The Week That Was In Running: February 4 – February 10, 2013
February 11, 2013
To read last week’s Weekly Recap, click here.
A few interesting things we think we learned last week.
1. Matt Tegenkamp is incredibly consistent.
As his coach Jerry Schumacher told The Oregonian: “Ever since Matt has graduated from college he’s made every (national) team he has attempted to qualify for. He hasn’t always gone to the world championships in cross-country and indoor, but if he’s been in position to make a team, he’s done it. He’s had a pretty impressive career, without a doubt.”
2. Dathan Ritzenhein ran the 2013 USA XC champs in “flats with a spike plate” in them.
Ritz blog: USA XC Recap
3. John Kellogg’s 600/800 conversion was proven to be accurate (aka JK was confirmed to be a genius as usual).
We started this site to help spread the wisdom of a man who guided us in high school and post-collegiately, John Kellogg.
A few weeks ago, we had John converted Duane Solomon‘s 1:15.70 indoor 600 AR time to the 800 and JK said it equates to a 1:46.72 – a time that some of you complained about and said it was off and was too slow.
We said, “Trust us, it’s not.”
We now have hard evidence that JK’s conversion is right on the money. The proof? Nick Symmonds‘ training log.
You can actually now purchase a copy of Symmonds 2012 training log for $15. In it, he reveals he did a 600 time trial before the 2012 US Olympic Trials. His time? 1:13.9. According to JK’s formula, that would equate to a 1:44.18 800. What did Symmonds run at the Olympic Trials? 1:43.92 – just .26 off. Pretty darn accurate if you ask us.
And since Symmonds is more of an 800 than 400 guy and since the 600 was done in practice some 16 days before the Trials, which is obviously a race, you’d expect his “for all the marbles” race to be slightly faster than the projected time.
Photo Of The Week/The LetsRun.com Shirt Goes To Beppu, Japan
Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, who has long been a cult hero on LetsRun as he’s a 2:08 marathoner while working a full-time job and because he races a ton, received an incredible prize after winning the Beppu earlier this month in a new PR of 2:08:15:
When we were emailed that photo, it spurred us to act on a thought we’ve long had in our heads. We want to have a “Where’s LetsRun?” page, sort of like a “Where’s Waldo?”
So if you’ve taken your LetsRun.com shirt to an out-of-the-ordinary place like Beppu Japan, email us and we’ll feature the photo.
Also, we’d like to start recording the fastest PRs ever recorded in various events while running in a LetsRun.com shirt. So if you’ve raced in a LRC shirt, please email us.
The Miler A 1,500 Man?
“I am considering a move up to the 1500. Coach [Mark] Rowland and I have always known that we would be making that step up at some point and we are now trying to decide what is the best year to do so.”
– Nick Symmonds in an email to Runners World from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where he is training with 1,500 silver medallist Leo Manzano trying to figure out if it’s wise to move up to the 1,500.
The concept of Symmonds moving up is an interesting one.
The 800 is certainly stacked right now. There is King David up front and then three teenagers who all ran 1:42.53 or better last year. The odds of Symmonds, who is 29 now, ever being #1 in the world in that event seem to be zero.
So we can see why he’s tempted to move up. Since the training motto of LetsRun.com is strength = speed and it seems as if half of LetsRun.com is always fantasizing about what an athlete could run in a longer distance whether it’s Usain Bolt in the 400 (thread #1 here, #2, #3, #4), Jeremy Wariner in the 800 (thread #1 here, #2, #3, #4 and #5), or Tirunesh Dibaba in the marathon, you’d think we’d 100% be for Symmonds moving up.
But it’s easier said than done and is the 1,500 really going to be any easier?
Last year in the 1,500, three men broke 3:30 and none of them is older than 23 (Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat are 23 and Nixon Chepseba is 22). 8 ran 3:31.00 or faster.
Of course, the three guys who broke 3:30 last year were 7th, 11th and 12th at the Olympics, and Symmonds likely is buoyed by the fact that an American man has medalled at the last two global championships in the 1,500.
With all of the falls in the women’s 1,500s of late and the strange results in the men’s Olympic final, Symmonds has reason to think if you make the final in the 1,500 you have a shot at a medal as it’s a bit of a crap shoot.
If Symmonds can translate his come-from-behind style to the 1,500, then that’s an ideal way to race and get bronze like Nick Willis in 2008 (bumped up to silver) or Matt Centrowitz did in 2011 or even silver like Leo Manzano in 2012.
At the bell, guess where all three of those guys were when they win on to medal?
Willis was in 10th. *Race Video
Centro was in 7th. *Race Video
Manzano was in 10th. *Race Video
In a championship 1,500, a lot of guys ruin their medal chances by going for gold and going too big, too early on the last lap as the races are often pretty tactical and the guys are competitive and racing each other (moreover, if the race leader is on drugs like Rashid Ramzi and you try to go with him, then you likely are in even bigger trouble). An 800 also can have some random outcomes for similar reasons, but with Rudisha in the event it’s more of a time trial in the final these days.
That being said, the fact of the matter is Symmonds was 5th in the Olympics last year and he ran 1:42.95. Both the place and time are very, very good.
Is he really likely to be better than 5th in the world at an event he really hasn’t run?
Symmonds might just be after a new challenge as in the Olympic final he ran faster than he thought was possible. In London he told us, “I did everything possible. I brought a 1:42.9 which I never thought I’d humanly be able to do, redefining my own limits which is really what the sport is about.”
Nick might be thinking, “What else can I do at 800? I’ve run faster than I thought was possible.” We must not pause to point out that Johnny Gray‘s American record is only .35 ahead of Symmonds’ best now.
That doesn’t mean it will be any easier in the 1,500.
In fact, making the US Worlds team in the 1,500 in 2013 would be WAY harder for Symmonds than the 800. The 3 1,500 Olympians from last year for the US all are very accomplished and all are younger than Symmonds:
1. Leo Manzano – Olympic silver medallist. 3:32.37 PR. 28 years old.
2. Matt Centrowitz – WC bronze. 3:31.96 PR. 23 years old.
3. Andrew Wheating – 3:30.90 PR. 25 years old.
And then there are the young guys with the “A”‘ standard of sub-3:35.00 for 2013 – Robby Andrews (3:34.88 PR, 5th at Trials, 21 years old) and German Fernandez (3:34.60 PR, 22 years old) – as well as Russell Brown, who has the “A” at 3:34.11 and is 26 (side point – Wheating doesn’t actually have the “A” for next year).
And even more still, as there are 5 others who all ran faster than Symmonds’ PR of 3:36.04 last year and have the “B” standard of 3:37.00 (and you can go with the “B” to the WChamps) – Jeff See (3:35.21), David Torrence (3:35.41), Kyle Merber (3:35.59), Jordan McNamara (3:35.63), Garrett Heath (3:36.03). Plus it wouldn’t be fair to avoid mentioning 2012 NCAA champ Andy Bayer (3:37.24 PR), who was 4th at the Trials and is 23, and Will Leer is a favorite of many as well.
We do know two things.
1) The fact that Symmonds is contemplating the move up is a great sign as it shows Symmonds is still hungry. Passion/Desire/Dreams are key to success in running and Symmonds seemingly still has those.
2) Training up won’t hurt him for the 800 as we still believe strength = speed even if we are far from convinced he’ll be better at the 1,500 than 800.
Speaking of which, we are friendly with Rich Kenah (1:43.38 PR) who won a bronze at the 1997 World Championships in the 800 and was very similar to Symmonds in the sense he wasn’t that fast at 400 (the IAAF doesn’t even list a 400 PR for Kenah) and liked to race from the back of the pack, but he trained as an endurance runner. Kenah once told us something along the lines, “I probably really was a miler.”
Given his 400 speed or lack thereof, we see why he said that even though his 1,500 PR was just 3:37. But would Rich ever have finished third at Worlds in the 1,500?
Oh yeah, one last thing. We scratched out miler and put 1,500 man for Symmonds as the title of this section since we think there is a difference.
When LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson was early in his coaching days at Cornell, one of his runners, Sam MacKenzie, who was a conference champ in the 1,000, told Robert that for him there was a big difference between the 1,500 and mile. Coming from the marathon, Robert laughed at the time but now agrees with him. If your range extends from say the 1k to the 5k, there is no big difference but if you are really an 800/1k guy who can’t run a good 3k to save your life, then the 1,500 is much more in your wheelhouse than the mile.
More: Nick Symmonds moving to 1,500? Runners World
*MB: Didn’t Nick Symmonds just have a breakthrough year in the 800? Why would he move up to 1500?
*Nick Symmonds reacts to running faster than he ever thought possible in London LRC
Leaked Drug Tests
Can someone please tell us why whenever a breakthrough drug test is developed it’s always talked about in the press before it comes out?
The war on drugs in sports isn’t that much different than the war on crime. Drug cheats are the criminals and the greater the fear of getting caught and the greater the consequences of getting caught, then the lower the chances are people will dope.
Yet it always seems when a breakthrough in testing is developed, the drug cheats are always tipped off with articles in the press about the test and thus their fear of getting caught isn’t all that high.
Before the 2000 Sydney Games, it was announced before the Olympics that an EPO test had been developed. Instead of springing the test unannounced and catching scores of people who thought they could abuse EPO with zero chance of getting caught, the drug cheats were given time to either stop using, make up an excuse as to why they weren’t going to Olympics (Regina Jacobs) or change their cheating to micro-dosing (Lance Armstrong).
Instead, it would be way better for sports in the long term if the test had been unannounced and all (or at least far more) of the EPO cheats had been busted. Seriously, think about how great it would have been if the EPO test hadn’t been pre-announced. Lance Armstrong might have been exposed in 2000 – not 2012. Marion Jones and Regina Jacobs might have been busted in 2000 – not 2003. And SCORES of others that were never caught might have received the punishment they deserve.
So EPO cheats could do as they pleased prior to 2000 and since then they’ve for the most part been able to still do as they please as long as they micro-dose. Take a tiny injection at night, drink a bunch of water, and by the morning, there are no traces that the not-very-subtle EPO test can detect.
That may be ending soon.
A new paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reveals that a test has been developed that will be able to detect EPO micro-dosing 100% of the time if given within 12 hours of someone cheating and 30% of the time even 72 hours after the fact.
It’s just a shame in our minds that news of this test has appeared in the press. Undoubtedly, the cheats will change what they are doing or figure out if they are one of the 30% of the samples that gets busted up to 72 hours after the fact.
We know that some of the press attention for new drug testing protocols comes from the fact that the new tests often need to be validated in the scientific community and peer-reviewed, but it’s hard for a cynic not to think that part of the reason for the publicity is that the governing bodies are scared of the negative publicity they will take if scores of cheats are busted because of a new breakthrough test.
Sports leagues need to be truly for drug-free sport and stop being for just trying to avoid the negative publicity that comes with drug positives.
Just Do It Fairly/What If Nike Sponsored Anti-Doping/The .1% Solution
Last week, a visitor sent us a link to an article in the Christian Science Monitor written by Tito Morales, entitled “After Lance Armstrong doping: Time for Nike to just do it – fairly”.
The gist of the article is pretty simple – imagine what a difference Nike could make if it used its resources to push for a clean sport instead of just sitting on the sidelines.
The doping allegations over the years against Armstrong were quite lengthy. Just take a look at this page from cyclingnews.com. Did Nike try to get to the bottom of it? No, they stood by him, even initially after USADA said it was banning Lance since he was not contesting the charges.
As Tito writes:
“Despite a mountain of evidence against Armstrong, Nike stood by its endorsee until the bitter end. When Nike finally did sever ties with Armstrong, the company issued a muted statement that ‘it does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner’ and it believes ‘in the integrity of competition.’
Now is the perfect time for Nike to prove it. By taking the initiative to donate funds to anti-doping agencies and research, the company would help redeem itself ethically after steadfastly backing Armstrong and other Nike athletes who’ve doped. And the company would also boost its brand image – and surely its market share.
As far back as 2001, in fact, when rumors were running rampant about Armstrong’s suspected doping, Nike, instead of investigating the matter in the name of corporate responsibility, chose to run a defiant, almost smug commercial called ‘What Am I On?’ The answer, according to a grim-faced Armstrong, who is shown sweating and laboring along challenging roads, was that ‘I’m on my bike, busting my [butt] six hours a day.'”
If Nike gave 1% of every sale to anti-doping research, that would be roughly $200 million a year, and it would completely alter the whole anti-doping landscape (WADA’s entire budget is $26 million, USADA’s $13.7 million).
We realize $200 million is unrealistic. So let’s start with Nike giving .1% of sales to anti-doping, which would be roughly $20 million a year. We think that’s a fair place to start.
Think that’s a lot? Nike spent $2.4 billion on marketing last year, so the 20 million is also roughly 1% of their marketing budget. So for every 99 cents they spend on marketing, they just kick in 1 penny to clean up sport. In terms of revenue, for every 10 dollars in sales, they give 1 penny to anti-doping. $20 million is also roughly 1% of Nike’s profits.
Isn’t it time Nike started sponsoring clean sport? Nike could do it in its own genius marketing way, by selling wristbands or as Tito proposes using the slogan, “Just Do It FAIRLY.”
Nike could take it even further. It could withhold a portion of endorsement contracts for five years, upon condition of no doping offenses. A better option might be just to write into contracts that it would sue for past endorsements paid upon conviction of a serious doping offense. Nike could also use its labs to actually make sure its athletes aren’t doping and say it will turn over the results to USADA.
The point is Nike and the other shoe companies for that matter (the biggest fish always gets the most attention) could do much, much more for clean sport. Nike claims to stand for clean sport but has done little to actively to push for clean sport. That needs to change.
If the .1% rule was applied to apparel companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, it would be monumental.
adidas has basically the same revenue as Nike worldwide, so that would be another 20 million. Puma is around 4 billion, so there is 4 million more; Asics has more than 2.5 billion, so there is 2.5 million more. You get our point.
We know some of you are thinking, “Why limit it to the apparel companies? The sports leagues themselves are really the ones in charge.” We agree with that sentiment but left them out of this discussion for simplicity’s sake. The NFL actually spends about .1% of its 9.5 billion in revenue as it allegedly costs about $10 million to do the NFL drug testing each year (for the record, a league should spend way more than .1% on anti-doping).
We agree with Tito, it’s time for Nike to take a leadership position in the anti-doping fight. If Nike leads, all the other shoe companies will do what they always do, try to follow.
More: “After Lance Armstrong doping: Time for Nike to just do it – fairly” Christian Science Monitor
The Legal Performance Enhancing Aid Of The Week?
Enough doping talk. Let’s talk about the legal things athletes will do for an edge. We here at LetsRun.com are virtual experts on this (site co-founder Weldon Johnson (Wejo) used to sleep in a car at over 9,000 feet to spike his natural erythropoietin production and has extolled the virtues of caffeine in the NY Times in 2009).
Is this contraption going to be the next craze?
Apparently, it’s a device designed for equestrian riders to to help them keep their shoulders back. The product is called “Shoulders Back.” Toni Reavis explained last week in a column that Alberto Salazar learned of it from his daughter, who was an equestrian rider. Now both Mary Cain and Galen Rupp run in it. If you want to use it, it comes in a white version or a black version for $44.95 (LRC gets a commission from your purchase – thank you for the support if you buy it).
(Editor’s note: Update from Wejo: “My wife horseback rides and just before Christmas I was in an equestrian store. I actually purchased a “Shoulders Back.” Not because I thought it would help me with my
running jogging, but because I’m always hunched over typing on my laptop.”)
Video Of The Week
We’re not really sure what the point of it is, but it’s pretty cool. Someone made a 2+ minute video that is a mini-biopic of Alberto Salazar‘s life that reminds us of an old Nintendo video game.
We guess it proves that distance runners are pretty nerdy. Sprinting’s top star Usain Bolt gets to play in the NBA All-Star game and has actual video games made featuring him, whereas distance runners can only hope for 2 minutes of a fake video game.
More: MB: Nintendo Salazar
Quote Of The Week I (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“To say that 2012 was a tough year would be a major understatement … I had looked forward to those 2012 Olympic Trials for years, and to have them ripped away by injuries was such a strain on my professional and personal life that I gave some serious thought to hanging up the spikes, but the thought of selling insurance was too much to bare.”
– 3:35 1,500-meter runner Dorian Ulrey talking to Runnerspace.com.
We’re sure many of the younger website visitors who are still in high school or college and competing at a high level often think, “Wouldn’t it be great just to be a runner? It’s my dream job.”
But in reality, it’s not so easy. The good new for Ulrey is he’s seemingly healthy for the first time in a long time and looking forward to a strong 2013 campaign.
Read More: Catching Up With Dorian Ulrey
Quote Of The Week II (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“We talk of the ‘runner’s high’ yet rarely of the ‘runner’s low’. For so many runners, the troughs seem deeper and wider than the peaks are high. We get ill or injured – so often when it matters most to us. But we keep going and rarely stop to think why. Do we believe that eventually we will reap what we have sown?
You could also say that running 2.01.16 and earning an England vest has landed me on the moon. The journey has left me with some unique and wonderful experiences and more importantly, some incredible friendships. Perhaps to your mind I have succeeded, but in my mind I have – so far – failed.”
– 36-year-old British 800 athlete Celia Taylor writing prior to the UK Championships. Taylor views her career as a failure as she never broke 2:00.00. At the UK Trials, she ran 2:09.36 and might be headed towards retirement.
*Running down a dream: Celia Taylor tackles what could be her last race – As Celia Taylor prepares for what could be her last attempt at a sub-2 minute 800m at the UK Indoor Championships this weekend, she ponders all she has sacrificed to get this far.
Quote Of The Week III (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
Tyson Gay talking about whether he’s still bothered by hip pain:
“Slightly, here and there, but it’s a lot better.”
“I got through it last year, and I’m feeling a lot better. I should be able to run a lot faster, too.”
– Tyson Gay talking to Athletics Weekly about his 2013 prospects. An in-form Gay would be fantastic for the sport. Gay is certainly one of the most professional professionals and one who always impresses us with his pure love for track and field. That love for track and competition is probably best shown by the fact that Gay is the only human being in history to go sub-10 in the 100, sub-20 in the 200 and sub-45 in the 400. Usain Bolt no doubt has the talent but talent and discipline are two different things.
Cool Story Of The Week: Nick Wade Runs
3:59.998, 4:00.00 For The Mile
Rojo, the coach at Cornell until this year, may not want to use LRC to pimp out his former athletes, but we will as the rest of us really enjoyed this story. Cornell University’s Nick Wade ran 3:59.998 for the mile this past weekend. The only problem? Times from 3:59.991 to 3:59.999 are rounded to 4:00.00 on the books. So even though Nick took less than 4 minutes to run a mile, he’s not a sub-4:00 miler officially. A nice story on Nick’s whirlwind weekend was written by Race Results Weekly’s Chris Lotsbom, who also lives in Ithaca and goes to Ithaca College.
Other News Of Note:
There was a ton of college action last week, as conference championships start this upcoming weekend. For a detailed recap of the NCAA action, we recommend Monday’s homepage. For a Cliff’s Notes version of the year 2013 so far mid-d and distance-wise, please see the list below, which lists the top 5 in each mid-d and long-d event.
Bolt/Blake/Powell Open Up:
*Usain Bolt Wins His Section In 46.71 Yohan Blake (46.64) 2nd to Warren Weir (46.23) in SEPARATE section. *Video Of Bolt’s Heat
*Bolt: “I felt a bit nervous. I just came out here to win and I’m glad I won injury free.” Blake said, “I’m happy with the run, despite the time. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Milo Western Relays: Asafa Powell And Nesta Carter Lead Their MVP 4 X 1 Team To Victory With 38.06
European Pro Action:
UK Champs/Euro Trials
Germany: PSD: MB: Ayanleh Souleiman Easily Wins 1,500 (3:36.13) And Says He Wants World Record In 1,000 In His Next Race
Flanders: IAAF Recap: Recent XC Star Albert Rop Won A Close 3k In 7:39.59 Over 7:54 Steeplechaser Paul Koech (7:39.75) & Ayanleh Souleiman (7:39.81)
*Former Teen Sensation Caitlin Chock Writes About What It Was Like To Train Under Alberto Salazar
*Interesting Article On What Asafa Powell Is Up To Outside Of Track And What He Wants To Do When He Retires
*Delilah DiCrescenzo Writes About How Plain White T’s Hit Song “Hey There, Delilah” Changed Her Life
Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:
Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.
“I think I’m in about as good a shape as I was in freshman/sophomore year of college right now. … It’s just a matter of getting back in shape, which it will come. Because I know I’ve been there before and I’ll be able to get there again. It’s just a matter of time.”
– Chris Solinsky talking in an interview after he rabbited the UW mile for the first 800m, which was his first track meet since 2011.
– Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich talking about the strategy he used during the 2012 London Olympic marathon to defeat Kenya’s silver and bronze medallists Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang. Of the race, Kirui said, “We tried to ask him to help in pushing the pace but he declined. We thought he was tiring …”
“If titles are stripped as a result of official action, then (Armstrong) agrees to refund any payments made … If the titles are stripped, then there’s an obligation to return the money – and we don’t dispute that.”
– Tim Herman, an attorney for Lance Armstrong, talking in a lawsuit with SCA Promotions in 2006. SCA Promotions now is holding Herman to his word and wants $12 million back. The only problem for SCA is after fraudulent testimony by Armstrong, an agreement was signed in 2006 where Lance got paid and it read in part “no party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside the arbitration award.” Lawyers, post your thoughts on the message board as to who will win.
– Jerry Schumacher talking about 2013 USA XC champion Chris Derrick.
“I look back at my career, look in the mirror and look myself in the eye and know that I did give it my all and did everything I could to be the best I could be physically. I couldn’t have tried any harder. Could I have been smarter with my training and my body when things started to break down and with my recovery? Yes. When I look at my times and the things I did as an athlete it was good but I feel personally that I could have gotten more out of myself and that is what is disappointing as an athlete. I struggle with it as I know that I gave it everything but I know that I could have been much faster and that I could have contended for a medal. The closest I got was in the 2006 Cross Country World Championships when I was eight seconds off of the win. I look at my times and they are pathetic compared to times being run now. I thought for sure I would be a sub-13:00 5k guy. I knew I would be. Bob Kennedy was ‘the guy’ when I came out and I thought, ‘that’s me – I know I can get there.’ I look at the past and I had a lot of great outcomes and memories but I wish that I could have gotten everything out of myself. But I am much more at peace with that in my life now than I was a year and a half ago.”
– Adam Goucher looking back on his long running career and evaluating his success. Comes from very in-depth interview with a great insight into Goucher’s training, racing, and mentality.
” I think I’m going to go one, two and four this year. I want to PB in all of them, to improve all those times. That’s my goal. … I’m just trying to stay healthy, taking my life in my own hands, doing what I have to do, the rehab and stuff. I think I needed to stick to the rehab, and not just fix the injury, but do the rehab all the time so it stays fixed.”
– A healthy Tyson Gay saying that he wants to PR in the 100, 200, and 400 in 2013. With PRs of 9.69, 19.58 and 44.89, he is the only person to have gone sub-10 in the 100, sub-20 in the 200 and sub-45 in the 400. *MB: Gay looking to do 100, 200, AND 400 this year!
“…Because athletes pushed us to this point. We need better drug testing. We need blood testing. We need biological passports. We need that stuff now. Not in three years. Not in two years. Now. I don’t even know what I am watching anymore.”
“I believe we need to fix this disconnect between our private conversations and our public ones. Cheating in professional sports is an epidemic. Wondering about the reasons behind a dramatically improved performance, or a dramatically fast recovery time, shouldn’t be considered off-limits for media members. We shouldn’t feel like scumbags bringing this stuff up. It’s part of sports.”
– Grantland.com sports writer Bill Simmons talking about how in today’s World of professional sports questioning the legitimacy of athletes’ performances is not only normal, but necessary. He’s talks specifically about the NBA, NFL and MLB, but the same principles apply to track and it is for this reason that we think threads like this represent the best of LetsRun.com.