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The Week That Was October 12 - 18, 2009

October 19, 2009

By LetsRun.com
To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2009
LRC Week That Was, click Here.

Last week was a little light in terms of big events, so we highlight the efforts to save the Millrose Games, tell you how the LetsRun.com audience is the smartest on the planet, talk about Pre-NCAAs and give out lots of free training advice.

Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Oct. 19) *Sun (Oct. 18) *Sat (Oct. 17) *Fri (Oct.16) *Thu (Oct. 15) *Wed (Oct. 14) *Tue (Oct. 12)

Pro Action - Geb Wins, Bai Xue Wins, & Another Kenyan Debuts Insanely Fast
In terms of pro action last week, one might think there weren't very many big events, but that isn't entirely accurate. It's just that the level of running is so high across the globe right now that a 21-year-old Kenyan running a 2:06:18 debut marathon in Amsterdam to break Haile Gebrselassie's course record isn't earth-shattering news. Nonetheless, Gilbert Yegon deserves a major Thumbs Up. The guy is such an unknown that we can't find any info on him at the results database site tilastopaja.org.

Also ho-hum events these days are 60:04 half marathons by the great Gebrselassie, but that's exactly what Geb did last week as well in breaking Sammy Wanjiru's course record by more than a minute in Portugal.

The other major pro news from last week was that 2009 world marathon champ Bai Xue of China successfully defended her Beijing marathon title. Running solely for the win, her time was just 2:34:44.

The Hero Of The Week - Dr. Norb Sander
"Who the hell is Norb Sander," you ask? Sander is The Man. The 68-year-old Bronx based physician is quite a player in the world of running. To start, he was the 1974 New York City marathon champ (albeit in 2:26:30). But now he may be track and field's #1 supporter.

Fourteen years ago, he was the "point-man" for reviving the New York Street Armory, which now hosts more indoor meets than any facility in the country. Now he has a new cause - saving the Millrose Games. Millrose is in trouble financially as it doesn't have a title sponsor. Well, the good news is Sander - and apparently USATF - won't let Millrose die. Sander is stepping up to save the day and Newsday wrote a great piece on Sander's efforts last week. Among Sander's ideas as described by Newsday:

"He intends more attention to every individual athlete, with complete pre-event introductions, more readily identifiable uniforms - school colors at the least - better public-address calls during races to keep the spectators informed and involved. Because college runners increasingly have stayed away from the Millrose for purposes of achieving NCAA championship qualifying times - the Garden's constraining 11-lap-to-the-mile track can't possibly produce the speed of 200-meter tracks in newer fieldhouse venues - Sander hopes to lobby for NCAA consideration of short-track qualifying times."

LRC appreciates Sander's efforts and have always thought it's insane that so many college teams have no interest in running in front of more than 10,000 at MSG. Even more insane is the fact that oversized 320-meter tracks with basically zero spectators are the qualifying venue of choice for the NCAA. Banning oversized tracks might be the answer.

And don't get us started on the Millrose introductions or lack thereof. How can you not introduce the competitors in a race?

Additionally, Sander is a realist. Millrose is a circus and circuses often don't have money for big name stars. Check out what Newsday has him saying about Usain Bolt:

"My opinion," Sander said, "is we don't want Usain Bolt. It's too expensive; it consumes all the oxygen" to market a single superstar. "We want to get back to a track meet. Several years ago, they changed the whole meet around for Marion Jones, and they ended up with egg on their faces. To put everything on one athlete in one event doesn't have legs.

"People want to see races."

More: Track And Field Officials Vow To Save Millrose Games

ING NYC Gets Even Stronger
One event in New York that definitely is not struggling is the ING New York City Marathon (hey, maybe they should save Millrose). New York flexed its financial muscle last week by announcing that a few more big names have been added to the 2009 field. The dreams of a first US men's title since 1982 just got a bit harder as 4-time Boston champ Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot was added to the field. Cheuiyot recently was 5th at the World Champs in the marathon.

Also joining the New York field on the ladies side is 2009 Boston champ Salina Kosgei. Given her recent 70:11 5th-place showing at the Great South Run, we don't expect Kosgei to challenge Paula Radcliffe for the win, but her addition does give the New York women's field another quality woman, which is good, as the women's field aside from Radcliffe was very thin as we pointed out a few weeks ago.

Speaking of New York, RunnersWorld had a nice "Brief Chat" last week with Jorge Torres, who will be making his much-anticipated marathon debut in New York next month. Torres recently lost his high school coach in a car accident but has been inspired by that tragedy to train with a purpose.

More: Two More Past World Marathon Major Champions For 2009 In Robert Cheruiyot And Salina Kosgei Added To 2009 New York City Marathon Field

Weekly Free Training Advice
Often before a season's championship race, a coach or athlete faces a dilemma. What to do right before the big race? It's common that one's prep races haven't been as one would desire and there is a tendency for one to push and try to run some harder workouts to get in the required shape. In reality, this is a mistake more often than not.

UK LetsRun.com reader and 2:18 marathoner Adrian Marriott attended the Alberto Salazar training conference in Birmingham and provided a great article full of training advice on his blog last week. It included the following excerpt from Lisa Dobriskey's coach, which supports our long-held belief that it's better to back off than push before a major race:

"In the first part I wrote about how George Gandy likes to see progress every week and reckons you are never more than 6 weeks from a PB. He told us about how Lisa Dobriskey, 10 days before a major championship (I don't remember whether it was Melbourne or Beijing) ran a 1500m race in a pretty mediocre time. And for a while he was debating whether to give her some more hard workouts or just rest up. They went for the 2nd option and a week later when Lisa was running the race that really mattered she was able to perform."

Additionally, the New York Times had two interesting articles related to training last week. One talked about the "J-shaped" curve that researchers are finding in relation to exercise and illness. Moderate exercise reduces one's chances of illness, but intense prolonged exercise greatly increases it. Here's an excerpt from the Times article where it talked about a recent scientific study:

"In the second experiment, published in the same journal, scientists from the University of Illinois and other schools first infected laboratory mice with flu. One group then rested; a second group ran for a leisurely 20 or 30 minutes, an easy jog for a mouse; the third group ran for a taxing two and a half hours. Each group repeated this routine for three days, until they began to show flu symptoms. The flu bug used in this experiment is devastating to rodents, and more than half of the sedentary mice died. But only 12 percent of the gently jogging mice passed away. Meanwhile, an eye-popping 70 percent of the mice in the group that had run for hours died, and even those that survived were more debilitated and sick than the control group."

The 2nd New York Times article explored whether or not cool-downs really are necessary. Apparently, there is no scientific proof that cool-downs are beneficial.

More: NY Times Health Article Goes In Depth On Exercise And Sickness  & NY Times: Why The Cool-Down Is Of Questionable Benefit, At Best

Quote Of The Week #1
“Running is not just for money, but for your body and mind. Sometimes you are not good in your head, but you go for training and you feel good. You think clearly again.”-
- Abderrahim Goumri, talking in a
great profile of one of the world's best marthoners in Running Times.

Quote Of The Week #2
"If you're reading this then you -- or the male you have bought it for -- are the worst man in history. No ifs, no buts -- the worst man, period ... As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet."
-opening sentence of Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister's new book "Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male." In the book, McAllister says that men used to routinely run faster than Usain Bolt and break high jump records for fun. Certainly sounds like an interesting read, although from the best we can tell, the book doesn't appear to be available in the US yet. You can read a Reuters review of the book here.

Pre-NCAAs: Ignore The Coaches' Polls And Read LetsRun.com
The NCAA D1 collegiate action heated up in a major as the Pre-Nationals were held at Indiana State. It seemed like a few more top teams skipped the action this year than in years past. Regardless, the story to us was how useless the national rankings are in cross-country. We criticized them last week in our Week That Was and this week our rants were confirmed.

Last week we here at Letsrun.com released our own fan polls and they showed that the LetsRun.com audience is definitely the most knowledgeable on the planet. The big surprises at Pre-NCAAs in Terre Haute? Well it was the fact that the #19 ranked Colorado Buffaloes took down the women's title in the blue race. Well, while a surprise, it wasn't that big of a shock to the LetsRun.com faithful, as you guys had them ranked #7.

Similarly, on the men's side, LetsRunners knew the Oregon men weren't as bad as their #7 ranking indicated. LRC had them at #3 and they backed that up with a win over #2 NAU in the men's blue race.

While the LetsRun.com visitors may be smart, the operators of this site may have gone temporarily insane, as last week we stated, "No way Stanford wins it" when talking about the #1 ranked Stanford Cardinal's chances for NCAAs. Well, Stanford went out and trounced the field at Pre-NCAAs, winning the mythical combined race in impressive fashion. Kudos to Messageboard poster Stingray33 for taking the time to combine the results, which show Stanford with 76 and Oregon with 186.

Other things to note from last weekend. Oklahoma State's German Fernandez raced for the first time but apparently he has missed some training time and it showed, as he was only 11th at Arkansas. Of course, Luke Puskedra was less than impressive for Oregon in his first race a few weeks back and he won the blue individual title at Pre-Nats so one certainly shouldn't count out German.

Freshmen sensation Jordan Hasay also showed that she will be a major force in college as she had the 6th-fastest time of the day for the women at Pre-Nats.

More: Blue Men: Luke Puskedra Wins And Leads Oregon To Victory Over #2 NAU And #3 Alabama Puskedra had a subpar opener but returned to form to lead Oregon. It's worth noting, however, that NAU star (and World Champs runner) David McNeill had a subpar day, finishing as NAU's 6th man. If he was only NAU's 3rd man, they would have beaten Oregon.Results: *Team *Individual Thread: Oregon Men Win Blue Race in an Upset !!!

White Men: Chris Derrick Defeats Samuel Chelanga, Stanford Cruises At Pre-NCAAs Chelanga opened up an early lead, but Derrick attacked the course the 2nd half and got the win. *Team Results *Individual Results Thread: Post Pre-Nats who is now individual favourite? *Chris Derrick/Elliot Heath Interview

Blue Women: Jenny Barringer Leads Colorado Women To Surprise Win At Pre-Nats If anything, this weekend was vindication for the knowledge of LetsRun.com viewers, who ranked both the Oregon men and Colorado women much higher in the LRC National Cross-Country Polls than the coaches. The Buff women were only #19 in the country. Barringer crushed the field as expected, but her teammates backed her up very well for the win over Florida State and #4 Oregon (who finished 3rd). Results: *Team *Individual Thread: Jordan Hasay THIRD at Pre-Nationals to Jenny Barringer and Susan Kuijken! *Mark Wetmore Interview

White Women: #1 Washington Women Cruise At Pre-Nats Illinois' Angela Bizzarri got the individual win. The Huskies cruised without PAC-10 runner-up Mel Lawrence.
*Team *Individual

Chile Pepper: Oklahoma State Crushes Field At Chile Pepper With German Fernandez Only 11th *Men's Individual Results *Men's Team Results *Women's Team Results: Texas Tech Women Cruise At Chile Pepper Thread: Chili Pepper Invite: Fernandez injuries?

UVA: UVA Men Defeat Syracuse Men as #2 Villanova Women Put On A Dominating Display
Penn State: *Penn State/Lock Haven Women's Results *Rojo's Cornell XC Wins At Lock Haven

Recommended Reads/Watches From Last Week
*Former Marathon Record Holder Steve Jones Coached Jason Hartmann To 2:12 Hartmann deserves some major props for being the 4th fastest US guy in 2009.
Wonderful Profile Of Abderrahim Goumri, One Of Morocco's Great Marathoners Goumri ran his first marathon at age 21 and ran 2:30 and had no money to fly home. He ended up cutting French Fries in Norway to earn cash.
Top Arizona HS Team Forfeits Season After Coach Loses His Job Over Refusing To Tell A Volunteer Coach Who Was In US Illegally He Can't Coach Anymore
News Video On Admitted Drug Cheat Liza Hunter-Galvan, Who Was Busted After Injecting Herself With EPO

Other News Of Note:
*Tramautized Caster Semenya Skips College Exams *Caster Semenya Now Will Take Her College Entrance Exams
Sad News: Western State College's Lisa Thomas-Duits killed in single car accident
Coach Banned By UK For 5 Years After Rape Allegations Is Now Coaching Elite 800m Female In Ireland
Former 2-Time NCAA XC Champ Saimon Bairu And Former Stanford Star Malindi Elmore Win Canadian 10k Road Titles
*Fascinating Story - Hiroshima And Nagasaki Hope For Dual-City Olympic Bid
*Berlin Long Jump Medal Ceremony With Granddaughters Of Jesse Owens And Luz Long Is Voted "Peace Image Of The Year"

Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes of the Day - Day-By-Day:

Monday:   "You can't believe the raw talent in jail that is behind bars. And they're ready to challenge you. In here, people say, 'Oh, we haven't really heard of you.' Then it's, 'You had the world record? OK, now we know.' That means something."
- Tim Montgomery in a 3-hour interview with ESPN.com from a federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama. How the world of track and field has advanced since Montgomery set the 100m world record of 9.78 in 2002, years before he and partner Marion Jones would both end up in jail. A 100% Recommended Read.

"First of all (having Jenny Barringer on his team) it takes a couple of hundred points off our score immediately. Secondly, they've gone from the point of being awed by her to just respecting and emulating her. Their training in the last year has come up a notch. They don't aspire to beat her right now, but a year ago they didn't even aspire to be like her and now they do."
- Colorado coach Mark Wetmore on what Jenny Barringer means to his CU Buffalo women's team. The #19 ranked Buffs stunned everyone at pre-NCAAs and won the Blue race (the Buffs actually would have finished ahead of Oregon without Barringer on Saturday).

Saturday: "I remember we were in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, at the hospital (where Jorge Torres' mother was) waiting for results and me just being in this world of hurt and loss, and Jason Hartmann and I were talking about training for the marathon. We looked at each other and said, 'Well, when we get back to Boulder, we're going to get down to work. Every day's going to be nothing but training for the marathon.' And sure enough, on day one when I left the hospital and got back to Boulder, we met and we never stopped."
- Jorge Torres in a brief chat with Runner's World. Torres, who lost his mentor and almost his Mom in a car wreck this summer, will run his first marathon in two weeks in New York.

"I wish [running] were more popular. And I think a lot of it is that you have to start with the kids when they're young to keep it going, to keep it alive. So I think it's important to be involved. And it's fun. It mixes it up for me so life's not so stale. A lot of times I look at these women that are beating me and I think 'Oh, they don't have a job, all they do is run.' But then I picture myself doing that and I don't think I'd be so happy. I think you need something else in your life."
- Under the radar US road and cross-country standout Rebecca Donaghue in an interview with Matthew Manfred. She's talking about her high school coaching job in State College, PA and how it helps her running. We think this is really smart advice. It actually helps your running by keeping you happy and it helps the sport.

"If you're reading this then you ... are the worst man in history. No ifs, no buts -- the worst man, period ... As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet."
- Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister's first sentence from his new book entitled "Manthropology," which explains why aboriginal Aussies could easily outsprint Usain Bolt, Rwandan Tutsis could outjump Ivan Ukhov, and Neanderthal women could crush Arnold Schwarzenegger in arm wrestling at the peak of his training and steroid use.

"We understand that we have to overcome towering hurdles (to co-host the Olympics)."
- Koji Utsunomiya, head of Hiroshima City's sports promoting division. Hiroshima and Nagasaki hope to propose a joint bid to co-host the 2020 Olympic Games, though initial reactions from the IOC have been negative.

"London in 2012. She will be the winner."
- Agent Andrey Baranov talking about 2009 Chicago Marathon champion Liliya Shobukhova. In our Week That Was Stat of the Week, a LetsRun.com reader from Sweden informed us that Shobukhova finished the last 2.2km (from 40km to the finish line) in 6:36. That's 3:00 per km or 4:48 per 1,600m. She finished faster than all the elite men, including Sammy Wanjiru.

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