Tag Archives: marathon

Running Links

  • The Fargo Forum had a feature on the Perham boys XC team. They emphasized we’ve got three of the top three runners in the state, but I felt like they missed a boat a little bit by forgetting to mention we’ve got the fastest #4-7 runners in the state along with a handful of JV guys who, given the new rules for state qualifying, would make it to state as individuals if the rules allowed it. Plus, no mention of the girls team that’s far improved from last year.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love it that our kids are getting all of the attention they deserve, but it just bugs me a little bit when news comes out and does sort of a vanilla story when I think they could’ve done something unique and different rather than just kind of another color-by-the-numbers story that seem to be the norm in the understaffed newsrooms of newspapers these days.

  • Speaking of Perham runners, check out the debut episode of NYRR’s “On the Run” podcast. The NYRR has done a tremendous job promoting our sport, but I really appreciate that they approached this podcast the right way with some really good production values. I love seeing this kind of stuff and hope to see much more in the future. Check out the first episode below featuring Perham’s very own Gabriel Anderson:

  • Former Team Minnesota runner (and seemingly good guy) Matt Gabrielson has decided to retire from competitive racing. Seems like he’s taking the easy way out. I, for one, have taken a solemn vow that no matter how hard I train, I will never be competitive when it comes to racing.
  • Apparently, when the report comes out on Lance Armstrong, it is going to be quite damning.
  • On a recent run with our cross country kids, I was telling them a story about how I fell on a run this summer and bloodied myself up on the bike path. I was feeling really tough until I read some of Deadspin’s terrible events involving joggers.
  • ESPN’s 30-for-30 Series starts up again soon. Unknowingly, I watched “The Race That Shocked the World” before the Olympics which is a shorter version of 9.79* by British filmmaker Daniel Gordon. It premieres on ESPN on October 9th. If the BBC version is any indication (and I don’t know why it wouldn’t be), this documentary is going to be fantastic.
  • Cool news – this year’s NYC Marathon on November 4th is going to get more television coverage than any non-Olympic/Trials race I can ever recall.

Paul Ryan Marathon… Don’t Be “That” Guy

About a month ago, Mitt Romney announced (through his “Mitt’s VP” app) that Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his official VP candidate. In the immediate aftermath, stories about his family history of heart attacks and his daily devotion to P90X surfaced. Personally, the entire collection of interest around the election does very little for me because I already know who I’m going to vote for (hint: it’s not the guy with hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore accounts).

As much as I’ve been trying to avoid the increasingly obnoxious political ads and stories, one story recently came out that caught my interest. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan claimed he’d run a marathon in the 2:50-ish range. As you’ve probably heard, it’s since come out that he not only hasn’t run under 3 hrs… the Paul Ryan marathon record isn’t even under 4 hrs.

Does this little lie make him any less competent at running a country? I doubt it. You could make the argument that it proves he’s a liar, but I assume the amount of people who aren’t liars in Washington is a similar ratio to the amount of soon-to-be-mothers in the delivery room who are virgins.

More importantly, I’ve learned that Paul Ryan is “that guy.” You know that guy… he’s the guy who shot a 78 on the golf course even though you saw him take two mulligans, hit two balls in the water and another out of bounds without counting a penalty, and take any put inside of six feet as a gimme. He’s the guy who claims he caught a near world record walleye, but his camera was out of battery so he couldn’t get a picture. He’s the guy who claims he was the starter on the 2nd best basketball team in the state even though he averaged 1.4 points and never played (oh wait… that’s Skip Bayless).

As a rule, almost all runner’s who consider themselves at the very least semi-competitive lie. The lie that the runner tells themselves, though, is what time they “could have” run. I’ve heard countless professional runners say they are (fill in the blank time) shape only to go out and run a time that is slower than (fill in the blank time). I’ve done it myself. When I ran my half-marathon PR of 1:31:07 in 2008, I absolutely believe I was in shape to run in the mid-to-high 1:20s. You cannot tell me otherwise. In my opinion, I had a bad race, but it still was a PR because I was in such good shape. There have been other times, such as this past winter, where I felt I was in great shape (possibly PR shape) but just didn’t have any races to run fast being the middle of winter in Minnesota and all.

To me, it’s one thing to convince yourself you are able to achieve things that you haven’t. It’s the reason every professional athlete who’s sitting on a bench is convinced they could do a more than adequate job if given a chance as a starter. It’s the reason that Denard Robinson and Chris Johnson think they could beat Usain Bolt. Self belief is something that is deeply embedded into every semi-competitive athlete. On some levels, it makes sense. If you have a goal of running under 3 hrs, but don’t truly believe you’ll ever be able to do it, why bother even trying?

Which brings us back to Paul Ryan. One thing that I love about running is that it is one of the only sports that is completely objective. There are subjective little elements (aka – the stuff I love to complain about… incorrectly measured courses, wind, temperature, topography, quality of the field, etc) that can change a result by a very small percentage. By and large, though, you are your time. You aren’t a sub 3-hr marathon runner until you run 2:59:59 or under. I’ve run under 18-minutes in a 5k on my treadmill, but time and time again, I’ve run bad 5k race after bad 5k race. If someone were to ask me my 5k PR, I’d reluctantly have to tell them 20:07. I’d then follow up with a million and a half reasons why it should be faster and I’d obviously include my treadmill PR. But the fact of the matter, as a runner, is I’m forced to lead with my real time. Any way you split it, as a runner, your time is your time. The 14:45 5k PR is more impressive than the 15:15 PR which is more impressive than the 16:00 PR and so on and so forth. Unlike other sports, running is a sport where you can’t fake it. You earn respect by running faster and faster times. The reason the running community is so upset about by the fake Paul Ryan marathon claim that he ran a 2:50-ish marathon because he is trying to place himself in a position and gain respect for which he has not earned and does not deserved.

Going back to the golf example, I can’t claim I once shot a 63 (omitting that it was Par 56 executive course) or claiming I once shot 2 under par for 18 holes (did I forget to mention that it was mini golf?) If I did that, I’d be labeled a liar and a creep. Paul Ryan has been getting a lot of guff lately, especially within the political and running communities, for his lie. As a mediocre runner who has worked very hard for all of my (admittedly) mediocre PR’s, I can’t help but feel he deserves all the criticism he is receiving right now. The one positive that has come out of this for me, though, thanks to the hilarious Paul Ryan marathon calculator, I’ve learned that I can “claim” my Paul Ryan marathon adjusted PR is 2:29. Ladies and gentlemen, after 10 years of mediocre running, I’m on the cusp of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon!

London Olympic Preview for Men’s Marathon

The men’s marathon is such a tricky event to predict. If the race goes out fast (4:45-ish/mile), only a handful of guys can seemingly compete. But if the race goes out at a more pedestrian pace (doesn’t it sound insane to call 5:00/mile a “pedestrian pace”), more men will be able to compete.

This race should be incredible to watch. The marathon has always been a trademark event of the Olympics, but the times have just dropped incredibly over the last few years. In 1999, American Khalid Khannouchi set a then World Record in running the Chicago marathon in 2:05:42. In a little under 13 years, over two minutes has been subtracted from that record and the time has been “officially” surpassed by 34 different runners (this doesn’t include runners like Ryan Hall who ran a wind-aided 2:04 on the point to point Boston course… which apparently doesn’t count). Times have gotten so fast that the 7th and 8th place finishers at the 2012 Dubai marathon tied Khannouchi’s former record.

So good is the field of Kenyans and Ethiopians is you will not be seeing the recognized world record holder in the marathon. Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 in the 2011 Boston Marathon, but the record wasn’t given to him since there was a strong back wind, it was a downhill course, and the course is considered “point-to-point” thus making Patrick Makau Musyoki, who ran 2:03:38 in the 2011 Berlin marathon, the recognized world record holder. Of the 20 fastest “official” marathon runners since the last Olympics, 16 of them (Kenyans and Ethiopians) are not in the field.

How will the American’s fare?

Is there a chance that any American can sneak a medal? Sure. Meb Keflezighi quietly snuck a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. He didn’t make the Olympic team in 2008, but the broken hip he suffered during the race will almost always prevent that. At 37, it would seem unlikely that he can improve, but he just ran a personal best time in the marathon while winning the Olympic Trials. In 2009, he was the first American to win the NYC Marathon since 1982 and he’s placed well in other major marathons.
Ryan Hall is the biggest name in American marathon running since Alberto Salazar. He’s been consistently the best half-marathon and marathon distance runner in America since 2007. He’s also started to appear in various print and television ads for Asics and Vizio televisions. He’s consistently been battling with the East Africans finishing in the top 10 in all 10 of the major marathons he’s run. Unfortunately, outside of US championship events, he’s yet to win a major marathon. The Olympic games, of course, would be a great time to break that streak.
Like Meb, Abdi Abdirahman is getting up there in age for a distance runner having just turned 35. Like Meb, as well, he’s shown no signs of slowing down. After making the Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2008, Abdi was a bit of an afterthought entering the 2012 Olympic Trials. Many (most?) thought the team was going to be Meb, Hall, and Dathan Ritzenhein. Having run a pair of 2:14 marathons in 2008-2009 and no real times of significance in 2010 or 2011, many thought the Black Cactus’s best days were behind him (BTW – how awesome of a nickname is “The Black Cactus”?!?) Abdi proved everyone wrong edging Ritz for third place and becoming a member of his 4th Olympic team.