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Posts from the ‘olympics’ Category

Usain Bolt and Every Runner Since 1896

You would have to have been living under a rock if you missed hearing about Usain Bolt’s dominance in the 100 and 200 meter sprint at the London Olympics.  But in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can watch his performances here and here.

Kevin Quealy and Graham Roberts from the New York Times did an awesome video and infographic comparing Bolt’s performance to every 100 meter sprinter in the Olympics since 1896. If you have three minutes, you really need to watch it here.

Based on the athletes’ average speeds, if every Olympic medalist raced each other, Usain Bolt (the London version) would win, with a wide distribution of Olympians behind him.

The 1896 gold medal winner is more than 60 feet behind the 2012 version of Usain Bolt.  And the fastest 15-16 year old today ran a time of 10.27, which would have been fast enough to earn him a silver medal as early as 1980. But perhaps the most interesting fact at the end of the video is that the difference between today’s 100 meter gold medalist and that of the 19th century is only about 3 seconds – even with our many advances in nutrition, footwear, and workouts.  Olympians really are amazing people.

Mr. Bolt, Faster than Lightening

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Lopez Lomong

I love the Olympic commercials, in particular the Visa Olympic commercials.  No matter how many time I see them, I still get chill bumps listening to Morgan Freeman narrate Michael Phelps’ one hundredth of a second gold medal win or Nadia Comenci’s perfect 10 performance.  But my favorite one is of Lopez Lomong – a former child solider who escaped Sudan and lived as a refugee for 10 years before coming to America. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here. It’s only 30 seconds.

Molly Lao:

Lomong was one of 27,000 Lost Boys of Sudan — boys displaced, orphaned, or country-less, during the long and brutal Second Sudanese Civil War.  He was also one of nearly 4,000 Sudanese who were granted the opportunity to resettle in the United States through a UN-U.S. partnership initiative. The United States has the biggest resettlement program, capable of resettling up to 76,000 refugees a year.  In 2007, Lomong became a U.S. citizen and made it to the Beijing Olympics the following year in the 1500 meter track event.

Yesterday Lomong qualified to run in the 5,000 meter final on August 11 with a time of 13:26:16.  During his first race at the 5,000 meter distance, he set a 2012 world best time of 13:11:63.  He also specializes in the 1500 meter and was on the 2008 Olympic team but failed to make it to the finals.  Saturday will be his first Olympic final.  Lomong is also a member of Team Darfur, which is an “international association of athletes devoted to raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis related to the War in Darfur.”  He says that this Olympics is about sharing his story with others:

 “I’m running to tell my story, to tell people where I came from, where I’m going… I’m running for the kids that have been left behind, especially the kids in South Sudan… I want to show them that a refugee kid that came from nothing can get to the podium.”

This is why I love the Olympics.  Not only to witness the incredible athletic accomplishments by people but to learn all that they had to overcome to get to that point.  It is truly amazing and it continues to inspire me everyday.

Only four more days left of the London Olympics … 😦

Lopez Lomong with Laura Bush at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Photo Source: Shealah Craighead, Wikimedia Commons

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

And on a side note, cuban coffee equals an amazing workout.  I had a set of mile repeats this morning and easily managed a 6:40 pace for each repeat.  And that was in the Miami heat and humidity.  I think I’ll stock up and bring some back to NC 🙂

Tirunesh Dibaba

Jeré Longman, New York Times

The fierce Kenyan-Ethiopian rivalry renewed itself Friday, and the result in the women’s Olympic 10,000 meters was as reliably predictable as it was four years ago: Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba again drew away with a punishing kick to win the gold medal and perhaps establish herself as history’s greatest female distance runner.

If  you did not get to see the women’s 10,000 meter race on Friday, you definitely need to go back and watch it.  Here is a link to the video, and if you do not have time to watch it all, just make sure to watch the last two laps.

With the sound of the bell indicating the last lap, Tirunesh Dibaba took off as if she were shot out of a cannon.  What started out as a group of three runners right before the last lap, ended up being Dibaba smoking the rest of the competition.  In fact, she ran the last lap in 62.08 seconds, finishing almost a half a lap ahead of the next two runners.  The two Kenyans who were in it with 1 lap to go, never even had a chance.

Dibaba is a 27 year old track star from Ethiopia, whose nickname is “Baby Faced Destroyer.”  When I looked her up on Wikipedia (her website hasn’t really been updated since 2009), there was a long list of practically nothing but gold medal finishes.  She is good.  Here is a list of some of her accomplishments:

2012 Olympics, Gold Medalist – 10,000 meters

2008 Olympics, Gold Medalist – 10,000 meters

2008 Olympics,  Gold Medalist – 5,000 meters

2004 Olympics, Bronze Medalist – 5,000 meters

2007 World Championships, Gold Medalist – 5,000 meters

2005 World Championships, Gold Medalist – 10,000 meters

2005 World Championships, Gold Medalist – 5,000 meters

2003 World Championships, Gold Medalist – 5,000 meters

Dibaba also has the world record in the 5,000 meters, 14:11:15, which she set back in 2008.  She will also be making another attempt at the gold medal in the women’s 5,000 meters this Friday (which she won at the last Olympics.)  Being an amazing runner must run in her family, because other than Dibaba, the only other woman to win the 10,000 meters at the Olympics twice is her cousin, Deratu Tulu. I’m looking forward to a very exciting 5,000 meter race.

And on a side note, congrats to all of the amazing women who ran in the marathon this morning.  The Americans were amazing and watching Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan at the end was really an inspiring moment.  You ladies are awesome!

2012 Women’s Olympic Marathon
Photo courtesy of my friend Lesley who happens to be lucky enough to be in London this week

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Freya Murray

I hope you all are enjoying the Olympics as much as I am.  I am particularly getting excited about the track and field events, which begin on Friday and the women’s marathon on Sunday.  For those of you on the east coast, the marathon will start at 6:00 am EST (11:00 am in London).  It seems Davila is still questionable.  Sunday Hanson Brooks put on their Facebook page she would be dropping out of the race only to have to quickly take that statement down.  Davila responded to that news with a tweet:  “Wow, news to me! Just finished with team doctor, taking it day to day. Will do anything I can to get to the start.”  I guess you can call that a lack of communication between coach and athlete.  It seems unlikely that there will be an alternate to replace her if she does decide to drop out. The 4th place finisher at the trials, Amy Hastings, will be running 10,000 meters so I’m pretty sure the marathon is not on her to-do list.  I’m still crossing my fingers Davila makes it to the start line.  She is such an amazing runner to watch.

Although there will be no alternate for Davila if she decides to drop out, Radcliffe is being replaced by Freya Murray.  I had never heard of Murray so I decided to learn a little more about the Scots woman. She is 28 years old and was the second British woman to finish the London Marathon back in April.  Her 2:28 finish in London was actually her first marathon and was fast enough to earn her a spot as an alternate in the Olympics.  Murray also competes in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and other than running, she works as a structural engineer.  She has also won the Scottish Athletics National Cross Country title for six of the past seven years.  How did she find out she would be competing in London? Radcliffe sent her a text message while she was out grocery shopping.  I wonder if she put those groceries right back on the shelf and then headed straight home to pack…

Murray will be joining Claire Hallissey, who ran the London Marathon in 2:27:93, an impressive nine minutes faster than her first marathon back in 2010.  I can only imagine the sadness Radcliffe is experiencing, but I’m certain Hallissey and Murray will do all they can to represent their country well.  Sunday morning can’t come soon enough.

 

Claire Hallissey, New York City Marathon, 2010
Photo Source: Randy Le’Moine, Wikimedia Commons

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Flipboard and the Olympics

Yesterday a friend asked me where I found a lot of my information.  At first I was a little skeptical about sharing my inside sources, but today I decided to share my go to resource. 🙂 I use Flipboard and if you have an iPad, iPhone, or an Android, you should use it too.  It’s an online social magazine that not only has articles from your favorite news sources, but also makes Facebook and Twitter much more visually appealing.  I love it.

Today I read an article from Flipboard detailing how they are making it easier to follow the Olympics.

We’ve created a dedicated section for every Olympic sport – from archery to wrestling, and everything in between.  For each sport, Flipboard provides late-breaking Olympics coverage from professional sources like BBC Sports, ESPN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation, as well as the very best photography and video highlights our curators can find.

They also have an awesome athletes section where you can read about practically every athlete in every sport.  This morning I read about David Rudisha, “the best Olympic track star you’ve never heard of,” and Guor Marial, a refugee who has no country to run for but who is being allowed to run independently under the Olympic flag.  And have you heard about Lolo Jones’ controversial tweet?  Or how the U.S. track and field team is demanding a change to IOC rule #40?  It’s all on Flipboard.  Check it out if you get a chance.

Flipboard Home

Add the sports you are interested in following

The Athletes section

And your favorite athletes in a beret. Lebron looks quite nice in the hat

Paula Radcliffe

Ever since I read that Desiree Davila and Meb Keflezighi were suffering from injuries and were questionable about running the marathon, I’ve been checking the news every morning for an update.  So far it seems both runners are still planning to run, although they have a few more days to make a decision.  Davila has been struggling with a hip flexor tendon injury and Keflezighi strained a muscle during the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon back in June.

My heart was very sad this morning when I read that Paula Radcliffe would be dropping out of the August 5th race due to a foot injury.  She is considered by many to be the greatest female distance runner and holds the world record for the marathon with a time of 2:15:25.

Paula Radcliffe:

“I have been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself,” Radcliffe said in a statement. “As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don’t want to be there below my best.”

I remember watching the 2004 Olympics in Athens and when she dropped out, I cried with her.  How hard it must be to dedicate practically your entire adult life to something only to not have it work out the way you were hoping in the end.  But even if she never gets the Olympic finish she has worked so hard for, she still has quite a few accomplishments to her name.  Other than being the female world record holder in the marathon, she has won the London Marathon three times, the New York City Marathon twice, and the Chicago Marathon once.  In addition, she has won the Half Marathon World Championship three times and holds the world record in the 10,000 meters.  I can only imagine how hard of a decision this was for her, but I still admire her for all that she has accomplished.  She has had an amazing running career, and who knows that the future holds.  I wish her the best and hope that she finds peace with this decision.

One more week to go until the women’s marathon… I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Desiree and Meb!

Paula Radcliffe, Photo by Ed Costello, Wikimedia Commons

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

Choking

My sister was kind enough to give me her recent edition of Time magazine.  In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a summer Olympic special with the fabulous Lolo Jones on the cover.  Right under the title reads, “Four Years After an Epic Stumble, Lolo Jones is Back for Gold.”  I imagine Lolo has been waiting for her day of redemption since that moment when she clipped the ninth hurdle, four years ago in Beijing.  Here is the video of her going from 1st to 7th in 12.72 seconds….

The article on Lolo discusses the very real and very unfortunate phenomenon of choking.  Choking is the “failure of an athlete or an athletic team to win a game or tournament when the player or team had been strongly favored to win or had squandered a large lead in the late stages of the event.”  It can be said that Lolo choked at the biggest race of her career.  She was favored to win but she finished 7th.

Sean Gregory:

Athletes under stress choke when too many thoughts flood the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that houses informational memory.  Worry, and the brain becomes too busy.  It’s a misallocation of resources.  The motor cortex, which controls the planning and execution of movements, should be doing most of the work for experienced athletes.

In other words, you shouldn’t be thinking or analyzing what you’re doing.  Your brain should be relying on muscle memory to get you through the event.  Studies have shown that athletes who start to think about the details of what they are doing, tend to mess up more often than those who do not.

I highly doubt that I’ll come face-to-face with choking anytime soon, mainly because I will never be strongly favored to win a race (unless of course it’s a small event in my home town).  However, I think it’s very interesting to learn that when we start thinking too much and stop letting the body do what it has been trained to do, we start messing up.

I wish all the best to Lolo at the Olympics.  Her story of homelessness to Olympian, demonstrate beyond measure what it takes to be a great athlete.  Her dedication, commitment, hard work, failures, successes, and endless drive will hopefully lead her to the gold medal that she has trained so hard for. Go Lolo, Go!!

Thanks sis for the magazine!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Olympic Marathoners and a Google+ Hangout

I love Google+.  I have met some amazing people through G+ and have learned a lot from other runners and fitness advocates.  Although I haven’t actually met any of these people in real life, I still feel pretty connected to them.  We share running stories, encourage one another, and every now and then have a hangout where we can actually chat.  Hangouts are perhaps my favorite feature of Google+.  It’s basically where a lot of people can get together and chat via a webcam – like a video conference.

Well did you know that the New York Times has been hosting Google+ hangouts with some of the Olympic marathoners?  Yea, I didn’t know it either.  But perhaps if I had opened my Google Reader a little earlier, I would have known to submit my info so I could actually chat with Ryan Hall and Shalane Flanagan on Google+.  How cool would that have been?  But no worries – I still have my chance.  They are interviewing Kara Goucher tonight at 6 p.m. ET.   If you’re around at that time and are a Kara Goucher fan like I am, tune in here to watch what Kara has to say about the Olympics. And if you want to see was Ryan and Shalane had to say, you can watch a replay of the video. Here is Shalane and here is Ryan.  

Thank you New York Times and Google for putting this together.  Now I even feel connected with a few Olympians.  I love technology.

 

Photo Courtesy of Stewart Dawson, Wikimedia Commons

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

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,
Tracie

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!

Tracie