21 Jan 2011
11 Apr 2010
16 Jan 2009
7 Dec 2008
19 Oct 2008
28 Sept 2008
2 Dec 2007
15 Apr 2007
Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto is the fastest man on the planet without a win. His losing streak is only one race long – as he’s only run one marathon – but Kimetto did run 2:04:16 to get 2nd in Berlin this year.
*LRC Ethiopians Feyisa Lilesa And Mamitu Daska Win 2013 Aramco Houston Half Marathon The performance of the day belonged to Daska, who was dominant on US soil just as she was in all of 2012. Shadrack Biwott (62:23) and Lisa Uhl (73:28) were the top Americans as Luke Puskedra and Aaron Braun also broke 63.
*LRC Bazuk Worku (2:10:17) And Merima Mohammed (2:23:27) Win 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon Titles
Weekly Free Training Advice – Don’t Focus Solely On Running
Ever dreamed you could just quit your job or school and just run. “Imagine how fast I’d be,” you think.
Not so fast. Whenever we see a collegiate athlete complaining about having to balance running and school, we often think, “Don’t complain too much. The structure of college is good for people.”
We were reminded of this thought last week when we finally got around to reading a nice article that came out at the end of 2012 on former Stanford runner and 1997 US Marathon champ (2:14:38) and now medical doctor Dave Scudamore in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. Somehow, the article never showed up on the homepage in the holiday madness but it’s a good read.
Anyway, Dave took one year off between undergrad and medical school to focus on running but didn’t race well. As he said:
“I took one year off between graduating from Stanford and going to medical school. That was the year where I was definitely in the best shape of my life because I was concentrated solely on running. Yet I didn’t race really well. In retrospect, being forced to balance between school and athletics was good for me. The pressure of racing when it was my sole activity might not have suited me well.”
The fact of the matter is being a full-time pro can be a lonely existence. One can only run for about 2 hours a day (that’s 120 miles a week). Even with drills and plyos and massages and naps, that’s about 4-5 hours total. What are you going to do the rest of the time? It’s easy to push it and overtrain. Occupy yourself with something else. When we were just training, we occupied ourselves by starting this website.
Now don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying training isn’t important. We don’t want you to become like Asafa Powell, who thinks he’s going to PR in 2013 by not training: “When I ran the world record, I wasn’t training much. When I don’t train much, I stay healthy, and this year I was training a lot, that’s why I got hurt.”
Anyway, the article on Scudamore is a good one. After stopping elite level competition, he found it hard to get back into racing as he knew he’d never PR but he’s recently been able to put his ego aside and enjoy racing again as a Master.
“After nearly a decade away from serious racing, I rediscovered the fun in racing, even when I couldn’t approach the kind of times I had run more than a decade ago. I think I just finally gave myself permission to have fun with it and not worry too much about the kind of times I had run in the past. This probably inadvertently led me to the point of being a half-decent masters runner.”
Quote Of The Week I (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“After two years of them (the high school track coaches) kind of hounding me, I finally took their words of advice and gave it a shot. It was a tough decision at that time in my life – especially in HS when you are 16, you are not too popular being the kid on the cross country team. You have to give your letterman’s jacket and you can’t wear the football jersey around school any more. As silly as it sounds, it was a pretty hard time for a 16 year to decide between being popular and cool and being on the football team and doing what I thought I could be at and what i really was good at in the end. But once i really did commit myself to that sport, I started to love it.”
- 27:51 man and 2:11 marathoner Ryan Vail on his decision to become a runner when he was 16.
The quote comes a great 10 minute video documentary produced by Bryan Tosh on Vail and the less than glamorous life of a professional runner. Definitely our Video of the Week. Warning, a few people have found the video to be a bit dry – well, that’s the whole reason we loved it. Distance running is a patient man’s (or woman’s) game.
More: MB Discussion On Documentary: A Very Well Done Documentary On Ryan Vail On The Life Of A Professional Runner
Quote Of The Week II (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“While the race (a 15th place our of 18, 15:27 Olympic semifinal) should have been totally discouraging because I was absolutely hammered in the last 1000 (the winner of the heat ran 15:01), I still came out of it – and whether this is totally delusional or not, I don’t know – with the idea that in four years, this is really doable. And probably not in the 5-K. I’m really hoping to focus more on the 1500, at least for this outdoor season. But I wasn’t totally smacked down [by the London showing]. I felt like if I really did get a good block of training behind me and do everything right, there’s no reason why I can’t be up there in the future.”
- Former NCAA star Sheila Reid talking to Runner’s World as she enters her first full season as a pro. She’s switched coaches from Villanova woman’s coach Gina Procacccio to men’s coach Marcus O’Sullivan and wisely plans to focus on the 1,500, not the 5,000. A smart move in our minds as long as doesn’t totally abandon her 5,000 training. Remember, strength = speed, just ask Jenny Simpson.
Quote Of The Week III (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“When your gold medal-world record holding friend tells you that you’re more than capable of Olympic gold, your fire gets a little bit bigger.”
- US 1,500/800 man Andrew Wheating via twitter. We assume his gold medal friend is Ashton Eaton.
*PJ Browne On Depression & SFH: A Woman I Used To Know – Suzy Favor Hamilton
Other News Of Note
*Guilty: Men’s 100m Bottle Thrower Is Convicted
*Clemson’s Brianna Rollins Breaks Collegiate 60 Hurdles Record
*All NCAA Results
*LRC Cas Loxsom Is Back!!! – 1:46.98 Opener The 2010 World Junior silver medallist opened up his senior campaign in fine form.
*Upset About Treatment On A ”Human, Personal Level” By Cuban Officials, Dayron Robles Will Sit Out All Of 2013 In Protest
Quotes Of The Day From The Week & 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 11/26: “This is a big year for athletics for we have the world championships in Moscow in August. I will be competing in both my events, the 800m and the 1,500m, and my goal is to run the 1,500m in under 3:30 and 800m in under 1:43. I want to settle for nothing short of gold in both these events.”
- Olympic 1,500 champ Tawfiq Makhloufi.
Sunday 11/25: “Cain’s 9:02.10 converts to 9:45.47 for 2 miles and 9:41.96 for 3,200 – well below the fastest times ever recorded at those distances by a high schooler indoors or out. The fastest 2 mile ever run by a high school girl came when Fairchild ran her 9:17.7 3k as she kept going and ran 9:55.92 for 2 miles back in 1995. The fastest 3,200 ever run came outdoors when Kim Mortensen ran 9:48.59.”
- LRC writing about American high school sensation Mary Cain.
Saturday 11/24: “That just blew my mind. I can’t imagine running that much. From what I hear he’s running 3 times a day. That goes to show training is so individual. How many amazing coaches would look and that and go ‘Cam you are pscyho crazy?’ And they’d be wrong as he had a great year last year, huge breakthroughs. It’s working for him. My hat’s off to him. He inspires me. That’s why I started following him on twitter. I feel like I’m training hard and I’m not doing nearly that kind of training.”
- Ryan Hall talking about Cam Levins and his maybe not-so-crazy 190-mile weeks. Hall is following Levins on Twitter; are you?
Friday 1/11: “I feel confident I could still run marathons in 2:09 or 2:10 but I can’t do the intensity of training that I was able to do seven or eight years ago. I also have to be realistic, those times are not going to get me into the top three of the best marathons these days…However, I will always run, I love the sport. I would like to thank the man most responsible for my success, Patrick Sang, who coached me throughout my career and adidas, who supported me for many years.
- Former 15k world record holder Felix Limo annoucing his retirement at age 32. After taking down Haile G at 15k in 2001, Limo went on to be the argauably best marathoner in the world for a short while as he won Rotterdam, Berlin, Chicago and London from 2004 to 2006.
Thursday 1/10: “I still go out and put the work in. I have a routine I stick with for my drills, my weight training, my stretching. But I did take a day off recently. I only had an hour and a half to run the other day and I needed an hour and 45 minutes to go through my stretching and drills before and after the run, so I’d rather not cut it short. A lot of people will say, ‘Go the extra mile,’ but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and take a day off. And when was the last time I took a day off?”
- Meb Keflezighi, talking about how his training regime has changed as he has gotten older. Talking about Boston 2013, he has said, “As I come towards the end of my running career, there are still a few goals I want to achieve; winning the Boston Marathon is one of them … I hope the third time is the charm!”
Wednesday 1/9: “This is my job. It’s not about, ‘I don’t feel like running today’ because everyone doesn’t feel like going to work today. So I just say, ‘This is better than a 9 to 5. Get out there and do your work today. This is going to work. Just get out there and do it.’”
- 2:11 marathoner Ryan Vail, talking about his life as a professional runner in a 10 minute, very well done documentary.
Tuesday 1/8: “At nine miles my joints just kind of felt achy, more than anything. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to keep trying to push it’ because I was still on PR pace. Through halfway, I was right on PR pace, and then the next K was a little bit slower, and I was already bonking. I just felt terrible and pulled off then and sat down. And actually Jo Pavey went by me, and she was like, ‘I’m hurting.’ And I’m hurting, too. And she’d been running with Serena Burla, so I jumped back in and was like, ‘I can get you back to Serena.’ But then she said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish either.’ Then I sat back down again. And then Adriana [Nelson] passed me, and she was like, ‘You’ve got to run back.’ So I got up and [Nelson and I] ran back to the hotel together.”
“I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. I knew I wasn’t going to finish this race. What do I do? So I sat down and then started walking. It was really weird. I’ve never been in that situation before.”
- US 10,000m Olympian Amy Hastings, talking about her experience dropping out of the Yokohama Marathon back in November.