Monday, 9 July 2012

July 10th News & Notes

Hello everyone! I hope you are sitting, because this post might make you a little weak in the knees. No, no, not in the "50 Shades of Grey" drivel kind of way, but in the way in which you see someone else get hit in the groin or hit their shin off of something - where a pit in your stomach grows because you know you've felt that  discomfort before (you know exactly what I'm talking about).

This week I'm going to tell you about the most ridiculous race ever as well as my strong feelings toward the Canadian Olympic qualifying standards. I was even about to talk about how between Canada and USA we actually had a chance at a medal at the Olympics in the 5,000m and 10,000m... err... I was going to do that until 2:13pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, July 6th, 2012. 

In fact, where were you at that time? It's actually a valid question! In my opinion it's in the same vein of asking 'where were you when JFK was shot?' or 'where were you when Paul Henderson scored the infamous winning goal in the '72 Summit Series?'

Before I get to why I ask such a question, let me add a little more suspense by rambling on about 5k races. Undoubtedly, anyone who is reading this blog has raced a 5k before (or the equivalent for the non-runners reading this). You know the feelings that it conjures even just thinking about it: the lactic acid storm in your already anxious and nervous muscles, the constant mental struggle between holding the pace or just easing off... or coming to a dead stop. To be honest, most people move up to the longer distances because they hate the terrible discomfort that comes with the 5,000m distance. Such feelings are true for every runner regardless of their pace. There was a time when I - now a 16:30 5k runner - couldn't imagine ever breaking 20:00. Just thinking about running a 3:50/km made my stomach turn into knots... in fact it even made me weak in the knees. I get the same feeling when I watch the professionals. I watch them, see the clock, and feel my legs ache and the pit in my stomach grows because I can't even fathom running 200m at that pace without wanting - or needing - medical attention.

Well that feeling hit me 11 times this past Friday.

Note: at this point you should be asking me "Mark, what the **** are you rambling on about?"

Let me allow THIS GUY to explain:

Dejen Gebremeskel (Ethiopia)
To be honest, I'm sure he's still catching his breath after his victory at Friday's Paris Diamond League meet. For he was one for ELEVEN men who broke 13:00 minutes for 5k - 4:11/mile or 2:36/km. Now some of your track-savvy fans may say... 'easy Mark, many of people have broke 13:00 before... big deal." Granted. But if that doesn't impress you, then how about this:

* 4 of the 10 fastest 5,000m times EVER were ran in this race! 

* Kenenisa Bekele the fastest 5,000m & 10,000m man of all time was.... 9th. 

* SIX of those 11 broke 12:50 - 4:08/mile or 2:34/km. I'm sure you can all appreciate how different 10s is in a 5k race. But lets go a little further...

Gebremeskel (pictured above) literally cruised across the finish line in an absolutely foolish, knee-weaking, mind boggling, time of 12:46.81... You may now pick your jaw up off of the floor. But what's truly astounding is that his last mile was run in 4:01.01. He covered the last 400m in 54.66s...........

There was a time where breaking 4:00 for the mile was thought to be impossible. Here, we have runners sub-4 at the end of a 3-mile (5k) race. It's just phenomenal to be a runner / running fan when these result occur.

Here's the video of last 2 laps of the race. Two things to note:
1) Just how fast they are actually moving... especially on the last 500m (fast forward to 3:00)
2) How the winner actually slows down for the last 10m to celebrate, easily wiping a second off of his time.


Click here for my rant on the Canadian Olympic qualifying standards.

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