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Posts from the ‘Runners’ Category

Adding to my Bank of Positive Images

Happy Friday evening! Only one more long run to go before race day and I am so ready for it. I see why the taper is so effective. I feel like I have so much energy inside me right now that I could go out and take on those 26.2 miles tomorrow. I must wait though.

Being that it is Friday and I’m in search of motivating things, I wanted to share this recent news article I read about Sara Baxter, a young runner from California.  Read more

Olympic Hurdles

This may be mean, I’m not sure, but I really laughed A LOT when I watched this video.  I get that every country has their own way of doing things, but this can’t possibly be allowed.  Just watch and let me know what you think…

The Olympic Trials have officially ended and the track and field competitors have been determined.  This video prompted me to look into who would be running the hurdle events for Team USA in just a few weeks. Other than Lolo Jones and Johnny Dutch (who went to the same high school where I teach), my knowledge of hurdlers is pretty limited.  So let’s find out who these crazy sprinters and jumpers are…

First, a little background… In the Olympics, there are two hurdle events.  The women run the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles, while the men run the 110 meter hurdles and 400 meter hurdles.  Each event consists of 10 hurdles placed along the track.  For the 110 and 100 meter races, hurdles are 106.7 centimeters tall for men and 83.8 centimeters tall for women.  For the 400 meter races, hurdles are 91.4 centimeters tall for men and 76.2 centimeters tall for women.  The men’s 110 meter hurdles have been included in the Olympics since 1896 but the women’s event didn’t become official until 1969.  I guess better late than never, right?

This year, the women’s 2012 100 meter Olympic team includes Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells, and Lolo Jones.  The current world record is 12.21 seconds set back in 1988 by Yordanka Donkova, and I’m crossing my fingers one of the ladies can break that this year.  The women’s 400 meter Olympic team will include Lashinda Demus, Georganne Moline, and T’Erea Brown.  Demus won 1st during the finals this year with a time of 53.98.  Hopefully she saved her best performance for London because she is going to have run a little faster if she wants to break the world record of 52.34 set back in 2004. Man, these ladies are fast!

The men’s 100 meter event will be run by Aries Merritt (I love that name), Jason Richardson, and Jeffrey Porter.  The world record in 12.87 seconds and Merritt came close to breaking that with his time of 12.93 seconds.  But, I guess in the world of sprinting, .06 seconds is like 6 minutes in the marathon.  The 400 meter hurdles will be run by Michael Tinsley, Angelo Taylor, and Kerron Clement.  The former Clayton Comet, Johnny Dutch, made it to the finals but didn’t make it on the team. But way to represent Clayton High School Johnny!  Kevin Young holds the world record of 46.78 seconds.  Tinsley won the trials with a time of 48.33 seconds, but I’m certain the best has yet to be seen from these athletes.

I truly admire hurdlers.  Not only are the super fast but they can also jump pretty high too.  Perhaps one of my favorite quotes about the event, which can also be applied to life in general, is from Lolo Jones:  “I worked 12 years for something that took me 12 seconds.” Now that is persistence, patience, and dedication.

Countdown to London: 21 days, 23 hours, and 30 minutes.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Lolo Jones, 2008

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Olympic Trials – 5000m

Today I was fortunate enough to chat with the 9th place finisher of the 10000m Olympic Trials.  Bobby Mack works at the local running store where I had to pick up my race packet for tomorrow’s 5K.  We chatted about Eugene, the race, and the 5000m last night.  Unfortunately I did not get to watch the 5000m race because we were busy with run club.  However, there were two more runners with ties to Raleigh, NC and I wanted to know how they did.  For today’s blog…

Who won the 5000m in the men’s and women’s race.  How did Julia Lucas and Ryan Hill do?

The men’s 5000m played out similar to the men’s 10000m – Galen Rupp sprinting to the finish and setting a new Olympic Trials record.  The win came down to Rupp and Bernard Lagat, but in the last 100 meters, Rupp dug deep and took the lead.  He beat Lagat for the first time in the 14 times they have raced against one another.  He won with a time of 13:22:67 and Lagat followed in 13:22:82.  Third place went to Lopez Lomong, with a time of 13:24:47.  Ryan Hill, from North Carolina State University, finished 5th with a time of 13:27:49.  Perhaps the coolest things from last night’s race was the fact that the previous Olympic Trials record holder was Steve Prefontaine.  Galen Rupp broke that 40 year record.

The women’s race came down to a few hundredths of a second.  The surprise winner of the race was Julia Cully, who won with a personal best of 15:13:1.  Molly Huddle, who is the American record holder, came in second with a time of 15:14:40.  Here she is in a post race interview talking about how the race unfolded.  With 100 meters to go, Julia Lucas was in a battle for third place with Kim Conley. At the very, and I mean very end, Conley had the energy to lunge just past Lucas and earn her spot on the Olympic team.  In her post race interview, Lucas says she gave the race away, and “ran out of steam.”  You can watch her post race interview here.  Conley won third with a time of 15:19:79.  Lucas was so close behind, and crossed the finish line in 15:19:83.

Great job to all of the runners last night.  And kudos to Ryan Hill and Julia Lucas for representing NC State runners so well.  Although I don’t know either one of them, I still feel so proud. Go Wolfpack!

Now I’m off to finish my preparations for the race tomorrow – finishing off the bottle of beet juice (it has been a day long process), and drinking lots of water.  It’s going to be 104 degrees tomorrow!

Beet Juice, Carrot Juice, and Lemon – Definitely NOT delicious (but they say it makes you run faster!)

Maybe a cool glass and a bendy straw will make it a little better =)

Happy Trails and Happy Running!


The Decathlon and Ashton Eaton

In case you missed it on Saturday afternoon (as I did), Ashton Eaton became what some say to be the greatest athlete ever and set the world record for the decathlon.  During the second day of events, he ran the 1500m in 4:14 to earn a total score of 9,039 points, beating the previous world record by 13 points.  I had read about Ashton Eaton in this month’s issue of Runner’s World, but I still didn’t know what the 10 events in the decathlon were.  In the spirit of the Olympics, I decided to make this my topic for today.

What exactly did Eaton do to become one of the best in the world?

The decathlon is a track and field event taking place over two days, and the winner is determined by combining the results of all 10 events.  The men’s and the women’s events are not exactly the same so I’ll start with the men’s event first.  Day one consists of five events – 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400 meters.  Day two consists of the other five, – 110 meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters.  The points earned for each event can be determined with the following formula:

  • Points = INT(A(B — P)C) for track events
  • Points = INT(A(P — B)C) for jumping and throwing events

Click here to learn how to calculate the scores.

It wasn’t until 2001 that the IAAF approved the women’s decathlon scoring tables.  Before then, it was the heptathlon.  The shot put, discus, and javelin weigh less and the hurdles are 100 meters instead of 110 meters.  The order of events is also different than the men’s.  Day one is the 100 meters, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 400 meters.  The last five events on day two are the 100 meters hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400 meters.  The order of the men’s and women’s event is different to avoid scheduling conflicts when both decathlons take place on the same day.

I admire anybody who can compete in all 10 track and field events.  And even more, to be great in all 10 events.  Perhaps one of my favorite moments from the Olympic Trials so far is watching this video of Joe Detmer and Curtis Beach slowing down to let Eaton win the 1500 meters yesterday.  They helped achieve his world record and they gave him his moment of glory.  An emotional moment for sure.

Congratulations to Ashton Eaton.  Personally, I do consider him to be one of the world’s greatest athletes.  He can jump, run, and throw – and he can do it better than anyone else.  You can watch his post interview here on Runner’s World and see just how happy he is.

London Olypmics: 32 days, 17 hours, and 57 minutes.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

This month’s issue of Runner’s World with Ashton Eaton

10,000m Olympic Trials

Who won the 10000m Olympic Trials?

I can appreciate most any sport. Although it may not be my favorite sport to watch, to witness how truly driven athletes are and how they give it their all, day in and day out, always inspires me.  Take the Miami Heat for example. Last year they lost in NBA Finals.  Yet they came back this year wiser, better players, and played a phenomenal series against Oklahoma City, winning in 5 games.  They wanted it and they rightfully won the title.  One of the more somber moments of the night was watching Kevin Durant with his mom at the end of the game Thursday night. It was beyond heartbreaking.  However, something tells me he will be back next year, playing better than ever before. Amazing athletes take their failures and learn from them.  That is what makes them so amazing.  And of course this same mentality and awesomeness can be applied to runners as well…

Back in January, the Olympic Marathon Trials took place in Houston.  In both the men’s and women’s race, the saddest part was watching the fourth place finisher.  Both Amy Hastings and Dathan Ritzenhein were so close, yet not close enough.  Fourth place doesn’t get you a ticket to London.  I remember watching Ritzenhein in tears and I almost cried with him.  It was so sad.  But as amazing athletes do, those fourth place finishers in the marathon, earned their ticket to London last night in the 10,000m Olympic Trials.  I never knew watching 25 laps around a track could be so interesting.

Last night around 9:45 pm the men’s 10,000m was ready to start in Eugene, Oregon, and in very rainy conditions.  I was excited for two reasons.  First, this was the race Ritzenhein needed in order to secure his spot on the Olympic team.  And second, Bobby Mack, a Raleigh resident who I know through a local running store, was also racing.  (Of course I wanted to see Ritzenhein go to London, was I was ultimately Team Bobby.)  The race last nigtht was a demonstration of how running is not only an individual sport, but also a team sport.  Dathan needed the Olympic A standard to make the team (27:45:00), which he did not have.  If he got the A standard and finished in the top three, he would make the team.  Ritzenhein’s teammate, Galen Rupp, was the heavy favorite of the race.  With his time of 26:48:00, he had the A standard, and only needed to finish in the top three.  So what did they do?  Rupp and Ritzenhein worked together, trading off leading the race, to ensure Ritzenhein got the 27:45 time he needed as well as finished in the top three.  It worked.  With one lap to go, Ritzenhein was in the top three and on pace to run a sub 27:45.  Rupp then took off, easily sprinting the last lap and finishing in 27:25:33.  Second place went to 30 year old Matt Tegenkamp (27:33:94) and Ritzenhein got his 3rd place finish, with a time of 27:39:94.  He was so incredibly happy and it was so obvious during his post race interview. Bobby Mack ran an amazing race as well, and finished 9th.

The women’s race was a little more interesting.  First, Shalane Flanagan was racing even though she had no intentions of being on the Olympic team (I’m sure the marathon is enough to train for).  Second, only four women going into the race, Flanagan included, had the Olympic A standard of 31:45:00.  The other three were Amy Hastings, Lisa Uhl, and Janet Bawcom.  This meant that if nobody ran under 31:45:00, those three women automatically made the team. Right at about 8 minutes, Natasha Rogers was cut off and fell to the ground.  She immediately go up and sprinted to the front.  The commentators said she would be paying for that sprint later in the race, but that didn’t exactly happen.  With one lap to go, Flanagan picked up the pace to take the lead.  However Rogers, the girl who had previously fallen, passed both Hastings and Flanagan.  With maybe 100 meters to go, Amy Hastings dug deep and found her inner jet.  She flew past everyone with an intense look of pain on her face and finished first in 31:58:36.  Rogers ended up finishing second, beating her previous best time by 42 seconds, with a time of 31:59:21.  However, because she didn’t meet the Olympic A standard, she didn’t make the team.  Flanagan finished third, in 31:59:69 and fourth place went to Lisa Uhl, who finished in 32:03:46.  Bawcom finished seventh with a time of 32:17:06, but because she was the only other person who had the Olympic A standard, she is the third member of the Olympic team.

I really enjoy watching all that athletes can accomplish.  They are the ultimate demonstration of hard work, drive, and determination.  Two people finish fourth in the race of a lifetime and come back months later to rightfully earn their spot on the Olympic team.  Another girl falls during the Olympic Trials, yet gets up and finishes in second place.  This is only the trials! I can only imagine the exciting things that will happen in London.  Did I mention I can’t wait for the Olympics? 34 days, 1 hour, and 55 minutes.

Amy Hastings, 1st place finisher

Want another example of what phenomenal athletes can do? Watch this video.  It gives me goosebumps.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Shalane Flanagan

Who is Shalane Flanagan?

The third and final member of the Women’s Olympic Marathon team is Mrs. Shalane Flanagan, who has her own ties to North Carolina as a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not my favorite school (Go Wolfpack!), but nonetheless, it’s pretty cool the Olympian ran many miles just down the street from here. In fact, I saw on her Twitter page a while back that her favorite place to run in NC is the American Tobacco Trail. Now every time I’m out there running, I keep my eye out for a really fast blond girl with compression socks. I haven’t seen her yet – maybe after the Olympics. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Shalane has it in her blood to be an amazing runner. Her mother set a world record in the marathon on her first try (Cheryl Bridges, 2:49), and her father was a World Cross Country Champion participant as well as a pretty fast marathoner (2:18). In school, Shalane had a pretty diverse background in running, swimming, soccer, and art. Her running skills are no different. Not only is she a pretty amazing marathoner, she is also a US record holder in the 3K, 5K, and 10K. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became only the second woman to win a medal in the 10,000 meters. Her time of 30:22:22 set a new American record (which was previously held by… well, herself), and got her a spot on the podium with a bronze medal.

After the Olympics, she began working with a new coach, Jerry Schumacher. Since then she has had a strong presence in the long distance running world. In 2010 she competed in and won her first ever half marathon with a time of 1:09:41 (and set a course record). That same year, she competed in her first ever marathon and came in 2nd place with a time of 2:28:40 – the best finish for an American woman in 20 years at the NYC marathon. You can see just how happy she is here in this video. In only her second ever marathon, she PR’d by 3 minutes and secured herself a spot on the Olympic Marathon team with a time of 2:25:38. Although the marathon is where her focus is for London, she is actually competing in the 10,000 meters Olympic Trials tonight. (You can follow the Trials here on Runner’s World.)

Some other random things about Shalane are she currently trains with team member Kara Goucher, she is married to Steven Edwards (also a track and field star from the University of North Carolina), and during a period of time when she was injured, it was discovered that she had an extra bone in her foot. Shalane has a blog that she updates about once a month, you can follow her on Pinterest, and her and Kara have some pretty entertaining videos with Innovation for Endurance.

So there you have it. The three fabulous ladies competing in the marathon on August 5th. They are all amazing, classy ladies, with many great accomplishments and I am so excited to watch this event. And in all seriousness, I think I’m having a marathon party. Who wants to come?

Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher, Amy Hastings

Photo Courtesy of Meghan Hegarty

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Kara Goucher

Who is Kara Goucher?

Since I researched Olympic marathoner Desiree Davila yesterday, I thought it only fair to also write about her two teammates, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan.  As I’ve already admitted, Kara Goucher is by far one of my favorite runners.  She is tough.  She is fast. She is a mom. And she seems to have such a great personality.  I’ve been following her for several years, but I still had to do a little research for today’s blog. (I’m not a stalker, I promise.)  So here you have it, Kara Goucher 101:

Born Kara Grgas in Queens New York, she had her first run with her grandfather when she was six years old.  By the time she was in the seventh grade, she was running because she truly enjoyed it, and also because she wanted a medal in something. (She probably earned a few of them.) After graduating from Duluth East High School, she continued her running career at the University of Colorado.  You can check out her accomplishments here.  Most notably during college, she was the NCAA Outdoor Champion in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters, the NCAA Cross Country Champion, and a 5000 meter Olympic Trials finalist.  She made her first appearance at the Olympics in 2008 where she placed 10th in the 10000 meters, with a time of  30:55.16, and 9th in the 5000 meters with a time of 15:49:39.

As a marathoner, Kara made her debut at the 2008 New York City Marathon.  She placed 3rd with a time of 2:25:53.  That’s a pretty nice way to make an entrance into the marathon world if you ask me.  Since then, she has continued to have many impressive performances:

-2007 Great North Run, 1st place: 1:06:57
-2009 Boston Marathon, 3rd place: 2:32:25
-2009 Lisbon Half Marathon, winner: 1:08:30
-2009 Chicago Half Marathon, 1st place (20 seconds before the 1st male): 1:08:05
-2009 World Championship in Athletics, 10th place: 2:27:48
-2011New York City Half Marathon, 3rd place: 1:09:03
-2011Boston Marathon, 5th place (personal best AND 7 months after giving birth!): 2:24:26
-2011 Miami Beach Half Marathon, 2nd place: 1:12:59
-2012 Olympic Trials: 3rd place: 2:26:06
-2012 Portland Half Marathon, 1st place: 1:13:05
-2012 New York Half Marathon, 3rd: 1:09:12

Kara is married to fellow runner Adam Goucher and she has a son named Colt. Other than running, Kara and her husband keep up a pretty entertaining blog, told from Colt’s perspective about her preparations for London.  She also has her own blog (although not updated that frequently), and has just recently joined the Twitter world.  Currently she is training in Portland with teammate Shalane Flanagan and has a little over one month to go before the 2012 London Olympic Marathon.  And if you want to see how she is getting her son ready for the world of running, check out this video.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Sink Brown

Countdown to London: 36 days, 5 hours, and 31 minutes!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Desiree Davila

Who is Desiree Davila?

I admit, I’ve always been a big fan of Kara Goucher.  She is a pretty phenomenal athlete and seems like even cooler of a person.  However, after watching the amazing finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon along the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, Desiree Davila quickly became my new favorite marathoner.  To watch her run is amazing.  She looks so calm and collected, yet she is pushing every runner out there to their limits.  And after she battled it out for the finish at Boston, Caroline Kilel, the 1st place winner, collapsed, yet Desiree looked like she could easily do a few more miles.  You can watch it here.  It’s well worth your four minutes.

Desiree (or Desi) Davila is a 28 year old distance runner who holds the record for the fastest time by an American woman at the Boston Marathon (2:22:38).  She currently resides and trains in Michigan with Kevin Hanson, who is part of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.  During her collegiate career, she was a good runner, but not among the top runners.  In this video, she comments that after college, she knew there was something still left to prove.  She believed in herself and in her ability to be a top runner.  After finding  her coach online, she packed her bags and moved to Michigan.  It wasn’t until six years after working with Hanson, that she had her breakthrough performance in Boston.  And in January 2012, she finished 2nd at the Olympic Trails to earn a spot on the London Olympic marathon team.  I like how this article put it: Desi is like a bulldog, going out just hard enough to keep the race honest and eventually testing everyone’s guts.

Just take a look at her times and how they have progressed over the years:

-Boston Marathon, 2007: 2:44:58
-U.S. Olympic Trials, 2008: 2:37:50
-Chicago Marathon, 2008: 2:31:33
-IAAF World Championship, 2009: 2:27:53
-Chicago Marathon, 2010: 2:26:20
-Boston Marathon, 2011: 2:22:38
-U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, 2012: 2:25:55

Desiree is engaged to fellow marathoner Ryan Linden and she collects whiskey as a hobby. As a graduate of Arizona State University, she earned several All American honors while majoring in psychology.  Since then, she has been dedicating her time to becoming one of the top American distance runners and kicking everyone’s butt in the meantime.  She is a 5’2, 100 lbs. runner with pure heart, and I can’t wait to watch her race in August!

Go Desi!!!

Desiree Davila – 2012 Olympic Trials

Photo Courtesy of Meghan Hegarty

My Running Journal with Desi leading the field during the 2012 Olympic Trials

Happy Trails and Happy Running,