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Running Forum / Re: Roger Robinson: Drugs in Running
« Last post by Double on February 22, 2013, 07:26:11 PM »
I pay little attention to T&F.  Cycling was never my thing.  I love baseball and I've been let down so many times.
Stats are my thing and baseball has a ton.  I just don't put much in what has taken place the last 20 years.  I have
about 120,000 baseball cards and I've been thinking about just pairing back to pre 1985.  I just collect for me, no other
reason.  Really have spent no time the past 10 years or so with them.
In my work, your work, reputation is everything.  I blame the athletes, though I am not unforgiving.  I cannot grasp how
you can make all this money by cheating and it doesn't work on you.  You stole from others.  Granted, the big Corps were
fine with it and share blame.  I wouldn't walk across the street to get a free pair of Nikes if they were handing out $20 bills.
I fine myself watching and attending more HS and College events.  I love watching HS T&F and Cross.  I've gotten back
into watching hockey.  Going to the Blackhawks game Sunday with Woody.  Honestly, football doesn't do it for me anymore.
I never thought I would say the NBA is more entertaining than the NFL, but it is.  Notice I said entertaining.  There are some ferocious guys in the NBA.  The athleticism is phenomenal.
I love sports in general.  I can't believe how much I got into women's US Soccer.  I run, but I don't feel or necessarily like being lumped in or called a runner.  Some off you probably know what I mean by this.  I'd have much rather been a football or baseball player in HS, but running was simple.  No politics, just go beat people.  Ron Daws once said something along the lines one time that if he improved in baseball by swinging and only missing the pitch by 1" rather than 3"s who would notice?
Running Forum / Re: Roger Robinson: Drugs in Running
« Last post by Ryan on February 22, 2013, 11:03:51 AM »
Yes, I agree the more light on the issue the better. I guess I'm uncomfortable talking about doping in sport. I don't like to think about it. That said, sometimes you have to do what's uncomfortable for the best of the sport. I won't accuse anyone individually without evidence but pretending there isn't a systemic problem would be naive at best. That's why I posted this. I think it needs to be talked about, like you stated, in order to get it out in the open so it can be dealt with.

I actually hold little of the blame on the athletes. They are caught in a very difficult situation. They are told essentially get better, in any way possible, or get out of the sport. When doing it the right way isn't enough, what are they left to do? They may feel they don't have a choice. Sponsors are telling them their incomes are on the line, races are telling them they aren't wanted, coaches and various other members of their inner circles might be whispering in their ears that the only way they can accomplish what they need to continue making a living is to take the drugs. Having never been in this position, I can't imagine the pressure one would feel. I'd like to think I'd say no but how can any of us really know what we would say if we've never been in that position?

That said, as you point out, the athletes through their unions could take a stronger stand if they want a clean sport. The TFAA does seem solely focused on sponsorship. Now, I agree with them in many aspects on the sponsorship topic but they could also take a stand that organizations need to take a tougher stand on cleaning up the sport in order to protect the clean athletes. I was just reading an article last night about the NFL and the NFLPA fighting over human growth hormone (HGH) testing. The NFLPA is dragging its feet on HGH testing to the point this writer basically said he can envision a generation of fans growing up between the time an agreement was made to perform HGH testing and testing actually begins to happen. Why? Not because the NFL is dragging its feet. Why is the NFLPA dragging its feet so much if it's concerned about protecting clean athletes? Is it concerned about protecting clean athletes? I don't want to make assumptions but it doesn't look good.

Your story of Hamilton reminds me of what I read recently from Steve Magness about Armstrong. He, of course, was working with Salazar/Nike when Armstrong was doing his running thing and he was tasked by Nike to help Armstrong, which he stated was a very difficult feeling to have. Later, after he moved on to college coach, his team was at a cross country meet where Armstrong would be running. He said he thought about introducing his runners to Armstrong and being the "cool guy" who knows him. Instead, he told them Armstrong was going to be in the race and this was their chance to beat him. They made a pretty big deal of that and were pumped to beat him.
Running Forum / Re: Roger Robinson: Drugs in Running
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 21, 2013, 11:00:57 PM »
I do not mind talking about it because the more talk there is the more the code of silence around PED cheats can be threatened.  As with almost any of Robinson's columns, this one is good and goes at least part-way there.  He does come across as an apologist for Western/Anglo runners, with his ironclad faith in Kastor and Radcliffe, among others.  There are reasons to be suspicious of those runners, too, beyond simply their ability to run fast races.  He also seems an apologist for running media, as RW/RT (recall Scott Douglas looking into Goucher at the '08 OT and the Hesch affair) or Competitor -- to name just two -- certainly could fund investigations if they so chose.  Yet that is simply not where their editorial priorities lie.  For me, that is what it came down to as an impetus with the cycling doping scandals: a vigorous press willing to put the sport under the microscope and make the powers that be look bad.  Running does not have the same and, frankly, I doubt it ever will.  We already know that USATF (f/k/a TAC) has been gladly covering up doping positives for U.S. athletes going at least as far back as 1984.  Where is the evidence that USATF has improved its record in that area and is not as bad if not even worse today?

As for the Armstrong/Winfrey thing, that was obviously spin control before it ever took place.  Winfrey has little journalistic credibility at all, she just has a lot of good will with a sizable audience.  With the reversal of his vow to testify under oath to USADA to help their investigation, it is more clear than ever that Armstrong is all about Armstrong and could not care less about the sport or society or anything else.  I wonder when his kids will realize that pretty much everything they see around them was gained as a result of lies and bullying.  Anyway, there are enough people willing to demonize Armstrong, and he likely brought much of that onto himself.  I have come to a point, especially after reading a really good book that framed well the MLB steroids of the Bonds/McGwire/Sosa era, that I place only a sliver of the blame on the athletes.  Athletes' job is to compete with their peers to win, using any means allowed, and they are simply individual agents within the culture of the system.  It really is up to the administrators and officials who run the sport to ensure that there is indeed integrity in the final product, that should be at the forefront of their jobs.  Ultimately, if they do a poor job protecting the integrity of the competition then the athletes are put into a highly compromised position and are all but forced to take the shortcuts that many others have taken just to compete for victory.  On the other hand, if the athletes truly want to take their sport back from the dopers then they need to unionize to demand that take place, to make the officials and administrators comply with that demand.  As it is, they are apparently only wanting to unionize to get more/bigger sponsor logos on their uniforms.  So, they just continue to endorse and enable a system that penalizes clean athletes, though the people most responsible for that system are the officials and administrators.

On a personal note, it so happens that one of the training groups I frequent saw Tyler Hamilton show up for runs a handful of times a couple years ago.  I guess he had just launched some endurance training business and came along to check out this running group - one of our regulars is a former pro cyclist, so he may have extended the invite.  I am unsure if this was prior to the "60 Minutes" interview but it was definitely prior to the tell-all book.  I do know that the instant I saw him I had made up my mind to not be among those offering him a genial welcome, in fact I really had nothing at all to say to him.  Another of the regulars in that group - a masters runner older than Armstrong - beat Armstrong in a trail half-marathon in Steamboat Springs last summer and, being friendly almost to a fault, chatted up Armstrong a little at the finish.  I think I would have been tempted to throw a snot rocket his way, at best.
Running Forum / Roger Robinson: Drugs in Running
« Last post by Ryan on February 20, 2013, 01:30:15 PM »
Drugs in Running

I hate to talk about PEDs in running but it's naive to try to pretend there is no such thing. I found this article very interesting for a few points. I'll start off on a couple of tangential notes, then get into the meat of the issue.

I love what he said about Lance Armstrong at NYCM. This is what I said at the time also. I hated how this drug-enhanced-cyclist-turned-sub-elite-runner was getting more attention than the true elites, those who should be the stars of the race. It was, in my opinion, a complete disgrace. It's nice to know that someone in the media felt the same way and took some kind of personal stance on it.

I also like what he had to say about the faux-confession on Oprah. It was attention seeking, self interest at its worst. It's a shame Oprah agreed to the charade but it's not surprising. Let's not forget she is a business person who is, in the end, most concerned about ratings and advertising revenue.

As for the meat of the story, does anyone actually believe anymore that all elites are clean? I saw recently that someone who should know better was shocked by the accusations by Moses Kiptanui. Now, these are just accusations at this time without hard evidence to back them up but should we be shocked that PEDs might have become widespread in Kenyan running camps? In Ethiopian running camps? Even in professional running camps and training groups in other parts of the world, even here in the United states? I'm not going to insist at this moment that Kiptanui is absolutely right and that every Kenyan is dirty but be honest with yourself. Would you be shocked if hard evidence came out proving him right? As much as I want to believe in the innocence of everyone, I wouldn't be shocked and I'm not shocked by those accusations coming out now. Why did Mathew Kisorio decide to use these drugs?

The Kenyans are incredibly talented, tenaciously hard working and grow up in a culture and atmosphere that is perfectly suited for developing elite distance runners. Nobody is going to deny that. However, in this current culture where there is quite a bit of money to be made by being among the best in the world, should we be surprised if a few bad actors look for an edge wherever they can get it?

Is every elite distance runner dirty? I doubt it. Is every elite distance runner clean? I doubt that even more. Is running where cycling was a decade ago? We won't know for another decade but I want to believe drug use is not as widespread in running as it was in cycling at that time.

So what should be done about this? Well, here's what I'll be doing. I won't be holding these runners up on a pedestal. I'll celebrate great competitions and great performances and I'll support the runners until I'm given reason not to. At the same time, though, I'll celebrate with a bit of skepticism. I won't accuse anyone of being guilty without having ample reason to believe they are guilty but I'll also not be caught off guard if/when an elite runner is caught. I'll support the biological passport (which caught Abderrahim Goumri shortly before he tragically died in a car accident). I will support races and organizations (like NYRR) that take a hard stand on drug cheats. I will support in competition and, just as importantly, random out of competition testing. How much of a difference can I as a single person make? Not much but, if I'm joined by numerous other fans of the sport, we might be able to help push the sport in the right direction.
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Wilson on February 19, 2013, 11:13:18 AM »
4.  Ran my first 100 mile week in January 1980, during winter break visiting Houston. 
In Houston why, chasing a woman? ;)

I wish, although a strip club or two may have been involved. Coaches just let us take the vans and turned us loose on the town for a couple nights. That'd never happen today!
Another runner and I latched onto the swim team who would go down for about 2 weeks of winter training camp. We figured it would be warmer and a good time to get in a lot of miles. My teammate put in 200 that week. He did 30 a day for six days (either a 10 and a 20 or two 15s) and on the seventh he ran 20. Effin' nuts, but he did hold the school record for 2 mile and XC. I think I ran 105 and 116 and the swimmers thought I was a slacker.
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 18, 2013, 09:17:31 PM »
I had lost the competitive fire after high school. I enjoyed running and training and being part of the team in college, but racing was no longer important to me. I was not a big partier like some of my teammates who flamed out and never performed. I just lacked the drive that I once had. I had a couple of instances that showed me what might have been, but I found more injury than motivation. Looking back, I recall working very hard for someone who did not really care about competing, but the fact is that meets were not important to me and I found more injuries than motivation. Eventually, I quit after my second stress fracture. I enjoy racing now more than I did in college.
Pretty much the same boat as you.  Though I liked my coaches and teams a lot, I just had more curiosity about the world in general than I did in running faster in races.  Plus I chose a challenging major.  I also think a heavy diet of intervals with little mileage for a base wound up contributing to many injuries, I did not have a good idea of functional training back then.
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 18, 2013, 08:45:19 PM »
6. raced 3 10 mile races and 3 5ks in that ridiculous red costume to make people laugh and just for the sake that it was ridiculous
If I may be frank, it's certainly not an unbecoming costume - hard to believe you've had three kids!
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 18, 2013, 08:42:00 PM »
11. I've known Ryan and Andrew since 1998!
It's true, and I met Wilson when he still lived in Ft. Collins around 2000, before he loaded up the van and he moved his family to Beverly, er, Alaska.  His kids were tots at that time. 
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 18, 2013, 08:39:23 PM »
4.  Ran my first 100 mile week in January 1980, during winter break visiting Houston. 
In Houston why, chasing a woman? ;)
Running Forum / Re: 10 running things about me
« Last post by Andrew A. on February 18, 2013, 08:25:18 PM »
Some interesting accounts to read here.
Here is what I have:
1. Started running, in earnest, the spring of my sophomore year in high school, 1989.
2. Was encouraged by the former cc coach, who was my then p.e. teacher, Coach Bailey.
3. Ran 1600m & 3200m that first year, was so repulsed by the long workouts and racing at both ends of each meet that I talked my coach into letting me run the 800m the following year.  Not a great plan, I was just bad in the 800m and concluded that I just was not cut out for track though I loved cross country.
4. Walked-on at both colleges (JUCO and then small D1 school) I attended, wound up with a small scholarship at each.  Got along well with my college coaches which probably planted the seed for wanting to coach years later.
5. Wound up at two programs with heavy foreign student-athlete presence, which also made a big impression on me.  Not only surrounded by a variety of world and cultural perspectives but also highly dedicated individuals who applied themselves diligently not only at the track but also in the classroom.  By contrast, significantly more of my U.S. teammates tended to slack off in one or both areas - I certainly did not attend Grinnell.  I tended to befriend my foreign teammates, they seemed far more interesting than drinking the Beast did.
6. Had some pretty accomplished teammates, the U.S. runners were state finalists/medalists in Texas and the foreigners were finalists in the W.C. and O.G., one even got bronze in the 100m in Sydney.
7. Still have not run a marathon.  I figure it just does not seem all that compelling on a participatory level.
8. Planning to race middle distance (800m-3000m) this summer on the track and to go to Masters Track Nationals in Kansas.
9. Favorite running film is "Running Brave." 
10. Favorite running book is "From Last to First."
Bonus: favorite running shoe was the old, split-tongue asics Gel Exult.  (Best I have run in within the past 12 months: the new Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2.)
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