The Epic Of Eddy Lee: I Will Not Stop Until I Reach My Goal

April 16, 2010

Two-and-a-half years after starting a thread called "My goal of sub 4:00 1500-I will not stop until I reach my goal," Eddy Lee broke 4:00 for the 1,500 today in Azusa, CA by running 3:59.48.

In a remarkable coincidence, on the very same day, the message board thread started by Lee in December of '07 reached a highly unusual 1,500 posts. Since news broke of Lee's 3:59, several other threads have since been started by LetsRun followers, including ACKNOWLEDGE EDDY LEE ON THE FRONT PAGE!

We are so impressed with Eddy Lee - and the passion of those who have been following the thread closely for years on end - that we are not only putting him on the homepage; we're giving him the quote of the day and we're publishing the following story written by "jonesy" or "jjjjjjjjjj," who has been following the thread since it started in December of 2007.

We're amazed at the number of people inspired by Lee. We're getting emails from people all over the country (and even some internationals), all passionately interested in Eddy Lee's accomplishment and enthusiasm. His thread and the message boards have practically become Lee's personal fan pages.

Who would have ever thought one thread would make this many people excited about a college guy running a sub-4 1,500? We're very impressed. Eddy Lee, congratulations!


And now, for the story of Eddy Lee, told by jjjjjjjjjjj

About the Author: jjjjjjjjjj was King Slow Boy at Williams College in the late 1980s when injury knocked him out of the sport for fifteen years. Quad strengthening exercises, high mileage, and Letsrun advice have kept him healthy enough to destroy almost all of his college times over the past five years, while running for Central Park Track Club. He was also a bandwagon jumper on the Eddy Lee thread.  

The Epic of Eddy Lee: I will Not Stop Until I Reach My Goal

Eddy Lee, born Edward Lee, a senior at Cal State Bakersfield, broke 4 in the 1500m on Friday at the Bryan Clay Invitational, running 3:59.48. Nearly 1,500 posts ago, Eddy announced his goal on in a thread with the much imitated title, “My goal of sub 4:00 1500-I will not stop until I reach my goal.” He immediately became a message board sensation, not because he stated his goal or because he was particularly fast, but because he had an infectious writing style, exemplified by the repetitive thread title, and an extreme speed interval based training program. It is customary to run two to three uptempo workouts per week, maybe 200s, 800s, and a 4 mile tempo run. Eddy’s coach had him running half a dozen speed workouts per week.

He ran a lot of race pace workouts with full or nearly full rest. The first example Eddy used was 3x1k on Monday with 5-6 minutes rest in 2:46, 2:55, 2:55. The next day, he ran 400,800,1200,400 (200j) in 60,2:19,3:36,58. Wednesday, he ran 300 hard with fifty meter lunges. Thursday, he ran 4x1200m with 5:00 rest in 3:42,3:43,3:48,3:50. Friday he ran 5x200m. The next week he ran on Monday 1600, 1200 with 6-7min rest in 4:45, 3:34. Tuesday, he ran 3x800 (5min rest) in 2:13,2:14, 2:14. Wednesday, he ran 3x350hard+50meter lunges between. Later in the season, he ran 2x4x400m with 1 min rest and 400 slow jog between sets in 67,66,65,65 65,65,63,64. Thursday, he ran 3x1k with 5 min rest in 3:00,2:50,2:50. Predictably, in 2008, he had Achilles problems several times and ultimately shut down his season in late April with anemia. In 2010, he posted one sample training week, which is notable particularly for all of its 1200s and 800s at 1500m race pace. He was essentially racing a few times per week outside of his races.

Monday: 3 workouts that seem to be used most often during the season:
* 2x1200 w/ 8-10min recovery: first one is done @ 1500 race pace(so 315 goal pace is usually the key).
*1x1200 @ race pace(315), 1 min recovery, all out 300, 6-8min rest, race pace 800 (210 goal).
* 1x1200 @ race pace, 6-8 min, 1x800 race pace
Tuesday: usually faster than race pace stuff:
repeat 300s, 400s, maybe break down starting @ 1k.
Wed: recovery: pool workout or easy 3-4mile run
Thursday: one of two workouts usually: 4x400 w/ 30 second rest...freaking hate this! :) or 3x(160,160,80..all out sprints w/ 1min recovery and 5min between sets)
Friday: 4x200 @ 800 race pace

Sat: Race
Sunday: on your own.
In the beginning, we were running twice/day. Morning would be mile repeats or tempo stuff.

Eddy was also unusual because of the fact that unlike the myriad posters with a goal, he never stopped, not for two and a half years. At the beginning in December 2007, he had run times of 2:00 800m, 4:16 1500m, 4:40 mile, 16:22 5k, 36:00 10k, and 1:17:30 half marathon. In the following track season, 2008, he ran 4:10. CSU Bakersfield doesn’t have a cross country team and so Eddy trained on his own in the offseason using Jack Daniels’s system, which is the polar opposite of Eddy’s track schedules. The greater aerobic development helped, though he still only ran a 9:32 3k and 16:19 road 5k, roughly equivalent to a 4:23 1500m, and he ran 4:01 in 2009. In 2010, some questioned his progress. But he ran a big pr of 9:18 3k early in the year, showing gains in his aerobic system, clearly his greatest weakness. Then last week, Eddy ran 4:00.33 and even the legendary poster malmo, a former American record holder, made an appearance on the thread to urge him to run from anger. There was one doubter, claiming that Eddy had peaked, that he would never run faster this year. Not so. Eddy’s teammate Ryan Lucker posted his splits of 63,63,64 (3:10), and a 49 to break the 4 minute barrier.

In the 'where are they now' vein, along the way, Eddy’s thread picked up a host of others, including Sair, Boingo, Beersteak, Radical Ron, and myself. Boingo and Beersteak broke four last year at Waltham. It was exciting to watch Boingo trying to hold it together down the final straight with a big crowd cheering him on. Ron, a former sub 4 1500m runner in college with a very distinctive posting style, made enormous improvements to run around 4:15. Sair got injured and concentrated on his band in London. During the time of the thread, I ran several dozen pr’s at 1500m to marathon on hundred mile weeks, but never figured out how to work on the speed at the 1500m without getting injured and so improved only two seconds from college two decades ago to 4:20. By this year, we knew to get out of the way and let Eddy communicate with his fans unimpeded by us. The great thing about the thread, though, before it got weighed down with the continual recycling of past posts by trolls, was that it was about training and racing, and there was continuity to it, and that is very unusual to see on the boards. More power to Eddy Lee.




Results from Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific:

Section  4                                                     
  1 Madrid, Javier               California Baptist     3:58.97
  2 Lee, Edward                  Cal St. Bakersfield    3:59.48
  3 Nystuen, Carl                Montana State          3:59.59
  4 Williams, Chase              California Baptist     4:02.76
  5 Sanchez, Sam                 San Bernardino         4:03.18
  6 Hemphill, Kevin              New Mexico St.         4:04.34
  7 Baez, Mariano                Cal Poly Pomona        4:05.14
  8 Jones, Brant                 Point Loma             4:06.41
  9 Cardona, Jonathan            LA Trade Tech          4:07.43
 10 Green, Alex                  Cornerstone            4:07.57
 11 Martinez, Gilberto           LA Trade Tech          4:07.83
 12 Lopez, Nelson                Lone Wolf              4:07.99
 13 Lopez, Jose                  Cal St. Bakersfield    4:09.83
 14 Ordinola, Carlo              UC Riverside           4:16.11
 15 Gonzales, Marvin             Cal St. Northridge     4:16.57



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