Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dear Alan, Move Up or Quit

Alan Webb once ran 1-mile in 3:46.91.  If you do the math that means he ran sub 1:53 back to back.  Yesterday, at The Armory in NYC, Alan Webb ran 1:55.02 and was beaten by a D3 runner from Gwynedd-Mercy.  Have you heard of Matt VanDenHengel or Gwynedd-Mercy?  I certainly have not.

Webb has had a fairly troubled career ever since he ran his 800 PR (1:43.84) and Mile American Record in July of 2007.  He has been hampered by a string of injuries and countless mental issues that have seriously affected his racing.  Regardless of injury, physical or psychological, Alan Webb should never run 1:55 or get beat by a D3 runner.  If he actually had any idea that he was not in shape yet he should not have entered the race.  The only reason Alan Webb should run 1:55 is if he plans to do at least 4 of them during a workout.  The man is a 3:46 miler!  Alan Webb in his current condition would have a very hard time making SDSU's 4x8 relay!

Athletes can be expected to slowly fade away as they get older and their bodies slowly fall apart.  Studies show that distance runners are at their peak at 28 years of age.  It appears that Webb hit his peak performances when he was 24 in 2007 and has sharply declined since.  Alan Webb will only turn 29 in six days!  On the other hand, Bernard Lagat, is 37 and while not being quite as sharp at the mid-distances is as good as ever at the long distances.

In my opinion Alan really only has two options.  First, to quit before his reputation is forever tarnished even more than it already is.  Second, move up in distance.  Alan has what is probably the best range of PRs of an American distance runner.  1:43 in the 800, Current American Record in the Mile, former American record in the 2-Mile, 13:10 in the 5k and 27:34 in the 10k.  13:10 is only 17 seconds slower than the American record in the 5k and Alan ran that when he was 22!  The man is an absolute talent.  He should be able to slowly build up his mileage then incorporate workouts and once again become a champion.  Unless...

Alan followed the trend of many East Africans recently.  Many East Africans use running as a means to become wealthy in their countries and help their family out of poverty.  Once they gain wealth and fame in their countries they lose motivation to compete at the top level.  They often half-heartily attempt one more year then fade into relative obscurity.  Many of these Africans rise to prominence in their early 20s, similar to Alan.  A great example of this is Daniel Komen, perhaps the most talented distance runner ever.

Alan should try one last comeback at the 5k or 10k distances and if that fails he should retire and find something else to do with his life.  After all, he is only 29.



Friday, January 6, 2012

A Race I Wouldn't Run

I plan on running my first marathon in 2012.  I would like it to be scenic because running for 26.2 miles, or somewhere between 2 and 3 hours but hopefully closer to 2, can take a long time.  I would like the weather to be reasonable, between 40 and 75 degrees would be fine.  I would like there to be decent competition, not necessarily 19 Kenyan's running under 2:20.  I would prefer it to be one loop, maybe two at the most but certainly not anymore than that.  A point to point course would be alright too but just in case I run a world record I had better stick to a loop course.  I would like the race to be fairly well organized but I am fairly self-sufficient so it wouldn't have to be too scheduled.

Anyway, if you know a thing or two about marathoning you know that most marathons fit into what I described above.  Even the scenic issue wouldn't be too big of a deal as long as it is somewhere new for me.  A marathon that would certainly not fit into this category is the Zoom! Zoom! Yah! Indoor Marathon that will be held tomorrow at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

This marathon is 150 laps, 600 90 degree turns on an elevated indoor track.  At least they switch directions every thirty minutes but 600 turns, regardless of direction is going to take it's toll on your hips, ankles, and knees.  Don't marathons cause enough suffering without multiplying the effects of that by turning constantly.  The fact that the race is all held within one building also kills the scenic issue.  I've ran 10 miles on a better indoor track than that one and I about went crazy after 6 or 7 miles.  It simply isn't fun.  This race also has an extreme lack of competition.  Understandably, the race is limited to 44 people (50 other crazy individuals were turned away in a lottery style selection) because the "course" can't comfortably hold anymore.  The "course" record is 2:42 and I commend the person who can run just over 6 minutes per mile for that long on an indoor track while lapping everybody else in the field multiple times.  I guess one may be able to find competition in lapping the average indoor marathoner at 4:17.

In conclusion, I just don't get it.  This marathon sounds like torture, not any form of fun.  However, the race seems to be well liked by the people who have run and reviewed it on (  I don't think I will be trying this race anytime soon and I wouldn't recommend it to any of you.  But who knows, it might not be that bad.

Star Trib article on marathon:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Men's Capri, Capri, Manpri, etc

Nike Tech Tight Capri - Mens
I recently (2 months ago) happened upon some manpris at a Nike Clearance Store.  Seeing as it was a clearance store they were very cheap.  Lets just say I let my curiosity take over and I purchased said manpris.

I'll admit, I was skeptical of how they looked and of the possible implications of wearing clothing that was initially designed for women.  However, the tag clearly said men's and the function of this article of clothing made logical sense.  There are just those days that it is slightly too cold for half tights or short shorts but you know that wearing full tights or pants will leave you sweating like a pig.  That's where manpris come in.  They are perfect for that cold but not freezing temperature range.  Where you want to be a little warmer but aren't worried about frost bitten ankles.

I guess I don't really have much more to say about manpris.  I love them.  I think that women are ingenious for wearing them and I'm surprised it has taken this long for men to catch on.  To all the men out there: Be real men and wear what is comfortable, not what society expects you to wear.  You already wear short shorts which society cleary hasn't accepted and probably won't accept so you might as well take one step further and wear manpris.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Olympic Marathon Trials- Jan. 14th

The 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials look to be a great competition.  The field is one of the deepest in recent memory and there are many unknowns going into the race.  It is going to be very exciting!

1. The clear favorite is Ryan Hall.  Hall ran 2:04:58 at the 2011 Boston Marathon.  I don't care if it was windy and there was a net elevation loss, Boston is simply not that fast of the course.  Hall also has the second and third fastest performances on the list going into the trials.

2. After Hall there are a mess of guys gunning for the second qualifying spot.  My pick is the second performer on the list, Meb Keflezighi.  Until his performance at New York I would have written off Mr. Skechers as a favorite to qualify for the Olympics for the third time (2nd in marathon).  However, Skechers seemed to revitalize the 36 year old and he ran a PR of 2:09:13.

3. After Meb, I expect a couple of men who have never ran the marathon to battle for third.  My pick is Galen Rupp.  Rupp is qualified on his performance of 60:30 at the New York Half.  He also ran 26:48 over 10,000 meters to set the American Record in 2011.  Rupp has reportedly been training with the marathon crew and has been holding his own.

4. The other newbie to the Marathon is Mo Trafeh.  Mo outkicked Ryan Hall for the 2011 US Half Marathon Championships and also won the 10 Mile and 15k championships this past year as well.  Trafeh also ran a 61:39 half in China this past month.  Inexperience at the longer distance may be the only limiting factor for Trafeh.

5. At the number 5 slot I hesitantly put Dathan Ritz.  When healthy and fit this man is at least the second best American Marathoner if not the best.  However, Dathan has been riddled with injury and we haven't seen a potentially qualifying performance from him in nearly 3 years.  Dathan will finish in the top 10 due to sheer talent and determination but there hasn't been enough time for him to get into sub 2:10 shape.

6. The 6th and 7th spots will be occupied by Team McMillan Elite/Adidas Athletes Brett Gotcher and Nick Arciniaga.  Gotcher is one of 4 athletes under 2:11 with his 2:10:36 performance at the 2010 Houston Marathon.  He may have had a rough second marathon but I expect him to be fully prepared for the Trials race.

7. As stated earlier, my pick for 7th is Gotcher's teammate, Nick Arciniaga.  Nick ran 2:11:30 at last years Houston Marathon and I expect a similar performance at the Trials.

8. Coming in the 8th spot in my predictions is Jason Hartmann.  Hartmann, who hails from the same high school as Ritz and the same college as Rupp, is an experienced veteran.  He has the 5th fastest qualifying marathon with a 2:11:06 while finishing as the top American at Chicago in 2010.

9. The 9th runner in my prediction is Ed Moran.  Ed debuted at New York this year with a 2:11:46.  Watching the race, it seemed like Ed had more in the tank and is capable of sub 2:10.  We'll see how Ed does in Houston with just over 2 months rest from New York.

10. Finishing in the top-10 in most likely his last Olympic Trials is Jason Lehmkuhle.  The Team USA MN runner was 5th at the 2008 Olympic Trials and is a smart and fierce competitor.  Look for Jason to move up if the pace is fast early and the inexperienced runners mess up.

Team USA MN Pre-Trials Video:

Chris Erichsen (St. John's, MN) Mile Workout:

 List of Qualifiers:

MN Ties at the Trials: