Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Some track talk, pro contracts and Zealot ISO 2.

Hello hello, how's everyone doing? I trust your all enjoying the rad summer weather, getting some training in and even a race or two. Here in Canada we had an awesome week of events this last one with Harry Jerome, the Victoria meet and London's 1500m night, (there was also an 800m night in Toronto). So it was a good time to be a track fan, it looks like our athletes are ready to roll as a lot of people looked really good. Stafford took Rowbury to the line in a great battle over 1500m, she's going to be a force to be reckoned with as she continues to grow as an athlete and gets more experience. And what can you say about Melissa Bishop.....that girl is on fire right now, she literally blew the doors off Brenda Martinez who it likely the second best 800m women in the states behind Wilson and is one of the best on the planet. If she get's through the rounds well in Rio I can see her battling for a silver or bronze for sure. She may be as fit as 1:56:XX shape right now which is the fitness it will take to grab a medal this year. Anyway, yeah let's talk a little track, some contracts and I'll review/talk about the new Saucony Zealot ISO 2.

Donavan Brazier, Boris Berian and pro contracts.

So this is something we all like to talk about, analyze, and we often wonder what the top pros are really making. I think it's fair to say for the most part track athletes are severely under compensated especially when you get outside the top 5 in the world. Now, I'm a firm believer in negotiating your worth, testing the market and being confident enough to walk away if you aren't getting what you think you should command. (After all, we are worth what we can negotiate). 

Seeing the Nike vs. Boris lawsuit play out has given us a glimpse into what someone at that level can expect to make. And with people in the know saying Brazier is now floating at his highest market value of about 400-500k/year base salary before bonuses through 2021 we have some things to go on and we can sort of figure out what the contract literature looks like. 

There's so many things we could get into here, like why aren't the athletes making big time dollars? Well in my mind they aren't getting paid big money because they aren't household names. Bolt gets paid, and rightly so, he's an icon and is know the world over as the fastest man alive. You can't expect to get paid if you don't bring anything to the table. Mo Farah is likely making between 3-5 million a year through his endorsements/contracts, appearance fees and prize money. But there's plenty of athletes that are very close to his ability yet they may only be making 50K a year, why? In my mind it's because they aren't thinking about their career in terms of a business, they look at it only in terms of sport and competition. Farah knows, he's a brand onto himself, and he has a team of people constantly generating content for him on social media, and working his PR so he's always doing appearances and building his name.

Other examples of people maximizing their earning potential are guys like Meb and Ryan Hall. Even when Hall wasn't running well, he was doing commercials for Nissan, teamed with Cytomax (the company that makes muscle milk), Oakley, he still works daily with Asics....he understood that you don't make money just training and racing there's more to it.

Now, if track and field was structured differently, and the athletes themselves weren't independent contractors, things could work much differently, they could collectively negotiate and form a union or an athletes association. They need to realize that alone they have no power to go up against the governing bodies or shoe companies, but together they have strength and could exercise their negotiating power. I'm just rambling here obviously, but these facts could certainly be looked into. The sport isn't really in a good place right now, with all the doping allegations and busts happening, and how they use their TV slots and broadcast the events, it's just not super appealing to the average sports fan.

I don't have any answers, but I've got some ideas. I feel like if the leaders in the sport and top athletes all sit down and really put their heads together and start thinking about track and field as a business then we can see great things come in the future, both in terms of the athletes getting paid and the sport growing. But until we get past the secretive contracts, shady doping scandals, companies dictating governing bodies and athletes having no say or power then we are doomed to stay right where we are.

My week in training,

Monday - 60' easy + strides

Tuesday - 60' easy + strides

Wednesday -60' easy + stides

Thursday - 8X800m off 2'. Did this at the track, just ran it relaxed and controlled, Coach wanted 2:22-24 smoothly and that's how it went down. (went a little fast on the first one by accident in 2:17 but settled after) 75'

Friday - OFF (Did a spin class with my girl)

Saturday - 122' Long Run

Sunday - 60' easy 

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 

So as promised I'm continuing to review/talk about the new shoes Saucony just released or will be releasing soon. The Zealot ISO was released for the first time in Early 2015. I believe I got a pair in January and they released Feb 1st, this second iteration dropped June 1 and it's an excellent update.

So the Zealot for those of you who haven't run in it is a neutral lightweight daily trainer. It uses the ISO technology which forms great to the foot and provides a great lock down. Go back and read my review of the first model which you'll find in a late January 2015 post. 

The biggest change with this update comes with the addition of an Everun topsole that really wakes up the ride and gives that snappy feel. They swapped this in to replace the PowerGrid+ that was used in the last model. The other big change comes in the outsole where they use the Tri-Flex technology instead of the IBR+ pattern they used last year.

The shoe itself is great for long runs as it's pretty light for a shoe with so much cushioning and midsole under foot. I find I can put this on when I want to feel a little lighter/quicker where I'd normally rock a triumph. I've even seen people race marathons in them so rest assured it can go far and fast.

It fits very much true to size and I'm the same size in it as with all the other saucony shoes including the previous model. One thing I did notice was that when I put it on the toe box seems a little smaller which I was really happy about as he last one I found it a little big. The shoe feels more nimble then the last model in my experience and it's for sure going to be a staple in my rotation from here on out.

If you guys want to know anything else about the shoe please leave a comment below and I'll answer it as best I can or put you in touch with a rep who can tell you anything about it that I may not know. Here's the link to the shoe with all the spec - http://www.saucony.com/en/zealot-iso-2/24976M.html?icid=SAUC_home_1_ZealotISO2m_SHOP&dwvar_24976M_color=S20314-1

Zealot ISO left and the ISO 2 on the right

The new Zealot ISO 2 on the left, and the first generation on the right.

Next week we will look at the new XODUS with Everun for those trail runners out there.

A faithful pair of Triumph ISO 2's had to be retired today....they served me well.

 Alright folks that's it for me, I'll see you next week and we will talk more about my running/training and look at the Canadian and American Olympic Trials!

Stay frosty,
DF - Out

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A look at some pro track news, our Canadians and Ride 9 thoughts.

Hey friends! Sorry for missing last week's update/post. I'm getting some work done on the house, new windows and trim, I got up to take a look on the scaffolding that the contractors had up after they had gone home for the day and on my decent gave myself a good bang. I'm fine, but I had to take the rest of the week off and just stayed off any/all tech/screens as I had some headaches. But all is well and I'm back at it and ready to go. So I won't talk about any of my training over the last two weeks in this post it'll be more talking about some news that went down for our Canadians last Sunday night in Portland and some other stuff going on in the world of track and field. If anyone is curious though, since we last spoke I did a 2X20' session at MP/SS off a 3' recovery that averaged 5:29 & 5:27/mile then a session of 7X3'/1 during the Garnish 10k race which I won in 32:33 (coasted in the last 2km or so at marathon pace after the workout was done, article here - http://www.southerngazette.ca/Sports/2016-06-04/article-4550049/St.-Lawrence-native-Karen-Stacey-wins-first-Garnish-Frenchman%26rsquo%3Bs-Cove-road-race/1 ), then before my failed attempt to pretend like I knew how to negotiate scaffolding I did 6X1mile off 90" at the pearlgate track, just nice and easy, about goal tely 10 pace or a slight bit quicker, all that 5:00/mile. I'll attach the first of 4 shoe reviews I talked about at the very end of this post as well, so let's jump into it.

Luc Bruchet and Anthony Romaniw come through in the clutch.

Firstly, let's just say all our Canadian's looked great out there. Hilary ran a solid 800, Jess O. got her proof of fitness taken care of and there were some other solid runs by Peter, Sasha, Natasha, etc. But we have to talk about the boys.......oh man. Firstly, what a boss Romaniw is man, like I knew he had the talent to hit the standard, he's run under the mark before and you can look at one of my post from about a month ago where I called him to hit it and then come top 3. But he hadn't gone sub 1:47 until Sunday and he was in the slow heat so I was nervous, but my boy came up big man, what a stud. He gave a great interview on Flotrack so go check that out. Then Luc was up, he spoke after about it really being one of his last big chances to run standard, he was going to have to go to Japan or Europe if it didn't work out in Portland. If you watch the race you see that at 1200 he knows he's close and with 2 laps to go he takes his fate into his own hands and goes for it. He looked like he belonged with the big boys out there on Sunday. He's such an amazing dude, beyond funny and easy going. It couldn't have happened to a better person. Hard work always gets rewarded. As I watched him during his interview part of me was wondering what Kelly Weibe is thinking right now, I know he's super close with Luc and is beyond stoked for him. The boys used to train together daily and Kelly handed Luc many losses on the roads and over XC. Granted, Kelly isn't the type of guy who lives with regrets, he had an amazing career and is chasing his non athletic goals right now. I hold out hope he makes a comeback at some point all the same!

A few other observations from the last few weeks of the circuit.

1 - Like I already mentioned, good luck beating Asbel Kiprop in the 1500m.....ain't gona' happen!

2 - Caster Semenya is also a LOCK for gold in the women's 800m.

3 - The women's steeple is a 1 horse race out front, Hyvin Kiyeng, all day long!

4 - Farah is going to HANDLE everyone in the 5k, it's just a matter of who's in 2ed and 3rd. Nobody will or can make it too fast for him to not be able to close like a boss. That 3k in Birmingham showed us that. In the 10k, that's where it could get interesting, if I was an odds-maker I'd still have him as a heavy heavy favorite but GK did go sub 13 in the 5km, he looked slow as hell trying to close, but he's also SUPER strong so if he makes it crazy fast and works with Karoki we could see an upset. It'll take at 26:25-30 race in my mind to do it.

5 - Nike should be ashamed of what they are doing to Boris....is that really what your company was built upon? It's an Olympic year, the guy has enough to deal with.

6 - Donovan Brazier is an absolute BEAST. After the 800m NCAA final a few years back where Robbi Andrews kicked down Charles Jock in signature fashion I figured we would never see a more epic final in the event, but I was wrong. If you haven't seen the video yet go check it out 1:43.55 is just silly fast.

Saucony Ride 9 review.

So as I mentioned last time, I'll be giving my feedback/reviewing some of the just released or soon to be released shoes from Saucony. This week we will look at the Ride 9 with Everun. Now, I haven't been in as many models of the Ride as I have the Kinvara, I haven't missed one of those, for the Ride, I've been in the 5,6,8 and now the 9. Most of you who enjoy the franchise know the shoe well and for those who don't its a neutral daily trainer. I like to think of it as the workhorse of the Saucony lineup. It's not as luxurious, nor as expensive as the Triumph ISO, but it can take a TON of miles and that's upped even more with the Everun unit throughout. Now, if you don't know about Everun, go back through my posts to where I reviewed the first shoe this topsole made it's appearance, the Triumph ISO 2, you'll find that in one of my posts from September of last fall.

Anyway, it fits in great with the ride. Overall, since last year the shoe has been completely overhauled. PowerGrid foam is swapped our for Everun and on the outsole you'll find their new Tri-Flex technology that grips the road and makes you feel confident with each stride.

The fit remains the same, lot's of room in the toebox and a snug fit around the laces where the foot gets locked down. It fits true to size and you can rest easy that whatever size you had in the previous generation will continue on into this model.

The biggest change for me was the ground feel, these are just that much more snappy now with everun. You get more responsiveness and energy return from the ground. I find it's the transition through my footstrike where this is most apparent. The ride is always going to be a bit firmer then the Triumph, or Kinvara and it stays that way in this model. It feel similar to the fastwich when your running, just more underfoot.

It's shed another tenth of an ounce and comes in at 9.3 for a men's size 9 sample size. More info on the tech and features can be found here -  http://www.saucony.com/en/ride-9/24980M.html?dwvar_24980M_color=S20318-2

I really hope you give this shoe a try, it's a staple in my rotation and is great for all my easy and longer runs. Leave a comment below if you need any more details or would like to ask a more specific question. Next time we will look at the new Zealot ISO 2

The Ride 8 (back) and 9 (front) side by side

Donut's post race with a few great folks.

Post long run Heinekens for the win.

Breakfast of champions!