Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A look at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials so far.

Hey guys, how are you all making out with your training and racing? By the looks of it there's still plenty of road races going down and people are getting after some great times. I haven't raced in about a month but it's been nice as I had a fairly busy spring. The big goals for me now will be pointing towards the fall. I'll give myself plenty of time, map out a plan with coach John and be ready to peak again for the national 5km champs, STWM and then cross country nationals. Basically the same schedule as last fall. I'm going to try to hit a race in Montreal as well if I can, possibly the Rock and Roll half or something. We shall see when it gets closer. Anyway, I wont talk anymore about my training or anything this post. I'll get into what I've been up to next time and discuss training and what not. For this post I want to talk about the US Olympic Trials and analyze what has gone down so far and how it'll effect what could unfold in Rio.

Men's 10000m

So this is one of my favorite track events. We knew Rupp was going to be able to win this anyway he wanted as his PB is almost a minute faster then 90% of the field. It played out as I suspected it would with Rupp dictating what was happening up front. I was pretty shocked that Ben True and Hassan Mead couldn't go with any of the moves Rupp made. I knew Korir would have a shot at making the team but I was really surprised at the fitness Kipchirchir had. He's obviously very strong aerobically and looked really smooth the whole way. In Rio he should hope the GK, Karoki and Tanui take it out really hard and it's a sub 27 minute race as that will help him achieve his highest finish. He doesn't have good closing speed as he ran 67 seconds for the last 400 but given the heat he still ran a tremendous race. Rupp looked very strong but we didn't really see much from him on display there at the end as he only did enough to secure the win and closed in 60. I'd expect he will need to find a 54 second last lap in a sub 27 race to have a shot at a medal in Rio. GK and Tanui aren't known for their closing ability but they may be able to make the pace hot enough to drop Rupp before the last lap in an effort to get away from Farah but we will see. He should be considered a contender and is definitely going to be top 5. (On a side note, I'm a huge fan of Ben True, but hearing him say in the post race interview that he figured Rupp wanted to get away early as he may have been lacking some leg speed was just ridiculous. He's pretty high on his wheels after running 3:36 a few weeks ago. He nearly got lapped and clearly forgot Rupp has run 3:34 several times and a 3:50 mile. even with the marathon miles in his legs he has enough speed at the end of a 10000 to light up any Americans not named Lagat over 10k.)

Women's 10000m

This played out like we all expected, Huddle is on another level in comparison to her fellow American women over the 10k. Heck, at the NYC half she split back to back sub 32's on the roads to run a 67 mid half. It appeared as though, her coach, the legendary Ray Tracy, wanted her out front, staying out of trouble and dictating the race. She grinded away everyone other then Infeld by the final 800m and then closed in 2:17 to Infeld's 2:25. As dominant as that performance was however, her chances of a medal in Rio are very slim. The Ethiopian trials were held in Hangelo last week and the 3rd place runner was T. Dibaba....yeah, and she ran sub 30:30.....so Huddle is going to need to be in at least American Record shape and hope someone up front has an off day. It's not out of the realm of possibility that she snags a bronze but everything will have to go perfectly. Infeld and Hall are fantastic athletes but just don't have the strength to run anything under about 31:15 or so.

Men's 800m

Firstly, what the heck was going on using a waterfall start? I mean all they needed to do was have 1 guy share a lane....I'll never understand the USATF. Anyway, this was an amazing final. Boris did as Boris does. Take it out hard through 400, make another big push at 600 then try not to tie up too bad coming home. It worked well and he made the team but the miler strength of Clayton Murphy was there in abundance over the last 200m closing in a blazing 26 point!! He was maybe a second and a half back through 400 which was ideal for a 1500m man as he could buffer that 51 high and come on strong with 200 to go. I feel like if a world class miler is in an 800m race that's between 1:43 high to 1:45 they should be the favorite as they can accelerate better then a pure 800m guy over the final stages as they are just trying to not decelerate too much. Pure 1500m runners have such great change of pace and acceleration that they can really close hard on strength over the last couple hundred meters. It was awesome seeing Charles Jock make the team as well. Apparently he rode his bike to the race and then rode it home, an Olympian...what a boss.

Women's 800m

CHAOS....the only word that comes to mind. Wow, that one was unreal hey. When I saw Montano take it out hard as she normally does all seemed normal, other then the fact she was hugging the outside of lane 1 and wasn't on the rail. I don't know if she was baiting someone to try to come inside then close the door on a turn or what but it was very strange, running extra yards for no reason. Then when Martinez just literally burst into lane 2 and really seemed like she was about to take off there was some contact, some clipping of heels and the rest is history. I don't know that Montano had the gas to hold on, in fact I doubt it, but Martinez was a lock to make that team. It's really unfortunate. That said, just like in the men's 800, a miler used their superior strength and destroyed the last 200. Kate Grace looked fantastic getting the win and I'm happy to see her become a national champion.

Things are looking good now for Melissa Bishop. I feel like there's a bronze medal up for grabs between her, Ajee Wilson and Unice Sum. We can all agree that Semenya isn't getting beat by anyone, and Niyonsaba is also worlds better then the rest. (Likely 1:55 shape) But that 3rd spot is up for graps. This is going to be an awesome event to watch this summer.

Who's looking good in the Steeple and 5000 after the heats.

So, we saw the first round of the steeple heats for men and women yesterday. No big surprises really. I do feel like Don Cobral is in supreme form right now and he looked very good taking his heat and getting away from 3:34 man Andy Bayer. I like the team to be Jager, Huling and Cobral in that order. The US has great depth in the steeple. Some good guys like Bayer, Leslie and Kebenie may be watching the Olympics from home this August.

On the women's side it was business as usual. Emma is miles better then the rest and has a eral shot a medaling. (Bronze more then likely as the top two are running 9 flat). But after her I'm torn, I like OConnor and Garcia to get the 2ed and 3rd spot but I'm pulling for Higginson to step up in class and sneak onto the team.

In the men's 5000 everyone who should have moved on did so, but the story of the heats was the 53 second last 400 of Lagat....man, he still has wheels. Granted it was a very pedestrian pace the first 4600m, but the final in Beijing last year was around the same time and Farah closed in 52 to win so Lagat is still very much in the mix. I'm taking Hill, Lagat and Lemong for this team with True in 4th and Jenkins in 5th. This is a stacked final. I hope someone makes it a respectable pace from the gun, like at least a 13:20 type effort to take out guys like Kincaid who can roll the last 400 but wouldn't be much good in an Olympic type race.

Stock Report thus far.

I'll give a little stock report as things seem to be all about the mighty dollar these past few weeks with guys signing big deals and going pro early. (If you have time, check out this deadspin article on Will Leer. It's a good read, I like Will but I think he's gone about this the wrong way. I'd also point out his "brand" is not one that's going to make an employer any real return on investment. Not that 15k a year is a fair market value but you have to play the game a little bit in this business. Don't bash the company writing your paychecks, one that also controls the majority of the sport. Good luck getting into big meets doing stuff like that. Article here -  http://fittish.deadspin.com/will-leer-says-nike-held-him-to-a-contract-out-of-spite-1782928613 )

(These are just my opinions. Others I don't mention preformed where I figured they should like Gatlin, Bromell, Rupp, etc)

Stock Up

Clayton Murphy
Shadrack Kipchirchir
Leonard Korir
Marielle Hall
Don Cabral
Chrishuna Williams
Kate Grace
Charles Jock
Craig Engles


Chris Derrick
Kellyn Taylor
Ajee Wilson
Boris Berian

Stock Down

Duan Solomon
Nick Symmonds
Ben True
Jordan Hasay
Tara Welling
Alysia Montano
Sam Chelanga

Alright guys, that's it for me. I'll be back later this week to look at our Canadian trials and talk some training.

Keep on truckin'


  1. Yo bro!
    1) I think a better way of putting it (compared to Ben True saying Rupp would be lacking leg speed) is that he's lacking the ability to change gears quickly. I think he can still grind out some fast times, but doesn't have ability to accelerate and re-accelerate.
    Like Jager in the steeple. Doesn't have the gear shifting abilities (when training for the full Mary).
    * Kate Grace* won the 8, not Kate Avery
    Pulling for Higgz too in the steeple. Great story and seems like a nice gal (though the same can be said for a lot of folks).
    I think the 5000m men's team will be Hill, Lomong, and True/Jenkins. I know it's weak to pick two guys for third, but I could go either way. True if he's firing 100% will take a spot in a moderate to fast race, Jenkins looked sharp in is improving with every outing.
    I think Kip won't make it: people saw that "daddy can still kick" and will be ready for it, and that's been the exception not the rule recently. I don't know that he has that combo of speed/position/pace in the final.
    What's with Chalenga? And Estrada, and all these dudes who did the OT Marathon and then are coming back in the 5000/10000? Not everyone is Galen Rupp, and guys like Hill have been hungry and doing so much specificity for their one event, hard to see guys bouncing around in distances taking down specialists.
    Just my $2.
    Did you end up racing the Waterfront 10k? I know you'd mentioned it being on the hit list. What's next if not it?
    You inspire me not with your speed/talent (although that's awesome too) but your consistency and dedication to running. Major props, dude.
    Not on Strava anymore? Or watch busted?

  2. Hey Doug! (Facebook reply to follow haha).

    I think your bang on in that assessment! Your right, Galen does still have speed endurance and the ability to run a fast last lap but he likely can't shift through the gears the way world class 5000m runners can, nor does he have that pace change like Ezekiel Kemboi does, that sudden acceleration out of nowhere.

    My bad, I corrected that Kate Avery/Grace mix up. Thanks for pointing that out, I meant grace but Kate Avery must have been on my mind, she's a solid 5/10k girl tho all the same.

    I also think your 5000m predictions could very well happen. Jenkins is in tremendous shape, and has great race awareness and closing speed, as does true. That final will be very interesting.

    I don't know what's going on with the guys coming back and running the 5/10k trials. Maybe they just want to explore all options in an olympic year but you can't chase more then one rabbit and be at 100%. Even Rupp compromised his 5k ability a little. I expected much more for Chelanga.

    I didn't race the waterfront after, I went up for the weekend and cheered people on. I missed a few days after taking a spill and giving my head a little knock doing some home renos haha but I'm back at it.

    My garmin isn't syncing with my strava but I'll get a new 230/630 the next chance I get and make sure I'm back uploading all my runs.

    Thanks so much for the kind words man. It really means a lot. I love the sport and just really enjoy getting out there and training. Love that your being consistent too and setting goals. Your rolling man keep it up! :).