Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pre Classic Post-Mortem and GRE Spring awards/analysis.

Sup friends, how goes the training? As promised I'm trying to get back to the regular blogging, so I wanted to get a post up talking about some of the ridiculous action we were treated to last weekend at Hayward field. After that I wanna give some shout out to my amazing running club, Grand River Endurance. Not only are they a talent rich group of educated professionals but they are just about the best friends anyone could ask for. I can't wait to actually get to hang with all of them soon. I got some time in with individuals here and there but I haven't been with the whole crew since last October's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Weekend. So the plan is to stop up in June as I have an unused ticket from Ottawa weekend that can be put to use to see those legends. Anyways, I'll talk about some of the takeaways from Pre, give out my GRE spring performance awards and talk about the training I'm starting to get going.

What we can glean from the 2017 Pre Classic.

1 - The men's 100m isn't off to a hot start amongst the top dogs like other years. I suspect father time is catching up with Gatlin as he's looked like a shell of what he normally does this time of year. In 2015 if my memory serves he went like 9.7 and sub 20 within 90 minutes in one of the European Diamond League stops. This year he's looking pretty vulnerable. Andre Degrass isn't running much better but he's progressing each week and he's still a very young guy so I expect come August he will be on the podium again. If I was a betting man, I'd put money on Bolt and Yohan Blake going 1-2 at Worlds in London this August and if Andre finds his form he will repeat a bronze in the 100m and be in the mix at the 200m

2 - The woman's steeple keeps getting better and better! Man, when you see Emma Colburn almost breaking her own American Record and being half a strait away behind the leaders and an 18 year old you've got to think she had the perfect mix of luck, fitness and field last year to medal. The steeple on the women's side right now is one of the most exciting races to watch. There are in reality 4 maybe 5 ladies who can go sub 9 at any given time right now.

3 - Genzebe Dibaba is fit but not as fit as 2015 when she went 3:50 for 1500. Now perhaps I'm wrong and she just didn't want to push solo. I mean 14:25 is still a LEGIT 5000m time but I think to break her sisters 14:11 (which her 3:50 tells us shouldn't be a problem) she will need Almez Ayana in the race. They also can't fool around playing cat and mouse. To threaten 14:11 you need to be on 69's from the gun, it's a relentless pace. Maybe they should get Mary Kaitany on the phone and ask her about her attack of the London course back in April, that's how you have to get after it if your going to dip under that 5000m mark.

4 - Good luck beating Mo Farah again this year.....what can you say. I mean this wasn't a slow race. A 13:00 flat race where they let off the gas for around a mile before 800m to go is no joke. And even if it was a 12:50 race they had nothing for Mo. The 5000m guys just aren't fast enough over the last lap to challenge him. I mean he's likely only now getting into some speed and sharping work and he's already running 3:34 for 1500. Come August that 55 second last lap will be 51-52. It kind of sucks if your a guy like Kamwroror who just doesn't have that pace despite being an aerobic monster. The only guys who can hang with those last laps in a 5k would be a sub 13, and sub 3:30 performer like Iguider. Hopefully he doubles.

5 - What's going on with Kiprop? 3:58 for him is like doing an interval. The guy has run 3:26 for 1500. I heard he was sick but still, he shouldn't have started if he was in that kind of shape. The 3 Kenyans that battled for the win seemed to be where you'd expect with Canova's boy coming out on top. (Note, I love Canova, I think he's the best coach in the world and is the only person really pioneering the principles he uses but his boy isn't beating Farah over 5000m this year. His 2020 prediction of being the 5k champ is definitely more believable tho). In the Bowerman mile I was also impressed with Clayton Murphy, 3:51 is a big time PB but I hope he doesn't get the idea he's a world class miler. The guy is a world class 800m runner and is by FAR the best in the US right now, there's nobody close. He needs to stick with the half mile. I don't think you'll get Makloufi doubling in the 800m/1500m this year at worlds as he generally only tries that in Olympic years so there could be a Silver up for grabs if Murphy has a good one and gets through to the final.

6 - The american woman don't appear to be in good form for the 1500, at least this early in the season. (note that the men other then Centro are even worse). In the Saturday 1500, Kate Grace, Jenny Simpson, Shannon Rowbury and Brenda Martinez were all in there, all Olympians and non were a factor. Now the only one under 30 in Grace at age 28/29 so this may have something to do with it but if they weren't a factor in that race and Dibaba as well as Hassan were busy in the 5k going 14:25 and 14:41 I can't see them competing for a medal in London. I'll tell you who could grab one is Laura Miur, that girl runs with such heart. I'd love to see her podium this year, her indoor season indicated she's ready and she looked good at Hayward on Saturday. 

7 - Gabriela Stafford asserted herself as a threat winning the national section of the 1500 on Friday night, running away from a very good field. Sasha Gollish also looked great. Gabriela is running in Rome next which is awesome, we will get to see her in a fast race. I suspect she's got 4:03 high to 4:05 flat in her legs in the right race this year and at 21 she's got years of good running over the metric mile ahead of her. Keep crushing it Gabriela!

GRE Spring Season Awards

Grand River Endurance has had a great spring overall, from Josh crushing a great ATB 30k, Marathon Mike and Amy running and killing their first Boston Marathon, Tanis running PB's over every distance every time she laces em' up. Rob throwing it down in MTL and going sub 2:30 in the marathon, Brendan rolling in Vancouver, Mitch running a great Chili Half and of course Mike Bentz, who literally runs EVERY DAY while completing his degree at U of T. The squad strait up killed it this spring. T-Chac has been nursing an injury but that hasn't stopped him from moving more Hoka shoes then anyone in the game and getting out to Vancouver all the while moving into a new place and having his 3rd kid on the way. I've been the weakest link with only a decent 3k to my name and a very forgettable/poor 32 minute 10k in Vancouver. I've got my health/feet under me now so I'm looking to get things going again ASAP and hope to run PB's from 5k to the marathon in the next 6 months. But this isn't about me, let's get to the awards. (I have no idea how I came up with these but they carry merit, value and prestige I assure you).

Rookie of the year/most valuable club acquisition - Amy Friel. To be fair it was between Amy and myself and she blew me out of the water, I'm a little less valuable then a spare pair of trainers of used water bottle right now but I'll prove my worth in the summer! Amy crushed Boston and I venture to say we will see a new Tely 10 and half marathon PB from her this year.

Most improved - Tanis Bolton. The gains Tanis has made rival that of bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman in his prime. It's been awesome to watch her hard work pay off this spring.

Best beard award - This goes to Bentz as he's got one of the most legendary beards in the game, it's topped only by his run streak which is just ridiculous at this point!

Legends only award - "Runner Rob". That's right, he's known only as runner rob, no need for a full name. This kid has paid his dues, put in the work and was rewarded this spring with a 70 low half in MTL as well as with a sub 2:30 marathon. Your a strait beaut bud.

Enforcer award - Brendan Hancock, this guy is the one you want on your team if something is going down. He's a sweetheart of a guy but when a lady in Vancouver wouldn't let us in the Elite area to warm up when we didn't have our bibs on I saw that this is not the man to mess with :p. He's one of the best pound 4 pound runners around. Great dude!

Mile high award - The one and only Marathon Mike! This guy trained for Boston this winter and spring in horrible weather while flying planes all over North America. How he manages to squeeze everything in and still always be there for his friends is a pretty special thing to witness. Did I mention he's ever improving and has sub 2:40 marathon potential with another few marathon cycles under his belt? Keep an eye in the sky for this cat.

Big Papa award - This was a tie between Mitch Free and Tyler Chacra. These guys train like animals, work, (Mitch even coaches) and they still have time to be providers and amazing parents/husbands. Props you guys, your what most of us aspire to! You are both gona be sub 2:30 guys for the marathon within 12 month, mark my words. #Legends

Captain/Legend of the year - This goes to the one and only Josh Bolton. I know he wasn't completely satisfied with his spring season even tho he ran great times over 8k through 30k. He's building for a fall marathon that's going to be LIGHTS OUT! So here's to you captain, your a hell of a runner, one of the best pour over coffee makers in the game and an even better friend. 

Alright that's about it I guess. I'm back on the blog train as you can see. I'm working on two articles/posts for LeanFit that should pop up here very soon so keep an eye out for that. As for my running I did a 25' tempo on the roads to at least get an idea of where I am. It went ok, 5:13/mile feeling somewhat comfortable. I've got a session of 16X400m on the books tomorrow that I'll do on the outdoor Pearlgate track off 60" rest. I'm getting back to JJ style short, suffering workouts to make sure I'm ready for a huge PB at the tely 10.

Lastly, shout out to my running group at Max Fitness if you guys are reading this, coaching you guys has been great for me since coming back from having some of the illness I was dealing with the last month. You guys are killing it and it's been such a pleasure to coach/guide you all. See you at 6pm!



  1. "I heard he was sick but still, he shouldn't have started if he was in that kind of shape."

    Interesting point here, Dave, as over on LR Weldon Johnson was saying that track athletes need to have a tougher attitude, like those in other sports where injury and illness are seen as part of the game, and not show-stoppers. Johnson's example, BTW, was Centro's DNS.

    I can see both sides of the debate: if I paid to see the Pre meet I would've expected to see both athletes, but I may have felt at least somewhat mollified to see a sub-par Kiprop. On the other side, some may not want to see athletes in a compromised state.

    1. Hey Andrew!

      Firstly thanks for the comment, you know I always enjoy and look forward to your input/thoughts.

      I read what Wejo wrote on LR and while I do agree with the premise of the analogy I don't think it's as practical in an individual sport such as track and field. While some may grin and bare an injury in other sports such as hockey, football, basketball etc, in track you can't rely on anyone else. If it's something not too serious like a flu, perhaps, in Kiprop's case running may have been the right call, but I've heard that Centro had some gait cycle/abductor issues in the off season so scratching was the right call there.

      I think one can build their individuals brand without racing every meet, and definitely not racing when unprepared. Centro writing a book with his father this year for example was a huge hit. Using social media platforms, getting your face out there like Nick Symmonds even. (He's increased his popularity and brand over the last 2-3 years an unreal amount even though his last decent race was winning the 2015 800m champs and sitting out in Beijing, before that you'd have to go back to Moscow in 2013 getting silver in a watered down field).

      I'm rambling and getting off topic but I hope you get the symmetry I'm going for here. If the athlete is sick or a little banged up. Perhaps sitting out is the smart call but show up, do some media, sign some autos and maybe help with the broadcast.

      Just my thoughts!


  2. Good points as always here Dave. In the year of a WC, I can definitely sympathize with Centro's DNS, and as you imply the athlete/coach/agent unit has to evaluate the (long-term) "brand impact" when big meets like Pre have to be skipped. (and I'm sure Centro had to be told to DNS, given his -- and Dad's --U of O background)

    And your point about track being an individual sport vs. the pro sports Johnson references is well taken.