2014: In Pictures

I’m going to do a series of 2014 reviews that will include runner of the year (American), runner of the year (International), performance of the year (American), performance of the year (International), running shoe of the year and running accessory of the year. Today, I’m starting out with some of my favorite images of the year.

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Shalane went right to the front in Boston and held it for as long as she could. Before the race, she had made it clear that winning on her home turf was her personal mission. She didn’t win, but I think anyone who watched her can appreciate the heart she ran with that day.

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Meb was hardly an afterthought in people’s pre-race Boston Marathon predictions. He was up against an exceptional field and his mid-race move was not taken seriously. However, as the miles faded away, it became clear that the chasers were running out of real estate. It was going to be close, and I’m nearly certain that every person watching that race was on their feet and shouting at their screen.

TO2

Timothy Olson’s “A” race for 2014 was Hardrock. It was the one he trained for. It was the one that all the other races led to. However, it just wasn’t his day – not by a long stretch. At one point, he stopped for a rest on a pile of garbage. However, he got back up, kept moving and finished in just over 30 hours.

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This is my favorite image from 2014. Tòfol Castanyer and Iker Karrera ran most of UTMB within a stone’s throw of each other. After more than twenty hours of running, they decided they might as well finish it up together too.

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The NYC Marathon had an amazing field, but all of the athletes were humbled by the strong winds. Gebre Gebremariam finished third, and then, he stepped back onto the course to offer up a high-five to Meb as he cruised by in fourth. The comradery was inspiring on a day when everyone had to work a little bit harder.

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Must Love Jogs: The Beer Edition

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This is the first annual Must Love Jogs beer edition. Many runners – particularly trail runners – are known for their love of beer.

Matt Flaherty

Rob Krar

Sage Canaday

While I don’t drink much during the season, I definitely enjoy a nice brew now and again. My (current) favorites include:

X Double Indian Pale Ale (Middle Ages Brewing Company)

471 Small Batch IPA (Breckenridge Brewery)

Hi-Res (Six Point Brewery)

I know what you’re thinking. Trail running. Skinny corduroys. Tattoos. He must be a hipster. I prefer to think of myself as a hopster.

P.S. Beer sponsors, call me maybe.

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XC.

lets-recap

The News

This weekend was all about cross Country. Foot Locker National Championships went as most people expected. Anna Rohrer dominated the girls’ race and finished in 17:13. Grant Fisher repeated as champion in the boys’ race and took the win in 15:03. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll reiterate it today. Grant Fisher is the future of middle distance running in the United States – there is no doubt about it.

Notably, all 40 participants in the boys’ race were juniors or seniors. The girls’ race was a different story, as seven girls were either freshmen or sophomores. In fact, the race included two freshmen from Montana – Annie Hill (8th overall) and Bryn Morley (26th overall). Keep an eye on them in the future!

Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Results: Boys/Girls

USATF Club XC Championships were also this weekend. Don’t be fooled by the “club” moniker. The races included a slew of elites from across the country. Laura Thweatt won the women’s race (6k) in 19:14.41. Ryan Hill took the men’s race (10k) in 29:07.03.

Twelve women ran under 20 minutes in the 6k race and twenty men ran under 30 minutes in the 10k race.

USATF National Club XC Championships Results: Men’s/Women’s

My Upcoming Races

Registration for the CNY Springtime 10k opens today! It’s only $15 (plus a $2.50 service fee). There aren’t many races left at that price!

My Training

It was an “off” week. I only managed 35 miles and I wasn’t feeling very well. Winter is here and the sun hasn’t been out in ages – I don’t think it’s done much for my motivation. Hopefully, this will be a better week.

Keep Running!

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Altra Superior 2.0 Review

If you recall, last April I reviewed the Altra Superior 1.5. The Superior 1.5 was the first zero-drop shoe I tried, and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the comfortable fit and wide toe box, and I thought the shoe was excellent quality. However, I thought it was too heavy to be a performance trail shoe…

I think Altra saw my blog, because they made a few tweaks, and the Superior 2.0 is rather awesome.

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First, make sure you size up at least a half size! The Superior 2.0 definitely runs small. I almost always wear a size 10 and my toes were bumping up against the front of the shoe. I think a 10.5 would do the trick.

Second, the toe box isn’t quite as wide as other Altra models. This was a little disappointing to me because the wide toe box is my favorite Altra feature. However, switching from a thicker sock to a thinner sock did the trick.

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Third, I’m guessing the reason that the shoe is a tiny bit narrower than other models was to cut down on weight. I thought the Superior 1.5 was a little heavy for racing (11.5 ounces for size 10) but the 2.0 is perfection (9.4 ounces for size 10). That is exactly what I’m looking for in a trail racer.

The shoe has a 15mm forefoot and a 15mm heel – zero drop (Altra claims 21mm, but it isn’t quite that much). There is a removable rock plate, as well as a gaiter trap.

The shoe has a sticky sole that provides an awesome grip. In addition, the lugs (and lug height) are perfect for soft trails, hard trails, muddy trails, loose stone, etc.

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The upper is seamless and super comfortable. Altra, if you are listening, I’d love for you to make this shoe with a Gore-Tex option – that is the one thing I find lacking in your line. I understand that would add a little weight and cost, but it would be worth it! Finally, I think this shoe has a great design. It comes in a couple of color options, and they are great.

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Pros:

- seamless upper
– great quality
– sticky sole with excellent lugs
– weight – 9.4 ounces is perfect for trails
– cost – these are $110 – and you can use coupon code RUNBLOG10 at Running Warehouse to get 10% off

Cons:

- these definitely run small – do not order your usual size
– the toe box is not as wide as other Altra models – if you really want a wider toe box, go with the Superior 1.5 or the Lone Peak 2.0

Here are some other reviews of the Superior 2.0:

Believe in the Run

Sam Winebaum

Gear:30

The Ginger Runner

Wholistic Running

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

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I’m declaring the unofficial start to winter. There was a pretty decent storm yesterday that dropped over a foot of snow. Goodbye, grass. Goodbye, sidewalks. Goodbye, trails.

I took this picture near downtown (no filter). It is an average road about six hours after it completely stopped snowing. Some roads are a bit clearer and some (believe it or not) are much worse.

Today’s post includes eight helpful tips for running in the snow:

1) Get the right shoes. During winter, I use a pair with Gore-Tex. It makes all the difference!
2) Expect it to slow you down. Running in the snow is a tough workout, and it will use muscles and stabilizers that you didn’t even know you had.
3) Dress warmly. With snow, slush, wind and ice, you can get cold rather quickly.
4) Be extra cautious of cars. Drivers are the worst. They are watching their phones, meals, kids, etc. They are probably not watching the road, and they are definitely not watching you!
5) If you start to fall, aim for a snow bank.
6) If you do fall, gracefully get up and continue on.

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Umm, I said gracefully.

7) pavement > powder > slush > ice
8) Remember that the snow and ice and wind will end – it always does!

What advice do you have for running in winter?

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Drugs and Money.

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Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:25:56
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:20:25
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:18:20
Atsede Baysa Ethiopia 2:22:03
Rita Jeptoo Kenya 2:19:57
Rita Jeptoo Kenya 2:24:35

This is a list of the last six Chicago Marathon winners. Technically, Shobukhova is still in the appeals process and Jeptoo is awaiting the results on her “B” sample. Regardless, I’d say we have a problem.

However, it gets even better. A recent story in L’Equipe suggests three-time winner Liliya Shobukhova paid the Russian track federation more than $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. Eventually, they suspended her anyways and she asked for her bribe back. Thus far, she has received about $400,000 back.

As you can imagine, reclaiming prize money isn’t very easy. Nick Bitel, CEO of the London Marathon and general counsel for World Marathon Majors stated:

“If Liliya Shobukhova’s results are expunged, then, she would be liable to repay her prize money and the London Marathon could take legal action to recover the same, although there would be the usual difficulties of recovering money in an overseas jurisdiction.”

Expunged results have not led to higher payouts for clean athletes. This is likely due to IAAF rule 40.8, which says:

“[Prize money] shall be re-allocated to the athlete(s) who placed behind the ineligible athlete in the relevant event(s) or competition(s) only if and when all the forfeited prize money has been repaid by the ineligble athlete to the relevant person or entity.”

So what can be done? The World Marathon Majors recently suggested it’s payout ($500,000) could be distributed in installments. Other ideas:

- races could obtain doping insurance to ensure that clean athletes are paid the appropriate amounts
– races could work with respective countries to ensure there is a method for recovering fraudulently-obtained prize money
– lifetime bans, even for first-time offenders
– eliminate all doping rules

What do you think is the best way to handle this situation?

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High School XC, A Muddy Ultra and Winter!

photo credit: Salomon Running

photo credit: Salomon Running

The News

Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) was on Saturday and it was exciting!

The girls’ race was won by Allie Ostrander, a senior from Kenai, Alaska.

“I got to the last kilometer and I thought, this is like the end of Mount Marathon – you feel dead, but you have it in you to do it. I just went for it.”

In July, she was the overall winner of the Mount Marathon Junior Race. Allie is Alaska’s first ever national champion in cross country.

The boys’ race was won by Tanner Anderson. The senior from North Spokane, Washington led nearly the entire race and he hung on for a two-second victory. The top six boys were all seniors.

Full Results are available here: Boys/Girls (scroll down)

The races can be replayed here: Boys/Girls

photo credit: Gary Paulson

photo credit: Gary Paulson

On the team side, central New York dominated. The Fayetteville-Manlius girls were in top form, placing all five scoring runners in the top 20 (and within 11 seconds of each other). They scored a mere 70 points – second place finisher Temecula scored 149.

Manlius Girls (70 points):
11 Olivia Ryan 18:35
12 Annika Avery 18:38
13 Sophia Ryan 18:38
14 Jenna Farrell 18:39
20 Samantha Levy 18:46
(82) Jessica Howe 19:33
(106) Reilly Madsen 19:51

The boys had to overcome a tough day by their star, Bryce Millar (I wish my bad day was a 16-minute 5k). They were able to do so without much difficulty. The Fayetteville-Manlius boys had four guys at 16:03 or faster, and the team scored 111 points – second place finisher Wayzata scored 159.

Manlius Boys (111 points):
8 Peter Ryan 15:40
14 Bryce Millar 16:00
15 Kyle Barber 16:00
19 Adam Hunt 16:03
55 Riley Hughes 16:29
(60) Joseph Walters 16:32
(138) Jonathan Abbott 17:32

NXN has been around for 11 years, and this is the first time that a school has ever swept the national titles.

Another local team, Liverpool, placed 4th in the boys’race (and Saratoga Springs was 10th in the girls’ race). The pros may hang out in Boulder, Flagstaff and Mammoth Lakes – but high school cross country Mecca is central New York.

If you haven’t had enough cross country, you’re in luck!! Foot Locker Cross Country Championships are on Saturday. There is a live webcast of the event. I encourage you to watch – last year’s races were awesome!!

For a list of competitors, click here.

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Speaking of pros, everybody and their brother showed up to run the North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler in San Fransisco. How stacked was this field? Mike Wardian came in 24th. Brett Rivers came in 25th. Chris Vargo came in 42nd!

photo credit: iRunFar

photo credit: iRunFar

Sage Canaday ran well all day and he managed to hold off Dakota Jones. Rob Krar, the pre-race favorite, struggled mid-race. However, he managed to rally and finish 12th, right behind his racing buddy Zach Miller.

Full Results of the North Face event can be found here.

If you recall, Ryan Ghelfi had suggested a team competition for The North Face race. If there was a team competition, it would have gone something like this:

1) Salomon 17 points (Castanyer, Lightfoot, Maravilla)
2) Nike 22 points (Varner, Tollefson, Miller)
3) North Face 27 points (Bowman, Olson, Krar)

photo credit: iRunFar

photo credit: iRunFar

Magdalena Boulet dominated the women’s race. She pushed the pace all day, and she managed a ten-minute victory.

Full Results of the North Face event can be found here.

My Upcoming Races

I registered for Cayuga Trails 50. It will be my second time at CT 50, and I’m really looking forward to it!

My Training

I’ve cut back on my mileage the last few weeks, but I’m still squeezing in some nice workouts. Yesterday, I did a tempo run and managed to split 5:34, 5:43 and 5:41 in very cold temps. I’ve very happy with where I’m at heading into the new year!

Keep Running!!

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