The Week That Was In Running - August 15-21, 2011
August 24, 2011
Prior to focusing on world's for the next two 10 days, we take a look back at the last full week before the start of the 2011 world championships.
In our weekly recap, we wonder if Kara Goucher's injury was preventable, we wonder why anyone would talk trash about Kenenisa Bekele and mourn the passing of a rare US-born Boston marathon champ. Along the way we give you quotes from Blanka Vlasic and Emil Zatopek before addressing Chris Solinsky doping allegations.
History Repeats Itself: Elite Female Marathoner Injures Herself Coming Back Too Quickly After Pregnancy (Kara Goucher's Injury In The News)
American Kara Goucher is running Worlds even though she missed at least 12 days of training with a stress reaction in her femur. Goucher has been in the news of late as she's given details on her injury and her fitness level. In terms of how she got the injury, at first glance, it looks like a classic case from an introductory course of Distance Running Injuries 101. It's the age-old scenario of when a runner is feeling really fit and is either unwilling to listen to the aches and pains that are arising or opts to take days off. As Goucher said to the Duluth News Tribune:
"My workouts had been going so well, that I ignored the pain. I kept saying. 'I'll get through it, I'll get through it.' My judgment was clouded. I found out that I'm not indestructible. I can't just push through pain."
Now, hindsight is always 20-20, but we are sort of wondering if this injury was possibly preventable.
After all, the stress reaction started after she had problems with her hip. Does that sound familiar? It should, as Paula Radcliffe got a stress fracture after having problems with her hip after her first pregnancy.
Radcliffe, who has publicly counseled Goucher, basically warned the entire world earlier in the year that after childbirth, one's hips are altered and stress fractures are likely to occur if you come back too quickly. Check out Radcliffe's quote from earlier in the year to The Independent:
"I think that when you go through childbirth, endurance-wise you get stronger. In fact, your endurance gets stronger as you get older. But they also say it takes nine months to a year for your pelvis to get back to where it was pre-pregnancy, so that changes your gait a bit, which is one of the reasons why I ended up with a stress fracture last time. I ramped up the mileage a little bit too much."
Radcliffe warned the entire world and Goucher to take things very easy when coming back from pregnancy. We're sure Goucher thought she was being prudent, but when we read she had taken zero days off from running since starting a week after giving birth, we honestly thought to ourselves, "That's just foolish."
We're glad to see she's back, but we really, really hope she's careful after Worlds or she might not end up on the starting line at the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
History Repeats Itself II: Kenyans Dismiss Kenenisa Bekele's Chances Prior To Major Championship
One of the big positive developments of last week was that it was revealed that Kenenisa Bekele will attempt to defend his 10,000 title. This announcement got a reaction out of the Kenyans.
As the Kenyans got ready to depart for Daegu, their coach talked big and dismissed the chances of Bekele, who is undefeated at 10,000 for his life. As Peter Mathu said:
"Bekele this time will not be a threat to us, that one I am sure about because he has not been active for over three months. He cannot be gauged anywhere and in athletics when you fail to run for even three months you can hardly match the best."
When we saw that, we simply were thinking, "Wow. Why would he say that?"
And then we got an email from LetsRun.com visitor, Seth Green, a former D III runner and not the actor, who reminded us that the Kenyans always talk big and dismiss Bekele prior to major championships.
Hey Brojos, longtime reader and fan here. Just wanted to point out the similarities between Kenyan claims concerning K. Bekele in 2011 versus what they said in 2008, talking about Bekele like he wasn't a threat. It seems like every year we go through this. Certainly, every athlete on the starting line has to think he at least has a CHANCE to win, but knocking your opponents always seemed really immature to me, and when that opponent happens to be Bekele, fairly dumb.
We agree it is indeed dumb. In 2008, the big talk certainly didn't inspire the Kenyans or demoralize Bekele, as he only set the Olympic 10,000 record and then came back and ran the greatest 5,000 ever run to complete the double.
Anyone with a lexis nexus? If so, please email us the exact quotes from 2008, as we can't find them online anymore.
More: *Kenyan Coach Talks Big As Team Leaves For Korea *Kenenisa Bekele's Manager Says He Is Definitely Running Worlds 10k And That He Is "Training Well" *MB: Game On: Kenenisa Is Going Try To Defend His Title
John Kelley The Younger Passes Away
"Kid, you've got runner's legs. You're going to do all right in this game."
- John Kelley the Older talking to John Kelley the Younger when Johnny the Younger was just 16 years old.
Johnny the Younger, who passed away last week, did indeed end up doing all right at the game, as he won the Boston marathon in 1957. As we pointed out to fans of Ryan Hall, Kelley should be an inspiration, as he won Boston in an era when many were wondering if an American would ever win, since foreigners won Boston 11 years in a row before his win in 1957 and 10 years in a row after it.
The above quote comes from a Boston Globe story on Kelley the Younger's life. It's interesting to note that he raced John Kelley the older in a match race when he was just 16. How could that be if they took people off the street and gave them a head start and had them race the world's best?
More: Boston Globe: John J. Kelley, 80; Marathon champ carried hopes of the nation *New England Runner: Tribute To The Renaissance Man Kelley (The New London Day (Local Paper): John Kelley, running legend, dies at 80 *NY Times: John J. Kelley, Marathon Champion, Dies at 80 *LRC: Amby Burfoot's MB Thread
6 Quotes Of The Week That Weren't Quote Of The Day
#1 Defending HJ World Champion Blanka Vlasic Announcing She'll Compete At Worlds Even Though She's Injured
"I changed my mind; I am going to the worlds and I will either win or fall on my sword ... The most important thing is to have no regrets when I end my career one day; I just can't sit in front of the television (in the final) on September 3 and wait for someone else to win the event."
That is a great, great quote. Classic. Too many people fear failure when in reality the biggest failure one can have in life is being afraid to fail. That being said, please don't take that as us trying to subtly diss Chris Solinsky. Hamstring injuries are very serious and he's been struggling with his all year long and is probably wise to take care of it now.
#2 Seb Coe On How Great Britain Needs Running Stars - Not Field Eventers - To Make Track Popular
"We need runners. I'll probably get thousands of letters now from fans of field events, but we are a running nation, and it's important. Field events are, of course, an important part of our sport, but we do need runners."
"You've only got to see what happened at Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. It's a long time since I sat in a stadium and watched 18,000 British athletics fans come to their feet when Mo [Farah] launched out with 300 metres to go in that 3,000m race."
#3 Olympic Legend Emil Zatopek Talking About The Effort Olympic Marathoners Were About To Put Forth At The 1956 Olympics
"Today we die."
- Emil Zatopek before starting the 1956 Olympic marathon. The quote from Zatopek comes from a nice piece on Pat Butcher's blog where Butcher has included a full letter that John Kelley the Younger wrote about the 1956 Games, where he got to run with Zatopek.
#4 Jenny Barringer Simpson Talking About How Sometimes Athletes Need To Stop Always Looking For Something Better
"I really do feel like I have the things I need to do well. Sometimes I think the job of someone in the position I'm in is just relaxing and saying, 'OK, I have to stop looking for more things.' Sometimes the pursuit of the perfect situation never ends for people. Sometimes you need to say, 'OK, I found it, now let's make it work.'"
The workout comes from a nice Denver Post feature on Simpson where her coach Juli Benson talked very high on Simpson's prospects for 2012. "There's nothing she can't do," Benson said. "She missed a tremendous amount of time last year, she missed some time this year. When this girl finally gets some good luck and some good things in front of her, the sky really is the limit. I'm really excited about what she can do for the United States."
#5 British Writer Neil Wilson Saying He Wants Dopers To Be Jailed
"Let us make doping a criminal offence internationally punishable by incarceration. It should be written into the statutes as fraud. That is what cheating amounts to."
We've always thought this should be the case and have never understood why a fellow competitor hasn't brought a civil suit against another drug cheat. Any class action lawyers out there? Could maybe the fans bring a class action lawsuit against a player like Alex Rodriguez or perhaps an entire league?
#6 Australia's Craig Mottram On What He Missed When He Was Away From Elite Side Of The Sport For Basically Two Years
"I didn't miss the travel but I missed the routine of training and I missed the feeling of being fit."
Chris Solinsky Drops ... As Does Bryan Clay ... And Others
The LetsRun faithful went crazy last week when it was announced that American 10,000 record holder Chris Solinsky was pulling out of the World Championships with a hamstring injury.
A few thoughts on the pullout.
1) The law of averages wins again.
What do we mean by this? Simply that for every up, there normally is a down.
As magical as 2010 was for Solinsky, when everything seemingly went right, 2011 has been a nightmare with a couple of DNFs and now a big-time DNS. One thing people often fail to realize in running is that when you have a magical year, nearly everything fell into place perfectly and it's often very hard to replicate that again, particularly the next year. Now some people's training is more repeatable, as seems to be the case with Schumacher/Solinsky, whereas some people's training is not, as was the case with Alan Webb.
2) No, we don't think this means he's on drugs.
When it was announced there would be blood tests of every athlete at Worlds for the first time, we said that anyone who dropped out of Worlds needed to be scrutinized. As a result, a number of people have written asking, "Do you think he dropped out because he might be on drugs?" Our response: Not at all.
Solinsky's dropout isn't suspicious at all. It's a well-known fact he's been struggling with a hamstring issue all year. He'd already exited early as a pacesetter at Stanford and dropped out of Pre with the same injury.
More: LRC MB: CHRIS SOLINSKY OUT OF WORLDS
More Injury News: Olympic Decathlon Champ Bryan Clay Also Out Of Worlds Nagging tendonitis in knee has him sidelined: "I want to win medals every time I compete and based on the way my knee has been over the past six weeks, I feel that I would not be at top form."
*World Half Marathon Champ Wilson Kiprop Has Dropped Out Of Worlds With Pulled Hamstring His place has been taken by Paul Tanui, who was 2nd at World XC and was 5th at the Kenyan Trials. Interestingly, Kiprop says that he pulled out because he didn't want to hurt the team, but might still race All Africa Games if he "recovers quickly."
*Germany's Junior Javelin World Champ Till Woeschler Out Of Worlds With Elbow Injury
Other News Of Note
33-Year-Old Liliya Shobukhova Will Attempt To Be 1st Person To Win 3 Straight Chicago Titles This Fall If she does, she'll pick up another $500,000 WMM bonus.
*RRW On Liliya Shobukhova "There is no secret in my training ... I always try to run the second half faster than the first half. Even if it is very hard to run, I try to run the second half two to three seconds (per kilometer) faster than the first."
WADA Head Says At Least 10% Of Athletes Are Cheats "Statistically the numbers of people being caught is between one to two per cent, that's the numbers of positives against the number of tests. But the number of people doping are in the double digits."
Recommended Watch: Japan's Suguru Osako Wins Men's 10k In 28:42.83 Russia's Sergey Rybin went
out in 13:53 and got a huge lead but totally fell apart and ended up
getting passed on the last lap before he staggered off the track with
*Pat Butcher's Blog Has A Great Letter Than John Kelley Wrote About Hanging Out With Emil Zatopek At The 1956 Olympics
Quotes Of The Day From Last Week
Monday: "I think in the entire world I'm the only person that has always scared him [Bolt]," says Powell, pausing to allow the strength of those words to sink in. "He's always been telling me that over the years. I get the truth out of him when he drinks a bit. He gets a bit tipsy and he's like [adopts a slurring voice]: 'Asafa, you're the only man in the world I think can beat me.'" He leans back in his chair and smiles.
- 2011 World #1 Asafa Powell talking to Anna Kessel of Guardian. Though known for coming up short at the champs, Powell won major international gold in the relays and took bronze at the '09 World Champs. Starting Saturday in Daegu, Powell hopes to beat his younger rival and friend for his first individual global championship breakthrough.
- Jamaican sprint star Steve Mullings talking after his "B" sample came back positive and he now faces a possible lifetime ban from the sport of track and field.
- Two-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon defending champion Liliya Shobukhova talking about what she'll do if she makes history and becomes the first person to 3-peat in Chicago history and picks up a cool $600,000+ in the process as the Chicago and World Marathon Majors champ.
Thursday: "I agree wholeheartedly with IAAF vice president Sebastian Coe who advocates four year suspensions for first offenders but I would go further. Let us make doping a criminal offence internationally punishable by incarceration. It should be written into the statutes as fraud. That is what cheating amounts to."
- Writer Neil Wilson suggesting some possible ways to deter drug cheats, such as targeted testing and jail time. He also points out an alarming stat: While 12 sprinters broke 10 seconds in the 100 in 2009 and only 6 in 2007, 19 have in 2011 and the World Championships (where everyone peaks) hasn't even happened yet. Have we really gotten that much better?
Wednesday: "I don't know if I'd even consider myself a master at the 10,000. Each race is so different. And that's how I approach even the World Championships right now, just kind of with an open mind. There is literally every kind of race. In Beijing (the 2008 Olympics), a lot of people thought it would be really slow because of the hot and humid conditions, and it was one of the fastest Olympic finals ever. The tools that I use are not trying to predict anything but going in with an arsenal of different tactics and really being able to execute any one of them on any given day. I draw from every major championships and how I've approached them, and I tweak things to know that works for me. For me, going in with a completely open mind about the race and trying not to predict things is really a key."
- Shalane Flanagan talking about how you have to be ready for many different kinds of races at major championships. Even after you are so good and in top shape, there are still the tactics that can make or break a race.
"To me this all seems like I'm in a dream, but I want to prove to
everyone that even an amateur can compete at the world level."
- Japan's star amateur marathoner Yuki Kawauchi talking about World Champs and his plans to celebrate afterwards if he hits his goal of getting top 8. Extremely disciplined, Kawauchi has given up his favorite drink for the last year because he found his body was breaking down in hot conditions.