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Month: July 2017

July 7, 2017

The Strange Magic of Division II

Division II track and field has a slew of storylines that usually go unheard. David Ribich making the U.S. Championship 1500 meter final was inspiring

July 7, 2017

Running surfaces ranked; Paul + Ryan debate the best type of ground

Spurred on by a recent negative experience with nature’s cruelest mistake–sand–Ryan and Paul signed onto email to banter about what is the best running surface.


Ryan Sterner–10:17 AM

Hi Paul,

The other day I was duped into going to the beach, one of my least favorite activities. As I walked towards the water, I couldn’t help but notice that a tremendous amount of sand began accumulating in my shoes. Every step sent the stuff deeper into the crevices of my feet, socks, shoes, etc. It was miserable. There’s nothing worse than sand in your shoes.
I finally found a place to roast in the sun for an hour and proceeded to take off my shoes and clear them of the unwanted debris. In the middle of emptying my right shoe, some clown in half tights and Hokas sprinted across my periphery and on his back kick propelled a foot-full of sand into my eyes and mouth. There was nothing left to do but sit in the sun and feel sorry for myself.
But that leads me to today’s big question: beach running, what’s the deal? Sand has notoriously wonky footing, gets in your shoes, and exerts somewhere between 50-100% more energy than running on a nice, normal surface. Am I being a baby? Am I missing out on all the fun?
Sincerely,
Ryan

Paul Snyder–10:46 AM

Hey Ryan, I’m glad you reached out on this topic.

You are not being a baby. And you are not missing out on any fun.
Sand is awful. Sand is grating. Sand can be hot, or cold, but is rarely just right. Sand is why I don’t like beaches that much, and sand is why when I do go to the beach, I refuse to wear sandals.
And the only thing worse than walking or standing or lying down on sand, is running on it. If you’re far enough from the water, you’re just flailing around like a dumb ass trying to generate enough traction to facilitate forward momentum. If you’re down near the water, you’re running on a nice hard, compact surface, but on such a camber that you risk succumbing to hip dysplasia like an aging golden retriever.
But for whatever reason, beach jogging is romanticized by the DISHONEST media and liberal COASTAL elites IN Hollywood. Well color me a triggered snowflake because I think it sucks.
What do you say we rank all the running surfaces, to further demonstrate how awful sand is?

Ryan–11:03 AM

Friend, you have yourself a deal.

1. Concrete

I can hear people groaning already, but give me concrete or give me death. I’d estimate that anywhere between 75-90% of my lifetime mileage has been run on sidewalks, paved roads, or bike paths, and it’s been great. I’m sure the running bourgeois would love me to say something like “pulverized gravel” or “dirt.” These are surfaces for the modern day fancy dog. Concrete is a no nonsense surface, most of the time it’s flat, and you get great energy return.

Paul–11:44 AM

2. A Track

They don’t call it “sand & field,” folks. Tracks aren’t as hard as concrete, so they lose points there, but they are flat, round, and allow you to easily keep tabs on the distance you’ve logged. And as an added bonus, most–if not all-track world records have been set on a track!

Ryan–12:14 PM

3. Grass

There’s a reason we surround our houses with this stuff. Not only is it pleasing to look at, but if you need to learn how to ride a bike or do a back flip, it feels forgiving enough to do so without fear of scrapes–we all know that scrapes hurt the worst. I also can’t think of a nicer feeling than kicking off your shoes at the end of a run and finishing the thing off with a mile in the grass. It’s probably only ranked third because things hide in grass, like ticks and snakes.

Paul–12:30 PM

4. Dirt

Grass’s grittier cousin, dirt, is best known for its versatility (can become mud) and its ability to make filthy all it comes in contact with. Runners like running on dirt, because it shows up on their legs, which people then notice, alerting the general public to your recent brush with aerobic exercise!

Ryan–12:46 PM

6. Woodchips

What is a woodchip? It’s like sand except 1000 times larger. Running on woodchips presents many of the same problems as sand: kicking up bits of the running surface, the off chance of one of these things getting lodged in your shoe, splinters. None of those are good things.

Paul–12:50 PM

7. Treadmill

If you’d asked me to help with this ranking a year ago, I’d have put “Treadmill” way higher up. It’s basically concrete, but indoors. What’s not to love? Well, after falling in love with the treadmill this year, I developed a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of exposure to sunlight. So there’s that. Running outdoors has its drawbacks (weather, insects, hecklers), but it’s good for bone health somehow.

Ryan–1:26 PM

8. Sand

If you were having a picnic on any of the above surfaces and accidentally dropped part of your meal on it, it would be easy to pick it up, blow on it a little bit, and continue eating. If you drop anything in sand it’s fucking ruined. This is a metaphor for doing anything, not just running, on sand.

Paul–1:29 PM

Well, I think it’s safe to say we’ve satisfactorily ranked every available running surface in the world to prove our point that running on the beach is for losers!

July 6, 2017

Conversational Etiquette for Attending the Church of Sunday Long Run

Loss of property, bad races, relationships and television shows are just part of the rules for conversation during your long run with friends.

July 5, 2017

Pumped Up Picks: Courtney Frerich’s Pre-Race Playlist

What does Bowerman Track Club steepler Courtney Frerichs listen to before a big race? Her playlist in the latest installment of Pumped Up Picks.

July 5, 2017

How the Seinfeld-Meyer rematch could have been a boon to track & field

The track and & field brain trust missed a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on Seinfeld momentarily forcing people to care about footraces.

July 5, 2017

Confessions of a Track and Field Vlogger

A bad decision to take a lot of caffeine on a drive from Flagstaff to Bend, Oregon led young Stephen Kersh down a crazy path. He started to vlog.

July 5, 2017

What to watch for at the TrackTown Summer Series finale in NYC

How and who to watch at the 2017 Tracktown Summer Series finale in New York City on Thursday night.

July 5, 2017

“Okja” tells a wonderful story, features incredible running scene

Okja tells a warm-hearted story of a girl and her pig but also has an insane chase scene that displays insane speed and talent in the streets of Seoul.

July 5, 2017

Tom Farrell VLOGS: An Explanation – Session 9

Three weeks before the 2012 Olympics, Tom Farrell was unable to run at the British trials due to a stress fracture and therefore could not qualify for the Olympics in London. He explains why he could not run the British trials last month and thus will not be able to run at the IAAF World Championships in London later this summer.

Farrell says that he’s healthy and not physically injured. Training has been going fairly well but he has not felt himself racing and running in over a year. He will undergo further testing to determine what might be wrong.

“I’m excited to find out what’s really wrong,” Farrell says. “I’m excited to get back to the old me or the new me, but back to me. Not 95%, 96% or 97% me.”

July 4, 2017

The Complete Runner’s Guide to: NBA Free Agency

One thing that runners can sometimes get some flack for is being “one dimensional.” Now, I’m not around all runners all the time, but a good example of the “one dimensional runner” is something like this:

Party Goer #1: How about this NBA Free Agency?

One Dimensional Runner: (twitching in panic, then shouting) WITHOUT LIMITS IS THE BETTER PREFONTAINE MOVIE!

Party Goer #1: (Exits stage right)

Here at Citius we’re not just about informing our readers about the running world, but the non-running world as well. Our aim is to create a well rounded and educated population of Citius Nerds. So in order to avoid the pitfall described above, we would like to present to you the [semi] Complete Runner’s Guide to: NBA Free Agency. It’s a series that maybe we’ll start doing weekly and just getting the geeky runner up to speed on things outside the ovals and trails.

Below you’ll find a few important things you need to know about recent NBA trades, along with some talking points, and relevant memes so the next time your boss or loved one lays into you about it you’ll have this cheat sheet as your go to.

Paul George

Background: Paul George is a top-10 player in the league. He’s twice lead the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, both times losing out to Lebron James and the Miami Heat.

Why it’s a big deal: Paul George has been whining about leaving Indiana (who can blame him?) for a while now. Despite being vocal about returning “home” to Los Angeles (he’s from Palmdale. Palmdale is not Los Angeles), a number of teams like the Boston Celtics (and the Lakers) were actively recruiting him this offseason. Then out of nowhere ESPN’s Romona Shelbourne dropped this on us:

Now, Paul George (a Kevin Durant-lite) will be teaming up with the 2017 MVP, Russell Westbrook. George’s contract is up at the end of this season, and Russell Westbrook has yet to sign an extension, and currently has a player option in 2018, meaning he could opt out of his contract and head to a title-contender.

Things to say to your friends: “It’s great that Russ is finally getting some help. Would love to see him and George stick it to Durant and the Warriors this year.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves

Background: The Minnesota Timberwolves have been bad for a long time. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2004. Kevin Garnett left in 2007 and all hope was lost. Kevin Love couldn’t help, and neither could back to back rookies of the year in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. But with a new coach and an exciting young roster (that still has the two Rookie’s of the year), the Wolves seemed to be on an upswing.

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

Why it’s a big deal: Jimmy Butler is a top ten player in the league who has spent a majority of his time in the NBA coached by the now Wolves coach, Tom Thibodeau. He’s an elite defender, which the Wolves desperately need. And if this wasn’t enough, this happened:

This isn’t as significant as the Jimmy Butler signing, but Taj brings veteran defense and big presence in the paint. And then this happened:

Now the Wolves have a point guard that’s as potent of a passer as Ricky Rubio was, in addition to being less of an offensive liability.

Things to say to your friends: “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolves finish top 5 in the Western Conference. That’s if Thib doesn’t tear someone’s ACL by playing them 48 minutes a game.”

The LA Clippers

Background: I hate the LA Clippers. I’ve had the opportunity to go to some Clippers games over the last few years. There’s no point in turning down free tickets, but the way the Clippers play basketball would be a good reason. They’re whiny. They’re boring. The fans don’t even seem to like them that much. And despite having one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, an athletic freak at power forward, Duke Legend JJ Redick, an all-star caliber big man, and a fairly potent bench, this line up has never made it to the conference finals.

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

AND THIS:

AND THIS:

All of this as reports of Deandre Jordan taking meetings with a handful of other teams, as well.

Why this is important: Mostly this is interesting because the Clippers that have showed so much promise over the past few years are finally dismantling. Here’s another one of Ryan Sterner’s “I’ll eat my show if it happens” bets: if the Clippers make the playoffs this year, I will eat my shoe.

The conversation of the Clippers inevitably leads to a conversation about:

The Houston Rockets

Background: James “the Beard” Harden finished 2nd place in the MVP race this year. Most of this can be attributed to his usage rate going through the roof after 1) Human cess pool Dwight Howard was traded to the Hawks and 2) he shifted to playing point guard.

The problem: Chris Paul is a point guard that thrives with the ball in his hands. What is a team to do with two ball heavy point guards? I have no idea. In my idiot-brain it doesn’t end well. But I imagine 2017 Coach of the Year Mike D’antoni will understand what to do with both of them. If anything it means that Harden will be able to take a rest without his team’s offensive efficiency plummeting to nuclear-winter type levels.

Things to say to your friends: “It’ll be interesting to see how Chris Paul and James Harden can handle playing point guard on the same team. Also, have you ever seen Harden without a beard?”

Gordon Hayward

Background: I haven’t heard about Hayward being upset with the Jazz until this season. But after getting swept from the conference semi-finals by the Warriors, rumors started swirling about where Hayward would go.

Why this important: The Jazz this season were genuinely exciting. They have a good number of roll players as well as a few sure-fired superstars in Rudy Gobert and Hayward. Despite the promise of the Jazz, who have really only entered the playoff conversation this year, Hayward vetting offers from a few other teams in his free agency, most notably teams in the East Coast Conference.

What this would mean: Let’s consider this a Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder and/or Lebron James “The Decision”-esque dilemma. Him leaving the Jazz would be devastating to the franchise and their young coach, but very beneficial to him, as he’d likely go to an Eastern Conference team with a much, much easier path the the NBA Finals.

Relevant tweets:

Things to say to your friends: “It’s just Gordon Hayward. Who gives a shit?”

The Eastern Conference

Background: The only background you need to know on the Eastern Conference in general is that they haven’t been great for a while, as long as we’re overlooking Lebron James. Since 1999, an Eastern Conference team has won the NBA Championship only six times. The disparity in the league is only growing, but the dummies in the NBA continue heading west.

Why it’s important: Well, from the outside, it would seem that the most important thing for NBA players is winning rings. The greatest opportunity to get to a title shot in the NBA is heading East, but with a slew of these off season trades, the trends continues to be players heading west.

Relevant memes:

Things to say to your friends: “I’m pretty sure a slowly deflating bag of garbage could make it to the NBA Finals out of the east coast”.

The Western Conference

Background: Here are a few teams I’ll name from the Western Conference: San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors. What do all of these teams have in common? They’re all in the Western Conference, and they combine for 12 of the last 19 NBA Champions.

Why it matters: It doesn’t. Except that the trend seems to be moving West, when really, as an NBA player you should be moving East if you’re looking to make it to the playoffs. As it stands, it could easily take 50 wins to get even an 8 seed in the west.

Relevant Memes:

July 3, 2017

The Atlanta Track Club is saving an old track through performance art

The warm up track has fallen into a state of disrepair since the 1996 Olympics. The Atlanta Track Club aims to remedy that through innovative fund raising.

July 2, 2017

Replay: Tracktown Summer Series: Portland stream

Tune in for the TrackTown Summer Series Portland meet as Robby Andrews chases the 1,500m standard for the 2017 world championships.

July 2, 2017

Running Remarks: Where should the USATF Championships & Trials be held?

In the wake of a very hot USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento AND the news that the 2020 Olympic Trials will be held at Mt. Sac in California AND that the 2021 World Championships in Eugene are under investigation, debate has raged on where to hold America’s most important track meet.

Since we at Citius are nothing more than a bunch of chuckleheads trying to get a laugh, we decided to ask the people.

I once again skulked down to the LA River and asked regular folks what they thought of today’s hot button topic:

Where should we hold the annual US Championships?

July 2, 2017

We found Pheidippides’ Training Journal

How did Pheidippides manage to run 250 kilometers in two days? Luckily for us, we uncovered his secret training journal and opened it up.

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