Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Stock report in the wake of the US Olympic Marathon Trials

What's up running friends? What a weekend we had this past Saturday and Sunday! Not only did we get some tasty track races indoors, but we also got the always epic US Olympic Marathon Trials. I was probably the worst boyfriend ever this weekend as I had to get my own runs in, was streaming meets, and couldn't stop talking about the Olympic trials, I made an effort but I suck in the romance department as is. I took Hilary out to lunch today to make up for it, thankfully she's very understanding that I'm a little off and she cuts me some slack when it comes to my running. Anyway, I won't talk about any track in this post even though we saw the return of Defar, running an 8:30 3km, and some blazing fast 1500's got laid down at the New Balance Grand Prix. I don't want this to be too long so I'll stick to the Olympic Trials and do a super quick recap of my training which went great! I even jumped in and paced my friend Connor in a 1km to a 2:37 low so the legs are feeling pretty good of late, we just have to keep putting money in the bank and the focus on the spring! Anyway, let's get into this!

US Olympic Marathon Trials Post Mortem/Stock Report.

So the trials......that was exciting hey? I mean, there weren't any major upsets other then Dathan dropping out at mile 9 with cramping. Jared Ward sneaking into 3rd was great to see and shouldn't surprise us too much. He won the US marathon champs in similar conditions in the same city last year in an almost identical time. He can run in the heat, I'm just surprised he put that much of a gap on Puskedra. Though I wasn't surprised at all by the team, I thought the race was VERY interesting and it told us a lot about where everyone is, fitness wise, in their careers and how they might do in Rio. So I'm going to list some names below, give my thoughts and what I think they come out of the race looking like. We will start with who's stock went up, who held and who went down.

Stock Up

Galen Rupp - So I guess those who thought he would just be another great 10km guy who would struggle at the distance can please exit to the left. I couldn't believe how many people who I thought knew a lot about running like Keith Hanson thought he was going to have a bad debut and not make the team or DNF. I mean we weren't just talking about another good 10km guy like their boy Bobby Curtis (27:24 performer). We were talking about a 26:44 guy, an Olympic silver medalist, a 3:50 miler and a guy who ran a thanksgiving day half in a long sleeve t-shirt in 61:20. Rupp went out there, approached it like a track race, made a decisive move with 4 miles to go and put 68 seconds on a game Meb. That 2:11:19 was worth about 2:08 high or 2:09 low given the course and heat. In an interview after the race Salazar said Rupp ran a 20 miler at 4:52 pace in cool temps with his heart rate never over 149. I mean, to do that you have to be in at least 2:06 mid shape. His future looks bright in the marathon. It'll be interesting to see how he looks running the US indoor champs in less then a month. 

Meb - What can you say, I didn't think his stock could go any higher, but I mean he just proved once again that he is ageless. That 2:12 was worth a lot faster, probably just under 2:10. He looked fantastic and was so classy after the race. I just love Meb, he's everything great about the sport and what all athletes should look to strive for an emulate. There's nothing else to say really

Jared Ward - This was a breakthrough race for Jared, he ran with the experience of a veteran marathoner, he gauged that the break made early was too rich. He trusted his fitness and pace strategy and closed with a 2 second negative split on the back half to make the team. I'm pumped to see what this guy can do in the coming years. He, along with Puskedra will be the next guys under 2:10 after Rupp.

Tyler Penel - Tyler had a breakout season on the USA Road Circuit this year and set PB's in everything from the mile (3:58) to the half. He went for it, came up a little short but he showed guts man. He wasn't banking on people coming back to him, he tried to take the race into his own hands. Give him a couple years and he will be up there with the big dogs.

Amy Hastings Craig - That was the performance of her Career, she looked so in control and not at all like how she looked when she was running 2:27 a couple years ago, she took the race by the scruff of the neck, along with Shalane and made it happen. She was a fantastic teammate to her friend Shalane and got her through until mile 25 and then shut the door on a charging Desi. I never thought I'd say this but she looked way stronger, faster and fitter then Desi. When she left Shalane to close out the race it was with authority. Look for more big things this spring and into Rio.

Stock Hold

Luke Puskedra - Luke finished in 4th, the worst place in a race like the trials, but it wasn't a bad race and he got beat by 3 great runners. This is a guy who was out of the sport all together a year ago. To come back as strong as he did in 2015 and in the trails is a testament to how strong this guy is. At 26, he's got lots of time to figure it out and I'm sure he will come out this spring and run a super quick marathon.

Shalane Flanagan - Shalane didn't look good at the end of the race, but I'm not holding that against her, she was obviously suffering from heat stroke/dehydration. She also had a very rough build up from what she said and came off an injury riddled fall. She is still the best marathoner on the women's side in my mind so look for her to recover and rebuild with Amy and come out super strong this spring.

Desi Linden - I wasn't sure about how to rate her race. She executed perfectly and paced like a seasoned veteran. She ran within herself and came in second. But that said, she certainly didn't look anything like the Desi who has looked so strong at Boston. I mean she barely got Shalane who was shuffling it in. I don't know if it's age, or the amount of marathons shes after running but she didn't look very strong out there in my mind. That said, she got it done when it mattered and is going to Rio. So for that she should be commended.

Stock Down

The debutantes - it was a rough day out there for the big debutantes we were all hoping would shake things up, Diego Estrada and Sam Chelanga. The marathon is a cruel distance and the heat of LA really made it hard out there for everyone, especially first timers. I've got no doubt both will rebound and make a push to make the 10km team at the trials. Both are young and super talented.

Kara Goucher - her race isn't why I say her stock has gone down, I actually thought she ran an extremely strong race and should be applauded for coming back so strongly after a couple injury riddled seasons. I put her here because of the constant drama that she's bringing lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Kara, she's had a distinguished career and will go down as one of the US all time greats but her constant need to get media attention after the race by bringing up the USADA investigation into the Oregon Project is just silly. She said her peice and disclosed what she knew. Now leave it alone, you didn't make the team, it's fine, act with class like Dena did in 2012, don't make it about someone else. When Galen was asked about it after the race he wasn't bothered at all and didn't mind answering the question. I think Kara can go back to the track and has a chance in the 10km, just go back to boulder and work hard, forget the media and drama. Get back to what makes your great, your running. 

Training groups other then NOP and BTC - I guess their stock doesn't really go down as the Hansons got Desi on the team but they were really hyping Bobby Curtis and Jake Riley then you had Norther Arazona Elite talking about getting at least 1 person on the team, maybe two. I don't know, I just wasn't impressed with anyone in those groups. The lone wolfs like Jared Ward, Luke Puskedra and Tyler Penel did well for themselves. Maybe it's a hold on their stock, but it just seems like they invest a lot for not much return.

My week in training

I'll keep this brief as I rambled a bit there about the trials.

Monday - 10 miles easy (6:22/mile) - AM/ 10 miles easy (6:12/mile) - PM

Tuesday - Blizzard, everything closed, workout - 40' tempo @ 5:00/mile on a 1% grade, treadmill.

Wednesday - 12 miles easy (6:30/mile) - AM/ 6 miles easy (6:10/mile) - PM

Thursday - Workout - 10X1km off 2' alternating 5km/HM pace. 5km @ 2:54 avg, HM @ 3:13 avg

Friday - 10 miles easy (6:21/mile) - AM, Paced a 1000 in 2:37.12 + EZ miles after

Saturday - 16 mile Long Run (6:18/mile) - AM/ OFF - PM

Sunday - 10.1 mile of 60' easy (5:56/mile) - AM/ OFF - PM   (Back was sore from the snow blower)

So yeah, that's pretty much it for this week. Other then the fact that we have a ridiculous amount of snow things are going well. Next week I'll break down my training more and talk some indoor track and the millrose games will be after taking place so there will be lots to discus.

Until next time, keep your heads up, and sticks on the ice!


As I mentioned above, I took my girl out today for lunch to make up for watching running or running most of valentines day, I kind of overdid it on the nutrition....still feeling this is my belly right now.

Shout out to the fine people at Syntrax for the fresh shipment of protein, these two 5 lb bags will keep the recovery going for a while. (If you want to try any of their products check out their website and use to the code syntraxdavid for 40% off everything.)


  1. Yo David!
    Great little recap.
    I'll throw some thoughts out there, and I've got a different angle: I was there on the streets of LA watching!
    1) If this race was run in Chicago or a similar fast course, perfect weather, not multi-loop with LOTS of turns, I think the only person the same on the men's team would be Galen. The style of racing (championship style) fit both Meb and Jared Ward to a T -> in a flat out drag race of speed, Galen, Puskedra, and maybe Ritz or Chalenga (assuming no cramping) would be in.
    2) Not surprised at all by Jared Ward. He's like Meb and Desi -> doesn't have the raw speed of the most elite, but is a classic diesel that can go all day every day, and when the fast guys aren't 100%, boom, he takes them down. He ran LA last year (different course) in hotter, more humid weather and hung tough and finished only 4 seconds slower this year. He knew he was racing for 3rd and executed the exact way I thought he would.
    I'm more surprised by Puskedra not being faster, not Jared Ward's performance on it's own. Then again, this was only Luke's 2nd "fast" marathon, so it was hard to say if he was going to improve off his awesome 2:10 or if that was the peak of his abilities as a marathoner. Being 6'4" with all that surface area I'm sure didn't help. Ouch.
    Bobby Curtis surprised me. Was talking a good game, looked fit in workouts (from the couple minutes we all get via flotrack, etc) and I thought would be in the mix on the outside looking in. But running mid 2:20's? Now way I would have thought that.
    On start of the third long lap (mile 18) I told my buddy that Amy looked better than Shalane. Smoother, more relaxed at the same speed. Form doesn't always indicate speed, endurance, etc, but in this case, it did. I thought it'd be a 1-2 finish with Amy getting the win, but WOW did it get crazy out there! At one point Kara was only 4s behind Desi trying to get into 3rd, and I thought she might do it, but Desi was biding her time to pass a faltering Shalane.
    Maegan Krifchin was a huge story that a lot of people missed: got 7th, in a pb of 2:33:28. A PB in that environment? NOT a fast course or day with the style of racing, but she ran her own race and was rewarded with an awesome finish. Wasn't on ANYONE's list of prospective outside picks for the team or the top 10, and crushed a lot of more seasoned women out there. Lots of people missed her because of a mid 2:30 marathon A seed, but most didn't know she had ran 1:09 mid in the fall, faster than anyone not named Molly Huddle. But the 1/2 qualifiers are all B standard, and so her A marathon (even though it was weaker relatively) was posted and not her smoking half.
    Turns out I was on the airport shuttle with her boyfriend before the trials. He said one of their first dates he tried to impress her when he heard she was a runner -> " I can run 7:00 mile pace for like 10km!" her response -> "yeah? I can run 5:20 pace for a 1/2" . Poor dude. Haha

    NAE didn't get anyone on, but Kellyn Taylor had an awesome first OT race especially since she was pushed into the lead for ~8 miles. She had the eye of the tiger, next time with some better strategy she'll be even more in the mix. Matt Llano had a great race too, I though, all things considered.

    Deena Kastor was there, was awesome to say a quick "hi". Hard to say if she'd have been on the team. Would she have pulled a Meb? Had an epic battle for 4th with Kara? Hard to say.

    That's all I've got to say for now, I'm already at a 3 chapter book. Haha.
    You still coming out for the Sun Run?

    1. Hey pal!

      Firstly, I'm jealous you were there and secondly thank for this amazing comment! I learned a lot from it.

      1 - I agree with you 100% the top 3 would have changed if it had been a Chicago type course. I still think Meb would have been on the team as he could have run 2:08/09 and it wouldn't be new territory like it would have been for everyone other then Ritz. But Luke would have been on there for sure. He suffered with his frame and heat dissipation no doubt.

      I was also very surprised by Bobby Curtis, but we couldn't glean much from those Flotrack clips. i figured he would improve upon his last marathon of 2:11:20, maybe not time wise with the conditions but I figured he would put forth at least a better effort then what he did in Chicago.

      Now, Maegan Krifchin, I honestly knew NOTHING about her, and I pride myself on following the scene. I just did a little research, and wow, that was the performance of the day. And I mean a 1:09 mid is no joke. That indicates 2:26 ability for sure. She ran great and will definitely be a name to watch moving forward. It's interesting her fast half time was hidden because they showed her 2:30 mark. Interesting. (That poor dude hahah, he's a champ tho for trying to run some game, and I mean it worked out as they are together now haha very cool you talked to him).

      I agree Kellyn Taylor ran strongly, I just didn't think it was wise making that kind of a move that early, I didn't think it wise for Sara Hall to do it either, but Kellyn hanging on the way she did was impressive, I should have given her a shout out. I was watching her as She was one of the faster seeds. Matt Llano, I felt at least, he didn't really progress from his 2:12 in Berlin in that race. I mean he cracked the top 10 but look at Ward. He ran the same time almost in a tactical race as his last marathon. But Matt seems like a good dude. I don't know, I just got a little upset when he started talking about his debut a couple years ago and that he was going after Hall's 2:08 debut record. I mean the guy hasn't broken 14 minutes for 5000m. Hall made the world champs in the 5000 winning a US tittle at the distance and ran a 59:43 half. I just felt Matt blew his 1:01:47 up way more then it deserved to be. (for reference Puskedra ran a faster half then that when he was in University) But he didn't do too badly this weekend.

      I don't think Deena could have hung in that race. Top 5 for sure, but those top 3, they were clear of 4th by a lot and the heat was brutal. I love Deena tho, and she's an amazing ambassador for the sport.

      I just added 4 chapters to the book that is this comment haha. And 100% I'll be out for the Sun Run!

      Thanks again for the comment dude.