Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was March. 16-22, 2009
From Ryan Hall getting us excited about Boston to Kara Goucher confusing us as to what to think, we cover The Week That Was in running. Along the way, we talk about everything from the serious (A Japanese legend retiring) to the not-so-serious (the toilets on the Boston marathon course and the toilets on the Canadian XC team's flight to Amman, Jordan). And lastly, we end by giving you a posisible solution to the post-nuptial shutoff if it's afflicting you and you are a man.
Ryan Hall Training Update - Let's Get The Bandwagon Going Again
Well this week Running Times had a great interview of Hall that is full of great info. The good news is it's clear that there is no need for Hall fans to panic. Hall eased everyone's fears by saying succinctly, "
In some ways, Hall's training may be better than ever, as he said he's had more marathon specific work than in the past. Normally he said he'd do a couple of 12 mile tempos runs and one 15 mile tempo run and this year he's already done two 15 milers and an 18 miler and he's still planning on doing another 18 miler and 15 miler prior to Boston.
In Hall's interview, he also gives our 1st Free Training Tip Of The Week.
It's clear that Hall has learned that if you are training to run a fast half marathon or 10k, you may lack the endurance needed to excel at 26.2. He cited 2009 NYC marathon winner Marilson Gomes dos Santos in support of this theory as dos Santos won this year in NYC after running 63:14 for the half at the world champs whereas the year before he finished 8th at New York after running 59:33 for the half at the world champs.
The Running Times piece is full of useful info and is a must-read in our mind. It's certainly got us excited about Boston again as it's clear Hall is happy with the way things have gone and most importantly seems to be in a confident frame of mind.
Oh yeah. One more thing. And while we're talking about Boston, apparently not the whole city gets excited for the marathon. This week we were made aware of something we'd never thought about before. Apparently, this time of year the homeowners near Heartbreak Hill are deluged with runners urinating (and we imagine far worse) on their property as they try to get in a last long run or two on the Boston course. The solution? How about a temporary porta-john that will be there between now and the race. The shoe company Saucony installed one last week and for that they deserve a Thumbs Up. Certainly our Good Deed of the Week and most clever expenditure of marketing money ever.
Unless you really get running, we can see how that would be hard to justify in some marketing meeting. We can see some marketing manager talking to some running nerd who came up with the idea, "Let me get this right, you want us to spend a few hundred bucks on a toilet that we are going to put in the middle of residential neighborhood?"
Race Of The Week - The Lisbon Half
And to support our point about Ryan Hall saying you don't necessarily want to be in tip top half shape as you are getting ready for a marathon, we want to point out that Lel didn't win either of his spring marathons in 2003 or 2006. He was 3rd in Boston in 2003 and 2nd in London in 2006.
Cheruyiot ended up 3rd in Lisbon 1:01:05. A very solid showing for him. Don't think the fact that he didn't win in Lisbon will make anything remotely easy for Ryan Hall in Boston. Cheruyiot has 6 times been on the podium in Lisbon but never actually won the race. Somehow he's managed to win Boston 4 times.
The big surprise was the faltering of the Olympic champion and half marathon world record holder Wanjiru, who only ran 61:25 - his 2nd straight half marathon over 61 minutes as he ran 61:13 for the win on February 1. What is wrong with Wanjiru? That is the question.
Could it be that he's paying the price for racing too much. Last year, his Japanese coach Koichi Morishita (1992 Olympic silver medallist for Japan) didn't even want him to run a spring marathon, as he told the IAAF
Wanjiru ended up running both London and the Olympics. The heavy race schedule may not have got up with him last year but no one is invincible - not even 22-year-olds. Last year, he raced 15 times, including 12 times at 10k or longer. Maybe he's paying for it now. Additionally, there was talk about Wanjiru moving his training base to Kenya from Japan. We're not sure if that's happened but that could be playing a role as well. We'll certainly find out in London in a few weeks.
On the women's side, expectations were very, very high for Kara Goucher as her coach Alberto Salazar did what coaches almost never do - he talked up her chances. "I wouldn't be surprised if she broke 66 (minutes), She is in so much better shape now (than when she ran her pb of 66:57), she easily is a minute faster."
In case you didn't realize it, the women's world record isso that's some serious bold talk.
And the result? Well, as is normally the case whenever something is hyped as a possible world record attempt ... disappointment. The conditions weren't ideal, a little warm and a little muggy, but Goucher was never on record pace. She was on American record pace for much of the race as she hit 15k in approximately
A Japanese Legend Retires
It's a bit ironic that while he's probably best known now as a marathoner, as his 2:06:16 national record there is most competitive on the world stage, Takaoka never competed in the Olympics in the marathon. He was 7th in the 5k at the 1996 Games and 7th in the 10k in the 2000 Games but missed out on the marathon in 2004 and 2008.
Takaoka is retiring at age 38 with very few regrets. "Since I started in junior high school I have been a runner for 26 years. There are dreams of mine which didn't come true, but I have always given everything to be competitive at the world level. I still think about 'Being in the Olympic Marathon,' but I know that I was able to set my [marathon] record because I stayed focused on getting as fast as I could on the track until I was 31."
A simply unreal career. He was sort of the Bob Kennedy of Japanese distance running in the 1990s but, unlike Kennedy, he got to really explore what he could do at 10k and above. He will be missed.
Said Aouita Forced Out As National Coach Yet Again - This Time For Being Against Drugs
Well now he's been pushed out as coach in Morocco but this time he says in part because of his strict anti-drug message.
Very interesting. The rest of the world is finally clamping down on drug cheats and Aouita is claiming that part of the reason he got sacked in Morocco is because he's so anti-PED. Wow.
Tyson Gay Reveals He Had Knee Injury Over Winter But Is Back Training
The better news also is he has a wild card into the World Championships and thus doesn't have to rush things.
Bolt certainly is phenomenal, but people forget that only one person on the planet has ever run 9.68 and his name isn't Usain Bolt.
2nd Free Training Tip Of The Week (And Proof Yet Again The #1 Tendency Is To Overtrain In An Olympic Year)
Anyway, you don't have to be an Olympian to listen to this advice as we think it applies at all levels. If there is a big race coming up that you've basically trained your whole life for, there is a tendency to try to force it too much. It very often happens with seniors in college as they think "This is my last chance, I've got to go for it," and normally it backfires.
We talked about it a few weeks ago at the end of February with Ryan Hall forcing things before the Olympics last year and we'll talk about it again this week with another athlete, as we can't emphasize this point enough.
So the free training advice this week comes from Britain's Mo Farah: "That's the biggest lesson I've learned from Beijing: you have to listen to your body. It takes time to learn that skill and last year I didn't really have it. Four weeks before the Olympics my body gave me signals to take it easy. But I didn't listen. By the time we got to Macau [the British team's pre-Olympics base] I felt flat and tired."
Listen to Mo and try to relax in the month before the big race!!!
2009 USATF Masters Championships
But the story of the day that got a big article in the Washington Post was Joan Benoit Samuelson's 10:22 3k at the age of 51 (young people - Benoit was the 1984 Olympic marathon champ), which was a new American record. Other performances worth noting include 43-year-old Alisa Harvey winning both the mile (5:04.02) and 400 (59.05) in the same day. Harvey is basically unbeatable at the Masters level.
And speaking of Masters, we loved the Runnersworld Brief Chat with masters world champion Ralph Souppa who revealed the key to success as a master. This is our Best Quote That Didn't Make It As A Quote of the Day
"Most masters runners have some injury, I find. You only have to beat half the runners because the other half are injured." - masters world champion Ralph Souppa.
Weekly Drug Update
*French Doping Agency Surprises Lance Armstrong With Hair Follicle Drug Test
Looking Ahead / Getting Ready For World XC
Sadly, with the race having been split into two races for a while, World XC lost some of it simple appeal. Thankfully, that is now back as there is only one race for each gender for the 2nd year. If only the financial $ucce$$ of the marathons wasn't so great, then we'd have a perfect world ... but that's another story.
We're excited about this year's race which takes place on Saturday in Amman, Jordan. How will the US junior men led by German Fernandez do? Can Kenya get a male individual winner with Bekele out? Who will step up in Dibaba's absence?
We're so excited that we are going to Amman to cover it for you.
(Side note: The Week That Was is actually being typed on a flight from London to Amman. LRC is on the same plane as the Canadian worlds team. Glad to see the Canadians appear to be coming with a large squad.
LRC's seat is right near the toilet and literally there has been a line at least 5 deep the whole flight. At least the conversations that we have basically been forced to eavesdrop on have been pretty interesting. Earlier, we listened to a random 75-year-old American who just happens to be on the flight talking to a Canadian coach about Galen Rupp. Apparently, the old guy went to Rupp's high school. Didn't realize Central Catholic was that old.
Then we heard an American say to a Canadian team member, "Good luck in that race. I look forward to seeing in USA Today that Canada dominated." Very funny.
Clearly, we are tired of being on this cramped plane).
To get you excited for Saturday's race, we thought we'd share some of the articles from last week that were related to this Saturday's race. To us, the most interesting article from last week about the race was an opinion piece from Runnerstribe.com where they analyzed US junior German Fernandez's decision to skip NCAAs to prepare for World XC. While in our minds, they were a little too much into the hype as to what Fernandez can run on the track later this spring, we thought they were right on the money with the following point about his decision to skip NCAAs and what it meant:
"A runner who wants to be the best in the world needs to be able to make extraordinary sacrifices. These range from the day-to-day lifestyle sacrifices you make to the short-term opportunities you forego in the course of pursuing your long-term goals. The ability to say no to the NCAA Indoors shows a willingness to make those sacrifices."
If anyone could get away with trying to do it all, it's normally the young guys. Does anyone remember when Khalid Khannouchi used to win every summer road race in sight and then still crush Chicago? But later in his career, this wasn't possible. As we pointed out earlier, Wanjiru's coach was adamantly opposed to him running so many marathons. It certainly didn't hurt him at the Olympics, but maybe it has caught up with him now?
When you are young, you think you are invincible. Ultimately, reality sets in. Certainly something worth thinking about.
*Opinion Piece On German Fernandez's Decision To Skip NCAA's And Focus On World Cross
And Lastly ... Suffering From Post-Nuptial Shutoff? Here Is The Solution
Sex And Sport: RunnersWorld Magazine Claimed An Orgasm The Night Before A Race Helps Women Marathoners