American Women Own the Middle Distances for 2014

August 28th, 2014
Jenny Wilson New Balance Running

Jenny Simpson capped off her historic year today by winning the Diamond League title.

Today’s 1500-meter race at the Zurich Diamond League has tipped the scale for American middle distance women. The ladies in Red White and Blue can justly claim to be the best in the world in the 800-1500 for 2014.

Run Fast Get this sweet trophy

The Diamond League trophy is almost as sweet as the $40,000.

In Switzerland Jenny Simpson dove to the line to earn the win in the Diamond league final by a mere hundredth of a second over countrywoman Shannon Rowbury. This feat earned Jenny the overall Diamond League trophy, the accompanying $40,000, and an automatic entry into next year’s World Championships (meaning Team USA will have 4 women at next years World Championships). The race also adds to an amazing season for Shannon who bettered her personal bests at 1500m and 5000m and broke the American Record in the 2-mile.

Jenny and Shannon are running so well that it is easy to overlook women like Brenda Martinez who notched a solid 4:01.36 season best today. Brenda started the season well by anchoring USA teams to American records and gold and silver medals in the 4 X 800 and 4 X 1500 at the IAAF World Relays but has mostly flown under the radar since.

Equally impressive to the Americans’ success in the women’s 1500m is their American peer’s success in the 800m. Beginning with the indoor season where Chanelle Price won the World Indoor Championships in that event, American women have repeatedly held their own in the two-lap event this year.

800m women run fast

Chanelle Price was the best in the world indoor and Ajee Wilson has shined outdoor.

Chanelle backed her indoor championship up with her second place finish in the Doha Diamond League event and her first ever sub 2-minute performance. Brenda Martinez was the next athlete to perform internationally with her own sub 2 minute 800 to win the Hangelo World Challenge meet in the Netherlands. Laura Roesler finished her dominant final collegiate year with a win at the NCAA championships and a second place at the USA Track and Field Championships. Beating Laura at those championships was the phenomenal 20-year-old Ajee Wilson.

Hindsight shows that Ajee Wilson’s win at the USA championships was only a tune-up for her race at the Monaco Diamond league a few weeks later. In Monaco, Ajee ran a world leading time of 1:57.67 to end Eunice Sum’s 14 win unbeaten streak.

So far there are 6 American women under 2 minutes for the 800 this year, 2 more than the next best country Russia, and there are several other Americans that have run 2:00 or 2:01. With the Diamond League final for the women’s 800m being held next week it will be interesting to see if any American women can mimic the success of Jenny Simpson with a win there. Either way, American success at next week’s 800m in Brussels would only add to the middle distance success that USA has seen this year, but after today, American’s have already done enough to claim dominance for the year.

Scott Running Sport , , , , , , ,

HOKA ONE ONE Huaka Shoe Review

August 26th, 2014

At a Glance

  • 4mm offset (26mm heel, 22mm forefoot)
  • Weight: 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9); 8.2 ounces (womens size 8 )
  • RMAT midsole for smooth shock absorption
  • High abrasion rubber zones for sticky grip
  • Lightweight SpeedFrame upper maintains breathability and prevents debris from entering

Verdict

A soft, low offset road trainer, the HOKA ONE ONE Huaka provides maximal cushioning for plenty of shock absorption along with a performance-oriented feel when paces pick up.

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Connor Running Shoes , , ,

Americans Get Back on Track in Stockholm

August 22nd, 2014

running

Jenny Simpson was one of 6 Americans who won their event in Stockholm.

After over a month of hibernation, Americans hit the track again at yesterday’s Stockholm Diamond League meet. In virtually every event of the meet, we got to see whether our American stars came in rested and ready to go or possibly stale from the time off. How they might fair against the rest of the world, many of whom were coming off of continental championships, added to the intrigue.

All told, USA won 6 of the 16 marquee events contested in the meet. These wins covered the whole range of track and field with Americans victories in the shot put, long jump, 200m, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, and 1500m. American women stole the show with four wins while men took the other two.

The shot put victory went to one of the elder statesmen of USA track and field: Reese Hoffa. Reese has been hurling heavy objects around the world for over a decade now and it is wonderful to see the former orphan still winning on some of the worlds biggest stages and continuing to build his legacy.

Tianna Bartoletta proved again that she is an incredible athlete with her win in the long jump. Formerly known as Tianna Madison, she was a world indoor and outdoor champion jumper but recently has seen more success in the 100 meters with her fourth place showing at the Olympics and the lead off leg on the world-record setting 4 X 100m in London. Her win in the long jump proves that she can still be a threat at multiple disciplines. Furthering her athletic resume, she also has international success in the bobsled.

Allyson Felix has been setting tracks around the world on fire since she was a high school student. She got another win in the Stockholm 200m to add to her endless collection and put her in the driver’s seat for the overall diamond league title in that event with the remaining competition.

Queen Harrison led a trio of Americans in the 100m hurdles. The Virginia Tech graduate was the youngest of the American winners in Stockholm and is truly finding her own this year with a big lead in the diamond league chase for the event four years after winning the Bowerman award (Heisman for track) in her senior year of college.

Tinsley Running over Hurdles

Michael Tinsley continues to impress over the hurdles.

Michael Tinsley has been running on the international circuit for a long time now but the late-bloomer hadn’t made a World Championships team until he was selected to run for USA in London in 2012. He made the most of his first global championship with a silver medal in London and clearly isn’t slowing down two years later with this win in Stockholm.

Rounding out the 6 American victors is Jenny Simpson. Furthering the notion that she may never run over steeple barriers again like she did in college at Colorado, she beat a stout field in the 1500m in Stockholm and is proving that her world championship success from Daegu, a race that seemed to come out of nowhere, was no fluke and she is one of the most talented runners in the world.

With these wins and some other solid performances in other events, Americans proved that for the most part, they were more rested than rusty after the break. With three Diamond League events left and then the Continental Cup, that break may pay off for many of our favorites.

Scott Running Sport, Uncategorized , ,

New Balance 980 Trail Shoe Review

August 20th, 2014

At a Glance:

  • 4mm offset (24mm heel, 20mm forefoot)
  • 10.5 ounces in weight (men’s size 9)
  • Fresh Foam midsole technology that delivers plush cushioning
  • Multi-directional lugs that offer traction for climbing and descending
  • No-sew synthetic mesh upper and gusseted tongue designed to keep out debris

Verdict:

A low offset, highly cushioned trail shoe that meets the demands of daily trail runners as well as fans of the New Balance 980 road version.

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Connor Running Shoes , , ,

Runner vs. Nature: Sting Like a Bee

August 19th, 2014
Run! Bee!

Why do our pollinators have to hurt?! (image: Bee removal source)

I’m not sure who struck first, but I have a contentious relationship with bees. Generally, we try to avoid each other, but sometimes things get ugly. I suppose we have some overlapping interests: sweet things, summer, and parks. I’m not sure where everything got out of hand, but I’m prepared to call a truce.

Apparently bees are dying at alarming rates and that I should be concerned. I do like to eat many things that require bees’ pollination, but why must they pull a kamikaze on me once or twice a year? I suppose a few bee stings is a small price to pay given my yearly nectarine intake. Since I’m not allergic, my angst may be a touch over-dramatic. Still, I’d prefer to avoid the hours of pain followed by days of itching that the stings induce. Apparently, there are 10 things that I (we) can do to avoid this fate:

  1. Don’t wear perfume or cologne. I find it very hard to imagine that I could ever be accused of smelling like a flower on a run.
  2. Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, especially floral prints. The running apparel trends of late are not helping me avoid bright clothing and this doesn’t look to change soon. Fortunately my closet is lacking floral prints though.
  3. Be careful what you eat outdoors, sugary foods attract bees and wasps. My short easy runs are pretty safe but those gels and electrolyte drinks may be making my long runs and track workouts dangerous, especially when I spill all over myself.
  4. Don’t run barefoot. My feet are safe here, sorry Born to Run fans.
  5. Try not to wear loose-fitting clothes (bees may accidentally end up mixed in the fabric). There’s not a lot of bee-trapping fabric in my life.
  6. Stay Still. That one may be a problem while running.
  7. Keep your car windows rolled up. I am a proponent for air conditioning but if my car was parked in the sun and I just finished a run… the windows are down while the AC catches up.
  8. Cover your trash. My aforementioned fondness for post-run air conditioning makes this mostly a non-issue when running from home. But, for the record, the trash is covered.
  9. Don’t hang out in the flower garden. Well, technically none of my current runs specifically include flower gardens, but I would certainly be kidding myself to think that my typical routes are devoid of flowering plants. Citrus trees and California Poppies are two prolific potential points of conflict.
  10. Call a professional to have unwanted bees, wasps, or hornets removed. Probably does not apply to the whole of Montana De Oro State Park.

With only 4 out of 10 of these recommendations accomplished, it looks like I have some work to do if I am ever going to fully mitigate my bee-sting risk. Considering a reported 1/3 of our food and 8 to 12 billion dollars worth of economic value depend bees, I should probably work to change my habits rather than wish ill upon bees (with one notable exception, Africanized bees are definitely worthy of our disdain.)

If you or people in your group are allergic or unsure, following the advice from this list a long with having an EpiPen available in emergency is important whenever participating in outdoor activities. Hopefully soon, bees will no longer be in the news for their decline and we can all enjoy the summer without conflict.

Bees running

Maybe bees aren't so bad after all. (image: clipart)

Scott Uncategorized , ,

Rob Krar is Becoming a Legend

August 18th, 2014

Rob Krar is at home in the mountains. (image: Denver Post)

Rob Krar is good at running 100-mile races through the mountains. In June, he took the Western States Endurance Run title and this past weekend he won the Leadville Trail 100, running the second fastest time in both races’ history. In conquering the Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountain ranges’ most storied ultra races, Rob has put himself on the map as one of the world’s best runners, something that would have been hard to predict for the former middle distance runner from the banks of Lake Ontario.

Rob has always been good at running. As a young track runner, Krar earned himself a scholarship at Butler University and boasts personal bests of 1:51 and 3:44 in the 800 and 1500 respectively. The Canadian native hardly has the prototypical background of an ultra marathon champion. Following his time at Butler, Rob moved to Phoenix to pursue a career as a pharmacist and mostly gave up competitive running. The city life in Phoenix wasn’t to Rob’s liking and when the opportunity to transfer to Flagstaff came along, Rob made the move.

Many runners have made their way to Flagstaff to log countless miles on the town’s endless mountain trails, but Rob ended up there by a different route. What was to be a short stint in Flagstaff to earn his pharmaceutical certifications, is now going on 8 years with no plans of leaving. Clearly, Rob also started lacing up the running shoes again.

Rob didn’t turn into an overnight champion. After running sparingly between his time at Butler and his arrival in Flagstaff (he graduated from Butler in 2001 and transferred from Phoenix to Flagstaff in 2006), his body had to adjust to training regularly again. It took a year or so before Rob’s running returned to form. At first, he took to the roads and notched personal bests of 2:25 in the marathon and 1:05 in the half marathon. Despite the competitive success, running on pavement took its toll physically and mentally and after extended time off for an injury to his heel that required surgery, he took to the trails in earnest. He has been destroying trail races since, from winning the Sportiva Mountain Cup in 2012 to his Leadville domination this weekend.

If Rob’s victory at Western States showed that Rob has arrived as a true ultra star, his win at Leadville showed that he’s not content to simply bask in his newfound stardom. Krar seems to have a genuine love for the trails and is more intent on covering as many miles as possible than chasing after adoration (Although his signature beard does have its own twitter account @RobKrarsBeard). For Rob, there is no rest for the weary as he is set to run Steamboat Springs’ Run Rabbit Run 100 mile race in less than a month. A win there would make for a truly legendary summer.

Scott Running Sport , , , ,

Running Chiropractor Talks Injury Prevention

August 15th, 2014

Dr. Dubrul crossing the finish line at Western States

Not every chiropractor uses their spare time to train for 100-mile races. In San Luis Obispo, the running community is fortunate to have a chiropractor with over 20 years of chiropractic experience that also knows what it takes to push his own body to the limit.

Running Warehouse caught up with Dr. Scott Dubrul asked him a few questions about chiropractic care for runners.

Running Warehouse: Where should Chiropractic care fit into a runner’s injury prevention and recovery? What are the key attributes to chiropractic care that separates the practice from other medical specialists or fitness professionals?

Scott Dubrul: Chiropractic care fits well in treating specific injuries as well as maintaining a healthy locomotion system. Chiropractic care should be sought out initially for evaluation of the spine, hips, knees and feet. If any areas are fixed and not moving properly, Chiropractic adjustments of those areas will restore motion and have them function properly.

Beyond the initial visit Chiropractic for runners is a “whole system” care. Chiropractic care works best in tandem with continual holistic health practices outside of the office visits. This includes making sure that other health specialists and any running coaches are complimenting the chiropractic care and advice. Of course, there are some chiropractors that are more specialized as far as sports go, so it is important to make sure the chiropractor chosen fits the runner’s needs.

Dr. Scott Dubrul: The Ultra Chiropractor

RW: Not everyone has access to medical specialists that also run and can relate to runners. This may lead to the dreaded “take time off running” recommendation and sometimes a non-runner may not appreciate that some injuries can be trained through if done with care. How do you suggest runners approach the topic without blatantly ignoring their medical practitioner?

SD: My suggestion to runners is to continue their activity while keeping me abreast of how they are feeling in regards to their injury. If they are able to continue during treatment with no increase in pain, they are usually good. I rarely have my patients take too much time off unless the injury is not healing and the activity makes it worse. All that said, it is important to have a good dialogue with your health care professional.

RW: How has your own running helped you with your chiropractic work? How has your work as a chiropractor and your training as a doctor helped you in your own running?

SD: I would say my own running has really helped me to know what can be run through and what should be an injury that requires time off running. In my experience, it is absolutely vital to do regular work on your own body in the form of core exercises, self-massage and stretching. A good regimen can stave off injury and keep you supple and ready to run. I have also learned that for me, if I have pain that doesn’t get worse when I run, I am better served to keep running.

Finally, I have learned that I cannot be my own doctor in every sense; so I work with other chiropractors, massage therapists, trainers and physical therapists regularly. Even with all my knowledge, I will still try to “fix” my own issues with no luck, only to have another professional work on me and fix me up quickly!

Running Warehouse would like to thank Dr. Dubrul for taking time to speak with us and offer his insights to runners. For more information regarding Dr. Dubrul’s practice, chiropractic care and injury prevention, visit: http://www.powersourcechiropractic.com/services/chiropractic-care/

Scott Run Training , , , ,

Europe and Africa Crown Champions in 2014

August 14th, 2014

The second largest and second smallest continents on the planet are hosting their respective championships this week and there are a lot of great races yet to be run. The African Championships started on Sunday in Marrakech, Morocco and the European Championships took off yesterday.

Already storylines are developing as Nijel Amos of Botswana won yet another championship, cementing himself as the king of the 800m for the year, while Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare continues to add to her own medal collection in the sprints. Marrakech has not treated all favorites equally as Genzebe Dibaba, who was unstoppable earlier this year during the indoor season, lost to fellow Ethiopian Almaz Ayana.

Isaac Makwala Runs a lap

Isaac Makwala ran the fastest lap around a track ever on African soil. (image: IAAF)

While Nijel Amos was able to dominate both the Commonwealth games and the African Championships, his countryman, Isaac Makwala had to recover from a disappointing Commonwealth appearance to win his title at the African Championships. The African record holder in the 400m came to Morrocco and won each of his heats before dominating the final and setting a record for fastest 400m on the African continent.

Pavey running

Jo Pavey leading the pack (Image: IAAF)

While Zurich has only seen action for two days, already there has been historic performances on the track beginning with Jo Pavey’s age defying win at 10,000 meters. The 40-year-old left her younger competitors behind and added a European gold medal to her Commonwealth silver medal less than a year from when she had a child. She is a truly great runner who happened to have to run in the shadow of World Marathon Record Holder and fellow Brit Paula Radcliff, so to see her continue to excel is a treat so many years later.

Mo Farah completed the British sweep of European 10,000m titles today in his first major track race of the season. After dominating the 5,000m and 10,000m over the past few years, he was the clear favorite but he has had a series of difficulties in preparing for the track season from before his collapse at the New York City Half Marathon back in March up to recently visiting the hospital for stomach issues. Given the circumstances, the win is impressive. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the tougher competition of late season track meets if he chooses to compete on the track in the coming months.

While those of us on this side of the Pacific Ocean are eagerly awaiting the chance for American track stars to get back to what they do best, we can all still follow their competitors in Morocco and Switzerland.

Scott Running News , , , ,

Robin Williams Remembered: Possibly the Funniest Former Track Star

August 12th, 2014
Robin Williams Ran before he flew

Robin Williams had to learn to run before he could fly. (photo: Ancestry.com)

“Our job is improving the quality of life, not just delaying death” (Patch Adams).

Robin Williams was a favorite of many, and like too many that give the world so much, he reached his own end too soon. Robin learned that sharing his authentic personality was the most valuable gift he could share. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

Surely us runners relate to this: our hobby (lifestyle, passion, obsession) often starts before the sun rises, our toenails have been forsaken, and we will be perpetually sore and semi-injured for the rest of our lives. Williams said, “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” Surely we can all relate to the never-doing-that-race-again-but-if-I-paced-myself-hydrated-trained-better-was-healthy…dialogue in our heads. But when the weariness has passed, we will pick ourselves up and let the madness resume.

Robin had troubles and his death is an extreme and unfortunate reminder of the “bad times” he may have been battling. He leaves behind a devastated family and a few unanswered questions, but more enduring, he gave us some of the favorite characters of our lifetime. From the man that taught us to love poetry in Dead Poet’s Society, the cross dressing dad-nanny that fooled everyone in Mrs. Doubtfire, the genuine mentor that worked to tame the insecure genius in Good Will Hunting, a voice of happiness for our troops in Good Morning, Vietnam (and in life, traveling to military bases around the world to entertain), a blue-opaque genie that demonstrated how putting others needs before your own is a far greater wish than personal wealth and fame in Aladdin, and the adult-ish version of Peter Pan who in saving his children rediscovers his own youth lost in Hook.

In his passing, we look back at his life and enjoy the gifts he shared even more deeply. Traveling farther back in time before any of these characters lived, Robin was a high school track runner. He was good too! With a sub 2 minute half mile to his credit, his skills extended beyond acting. While this is certainly only a tiny footnote in his biography, it highlights the diversity that the running world can call its own. If one can draw some unfounded causation from a correlation, it may show that the same patience it takes to weather his personal ups and downs translated into breaking barriers with his feet.

So while we all wish that our favorite Genie might have waited a touch longer to take his own Magic Carpet for a ride, we can certainly be grateful for what he did give us and that he too wore shorts too short at one point.

Scott Uncategorized ,

Skyrunning takes to the Alps: Sierre-Zinal

August 11th, 2014
Run Zinal trail

Breathless Mountain Running: The Alps' Finest. (image: EveryTrail)

From our home on the pacific, the closest many of us Californians come to a true adventure in the Alps is a ride down the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride at Disneyland. With countless races in the United States worthy of any runner-traveler’s bucket list, it is easy for Americans to forget about the rest of the world. However, the Sierre–Zinal trail race through the Alpine wonderland of South-Eastern Switzerland is worthy of our attention for its beauty alone. The course features views of some of the most renowned peaks of the alps: Zinalrothorn, Obel Gabelhorn, Dent Blanche, and of course the Matterhorn in real life. Doug Meyer of Run the Alps does a better job describing this magical race than I do in his blog here.

The race, which celebrated its 40th birthday last year, is hardly content to let its panoramic scenery be the only draw and many of the world’s best trail runners are invited each year to take part in the festivities. The course is crafted in a way that no particular skillset is favored and runners from a variety of backgrounds can find their way to the podium. At 31 kilometers, the race is hardly a sprint but it is short enough that the field is not exclusively seasoned ultra runners. There is some highly technical terrain that requires dexterity and the ability to adapt to a quad-burning crawl, but there are also much smoother sections of dirt road that reward runners that can handle a swifter pace.

Joe Grey had an awesome race on a course that suits his many talents. (image: Skyrunning.com)

Stevie and Kilian are midway through very successful seasons. (image: Skyrunning.com)

Where there are advanced trails and elite competition, the venerable Kilian Jornet always seems to be involved. This race was no different as Killian rose to the top for the seventh time this year in a world-class trail race. This time, American Jo Grey from Washington appeared to give him a challenge until the final 4km of the race but Kilian was able to open up over a minute on Joe before they eventually crossed the finish.

Americans did well on the podium, in addition to Grey’s silver, as Stevie Kremer of Colorado took the women’s race after a pair of second place finishes prior to Sunday. With her second win on the Skyrunning circuit she now has the lead with 3 of 5 races complete.

The Skyracing series continues in the Swiss Alps with the Matterhorn Ultraks on August 23rd and concludes with the Limone extreme race in the beautiful Lombardia region of Italy.

Scott Running Sport , , , , ,