February 6, 2015
To read last week’s Weekly Recap, click here.
4 Quick Thoughts
We’ll start with 4 quick thoughts on some action from last week. Each of the 4 probably deserve their own big section, but
a significant portion of the LetsRun.com staff works Rojo lives in Baltimore. Not only did he lose 35 minutes of productivity as a result of the Super Bowl power outage but a whole day was lost on Tuesday going to a Super Bowl parade. And Monday was a day of recovery after celebrating Sunday night. So without further ado:
1. How great was it that Chris Derrick, a guy who ran 13:19 and 27:31 in college but never won an NCAA title, won the 2013 US cross-country title in his first race as a sponsored pro? O for college but 1 for 1 as a pro. Even in HS, Derrick wasn’t able to win a big one. He did win the NXN but was runner-up at Foot Locker and was overshadowed by German Fernandez in track.
2. How great was it to see 8-time USA XC champ Deena Kastor finish third at USAs at age 39 in her first appearance at US cross country since 2007 and learn that she is planning on running world cross-country even though it’s the weekend after the LA marathon, which she is running?
3. Robby Andrews fans likely are feeling a lot better this week than last week. A week ago, he runs 4:11 in the mile. This week he almost breaks the American record in the 1,000, showing there is nothing to worry about. Which one is the real Andrews? The latter. Definitely.
4. The half marathon victory last week by Stephen Kiprotich, the Olympic marathon champ, in Spain in a new PR of 61:15 shows he won’t be a one-hit wonder. Admittedly in the year 2013, it would be extremely hard to be a one-hit wonder if you are the Olympic marathon champ, as you have to do so many things right to get that point, but it’s good to know that he’s back in training, seemingly motivated, healthy and in relatively good shape.
Clearly, he hasn’t let the fame associated with winning the Olympics go to his head. Of course a cynic would say the real test isn’t what he does now but maybe what he does next year after he’s enjoyed two big marathon appearance fees.
More: *LRC Shalane Flanagan Wins 2013 Women’s US Cross-Country Championships
*LRC Chris Derrick!?! – National Champion!
*Olympic Marathon Champ Stephen Kiprotich Wins Granollers Half Marathon 1:01:15
*LRC Robby Andrews Just Misses American Indoor 1,000 Mark
Anti-Doping Thought Of The Week
ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote a great piece on PEDs last week for his Grantland site. In it, Simmonds basically touched on the same theme we did last week in our Week That Was – he explained why it’s perfectly okay and actually necessary to wonder whether person x or person y might be on drugs.
Read this excerpt where he asks himself should it be okay for a journalist to speculate whether Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson might be on drugs:
“I say yes. I say he’s a professional athlete, living in a world in which dozens and dozens of guys either cheat and get caught or cheat and don’t get caught, playing a sport with lax drug-testing rules. THAT’S PART OF SPORTS NOW! We pretend it isn’t, but it is. What are we hiding from? Who are we protecting? What’s the difference between wondering if Peterson had help with his comeback and wondering if he’s going to break Dickerson’s record? Either way, we’re just speculating, right? Well, that’s what we do! That’s the whole point of this show! WE SPECULATE ON STUFF!!!!!!!”
Late on in the article, Simmons comes up with a term for an action that we’ve actually been doing since the very beginning of LetsRun.com but didn’t have a name for: PED Profiling.
One looks at athlete’s action and if they do certain things, they automatically are put into the “Pee in a Cup” category and must try to prove to Simmons they are clean. The first two actions that make you end up in this category for Simmons were the two actions that made us convinced that Regina Jacobs was a cheater way before she ever tested positive.
• Skip the Olympics (which has much stricter drug testing) in your prime for any dubious reason and you’re on the list.
• Enjoy your best season in years in your late 30s, four or five years after your last “best season,” and you’re on the list.
Check out Simmonds’ piece, we thought it was fantastic. There also was a message board discussion about the piece.
Oh yeah, one thing we learned in the piece that is almost laughable. In the NBA, you are only tested 4 times per season so once you receive test #4 you are basically free to cheat as you please and the players know it.
Photo Of The Week
In last week’s recap, we talked about the 5 sub-2:05s that were run in Dubai. And then we got a great photo that was was sent to us by Germany’s Prof. Dr. Helmut Winter, who was in Dubai for the marathon. For you visual learners out there, it puts a picture out there for you as to what five sub-2:05s looks like in actuality.
Video Of The Week/If Only Oregon Track & Field Was This Popular In The US
Check out the 35,000 strong that showed up for the victory parade to watch Nittai University celebrate its first Hakone Ekiden win in Japan. Meanwhile, in the US, even an Oregon Duck is lucky to get a few handfuls of people to celebrate a XC title.
Stat Of The Week
9:22.42 – pace that the rabbit, Jamaica’s 40-year-old Mardrea Hyman, rabbited Tirunesh Dibaba through just more than 1k (2:58 for 1018.69 meters) of the 2-mile in Saturday’s 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
9:10.50 – the meet record time of Meseret Defar that Dibaba wanted to break.
9:13.17 – actual finishing time that Dibaba ended up with after being slowed down by the rabbit.
It sort of amazes us that meet management thought that getting Hyman, who is up there in age and last broke the equivalent of 4:30 in the mile way back in 2005, to rabbit was going to be sufficient.
And Dibaba was justifiably not thrilled afterwards as she told the IAAF:
“I thought the pacemaker would go faster than this. but, actually, that didn’t happen. I could have run faster.”
Of course, we can’t be too critical. There were probably only 3-4 women racing in Boston who currently possess the fitness and experience to be able to pace Dibaba, say, through a mile in 4:35 – as remember the rabbit has to do it all alone from the front.
Don’t believe us? Well then we’ll leave you with these numbers.
4:36.58 – pace per mile that Tirunesh Dibaba averaged on Saturday.
4:39.23 – winning time of women’s mile on Saturday.
Yes, we know the mile was tactical but to rabbit a 4:35, you probably need to be in sub-4:30 shape and the winning time in the mile when Mary Cain set her high school record in the mile in New York of 4:32.78 the week before was only 4:31.61.
Mary Cain’s Greatness
Since we mentioned Mary Cain, we’ll reluctantly talk about her fantastic 9:38.68 2 mile from last week.
We say reluctantly as, given the past records of US prep phenoms, we just don’t think pumping up the exploits of high school girls is a smart and wise thing to do.
After all, the women whose records she has been breaking of late – Melody Fairchild, Kim Mortensen, Debbie Heald – made a grand total of zero Olympic teams during their careers.
For every successful teen phenom that goes on to stardom as pro, like Marion Jones and Mary Decker (Oh wait, both of them were hit with drug bans. No, we don’t think they were doping in high school but perhaps the fact they turned to drugs shows the pressure teen phenoms face), there is probably at least two stories of someone like Caitlin Chock, a 15:52 5,000 runner who once moved into Alberto Salazar’s house, but never was able to do anything after her prep days.
We aren’t saying Cain isn’t the real deal. She has a beautiful stride, seems to have no anorexia/bulimia rumors associated with her, does not seem to be neurotic and seems to really be having fun, but we are just telling everyone we think it’s wise if fans don’t go overboard here. It’s in everyone’s best interest if we all remain cautiously optimistic as to what the future holds.
Now that we got the long disclaimer out there, we will stay three things about her run.
1) It was fantastic – definitely the best distance performance ever run by a US high school girl – as it equates to 8:55* for 3k and 4:06* for 1,500.
2) The way she ran and competed, moving up through the field from the back of the pack, was brilliant. Of course, we are reminded that Alan Webb, who has consistently been ripped for being a terrible tactitioner as a pro, was absolutely brilliant when he ran with the pros as a high schooler and ran 3:53 at Pre.
3) As great as it was, we’ll remind you what we told you early last month. The equivalent Japanese HS record is even better – 8:52.33 for 3,000 by Yuriko Kobayashi from 2005. More importantly, it must be remembered that Zola Budd ran 8:39 for 3k at the same age as Cain – 16.
But honestly, the more we think about Cain, the more we go back and just feel embarrassed about the way America and Mary Slaney treated Budd back at the 1984 Olympics after Slaney went down after colliding with Budd.
We know it’s hard for people to put themselves in another’s shoes but try to imagine this. Imagine next year is an Olympic year. And Mary Cain makes the team at age 17. And she collides with a gold medal favorite mid-race and the stadium proceeds to unleash a chorus of boos mid-race on the 17-year-old Cain. Then, after the race is completed, the 17-year-old Cain tries to do the right thing shyly approach the gold medal favorite to say she’s sorry only to be told “Don’t bother.”
That’s exactly how the 17-year-old Budd was treated by the American crowd and Slaney in 1984.
More: ESPN’s 72nd most-memorable sporting moment of last 25 years: 72: Decker’s gold medal dreams tripped up at ’84 Olympics
*The Guardian: 50 stunning Olympic moments No30: Zola Budd’s rise and fall in 1984
*A list of track and field age group records as compiled by Dominique Eisold.
Quote Of The Week I (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“It may be hard for anyone born after 1960 to believe, but runners in those days were regarded as eccentric at best, subversive and dangerous at worst.”
– Kenny Moore writing in “Bowerman and the Men of Oregon.”
The quote appeared last week in a great column by Eugene Register Guard columnist Bob Welsh, who talked about how jogging in the US celebrated its 50th birthday last week as Oregon coach brought it back from New Zealand 50 years ago after talking to the great Arthur Lydiard.
It’s hard for many to fathom but the idea of jogging for fitness was a foreign concept to basically everyone in the world 50 + years ago. How people didn’t realize instinctively it was good for you is beyond us, but it’s true. Conversely, people used to think smoking was good for them as well.
Welsh’s article really is a great read, so check it out below.
Quote Of The Week II (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“It was as if Americans Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein lined up to go head-to-head at Grandma’s Marathon.”
– Japan Running News’ Brett Larner describing the 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, which took place on Sunday and featured two Japanese aces -LetsRun’s unsponsored favorite Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto, who was 6th at the Olympics.
While we’d say it’s a bit more like Ritz vs. Hall, the race certainly lived up to the hype as both runners PRed with Kawauchi only vanquishing his rival with a sixth surge (2:08:15 vs. 2:08:35). What a great battle – a Japanese version of the Duel in the Sun.
Quote Of The Week III (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“Looking back (at the 10,000 Olympic final) I should have gone earlier. With 300 meters to go is when Mo began pulling away. I started to go around the two Ethiopians (the Bekele brothers, Kenenisa and Tariku), but said, ‘just wait’ instead. I’m not saying I would have won the race, but if I’d committed it would have given me a better chance. You have to be 100% committed when you race. Half-ass moves just get you in trouble.”
– A great quote from Galen Rupp to Toni Reavis as Rupp enjoyed a ham sandwich for lunch prior to the New Balance Indoor Games.
We’ve been wondering the last few weeks if Galen might be able to move ahead of Mo Farah this year after having so far enjoyed zero success against him just like he did last year with Bernard Lagat (whom he’d lost to 12 straight times before the 5,000 at the 2012 US Olympic Trials).
Two things we’ve been thinking about related to that:
1) We’ve thought that Rupp having the belief that he could do it is huge. Having it be your teammate who likely consistently has edged you every day in practice makes it hard, but this quote shows Rupp believes it’s possible.
2) Could Farah’s post-Olympic celebration of sorts give Rupp another leg up?
Farah has been enjoying a post-Olympic celebration and is admittedly behind Rupp right now in fitness. When we watched the video of them working out last year, Rupp was very close to Farah. When Farah returns, if Rupp starts beating him regularly in practice for the first time simply because Farah started later well that would be a huge mental boost as well.
As for Rupp’s race last week in Boston, our thoughts are simple: He ran 7:33 for 3,000, which is very good. There is no shock that he lost. In fact, there would have been a lot of shock if he had won as it would mean he might be currently the best runner on the planet at the 3,000-10,000 distance.
As we said going into the race, if we knew the Ethiopians were in top shape going into the race (and we didn’t know that as neither had raced this year), we’d have to pick both of them over Rupp on paper as they ran 12:46 and 12:47 for 5,000 and were better 5,000 meter runners than Rupp and this race was even shorter than that.
Quote Of The Week IV (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“I am sorry for having overstepped the bounds of my authority regardless of what the reason may have been,” and “I will reflect deeply on what I have done and give my word that I will not repeat these actions.”
– Excerpt from a signed pledge by a 50-year-old coach in Japan at Toyokawa Kogyo High School who was being reprimanded for using corporal punishment on some of his runners. The statement came six months before he allegedly “beat male team members in the head with a deck brush seriously enough for them to require stitches” according to Japan Running News Report.
Quote Of The Week V (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“This is the first year I’ve come to New Zealand without starting from scratch on Christmas Day. It’s always seemed I’ve had injuries in October, November and December.”
“This time, I’ve got four months of a really good foundation and mileage under me. The endurance and the strength is really quite good now.”
– 2008 Olympic 1,500 silver medallist Nick Willis talking optimistically about 2013. The former Michigan star has in large part enjoyed two fantastic seasons the last two years save for two races – the 2011 World Champs final where he was last and the 2012 Olympics where he was 9th. Willis won Olympic silver in 2008 with a 3:32.17 PR but has run 3:31.79 and 3:30.35 the last two years.
The 29-year-old, who turns 30 in April, has started 2013 off with three wins in the Southern Hemisphere so far this year.
*Nick Willis Has Going Sub-4 On A Grass Track At Christchurch Meet On His “Bucket-List”
*Nick Willis wins his second New Zealand 3,000 metres title
*Video Of Nick Willis’ Early Season 3:58 Mile He Ran On January 22
*Nick Willis Wins Cooks Classic Mile In NZ In 3:58.09; Will Run A 3k On Jan 25
Quote Of The Week VI (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“It seems like a pacer can avoid that situation (of where a gap opens up) entirely if they go out conservatively the first 100-150 meters. When a gap forms between the pacer and the first runner at the beginning of a race the athlete must make a decision on what they want to do. And by my logic from the first question, if the runners have to spend time thinking about the pacer then the rabbit isn’t doing their job right from the start. What I’ll do is go out with everyone for 100+ meters and worry about getting to the lead about 150m into the race. More often than not in an 800m race I will hit the break point in 2nd or 3rd place and then move to the front with no gap happening.”
– Matt Scherer explaining to speedendurance.com why he’s the best rabbit in the business. For years, we’ve never understood how meet management allows poor rabbiting to happen. It should be nearly 100% spot on and it seems to be at like 50%.
Scherer did an excellent job pacing the mile on Saturday at the New Balance Indoor Games for about 850 meters. That being said, being the sole rabbit for a mile may not be his strong suit as he’s more of a 400/800 guy and lacks the ability to get to 1k.
Quote Of The Week VII (that wasn’t quote of the day)
“I am the first man to get in trouble for allegedly having sex with his wife.”
– Former world champion at 100 meters, Kim Collins, who is still irate that he was sent home from the London Games for allegedly having a conjugal visit with his wife. Making Collins’ punishment all the more mysterious is he was Saint Kitts and Nevis’s flag bearer and he claims officials were aware of his visit to his wife.
More: Kim Collins Still Irate He Got Kicked Out Of Olympics For Being With His Wife
Quotes Of The Day & 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 2/4: “I was hurting but I did not want to run a slow tactical race. I fell little short of my goal of 2:07, but I am happy to run faster than Hiroyuki Horibata’s time in Fukuoka (2:08:24). After 21 Marathon runs, I can now say with confidence how fun Marathon running can be.”
– Japan civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi talking about his PR and win after an epic battle with Olympic Marathon 6th placer Kentaro Nakamoto at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. *Japan Running News’ Brett Larner gives a great recap here. *MB: Discuss
Sunday 2/3: “It feels good. I knew from my training I had a chance. I grow a lot of confidence from my coach’s (Jerry Schumacher) confidence. He said I didn’t need to do anything special. Jerry told me I was fit and to go for it.”
– The undefeated professional Chris Derrick, who in his first race as a sponsored pro won the 2013 US cross-country title, after going 0 for college.
Saturday 2/2: “Since I became a full-time pacer a couple years ago I’ve adopted a different mentality when I’m on the track. I see myself as out there hired to do a specific job for the meet director and for the athletes. My job is to eliminate as many variables as I can for the other athletes. If they don’t have to worry about pace being on or breaking the wind they can focus more on the things that matter to them and thus perform better. If they all have to wonder whether or not I was going to step off the track or not, I don’t think I’d get many more jobs.”
“People have often brought up the Tom Byers Olso race to me and asked that question. I feel like Byers was using pacing as a way to get into races and prove himself as an athlete. I’m nowhere near in the same league as the Aman’s, Kaki’s, and Rudisha’s that I’ve been pacing for. In my mind I took my shot at stardom in the 2008 Olympic Trials and did my best. I don’t have any regrets about my competitive career and so don’t mind at all dropping out of the races I get to pace.”
– Professional rabbit Matt Scherer after being asked if he ever feels good enough to finish races after leading them out as the pacer as American Tom Byers famously did at the 1981 Oslo meet, where he led as a rabbit then went on to win.
Friday 2/1: “Galen won a few races last year, but he lost most of them. He still feels he has unfinished business. He can get better. He’s very, very hungry. He’s even more motivated than last year. At this level you can’t rest on your laurels. Too many other people are working hard. They aren’t just going to give it to you.”
“I think Galen realizes how close he is right now. Every little thing matters. Every little bit of rest. Galen always has been disciplined, but right now he is leading a very Spartan life. Well, he’s living in a nice house. But all he does is run, rest and spend time with his wife. He’s either training or recovering 24 hours a day. In everything he does I’ve noticed an increased intensity and discipline.”
– Alberto Salazar talking about Galen Rupp‘s motivation in 2013, which he says rather than waning after winning an Olympic silver medal, is greater than ever.
Thursday 1/31: “The record wasn’t even on my mind. This was my rust-buster race of the year. I was definitely eyeing the record for Millrose, but not my first race. The whole idea was to go after the American record at Millrose, now it might be the world record.”
– Duane Solomon talking about unexpectedly setting the American 600m record last weekend in Glasgow and how he may go for the WR at Millrose.
Wednesday 1/30: “I think he’s ready to run a great 3K. His workouts have been incredible. I’ve seen him do workouts I’ve never seen or heard of before, so I knew he was ready to run a real fast mile.”
– Alberto Salazar talking big about Galen Rupp, who will be running the 3,000 at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday night in Boston. A victory is far from assured, however, as Rupp will be facing 12:46 man and Olympic 5,000 silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, who smoked Mo Farah two years ago in Boston with only one shoe on.
Tuesday 1/29: “Cross country is racing in its purest form and it always brings me back to the pure love of competition. I don’t look at the clock and check my splits or worry about the weather. You get out there and just go, trying to push it to the max. I have had some battle royals with great runners as well as some total blow outs and that excitement is something I love. The strategy in cross country is so much more than on the track or road. On the track you just try not to get dropped and kick at the end. One the road you can focus on time and splits. But in cross country things can change all the time, and you need to know your body and be ready mentally prepared to run on your own. It doesn’t matter if you have dropped everyone or you are being dropped, you have to be able to push yourself.”
– Dathan Ritzenhein blogging about why he loves cross-country and his excitement for the upcoming US Cross-Country Championships. We wish more pros would be like Ritz and Deena Kastor and race XC.