Thursday, June 30, 2011

Things I Like: Runnerspace Live's Nationals Recap Raps

Runnerspace Live has always been an excellent weekly recap show. It comes out every Wednesday and has all the information you could want in a quick 10 minute package. One of the highlights every year is their zany nationals recap rap. Although not much of a presence on the show anymore, former host Matt Barnhart looks to be bringing the weird back for a 2011 nationals recap, which is now embedded below. For fun, check out their 2009 nationals recap and 2008 Olympic Trials recaps below as well:

2011's "Welcome to Tracktown"

2009 Nationals Recap Rap:

2008 Olympic Trials Recap Rap:

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diamond Dash: David Rudisha returns to Diamond League action in Lausanne

800 meter World Record holder David Rudisha will return to action tomorrow in Lausanne, Switzerland; not quite a week after running a world leading opener of 1:43.46 in France (last Friday). Expect Rudisha to have some competition from an excellent field, comprised of Amine Laalou, Marcin Lewandowski, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Kenyans Asbel Kiprop and Alfred Kirwa Yego.

On the American front, most will be skipping to cross pond flight, coming off the USATF Championships this past weekend, but one entry of note is women's 1500m winner Morgan Uceny. Uceny already has the A-standard, but will get more practice at running in a championship field and will likely be looking to crack the 4:00 barrier for the first time. Here's the field she'll be up against.

The event will be broadcast on Universal Sports and here are the official start lists.

And just for fun, here's a video of Rudisha's amazing 1:41.08 World Record set last year:

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Run Down: 2011 USATF Track Championships recap

Victory! (courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto)
What a weekend it was in Eugene. Lots of seasoned vets stepped up and reclaimed their spots on Team USA, while some new blood also joined the fray to don their first USA jerseys in Daegu (if standards are met). There was some pushing, some shoving, some complaining and some tears. It all made for great drama on Runnerspace, Universal Sports, ESPN2 and NBC (did I get them all?)

In the 800, Nick Symmonds (somewhat) surprised me in his reclamation of the crown as the United States' best half-miler. He looked great and didn't hang too far in the back before blasting the field in the final 200. KD just followed him down the homestretch for an excellent second and newcomer Charles Jock, my darkhorse pick, came through in 50-point and hung on for a nice 1:44.67 PR and bronze medal, earning him his first World's ticket. On the flipside of the coin, Robby Andrews bombed. He let the field get too far away and just couldn't get into it. He's got to be a little tired after the NCAA season and he'll have plenty more chances.

The women's race went pretty close to form, aside from my darkhorse pick, UNC Alum Alice Schmidt, completing a strong comeback over the past few years with a third place finish in 1:59.21. Alysia Montano looked great leading wire to wire and the newly sveldt looking (am I right?) Maggie Vessey executed a near-perfect race plan to finish second. The only surprise was Phoebe Wright not placing. When she knew it wasn't going to happen, she kind of stuttered and took a Christian Smith-esque dive. Like Andrews, she'll have plenty more chances to run for Team USA.

Winner, winner (courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto)
Wow, the men's 1500 had more drama than an episode of Jersey Shore! Tons of pushing and shoving throughout and then, my darkhorse, Will Leer, runs a 51-point final 400 only to finish fifth! This race was wild to watch as I thought at one point AJ Acosta was going to just tackle Lopez Lomong after repeated pushes to the back. It didn't even thin out that much when everyone was running 52 second pace on the final quarter. This will only foreshadow the drama that will ensue next summer with a trip to London on the line. Matt Centrowitz surprised all with his ability to pull away from a tired Bernard Lagat down the homestretch, with Mighty Mouse Leo Manzano powering home for third. Then it got weird. The naked eye would say Leer came through for fourth, but the photo finish showed it was favorite Andrew Wheating in fourth with the lean. This lean was huge, considering immediately after the race, Lagat gave up his spot on the 1500 team (to Wheating) to concentrate on the 5000. Now they'll just have to chase the standards.

The women's side was wild as well, with Christin Wurth-Thomas killing it from the gun, only to get passed in the last 100 by first time champ, Morgan Uceny, then Jenny Simpson, then getting nipped at the tape by former champ, Shannon Rowbury. It was sad seeing her fall to her knees when she realized she didn't make the squad, but she made the race, and people will remember that.

3000 Steeplechase
Dear Billy Nelson, I'm sorry I didn't pick you higher. I should have. I absolutely love watching you race. One average race, that I saw live, shouldn't have made me pick you out of the top three. Dan Huling looked to have it in the bag before the hard charging Nelson won his first national title. Big congrats to that and the new sponsorship with New Balance. Kyle Alcorn held off the hard charging Josh McAdams for the third spot and continues to look good in championship races.

Turns out Emma Coburn wasn't done yet with her season as she held off last year's NCAA champion, Bridget Franek, to win the national title (to compliment her NCAA title). The saddest story of the day was Virginia's Stephanie Garcia going from third with 150 to go to face first in the steeple pit. As a former invited walk-on, I love stories like Garcia's. For every hundred 27:46 8k runners like myself (as a freshman in college), there is someone like Garcia or Dan Lincoln who just turns into a monster and does amazing things. Being that Garcia is in college, I don't think we've seen the last of her! Expect things to get exciting next year though, as Anna Pierce and Jenny Simpson may entertain the steeple with an Olympic berth at stake (Pierce failed to qualify in the 1500 and easily would have qualified in the steeple).

Chris Solinsky mentioned after the race that he told Matt Tegenkamp that "it would be nice if the pace was honest." Now whether they had planned Tegenkamp to try and take the sting out of the already raced Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp's legs was further planned out, we'll never know, but the pace was indeed that. After a slow start, I tweeted that it was going to take a sub 4:00 final mile to win. That it did as they closed in 3:58, with Lagat pouring past Solinsky in the homestretch and 10k winner Galen Rupp finishing a strong third.

On the women's side, as predicted, Molly Huddle ran away with it. What was unpredicted (by me at least), was Amy Hastings strong second place finish. She looked great as did third place finisher, Angela Bizzarri. A minor note here, Nike was the sponsor of the women's 5000, and they were shut out on the podium, with Huddle representing Saucony and Hastings and Bizzarri repping Brooks.

The men's race was a glorified 1000 meter race with a 9k tempo warmup. I'm not going to lie, when Bobby Mack took the lead with 1200 to go, I was yelling at my laptop. I knew he'd likely be outkicked by Galen Rupp and Matt Tegenkamp, but if you put yourself in the mix, you've got a shot. In no surprise to anyone, Galen Rupped dominated the last 800 in a scorching 1:52 to take his third consecutive 10k title with Teg taking a strong second in his second 10k ever. The big surprise here was the resurgence of Scotty Bauhs, kicking hard past Tim Nelson and Bobby Curtis for the final spot on the podium

Shalane Flanagan left nothing for the kickers by taking it out hard and only getting faster, negative splitting a 30:59.7. She's on top of her game and a medal in Daegu is definitely going to be her goal. After that, Kara Goucher showed her continued improvement post-labor, with an excellent 31:16. Finally, the ageless Jen Rhines finished a strong third in front of Desi Davila for another world's trip. Her coach and husband, Terrence Mahon, had to be happy with her success and the rest of Mammoth TC's success this weekend.

An MVP Performance (courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto)
MVP's of the meet
Men's side - Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp
Both scored two worlds berths and looking great doing so. Lagat gets bonus points for making Andrew Wheating's (and Nike's) day by giving him his slot in the 1500.

Women's side - Shalane Flanagan
Her domination of the 10k put her head and shoulders above the rest of the American women and she'll be a force in Daegu

Newcomers of the meet
Men's side - Matt Centrowitz
An NCAA title and a national title within a few weeks is incredible. Pulling away from Bernard Lagat, amazing. Opting for two #1 signs instead of the throat slash, much classier! Good job Matt.

Women's side - Emma Coburn
She looked great in the steeple and showed how much Mark Wetmore knows in the event, having her and Billy Nelson win titles. Many years for Coburn to improve as well. Let's hope she stays with it!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Men's and Women's 800 picks

Schmidt & Vessey (Courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto)
With all the madness at the finish of both the men's and women's 1500's yesterday, you have to think there will be more of the same today in the 8's. With at least five guys on the men's side with a legitimate chance of making the team and five sub 2:00 women's competitors, expect elbows, pushing and shoving and possibly some terse words post-finish.

Men's 800
1. Robby Andrews
Is Robby Andrews the new Nick Symmonds? It sure seems so as his lay back early and kick hard late style has won him multiple championships, including the 2011 NCAA title in a PR of 1:44.71. He has proved he can kick off a hard open (Charles Jock went out in 49.8 at NCAA's), and should be able to power past the nation's finest this afternoon.

2. Khadevis Robinson
KD is back! After a win in Rome and a great showing at the Prefontaine Classic, KD looks primed and ready for a podium finish. He had been employing the new sit and kick from 300 out tactic of late, and it's been working. Hopefully he'll stick with this and earn another Team USA singlet.

3. Nick Symmonds
Picking Symmonds third on what is essentially his home track seems a little treasonous, but Symmonds hasn't looked quite the same lately. Would it surprise me if he won? Absolutely not. But would it surprise me if he finished sixth? Not really. We'll see which Symmonds shows up at 2:27 pacific!

Darkhorse: Charles Jock
The newest American 800 star is Charles Jock. After nearly winning the NCAA title after going out in 49.8 and PR-ing in 1:44.75, Jock will be ready for the pros today. Expect him to take it out hard and force the kickers to come and get him.

Women's 800
1. Alysia Montano (nee Johnson)
Montano is the class of the American 800 women's field. She should take it out hard and then kick when necessary to secure another national championship.

2. Phoebe Wright
Wright hasn't kicked into full gear yet this year, but she'll be ready today. She's always on her game in championship finals and should finish on the podium with a standard effort.

3. Maggie Vessey
Vessey is unpredictable, but usually performs well in Eugene and will likely want to join her boyfriend in Daegu (if all goes to plan on that end). Her kick is top notch and she has shown of late that she doesn't have to hang way back like she used to. 

Darkhorse: Alice Schmidt
Here we go again, another Tar Heel! Schmidt has had quite the resurgence this year and has looked effortless in her return to the top. Running unattached, but still in Nike gear, hopefully a strong finish will get Schmidt full sponsorship through the London Olympics.

Watch the action unfold from 5-6pm eastern on NBC. Live results are here.

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Hobby Jogging: 6/25/11 - Winston-Salem, NC - Ultimate Runner

The Ultimate Runner is a race I've been hearing about for years, but until yesterday, had never tried it. The Ultimate's an event held yearly where 108 athletes compete in the mile, 400, 800, 100 and then finish it off with a 5k cross country race. The only rest you get is the time it takes to run the other heats (there are 8), so towards the end, you aren't getting much rest, for instance, from the 100 to the 5k it's a pretty quick turnaround. It is scored by place in each event (lowest overall wins).

Off we go in the first event of the day, the mile
After the first race, I thought I was setting up for a terrible night. Lined up for the mile, got out good, ran the first 400 around 75 and started to roll by people. At around 600, I hesitated in passing someone, thinking I'd get them on the next straight. When I went to move, nothing happened. "He who hesitates is lost!" The next 800 was just slow and I jogged across the finish in 5:23, feeling like I was running on empty. After having two flights cancelled Thursday and then having to fly to NYC and back on Friday over a span of 12 hours, I thought maybe I was just exhausted. I sure as hell wasn't going to give up though! At the opening ceremonies, they dump out the ashes of burned unearned Ultimate Runner shirts, from the year before (you must complete all events to "earn" your shirt).

Party at Burke St Pub
In retrospect, I probably should have worn my trainers for the mile, but wore my lunaracers, and they felt terrible. I also was wearing compression socks. On a hot day, they just contained unwanted heat. Shin pain aside, it was time to dump the flats and socks and lace up the Zoom Rival D's for the 400. Visions of my old high school track coach were going through my head as I began to prepare for the sprint. He once made me run the first 400 of the 1600 in 61 seconds after he thought I dogged it in the 4x800. I didn't want to give any more half efforts, for fear of hearing "you can't make chicken soup outta chicken $hit" in my head after the next race!

The 400 went better. Went as hard as these 32 year old legs could go, without red-lining, and was happy with a 64.4. Decided to keep the spikes on for the 800 and immediately walked a lap around the track before doing a few short strides to stay loose for the 800. I had a plan in the 800. Solid first lap, hammer the second one. It worked. Went out maybe a tad slow in 76, but then began to reel people in. One by one, I'd pick up a little speed with each pass and moved from 10th to 3rd in a lap, finishing in 2:24. Pretty happy with that 68 closer!

Up next was "hamstring hell," the 100. This and the 400 is where the sprinters make up points on the distance runners. It was fun to watch, but not so fun to run, as I had a 51 second 400 guy in my heat (who was 37 at that)! I churned out a 14.4 and immediately went over to put the trainers on for the 5k.

Jack finishes up his 25th Ultimate
The 5k was a maze of sorts with plenty of 90 degree angle turns over two foot wide bridges and under dark overpasses, that was probably closer to 3.2 miles than a 5k, but with place being the only important thing, time didn't matter. The entire field lined up on the track and we took off. Cruised the first 600 before starting to pick people off one by one. The first mile went great in 6:02 or so. This is when the lactic acid was on full blast and holding ground was important. Passed a few more people in the backwoods of mile 2 and hit the 2 mile in around 12:30 or so. Wow, was I that slow? Maybe, but I continued to pass folks, so I was pleased. The last mile hurt and the last 500 meters on the track for the finish wasn't exactly blazing. I was happy to finish 16th in a modest 19:49.

After I finished, did a barefoot cooldown of 3/4 mile or so on the grass while I waited on 75 year old Jack Ibrahim to finish up. Jack has done all 25 Ultimate Runners and took a big spill during the mile, causing concern amongst everyone there. They don't call it "25 years of blood, sweat and beers" for nothing!

Onto the beers part... The Twin City Track Club put on an awesome party and awards ceremony on the back deck of Burke Street Pub in downtown Winston-Salem, equipped with free beer and free pizza; a runner's paradise! This was where everyone was recognized individually for completing the Ultimate Runner and was given their shirt. Lots of great camaraderie amongst the competitors too as everyone knows runners are the most interesting people!

To the victors go the spoils!
So I got my shirt and said my goodbyes and began to walk out the door, until I saw the official results sheet. Pretty surprised to see I won my age group! That's right, I'd be taking home one of the cool mugs that you get for that (or placing top 15). Mission accomplished!

Very cool event and I'll certainly be back next year! And big congrats to my friend Molly Nunn, who won the women's overall title for the fourth year in a row, after winning the Freedom Run 10k in Greensboro earlier that day!

Here is a PDF of the full results

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Men's and Women's 1500 picks

Christin Wurth-Thomas, always sticking her nose in it
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see I noticed two things this morning. The first thing was that every athlete in the Men's 1500 is sponsored by Nike. Whether it be through their club (Oregon Track Club), their school (Oregon, Arkansas, Virginia Tech) or just through a standard Nike sponsorship, there will be a lot of Zoom Victories on the track at 2:51 pacific today. The second thing was that Arkansas' Dorian Ulrey was advanced to the final after someone "impeded his progress" in the semi's with about 200 to go. Take a look a the "game tape" and see what you think. It looked to me that he just didn't shift gears when everyone else did and got tripped up. Either way, he'll be trying to make his second consecutive world team.

All footnotes aside, this final is going to be a scorcher. Whether someone takes it from the gun or they run sub 1:50 for the second 800 off a slow pace, it's going to be a grinder with as many as seven competitors vying for a podium spot (and a ticket to Daegu). The women's race will be just as tough as there are at least six capable women of stepping up and placing top three. So without further adieu, here are the official writing about running 1500 picks:

Men's 1500
1. Andrew Wheating
This is a toss up between Wheating and Lagat, but I think Wheating is pumped up and will take it. He has raced less and will be kicking home in front of the Hayward faithful. Then again, I picked Solinsky to win the 5000, so choose with caution.

2. Bernard Lagat
The ageless wonder will work only as hard as he has to, then will turn on the jets somewhere between 200 and 100 to go. Someone will have to push him down for Kip not to make the team.

Who wants it more?
3. Leo Manzano
I know Leo's had an off year so far, but he's done too many things in the past and looked great in the semi's. I think he'll pull through. I also wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't feeling it early and went DFL!

Darkhorse: Will Leer
Leer has been waiting his turn since he surprised in the trials in 2008 with a fourth place finish, passing Alan Webb at the line. He's been training in Ann Arbor with Olympic Silver Medalist Nick Willis and looked great in the semis. He's going to have his hands full with David Torrence, Lopez Lomong and Matt Centrowitz all performing at a high level as well, but it seems like this is a great chance for Leer to get on a World team, as he looks to be in peak shape.

Women's 1500
1. Jenny Simpson
After taking the indoor titles in the mile and the 2-mile, Jenny "B" Simpson looks to add an outdoor title to her 2011 mantle. She'll have some strong competition up front, but I believe will prevail with her strength and kick.

2. Morgan Uceny
Uceny has gotten better and better every year and I believe now is her time. She could contend for the win or she could contend for third, but she'll be up there mixing it up no matter what.

3. Christin Wurth-Thomas
As I mentioned the other day on Twitter, "the American runner most resembling Steve Prefontaine over the past 5 years is without a doubt, Christin Wurth-Thomas." There is no question about this. While she not be head and shoulders better than her American counterparts, she will make it an honest race. It's an absolute joy watching her put it on the line and I believe she'll do that, get out-kicked for the win, but make the team. If not, she'll leave blood on the track trying.

Darkhorse: Brie Felnagle
If you haven't noticed yet, I like picking Darkhorses with ties to where I live (Raleigh or NC in general) and former Tar Heels. Felnagle is the latter and has really been coming on this year. She especially showed some fight in the prelims, running her second best 1500 ever in 4:09.95 and holding off Georgetown's Emily Infeld for the auto-qualifier. She'll have her hands full with Shannon Rowbury, Anna Pierce and Katie Follett vying for that last spot as well!

Should be a great afternoon of racing! NBC will have the live broadcast from 5-6pm. The final predictions we'll do will be the 800, and they'll be up tonight or tomorrow morning.

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Men's and Women's Steeplechase picks

Photo courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto
The Men's 3000 Steeplechase goes off tomorrow at 3:01 pacific and the usual suspects should be competing for the top three spots. Missing from the field will be fan favorite, Anthony Famiglietti, aka Fam, and Steve Slattery, who has run a few good races this year, but DNF'd the prelims.

The Women's Steeple goes off at 1:45 pacific on Sunday and is also lacking two of it's biggest stars, Anna Pierce and Jenny "B" Simpson. They'll both be in the 1500 final, which I'll post predictions for next. 

Men's 3000 Steeplechase
1. Dan Huling
Huling's been the class of the American field in the steeplechase for the past few years, boasting a nice 8:13.29 PR last summer in Europe. Huling should run away from the field in the last 600 without much trouble. 

2. Ben Bruce
A jack of all trades, Bruce has competed at an All American level from the roads to cross country to the steeple. He looked great in the prelims and should be right on Huling's heels, as he can handle the rounds.

3. Kyle Alcorn
I want to pick Billy Nelson here after his great performance, obtaining the A-standard at Stanford (and gained Nelson sponsorship with New Balance), but Alcorn has looked better lately. Expect he and Nelson to duke it out over the last few laps though, as they always seem to do!

Darkhorse: Josh McAdams
McAdams seems to peak at the right time and although not really a darkhorse, he's been overshadowed lately. Like Jen Rhines, he'll sneak on the podium if anyone falters. Not sure where Donn Cabral is, but he'll be the darkhorse at the trials next year.

Women's 3000 Steeplechase
1. Bridget Franek
Franek looked great the other night in the prelims and should be ready for her first US championship after winning NCAA's last year and struggling through the US championships (after the long college season). She looks to be peaking at the right time and will likely take it out and dare anyone to hang with her.

Photo courtesy TrackAndFieldPhoto
2. Lisa Aguilera
Aguilera has been at it for a while and looks to be fit and ready to don another Team USA singlet. She'll run with Franek (and possibly lead some) as long as possible and will finish on the podium.

3. Emma Coburn
The collegiate champion looked a little tired in the prelims, and with good reason. The college season is arduous and no one would blame Coburn for being a little zapped for energy. I still think she sneaks on the podium, as she just glides over the barriers and should be able to hang with the leaders long enough to separate from the pack.

Darkhorse: Sara Hall
Hall has found a new event this year in the steeple, already turning in an A-standard. The question will be, can she handle coming back from the prelim? She didn't have the energy to muster a kick in the prelims to get an auto qualifier, but may surprise in the final as I know she wants to get to Daegu!

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Men's and Women's 5000 picks

After Chris Solinsky held out until the last minute to scratch last night before Galen Rupp ran away from Solinksky's teammate, Matt Tegenkamp, for the win, thoughts immediately turned to who will compete tonight? Who will run, who will be satisfied with one Team USA birth? Rupp looked excellent running away from Teg in the last 800 in a blazing 1:52, while Shalane Flanagan took it from the start and dropped an incredible 30:59.7. Flanagan used a good deal more energy going hard from the gun, while Rupp was content to sit until the end, like he did in college. I'll guess that both Rupp and Flanagan will pass tonight, but if either of them compete, I would pencil them both in top three.

Men's 5000
1. Chris Solinsky
Solinsky will be the freshest tonight after Bernard Lagat ran a 1500 qualifier, Rupp ran the 10,000, as did Solinsky's teammate, Tegenkamp. He'll probably employ the same tactic as Rupp did last night and likely go with 800-1000 to go.

2. Bernard Lagat
Lagat is the king of rounds and famously won the gold in both the 1500 and 5000 at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. He'll conserve energy as well, and likely go when needed. Will he have enough to overtake Solinsky? Maybe, but keep in mind he does have another race to run in the 1500 final.

3. Galen Rupp or Matt Tegenkamp (whoever runs)
Both Rupp and Teg only worked hard for about 1000 meters last night and both could come back today and compete, but it's unlikely both will. A 10k on the track is tough on your legs, even if you're Kenenisa Bekele!

Darkhorse: Stephen Furst
Raleigh's Stephen Furst has had a great year, winning the Emerald Nuts 4-Miler in a course record to start the year off and then setting a personal best at the Payton Jordan 5000 in 13:29.05. He'll be fresh and ready to go!

Women's 5000
1. Molly Huddle
The American Record holder will be fresh and should be ready for whatever is coming at her.

2. Jenny Simpson
With a lot of competition in the 1500, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jenny B line up in the 5k tonight to try and sit and kick. Rowbury could fare well in this tactic as well (Simpson didn't run)

3. Angela Bizzarri
Angela's great in championship races and shouldn't be slept on!

Darkhorse: Lauren Fleshman
Although coming back from history, Fleshman seems to be rounding into shape. And as we know with her, it's all balls!

We'll get some action on TV tonight as well as continued coverage on Runnerspace.

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Men's and Women's 10,000 picks

Photo courtesy
Tomorrow marks the start of the 2011 USATF Track and Field Championships and the first finals run will be the women's 10,000 at 7:15 pacific, followed by the men's. Below are the official writing about running picks for the event. Feel free to agree, disagree or make a case for someone else! Runnerspace will be broadcasting the event live.

Men's 10,000
1. Galen Rupp
Although it was a pretty big disappointment not getting to see Rupp run in front of his alma mater at Distance Night in Eugene (during the Prefontaine Classic), by all accounts, Rupp is ready to roll and I believe roll he will. With Chris Solinsky battling back from hamstring injury, I think Rupp will pounce.

2. Chris Solinsky
Solinsky's American Record in the 10,000 last year at Stanford was even more exciting than Dathan Ritzenhein's American Record in the 5,000 the year before. It was one of the best executed races I have ever seen and set him up for an excellent season where he broke 13 in the 5,000 three times and competed with the best in the world doing it. That in mind, he didn't look quite right at Distance Night in Eugene, pulling up after 3000 meters or so with a troublesome hamstring. I've got Solinsky at second here... if he runs. Still not sure if he's playing a game of chicken with Rupp, but at this point, Rupp's coach, Alberto Salazar has stated that Rupp will run the 10,000 and may pull out of the 5,000 if he qualifies here. Keep an eye on the status of entries here. (Solinsky didn't run)

3. Matt Tegenkamp
Teg's only run the 10k once, but turned in an excellent time of 27:28. Although his teammate Tim Nelson has more experience in the 10k and Bobby Curtis has run faster this year in 27:24, I believe Teg will run a smart race and push the last 800 for a spot on the Daegu team. Still, Teg could end up scratching and saving up for the 5000. If that happens, I'll give the nod to Curtis for the third spot.

Darkhorse: Bobby Mack
How can I not pick Raleigh's Bobby Mack here? Mack has been running excellent of late, running a huge PR at Payton Jordan of 28:11, then going on to run 4 flat in the mile and then taking home the road 8k championship over the always consistent Aaron Braun.

Women's 10,000
1. Shalane Flanagan
Shalane's the runaway favorite here after her incredible year so far. A 5 second miss at the American Record at Distance Night in Eugene should propel her to a big win. Expect her to run with the pack and go when she needs to as she'll probably double back in the 5000.

Photo courtesy
2. Kara Goucher
Goucher is looking better and better lately after giving birth to her first child earlier this year. This will be a big test, as she has yet to run the event on the track this year in which she took the bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. Don't expect a blazing time, but expect her to finish second.

3. Desi Davila
Although Jen Rhines has run 20+ seconds faster here than Davila, it's hard not to pick her after seeing her fight back and fight back and fight back to finish a strong second at the 2011 Boston Marathon.

Darkhorse: Jen Rhines
While not really a darkhorse, the always consistent Jen Rhines will podium if any of the above three slip up; you can count on that! With Amy Yoder-Begley coming back from injury, there aren't really any others that will challenge, with Lisa Koll out due to injury as well. Don't be surprised if Rhines makes her umpteenth USA team!

Stay tuned for more picks as we'll do the 5000 next!

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Hobby Jogging: June '11 - Winston-Salem, NC - Twin City Track Club Summer Track Series

As many of my running friends know, I've been perpetually injured for quite some time. I had to pull out of this years' Boston Marathon (due to extreme shin splints) and have been pretty touch and go since then. I took a month off and biked and then began to run two days a week for the next month (before the doctor recommended I take 4-6 more weeks off). This month I've been trying to run four days a week and am still battling shin splints and sore hamstrings. They are feeling better though. I look forward to the day when I don't have to wear calf sleeves to run!

That in mind, I've hopped in the Twin City Track Club's Wednesday Summer Track Series, just for fun, to see what I could do, the last two Wednesdays. I've done both to get ready for the Ultimate Runner this Saturday; an event where you run the mile, 800, 400, 100 and 5k (on the road/trail) within a few hours, then go grab beers at a local pub. The event is on it's 25th year and I couldn't pass it up, even if I may die in the 5k!

Calf Sleeve Tan!
Last Wednesday, June 15th, I decided to hop in the 800. I still want to run a sub-5:00 mile this summer and my goal was to run sub-2:30 (and possibly 2:28 as a stretch). I did an easy 2-mile jog warm up, 4 strides, and felt like crap. The whistle blew and I was out in 5th or 6th place. I started to move up before being passed by a baby jogger with 500 to go. Went through the 400 in 75 before catching my second wind. Two guys were right on my back and I started kicking pretty good from 300 out. By the time I hit the final hundred, I was a clear 4th and crossed the finish in 2:27 high, achieving my goal. Barely! But splitting 75, 72 gave me reason to be hopeful.

This week (June 22nd), I decided to run the 3200 (aka the high school 2-mile). I got there late due to a work meeting running late, but was able to get in a 3/4 mile jog and 2 strides before lining up. Felt great from the gun and immediately went to the lead, running the first 400 in 81-ish. At this point, I thought I'd just be counting down laps. It was 90 degrees and about 1200 in, the wind began to pick up. So I made it through the mile in 5:34 before really having to fight the wind down the backstretch and rogue 6-year olds running onto the track on the front. The second mile wasn't sexy, but I did win the race in 11:33. This was 21 seconds faster than my 3200 tempo the week before, so progress is being made. I just hope it comes back fast!

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Guest post on Track Focus: Interview with 4:02 prep miler Elias Gedyon

I had the pleasure of interviewing prep distance star Elias Gedyon about USATF Juniors and becoming an Oregon Duck next season for Track Focus. Click here to check out the article
The full article is available by clicking here
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Prediction Time: 2011 USATF Track Championships (coming soon)

I'll be posting predictions for the 800, 1500, Steeple, 5000 and 10,000 in the next day or so for USA's, just waiting to see who's going to declare for what. I'm looking at you, Galen, Solinsky, Tegenkamp, Wheating... If you have any inside information, please let me know!

In the meantime, feel free to check out the schedule here and the the status of entries here.

Should be a great weekend of racing to get our Daegu team together!

Want to see how I fared? Check out the Nationals Recap

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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Run Down: Aisling Cuffe shatters national 2-Mile record in 9:54.22

Cuffe finishing up strong en route to a national record
It was the Aisling Cuffe show in Greensboro tonight, at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, as she shattered Molly Huddle's national high school record by nearly 7 seconds with a blazing 9:54.22 at Irwin Belk Track. Cuffe let Woodstock, IL's Kayla Beattie lead until about 1000 meters to go when she took off. Both Cuffe and Beattie ran together through the mile in 4:57 before Cuffe began to ratchet the pace down. Full results are available here and full race video is available here. Here's the video of the on field post-race interview with Cuffe.

The boys race was a little more tactical affair with all the big guns, Jim Rosa, Joe Rosa, Ammar Moussa, Morgan Pearson and Chad Noelle, hanging pretty close for the first five laps. The boys were pretty even as well going through the mile in 4:28 before starting to pick it up. The field began to string out with 800 to go, and then at the bell, Arcadia's Ammar Moussa took off, leaving the Rosas and company in his wake. Moussa eased up into the finish in 8:51.80 with Joe Rosa coming in 15 yards back in 8:54.46. Full results are available here and full race video is available here. Here's the video of the post-race interview with Moussa.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Run Down: Raleigh's Wesley Frazier runs a national record at New Balance Nationals

Frazier post-race getting interviewed
High schoolers from all over the nation were treated to some cooler than normal weather this evening (mid 70's) as they poured into this year's New Balance Outdoor Nationals at Irwin Belk Track at North Carolina A&T. The distance events kicked were kicked off around 8pm, with the seldomly run in high school, 5000 meters.

There were two heats each for the boys and girls and Raleigh Ravenscroft's Wesley Frazier kicked things into high gear with a national sophomore record (and 26 second PR) and convincing win in 16:24.84 (the former record was Julia Stamps 16:31.2 from 1995, the same year I ran the 2000 Steeple as NSO's). Frazier bided her time and ran 79's and 80's most of the way until she turned it up and took the lead with 1200 to go; running her last two laps in 76 and 70. Here's a video of her record breaking race and here's her post race interview. Here are full results.

The guys race was going to be the Edward Cheserek show with a chance at a sub 14 in the cards. It wasn't to be today as Cheserek blazed out in 63 and stayed under 14:00 pace until 2400 meters, where he started to run 70-72 second laps. He still hung in there and took down the meet record, running a 66 second last lap to finish in 14:25.74. Another North Carolinian ran wel,l as Cary junior Thomas Graham was the runner up in a PR of 14:45.42. Here's a video of the race. Here are full results.

I'll be back tomorrow night to once again live tweet and use the splitcaster app for the 2-mile races!

For the live stream, check out

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Battle Royale: Rosa Brothers vs. Moussa vs. Noelle at New Balance Outdoor 2-Mile

This Friday night, the brothers Rosa of New Jersey will look to channel the same energy that they brought with them last year to Greensboro, where they went 1-2 in the New Balance Outdoors Nationals 2-Mile, going 8:44 (Joe) and 8:51 (Jim), and beating some guy named Lukas handily (Verzbicas finished sixth in 8:58). They seem to be peaking at the right time, as they were both on pace for a New Jersey state record last week at the Meet of Champions before the plug was pulled at 2800 meters due to lightning.

They will have their hands full as USA World Junior Cross Country Team member and the always consistent, Ammar Moussa, will be ready to battle it out with the brothers (he finished on Joe's heels and ahead of Jim at the  Jim Ryun Dream Mile). Also in the game will be New York's Chad Noelle, who won the Millrose Games Mile earlier this year and has openly stated he's going after Josh McDougall's state 2-Mile record of 8:48.11 on Friday night. These four will continue their battle next year as well on the cross country course as the Rosas are heading to Stanford, Moussa is heading to Colorado and Noelle is heading to Oregon (with Verzbicas).

Also in the mix will be Florida's Jimmy Clark and North Carolina's Mitch Mallory, amongst a host of other well qualified athletes. The race will go off at 7:45 pm eastern on Friday night and full coverage is available at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals website. I'll be there live tweeting as well!

Here's the field:

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Battle Royale: Aisling Cuffe vs. Molly Huddle's 10:01.08 National 2-Mile Record

With all the Lukas Verzbicas fever of late, it's easy to forget the rest of the very talented high school class of 2011, including Verzbicas' female counterpart for the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year Award. Headlining that class is indeed the Foot Locker Cross Country National Champion, Aisling Cuffe, who will be taking aim at (now 5000 meter American Record holder) Molly Huddle's National 2-Mile Record of 10:01.08 (on Friday night). Huddle set the record at the same meet nine years ago.

Cuffe's main competition Friday night should be the weather, which can tend to be hot and humid this time of year in North Carolina. Right now, the weatherman's calling for highs of 88 and lows of 67. The race goes off at 7:30, but sunset isn't until 8:30, so it may be a hot one out there.

Cuffe has run the 2-mile in 9:56.85 indoors this year, taking the New Balance Indoor title, which made her the second fastest ever indoors. She also ran a very impressive double at the New York State meet with a 9:56 3200, followed up the next day with a 4:40 1600. After this weekend, she'll begin to prep for her freshman cross country season this fall at Stanford.

Full meet coverage of the New Balance Outdoor Nationals is available here. I'll be in attendance tweeting reports as well from the distance events on Thursday and Friday.

Here's the field she's up against:

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Battle Royale: Edward Cheserek vs. 14:00 barrier at New Balance Outdoor

Star sophomore from New Jersey via Kenya, Edward Cheserek, will likely have one goal on his mind this Thursday night when he toes the line at New Balance Outdoor Nationals with the chance of a national championship on the line, busting the 14:00 barrier. The young Kenyan burst onto the U.S. High School scene this year and has already flirted with the 14:00 barrier, dropping a 14:02.33 at the Larry Ellis Memorial Invitational at Princeton University on April 22nd.

Cheserek just broke the High School sophomore mile record this past weekend, running 4:03.29 to place fourth in the Jim Ryun Dream Mile, a few seconds back from Lukas Verzbicas' 3:59.72. Unfortunately for Cheserek, he won't have quite the competition this Thursday in Greensboro that he had in New York on Saturday. That's not to say there will be no one to run with though.

The field has some tough competitors with 8:46 3200 meter man Jeremy Elkaim, who is also from Jersey, as well as North Carolinians, Mitch Mallory and Thomas Graham. Mallory recently dominated the field at the NC 4A State Championship running 9:13 and Graham, who is only a junior, ran a 9:04.14 2-mile indoors at the Brooks PR Invitational, after running Foot Locker Nationals, and then ran a strong 9:07.17 to win the Raleigh Relays 3200, before winning the state 3A independent titles at 1600 and 3200. Both look to run around 14:30 (or better).

New Balance Outdoor Nationals kick off Thursday at NC A&T in Greensboro, NC. I'll be there tweeting some live coverage. Full start lists are available here.

Here's the 5000 field:

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Things I Like: The Irwin Belk Educational Foundation

Irwin Belk Track At Fetzer Field
If you're a fan of track and field, I would advise the next time you need to buy a suit, a pair of dress shoes or a pair of jeans, to head over to Belk. Like any department store you will see at the mall, Belk has nice things, but it's what is done with their charities, namely the Irwin Belk Educational Foundation, that has helped many runners in the Carolinas enjoy a good speed workout, a PR or even a chance to attend college on a track scholarship.

Irwin "Ike" Belk attended and ran track for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then went on to become the president of the Belk Corporation before retiring in 1996 to focus his efforts on his foundation, while being appointed a U.S. delegate to the 54th United Nations General Assembly (in 1999). According to WikiRun, Mr. Belk's foundation has donated money to help construct 29 tracks in and out of the Carolinas from middle schools (Alexander Graham Middle in Charlotte) to many universities (UNC, UNC Prembroke, Davidson, High Point UniversityJohnson C. Smith, NC A&T, UNC Charlotte, Furman, Winthrop, etc). And these aren't any dirt tracks or cheap asphalt jobs!

It's people like Mr. Belk that help our sport flourish, so keep that in mind the next time you need a new tie! And take a look at the name of whatever track you are running on the next time you are doing intervals. If you're in the Carolinas, there's a good chance you'll see the Belk name!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Rage: Raleigh's Bobby Mack brings home the USATF 8k National Championship

Photo courtesy USATF
It's not too often you can say your "teammate" has won a national championship, but that's exactly what happened today. Raleigh resident and top dog of The Athlete's Foot Racing Team, Bobby Mack, took down many of the top pros, including New Balance's James Carney, Nike's Jason Hartmann and 
Adidas McMillan Elite's Nick Arciniaga, Aaron Braun, Jordan Horn and Scott Smith, to win the USATF 8k National Championship (in Carmel, IN) in a blazing time of 23:05. For his efforts, Mack was rewarded $5000 for first place and hopefully has gotten one step closer to a shoe deal. Here's the USATF press release on Mack's win and here's the video of him breaking the tape. Here's the full race video and here's Mack's post-race interview.

Mack ran 28:11 at the Payton Jordan Invitational 10,000 this spring at Stanford and just ran 4:00.6 in the mile last week. He'll head to Eugene, OR in a few weeks for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships 10,000 and then, according to his pre-race interview, will run the 10k road championship on July 4 in Atlanta (at the Peachtree).

Congrats Bobby! Go see him at The Athlete's Foot in Cameron Village in Raleigh for some "professional" help.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Battle Royale: NCAA Men's 10k, The Big 3 (Miami Heat) vs. The Field (Dallas Mavs)

Photo courtesy of TrackAndFieldPhoto
After a rainout last night, the strong men's 10k will go off today at 4pm (5pm eastern) 5:30pm (6:30 eastern). There are three heavy favorites here with NCAA record holder Sam Chelanga (27:08) leading the way, followed by Arizona's Stephen Sambu (27:28) and Iona's Leonard Korir (27:29) not far behind. Chelanga hasn't been tested lately and you wonder whether he'll take it out hard, like he's done in cross country races or sit with the pack and try to outkick someone. These three's best bet would likely be a fast pace, as their talent is similar to that of the Miami Heat when compared to the rest of the field. If they choose to hang with the pack, it opens the door for the field, many of who are quite feisty like the Dallas Mavericks.

Maybe this is a bad analogy, because also in the field are Stanford's big three from Cross Country season (Chris Derrick, Jake Riley and Elliott Heath), but their PR's are far inferior on the track to Chelanga, Sambu and Korir, so maybe they will benefit from the underdog role. Heath is especially scary with the kick he has developed and started unleashing during the indoor season where he won the NCAA Championship 3000. If it's hot out there, don't expect anyone to move before 5k. Another one to watch is Florida State's Ciaran O'Lionaird, a fierce competitor with 3:40 1500 speed and a great long, driving kick that could steal the show if it's close with 1000 meters or so to go.

Finally, you can't forget about someone like Luke Puskedra, who is known to just open up a big gap and run his own race to try and leave the field. He hasn't had a ton of success with this tactic, but has finished in the top 5 twice at NCAA Cross Country nationals, so the field must keep their eye on him as he isn't afraid to push it, even if they weather is less than ideal.

The race will be streamed live by the NCAA here and live results are here.

Men's 10k start list:

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