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Posts tagged ‘olympics’

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,


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.

2016 Olympic Marathon

My father-in-law is great. He is currently expressing interest in traveling to Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Why? Well it’s not because he really wants to see Usain Bolt or Shalane Flanagan. Nope. He is however, certain that I’ll be there running my first Olympic marathon and wants to be there to cheer me on. 🙂 Oh I do love my family!

Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain I will not be there proudly representing the USA. Especially since I learned last week that the qualifying times for the Olympic Trials have been lowered. And just when I thought I was getting fast… Read more

Two Things I Learned from an Olympic Athlete

On our way to Roxboro tonight, Mario and I listened to the most recent podcast from Greatist. It was an interview with Shelia Taormina, the first woman to qualify for the Olympics in three events- swimming, triathlon, and the modern pentathlon. Now that’s what I call a pretty amazing athlete.

In the interview, she discussed what helped her to be an awesome athlete. Taormina put a strong emphasis on two things: strength training and rest. In particular, listening to her body and taking days off at a time if she needed to. According to her, without those things, she would not have been able to achieve her Olympic goals.

Today was my day off and for some reason I was feeling guilty about it. I was even planning a 6 mile run but when I was running short on time, decided against it. After listening to this interview, I’m glad I let my body rest. It’s been a rough week and I think I needed it. And after all, if I plan to go to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, I better start taking the advice of a well accomplished Olympian. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


The Importance of Preparation

Today it was cold, wet, and rainy here in Raleigh, NC. I’m not sure what happened to the 70 degree weather we had this past weekend but it is November, so I understand.

On my way home from work, I actually started getting pretty excited about running in the cold rain for some reason. Then I remembered a story I read about Michael Phelps, and I was reminded why I welcomed the crappy weather. Training in crappy situations gets you ready for whatever may come race day. Read more


Last week I came across this video on 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 !


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,


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,



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,


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,