Tag Archives: Steve Prefontaine

What I Learned This Week

I try to learn something everyday. Sometimes I am learning something entirely new and other times I am merely re-learning something I already knew and had forgotten or I had warped and twisted in my head until I had convinced myself I learned something entirely different. It got me thinking…hmmm….what have I learned this week (May 23-May 29) that had to do with running in one way or another?

I already knew that Relays are awesome. Now I know that many other people feel the same way. The IAAF World Relay Championships were last weekend and they were amazing. Large and wild crowds greeted the teams that would compete over a number of different and sometimes rarely run relay events. That rarely run part is significant because it pretty much guaranteed some World Records were going to be shattered and shattered they were. The meet took place in the Bahamas and they did a great job. The crowds were electric for all the events – not just the shorter ones that the sprint crazed island nation love so much. If you have not already watched the races you should. Check the races out by clicking this link and watching races, highlight and coverage through FloTrack. My personal favorites are the US women and their 4×800 throw down and the Kenyan men ripping apart the hopes and dreams of the rest of the world in the 4×1500.

I already knew that the USATF has absolutely no idea how to manage the elite side of the sport. I also already knew that they fail the PR game on an almost daily basis. What I did not know was that the USATF was capable of making incredibly moronic decisions even though they knew that an ever brighter spotlight had been placed on them since USATF Indoors. I learned they were capable of picking a cheat-a liar-a drug cheating liar as a Coach for the US team and after being called out on it they were unable to formulate an exit strategy from this awful mess they had placed themselves in. Nor did they have the guts to admit they screwed up. It was a terrific insult to the other coaches and the athletes that went on this trip to represent the USA as well as an insult to every coach and athlete that has dedicated their time in this sport to achieve whatever greatness they can without cheating. Lauren Fleshman wrote a verbally eviscerating blog about it here. Fleshman nailed it. I have yet to see what USATF Head Honcho Max Siegel brings to the table. I must be missing something. Maybe I will learn next week why he is in charge. I’m hoping that all of this ends up being lessons learned for the USATF and someday (soon) we can look at them as the excellent organization that it needs to be.

I learned that breaking 5 while drinking is way more viewer friendly to non-runners than breaking 4 without drinking beer. James “the Beast” Nielson continues to get press and from larger and larger media sources for his epic WR Beer Mile. James was a fellow Nike Farm Teamer while I was out in Palo Alto, CA so I am biased when I say he deserves all the attention he gets. The latest article comes from the Wall Street Journal and it is interesting to say the least. I was totally unaware how big a deal the Beer Mile was/is. There is even talk of a Beer Mile World Championship taking place. I bet Canada won’t send a full team to that World Championship either.

I learned that I am in horrendous shape. It’s insane that I can literally be around running as much as I am and not be in better shape. Didn’t they tell us that you gain fitness through osmosis or diffusion or something? I curse biology when it does not operate in a way that benefits me! I should get some fitness brownie points for being such a running geek. So, I’ve realized I need a goal. A concrete goal – a race! I am in the process of investigating some options. I have no idea what distance I want to tackle though. 5k? Might be fun to do some speed work. Half-marathon? Manageable and I’ve never raced the distance. I’m sure it would be a nice feeling to put together 13.1 miles. Marathon? Part of me wants to do a marathon just so I can emotionally collapse on some poor freaked out volunteer who only wanted to put a space blanket on me after I crossed the finish line. I’ll keep you updated. I’m sure you care.

I learned that allergies suck and that Benadryl is really strong. I don’t really have allergies but Tuesday night while we ran our Tuesday Night Track Workouts the wind picked up big time. I saw the tress start waving and shaking. What I thought was an approaching torrential shower – an oddly yellow tinged approaching torrential shower – was in fact just pollen. Just massive disgusting amounts of pollen being blown off the trees. I thought this is not good. I woke up the next morning with eyes that looked like they had left my body while I slept and gone and starred in a Cheech & Chong movie. I was sneezing and blowing my nose all day. I finally took a Benadryl. It helped. It also basically knocked me out. I could hardly stay awake for the next 10 hours. Lesson learned? As a runner, if you have allergies and you have to run later make sure you are taking something that will not wreck you. (Also, if you are any good at running and compete make sure you know what is in EVERYTHING you take. Unless you are an American or Jamaican sprinter the odds are slim that the governing bodies of our sport will believe that you were merely ignorant and not actively trying to cheat.)

I learned that the Prefontaine Classic is Must-See-TV. The fields on Friday AND Saturday are insane. And it seems like Nike has upped the ante by really promoting the hell out of the Pre Classic online and through social media. Is it me or is running getting….edgy and cool? We’re close. Don’t get me wrong – I know that our sport will do almost everything wrong to destroy the momentum but you can’t help but be excited about the next few months of running. Just make sure you watch and Tweet and Email and Like and Share anything and everything you see about the Pre Classic. One of the great parts about our sport is how involved the fans can be so let’s make that great part be about how involved the fans are.

This was a nice exercise. Sadly it does not count as actual exercise. Damn biology. You may want to consider sitting down each week and jotting down what you learned. I learned this week that doing just that is a good idea.