Distance Runners Can’t Dance, Run Over The Summer, Don’t Set Goals, The Joys Of Being Called A Steroid-Using Hermaphrodite And Words Of Wisdom From Janet Bawcom

The Week That Was – December 23 – 29, 2013

by Letsrun.com
December 31, 2013

We review the week in running below. The week of Christmas might be the slowest week of actual running action of the entire year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few good things to talk about/read.

Previous versions of The Week That Was can be found here.

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom Blogs About Christmas And We Listen

Perhaps because of Christmas, you weren’t on LetsRun every day last week. If you are going to catch up on any one thing, please let it be the Christmas day blog post from Kenya by US Olympian Janet Cherobon-Bawcom on her website janetruns.com: THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST.

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In the post, Janet talks about the meaning of Christmas, life and family and shows you with photographic evidence how running has totally transformed her life:

“I started running so that I could get an education and then give my siblings a chance to do the same. When I look at this picture (see to the left), I see five sisters who have all been able to go to college – the one in the footy pajamas graduated last week…. If I never run another race, my running has been a success far beyond anything I ever dreamed possible.”

Bawcom also includes a photo of how (what’s a nice word?) plump she was a senior in high school.

That photo right there should dispel the myth that Kenyan runners are great at running because they all learn from running miles to school each day.


It’s Official: All Distance Runners Can’t Dance

In last week’s Week That Was, we told you about US marathoner Becky Wade‘s trip around the world and we said we were hoping to find a clip of Haile Gebrselassie dancing that Becky had made reference to.

Well a Notre Dame alum sent us a link to a youtube video Haile G dancing which he found at the bottom of a post on Becky’s Blog. Please watch the clip as it’s only seven seconds long:

All of these years, we thought the fact that all of the awkward dancing we’ve seen attempted by so many distance runners in the US was related to the fact that most of them in the US are white.

Maybe it has something to do with the slow twitch muscle fibers? Someone call David Epstein to investigate.

Weekly Free Coaching Advice From A High Schooler – Run Over The Summer – It Helps A Lot

“I truly believe the quality time I spent training during the summer really helped me this season. In past years, I was not healthy enough to train during the summer. It’s true when they say a good Summer base is key to a successful season. Have fun in the summer, and make running a part of that fun!”

– Foot Locker champ Tessa Barrett blogging after her Foot Locker win.

The fact that she hasn’t been healthy enough to train in past summers shows you how remarkable (and not suspicious) her Foot Locker win was as we talked about last week: LRC Tessa Barrett’s Amazing Story, Praise For Mary Keitany, Desi Davila And Craig Masback, RIP To A Legend, Ryan Hall Versus Khalid Khannouchi, And Ethiopian Training Secrets Revealed?.

More: PennTrackXC Journal: Tessa Barrett, Abington Hghts – Entry #5 – Dec 29 – A dream (envisioned) race.

Weekly Free Coaching Advice From A Pro – Don’t Set Goals, Just Do Your Best Each Day

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (center) celebrating her Olympic birth in 2012

“These days, when I’m asked about goal setting, my response is simple – I avoid it. When we set goals, we do so based on the potential we believe we have, and we tend to be very poor at knowing what that really is – we either set goals so high that we live lives of frustration, or we set goals too low and never realize our full potential because we’ve defined success in terms of accomplishments instead of excellence. So many of our goals also seem rooted in how we compare to others – wanting to win, needed to be All-American, etc. That just seems artificial and empty – are we happy to win if others have a bad day? Have we failed if we run a PR but place lower because others have good days too?

Instead of picking events on the horizon or comparing myself to others to define success, I’ve decided that success for me involves waking up each morning, putting my best effort into that day, and then knowing that I’ll wake up the next day ready for whatever comes my way.”

– US Olympian Janet Cherobon-Bawcom writing on her blog last week.

Quotes Of The Week (that weren’t quote of the day)


Phoebe Wright at Prefontaine 2013 Phoebe Wright at Prefontaine 2013


“Guy: Want to go out for drinks? Me: Yes! Except I don’t really drink. And I have to get in bed by 10 or so for a workout in the morning – so maybe something else instead?”

– US 800 runner Phoebe Wright blogging about how it’s hard to be in a relationship as a pro distance runner: Phoebe Wright Blogs: “Meet my boyfriend, Track.” Later in the week, Wright wrote a counter argument to her initial piece detailing the attributes of runners that sort of make them good dates: (almost) Endearing talents of profesh runners. The second piece generated a large messageboard thread devoted to Phoebe: MB: I’m starting to like this chick: Phoebe Wright: Runners make good dates as they are good binge drinkers and cheap.

More on Phoebe below.


“The biggest lesson I have learned from all of this is that being fit does not necessarily mean being healthy…I totally changed my diet (no meat, no fat, no soda, no beer, no anything that is bad for you) and have lost 21 lbs in these short two months…..I’ve done a complete 180 degrees in my lifestyle.  I’ve started swimming again and lifting weights and hooked up with a personal trainer and a nutritionist and have been taking dietary supplements. My cholesterol level has dropped 65 points from 212 to 147.”

– Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray writing on downthebackstretch.blogspot.com about what he’s done since realizing he had 70% blockage in his heart despite being a regular runner.

More: Dave McGillivray Gives The Inside Story On His Battle Against Heart Disease: Staying Alive (Healthy Vs. Fit)
Boston Herald: Boston Marathon Director And Big-Time Runner Dave McGillivray Has Big-Time Heart Disease


“When given the freedom to go by feel, exercisers consistently choose an exercise intensity that is toward the high end of the comfortable range in relation to the duration of the workout they are trying to complete. Why this particular level of exertion? I believe it represents a compromise between two competing desires that the brain manifests in every exercise session: the desire to complete the task as quickly as possible (in other words, to get the workout over with) and the desire to feel comfortable. So your natural running pace — whether it’s 9 minutes per mile, 7:30 per mile, or 6:15 per mile — represents the running-specific version of this compromise relative to your individual running ability.”

– prolific running auth Matt Fitzgerald explaining on competitor.com how runners subconsciously pick a pace to run at.

More: Understanding Your Natural Running Pace


“I like to train on Christmas morning as then I’m hungrier for my Christmas dinner!”

-European 800 champ Lynsey Sharp telling UK Athletics why she trains on December 25th.

More: European 800 Champ Lynsey Sharp Is Training On Christmas – Are You?


Janet Bawcom at 2013 NYC Half Marathon Janet Bawcom at 2013 NYC Half Marathon


“Most of our Christmas traditions involve getting ourselves to church and then using Christmas day to visit relatives in the area – wearing our new Christmas outfits of course.”

– US Olympian Janet Cherobon-Bawcom revealing on her blog that Christmas is still primarily what it should be about for her family in Kenya.

More: Janet Cherobon-Bawcom Blogs About Spending Her Christmas In Kenya, About How She Never Thought She’d Be A Runner When She Was Younger And About Not Setting Goals


“Many of these stakeholders have a plan to deal with it. Unfortunately, their plan is to ignore the problem, pretend it does not exist, pretend to attack it vigorously, and ultimately hope that the public will get tired of hearing about it.”

– Former WADA head Dick Pound writing about doping in Japan Today.


“It was nice and flat,” 

Kevin Monteiro talking to the Boston Globe after winning a half-marathon (in 1:28) run on an indoor track in Massachusetts as part of the  “Arena Attack Indoor Race Series.”

More: 40 finish run half-marathon on indoor track in Massachusetts

Email Of The Week/Smart People, Well At Least Phoebe Wright, Truly Get LetsRun.com

Phoebe Wright (far left) winning the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix last year.

This past week, as US 800 runner Phoebe Wright (1:58.22 pb),  who so far in her career has won individual NCAA indoor and outdoor titles and the 2012 US indoor title, was gaining cult-like status with LRCers for her interesting blog, we exchanged a few emails with Wright. In one, we said we hoped that despite a few negative comments she realized most people loved her blog and she was developing a bit of a cult-following on letsrun. Wright’s response was classic:

Haha! No no! Actually I like the creative ingenuity that shows up in those boards. I really am not sensitive. One time I was called a steroid using hermaphrodite (or something like that). I’m hoping I can get back running at that status.
I’m glad you like them! I’m having fun writing them!
People don’t talk about boring or slow people. It’s always a compliment to get on those boards.

We’ve always said there are two types of people. Those that get LetsRun.com and those that don’t. Wright clearly gets our beloved little community. And oh yeah, she’s smart as hell – the former walk-on who double majored in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology had a 3.96 GPA at Tennessee.

There you have it, smart people love LetsRun.com.

Video Of The Week

There wasn’t a lot of action last week but one of the main races was the Cochin International Half Marathon in India. In trying to find the results for that race, we came across this promotional video for the race. If only race directors in American had the budget to develop a theme song and make flash mob type promotional videos for their races. Thumbs up those in India thinking outside the box!!

More: Bernard Kipyego has won 2013 Cochin Half Marathon in 62:56 over Emmanuel Mutai in 62:56 The winner of the women’s race was Helah Kiprop.

Recommended Reads

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom Blogs About Spending Her Christmas In Kenya, About How She Never Thought She’d Be A Runner When She Was Younger And About Not Setting Goals She includes this picture of her when she was in high school before she became a runner.

3-Part Interview With US Hammer Thrower Ed Burke, Who Was The US Flag Bearer At The 1984 Olympics In LA Burke has a pretty inspirational story as he retired for more than a decade after a disappointing Olympics in Mexico City before coming back, throwing a PR, and qualifying for the 1984 team at age 44, twenty years after his first Olympics.
*Part 2: The Comeback
*Part 3: Carrying The US Flag

Phoebe Wright Blogs: “Meet my boyfriend, Track.”

Actual Races of Note From Last Week

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.

Monday 12/30:

– UK sprints coach Lloyd Cowan talking about whether he thinks 19.98 man Adam Gemili, who was 5th in Moscow, will be the favorite at Commonwealths.

Sunday 12/29:

New York Times excerpt on how the Boston bombing has transformed the life of Jeff Bauman.

Saturday 12/28:

– US 800-meter runner Phoebe Wright, blogging in a post about why pro runners are good to date, which serves a counterpoint to her own post last week about why it was impossible to date a pro runner – “Meet my boyfriend, Track.” Phoebe says pros might be good dates as they are cheap (as they are used to living on little money), are great at binging on TV episodes in hotel rooms and binging on alcohol during the few times they have to party.
*Discuss On The MB: Phoebe Wright: Runners make good dates as they are good binge drinkers and cheap.

Friday 12/27:

– 2-time USARC champ Janet Bawcom blogging about spending Christmas in Kenya.

Thursday 12/26:

– US hammer thrower and 1984 Olympic flag bearer Ed Burke talking about when he first qualified for and competed at the US Olympic Trials in 1960. This comes from a great 3-part interview with Burke, who shares his inspirational story of making a comeback after 10 years away from the sport to PR and make the Olympics at 44 years old. *Part 2: The Comeback *Part 3: Carrying The US Flag

Wednesday 12/25:

Benedict Lupica, a WWII veteran and the father of NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, talking about the people who immediately rushed towards the bombs in Boston after they went off. Mike Lupica believes men like Tommy Meagher are the Sportsmen of the Year: You want to know my Sportsmen of the Year? It is all those who ran into the street after the last runners crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon.”

Tuesday 12/24:

– Excerpt from a USA Today article written by Alison Young called “Unmasking the People Behind Risky Pills.” The article is about a USA Today investigation into the largely unregulated supplement industry which found that companies caught selling drug-tainted supplements are often run by executives with criminal backgrounds.

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