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Posts tagged ‘london marathon’

A 10 Year Record

This April marks the 10th Anniversary of Paula Radcliffe’s marathon world record. 10 years ago, in the London Marathon, Radcliffe ran 26.2 miles in 2:15:25. Even to this day, the next closest time is three minutes slower. Last Thursday an article came out, stating that Radcliffe fears she’ll never race again. I remember in 2004 watching Radcliffe drop out of the Olympic marathon and I almost cried with her. It was heartbreaking. But through her many injuries, Radcliffe has some amazing accomplishments. She has two world records, the 10K and marathon, along with a few other world bests (but they are unratifiable). Even if she never races again, she is amazing.

Here is her marathon finish in 2003:

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery/Running Update: I ran an easy 3 miles this morning through Microsoft’s campus. Tomorrow I am meeting one of my running friends for a run through Seattle and I am really looking forward to it. 🙂

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Olympians and Injury

I love Desiree Davila. There is something about her that just seems so bad a** and determined. Perhaps I like her even more because, for quite a while in her running career, she was never considered the favorite. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago when she really started being a contender for the marathon. She worked her butt off and made things happen.  She’s the fastest American woman to ever run Boston and she qualified for the London Olympics. Then an injury forced her to drop out of the marathon around mile 8. I think I may have cried for her.

Competitor recently published an interview with Davila and it made me feel like I was in good company with my running injury. After London, Davila found out she had a stress fracture in her femur, which was originally diagnosed as an injury to her hip flexor tendon. It took her 12 weeks to recover and she still had to pull out of the 2013 Boston Marathon because her training wasn’t 100%. And I’m worried about my three weeks of no running?

It’s a great article and I highly recommend you read it, especially if you suffer from mild depression due to a running injury like I do. However, there are a few things I’d like to point out that I took away from the article:

First, Olympians worry about losing fitness, just like us mere mortals do. For me, I have this idea that 12 years of running will be completely undone by 3 weeks of no running. I think I should get a grip.

Second, we all have weaknesses and strength is IMPORTANT! If you want to run without injury, you are going to have to build a strong core and strengthen those stabilizing muscles.

Third, learn to understand your body and get in tune with what you are feeling. I like this quote:

Obviously, I think I have a better understanding of my body and knowing the difference between pushing through something and “OK, this is an injury.” In the past, I couldn’t tell you the difference until it was beyond the point of being able to fix it, and I think that’s something I’m still kind of learning right now. We’ll go out and do a hard day and I’ll have a little bit of soreness and think, “Is this because I’m going backward or is it because the soft tissue is adjusting to working hard?” So it’s being a lot more cognizant of that.

I am no Olympian and certainly have many more races ahead of me. The Olympics however, only come every 4 years. I can’t even begin to imagine the mental struggle Desiree faced after dropping out in London. But she has handled the experience like all good runners do. She has learned from it and moved on. I’m trying to do the same.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I still haven’t been able to run, even though I was really hoping for an easy few miles this week. However, I can tell my hip is continuing to heal and I know I’ll be back out there soon enough. Today at the gym, I did the stair climber, bike, burpees, one legged squats, and other core strengthening exercises. Now I’m off to practice my handstands.

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

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

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