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Posts tagged ‘london 2012’

Meb’s Marathon Reflection

Today has been a little hectic and I haven’t had the time to put into my blog entry that I would like. Between getting ready for company this week and buying a car, we’ve had little down time. However, during the 4+ hours we spent at the car dealership, I was able to read Meb’s marathon reflection from the Olympics. It is a great read and makes me respect him even more. Read more

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Paralympics

Last week I came across this video on RossTraining.com highlighting the upcoming Paralympics. There is something profoundly moving about these athletes. Their character, drive, determination, and out right dedication is something I can only aspire to achieve.  Today when I was entertaining the idea of cutting my workout short, I reminded myself of this video. Zip it. No more lazy thoughts and no excuses I told myself.  I reminded myself of the end goal and kept at it. You can watch the video here.  It’s only 1:30 and these athletes deserve your attention. Read more

Run to Overcome

Meb Keflezighi:

Running is like life. You start at the same place with your fellow runners.  You all finish at the same place. How you do is largely up to you. If you win, you congratulate your team and yourself. If you lose, you evaluate how to improve.  You can’t make excuses like “He didn’t pass me the ball” or “The coach didn’t put me in.”  It’s on you. That’s the beauty of the sport. 

December of 2010 my cousin Dan waited who knows how long, to get me a signed copy of Meb’s book, Run to Overcome.  I read it in a day. Meb’s story fascinated me and inspired me.  And after his amazing finish on Sunday, I am reminded of why I admire him as a human being and as an athlete.  Meb has suffered.  He has gone through very difficult times, overcome many hardships, but has continued to have that awesome smile on his face.  He is strong, hard working, genuine, and above all, an incredibly positive person. When Meb was 6 years old, his father left Eritrea and walked 225 miles to Sudan’s border in order to provide a better life for his family.  Meb possesses that same love and determination.

The book is a reminder to us all that life is what we put into it, love is selfless, and staying positive in the face of adversity will carry us to the next day.  Read the book if you get a chance. Meb is a true inspiration.

Then you should watch this Citi commercial.  Meb’s WHOO at the end makes me smile every time I see it.

 

 

 

Thanks to Dan for my signed copy!

Happy Trails and Happy Running !

Tracie

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

Kenyans and the Simplicity of Running

First and foremost, a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Meb Keflezighi on his amazing 4th place finish in today’s marathon.  I have to be honest – I had all but counted him out halfway through the race.  He seemed so far back, and I thought it was highly unlikely he would be able to catch up to the other runners.  But as with the marathon, anything can happen.  One by one, he picked off the other runners and went from 20th to 4th.  What an amazing way to complete his last Olympics. And my heart goes out to Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman.  Some races just don’t turn out the way we hope.

Now to the Kenyans…

Although a Kenyan did not take gold today, one can not deny their unbelievably amazing running talents.  There are many reasons we believe contribute to their dominance of the long distance running field.  Altitude, diet, their need to escape poverty, running from an early age, etc.  John Burnett from NPR spent a few days last month eating like the Kenyans and his article makes a point well worth noting: the Kenyans eat simple. No special drinks, no special bars, no protein powders, and no supplements.

“It’s just normal Kenyan food — vegetables, spaghetti, ugali,” said Wilson Kipsang, captain of the Kenyan marathon team… They eat food eaten by ordinary Kenyans. You wouldn’t expect an Olympian to eat what they eat. The cook is not a sports dietician, just a woman from the village,” he said, chuckling.

On top of their typical Kenyan food, their approach to fluid intake is also a little different.

Hundreds of aspiring athletes — and a few world record holders — ran past us with efficient, relaxed strides in their daily 30- to 40-kilometer course along the rust-colored paths surrounding Iten. Not one of them carried a water bottle.

No special drinks. No special food. And they continue to dominate.  I’m the first to admit I’m always looking for foods or drinks that may give me that extra boost.  I mean I actually consumed an entire bottle of beet juice the day before a race because I thought it would improve my performance.  But Burnett’s article has encouraged me to reflect a little more on the sport.  Running, for as complex as we can make it, is still a simple sport.  There is no replacement for the miles of training.  There is no magic food… well maybe chia seeds 🙂 Simple, clean nutrition is what your body needs.  Even Meb says in this article that he has no specific nutrition plan – just a clean diet and to have pasta the night before a race.

Tomorrow marks 12 weeks until my next race.  I’ve been running all summer injury free and have been able to put in more miles per week than normal.  I’m focusing more on finding joy in the sport.  Take easy days, push hard, rest, eat, and pay attention to my body.  Certainly I am no Kenyan but I appreciate their approach to the sport.

Happy Last Day of the Olympics!

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

Peak Performance in Women Runners

My cousin is in town for a wedding and we have been having a lot of good running conversations today.  One that I found particularly interesting was about a recent article she had read discussing peak performance in women marathoners.  She had read that women runners peak later in life because over the years, they build more confidence.  After quite a few Google searches, I was unable to find the article, but I did find some other interesting facts.

The average age of the 2008 elite women’s field for the New York City Marathon was 33.

The winner of the 2008 Women’s Olympic Marathon was 38 years old. Sammy Wanjiru was 21 when he won the 2008 Men’s Olympic marathon.

Kara Goucher is 34 and Shalane Flanagan is 31.  Desiree Davila is 29.

Paula Radcliffe who was planning to run the London Olympic Marathon until she had to drop out, is 38 years old.

“The physical peak for most humans, in most sports, is between 25 and 35 years of age; during this peak period, the well-conditioned athlete can create a confluence of muscular strength, peak cardiovascular and oxygen transport, speed and reaction time, and mental capabilities (including the ability to deal with competitive pressures), all bound together by a desire to succeed.”

“For sports  in which strength (both muscular strength and bone density), oxygen uptake, and cardiovascular efficiency are vital to success, the aging process may be slowed, though never halted or reversed. Since 1950, the average age of world champion distance runners in the 3-mi (5,000 m) races through to the 26-mi marathons (42.2 km) ranges between 28 and 32 years of age. From this peak of ability, runners will continue to perform at levels close to their personal best into their late 30s and early 40s; performance then declines at a rate of approximately 2% per year through age 80.”

There is a lot of information out there regarding when runners peak, and in particular when women runners peak.  I am 29 years old and after 11 years of attempting this running thing, I finally feel like I am becoming a smarter and better runner.  Although I will never be where Kara Goucher is at the age of 34, I am hoping that I will continue to get better and faster. Whether it be because of more confidence or better physical abilities, I hope my best running years are yet to come.

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