Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The insanity that was Rio 2016 Athletics - Semenya, Farah, Bolt, etc.

Hey friends! I trust you are all training hard and looking forward to the fall road and cross seasons. Over here on the east coast I'm putting in some good work. The last 3 weeks have been about the best I've ever felt and things are really clicking. I think coach John has me dialed in perfect in terms of volume and intensity as I'm starting to really hit workouts with confidence and am ending them knowing there's more in the tank. So, needless to say I'll be looking for some PB's in September, October and November. Until then I'll keep my head down and just grind. (I may not feel as positive tomorrow as I've got 5X800 in 2:15....so wish me luck with that one.)

Anyway, in this post I'll try to briefly touch on the last 5 days of the Olympics (athletics) and highlight some of the races I enjoyed and what story lines emerged. After that I'll do a recap of my week that was in training and then get you guys out of here as I'm sure you'll want to spend your time reading better content over on trackie.ca, letsrun.com or flotrack.org. Before I get into that though, a shout out to everyone who's training for a full marathon this fall, it's crazy how everyone I seem to follow on Strava or even just friends in general all seem to be gearing up for a full. My boy Mark Hayward is putting in some stellar training which is hella impressive given the fact that he's in medical school and has a new born at home. Then I caught on Instagram that Kev Coffey is making another appearance at STWM so that's going to be one to watch as he's due for a good one, well south of 2:20. And last but certainly not least the wolf himself, Jeff Costen is putting in some monster sessions. I won't hype the kid too much but you know I'm high on his ability. He likely wants to play it low key in his debut, but it certainly isn't his first rodeo. Dude ran a beauty long run there last week covering 26.2 in 2:4X. He'll be ready to roll come October 16th. Dr. de Jong and I will be at 40K directing all you beauties into the homestretch!

5 story lines that emerged from the last 5 days of Athletics in Rio

1 - Usain Bolt is the GOAT and is truly a star that transcends the sport. We can all pretty much agree that Track and Field at it's core is a niche sport, but every so often there emerges a transcending figure that has the perfect blend of athletic ability, charisma and showmanship that puts them in the mainstream. Usain Bolt certainly fit that bill, and since he burst onto the scene in Beijing 8 years ago he has been a superstar. From appearances on late night talk shows, edgy Puma commercials ("calling all troublemakers..") and appearances at pop culture award shows, he's made himself into a household name. Pretty much anyone you ask will know the name Usain Bolt. It was reported that Bolt pulled in 32.5 million in endorsements last year and that he could potentially make up to 80 this year if he parlays the Olympic year into the equation. And in my mind he's worth every penny. Usain's career has been nothing short of amazing. He's run WR's over the 1,2 and 4X1. Set Olympic records under the pressure of game opposition and faced the very best, even when his training had been less then ideal. I hope we get to see him on the track one more time next year in London, pull off the double and then ride off into the sunset. Will there ever be another like him? I doubt it, but young Andre De Grass is certainly someone who looks poised to take his place as the number one sprinter in the world as we move into a new era.

2 - Mo Farah needs to be in the conversation for greatest distance runner of all time. He can't be kept out of that debate any longer. I still hear people saying he's not winning in fast races, but guess what, the times he ran to win at this year's Olympics were only seconds off the Olympic records and he closed like a savage, even falling in the 10k. Sure he doesn't have a blazing fast time to his name over 5km and 10km. But his hardware is stacking up higher and higher, not to mention the fact that he's still running quick year in, year out. In this, an Olympic year, he has run one of the fastest 1500m times, the quickest 5k and 10k time as well as a sub 60 minute half. He faces all comers and takes them down. I will submit that he doesn't have the cross country credentials of the greats like Geb and Bekele but we also need to understand that Cross isn't as big as it was back in the late 90's and early to mid 2000's. The same can be said for opportunities to time trial fast 5km's and 10km's. How things are looking now, I expect him to pull off the double again next year in London and then move to the roads. I was chatting with my good friend Jeremiah and he made some great points about Mo and Galen and it got me thinking about this GOAT debate. Mo may never run the 2:03 that Geb ran, or have the list of cross country titles and scalps that Bekele does. But we do need to realize and appreciate what he's currently doing and the caliber of athletes he's beating over everything from the 15 to the half.

3 - The women's 800 went exactly how we thought it would. Before I even touch on the top 3 let's give a huge shout out to Melissa Bishop. My girl, Amy Friel and I have been talking about it over the last 2 days. Her performance was inspired, it's one I hope she's proud of. Obviously it's heartbreaking to not medal being in the shape she was, but she ran an unreal race and displayed nothing but class afterwards. We are all super proud of you Melissa! As for the race itself, Caster put on a truly amazing display of 800m running. Her strength over the last 120m in unrivaled. Nyonsaba looked great as did Wambui closing well. I feel there's too much talk over the intersex element right now. I mean we knew about the state of the 800 since April, we should be respecting the medalists at this point and focusing on the tremendous performances put forth in that final. Heck, 1:57 came 6th!!!! The debate about fairness or equal playing field can be saved for those who have the knowledge and understanding of the situation at a later date. Clearly it needs to be figured out and talked about thoroughly but to all those people on social media/twitter who are disrespecting the athletes, please give it a rest. They deserve our respect and gratitude for putting forth a truly memorable 800m final.

4 - NOP and Salazar are doing something right. Regardless if you like them or hate them. The performances put down by Rowbury, Centro, Rupp and Farah were sensational and american distance running in general is in a very good/healthy place. To see Centro running a tactically perfect race and holding off a 1:42 guy over the last 400m will go down as one of the best performances ever. His tactical awareness is unmatched. How he wastes zero energy and looks the same running 75 second quarters as he does 50 second quarters boggles my mind. Every young 1500m runner needs to watch tape on Centro to see how it's done, hell, some pros could learn a thing or two from him. Then we come to Rupp, that bronze medal over 26.2 miles was really something special. He hung with a 2:03 and a 2:04 guy for 23 miles in his second marathon and displayed a calmness that normally takes a half a dozen attempts to master. Kipchoge is the best marathoner the world has ever seen, and the guy just ahead of Rupp, Feyisa is also a stud and won the first major of the year in Tokyo. My boy JJ had told me this before the games even happened but he was right on the money, Rupp's best event will no doubt be the marathon and I believe Salazar when he says he expects him to run a 2:04 at some point, likely 2018.

5 - Canada certainly showed they can compete well on the world stage in Athletics. I think we should look at these games as a huge step in the right direction for our nation. We had stellar performances on the men's and women's side in all events, from Brianne in the heptathlon, Andre in the 100m, Melissa in the 8, Mo in the 5k and Eric holding it down in the Marathon. We sometimes get very frustrated with Athletics Canada be it their criteria, lack of transparency or funding selections but we don't normally congratulate them when they do get things right. In my eyes Rio 2016 was a huge success and I think in 4 years from now we will be even further ahead and other countries will be taking note of our athletes over all disciplines.


My week in training.

Monday - 91' with 4X15" strides + 40' General Strength 

Tuesday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Wednesday - 92' with 8X1'/3' @5:00/mile for the 1' and 5:30/mile for the 3' continuous. 

Thursday - 77' with 4X15" strides + 45' General Strength

Friday - OFF, with a 60' swim and some drills.

Saturday - 122' Long Run with 4X10' @ 5:12/mile average. 90" float between intervals.

Sunday - 76' super chill on the trails.

So yeah, that's another week in the books. I'm feeling fit, fast and really enjoying the training. Lot's more work to do obviously and a set of 800's tomorrow in 2:15 certainly won't be a walk in the park but that's the grind my friends.

Anyway, I'll see you all next week, same bat time, same bat place.

Stay pretty,

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