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May 7, 2018

LANE 9: What To Make of Galen Rupp’s 2:06 Win In Prague

We’re always experimenting on CITIUS MAG dot com on ways to recap all the weekend’s action before the news gets stale so we’ve decided to come up with a weekly running commentary post between the two stats nerds on this site to crown the weekend’s two most impressive winners and losers of the weekend.

Welcome to Lane 9: Opinions you didn’t know you wanted to have (from Chris Chavez and Scott Olberding)

Scott: Hello, Chris. Just hopped out of the hibiscus Epsom salts bath.

Chris: That’s self-care 101 if I’ve ever heard of it.

Scott: I’ve been learning to treat my body right after asking a lot of it. What’s new? What’s on your mind?

Chris: I’m recovered from London and ready to get back into not just running but blogging and podcasting with my friends. Let’s start with the biggest name to compete this weekend. Galen Rupp. Who would’ve thought that 20 days after dropping out of the Boston Marathon, he’d sign up for the Prague Marathon and win the whole darn thing in 2:06:07. Only Ryan Hall and Khalid Khannouchi have ever run faster as Americans.

Scott: That is a very good performance. What are your initial thoughts and impressions? I know that Alberto Salazar has claimed that Galen is something like a 2:05/2:04 guy.

Chris: I was pleased to see that he’s inching toward that 2:05 prognostication by Alberto. As a team in December, we wrote about how we were a little disappointed that we didn’t see him chase a fast time in London and so I guess Mother Nature provided us with this performance. I think it goes to show that if the weather conditions may have been calmer and normal in Boston, he probably would’ve had a great shot at winning. I think the biggest question here and you texted me about it was “Do people care?”

Scott: I’m getting old and crotchety. And I don’t care. But I assume others do? I think part of it is that he dropped out of Boston when the writing was on the wall that he wasn’t going to have a good one. I suppose it’s wise to cut your losses and not burn a really good performance. But man,

Chris: For track fans, sure. It’s cool to see a U.S. great get a solid time that puts him up there on the all-time list. Does this move the needle in terms of a casual sports fan’s interest? Not really. A really good U.S. runner ran a good time at a marathon in Prague that few people were awake to see. The most interesting U.S. performances tend to happen on U.S. soil.

Scott: It is pretty interesting that the larger running community gets up for world majors much more than fast, smaller races. Like the Paris Marathon can be won in 2:04 but it doesn’t really seem to register for a lot of people. People want DRAMA, Chris. They want a 25 mph headwind and sleet and a small Japanese man careening through the elite field to victory.

Chris: People love actual races and not time trials, which is kind of how this race played out. They wanted the pacers at 2:06 pace, great. They dropped out and he won a shade over 2:06. Simple as that. The marathon is already unpredictable as it is and not having pacemakers has led to some thrilling finishes on the U.S. scene. Will we be talking about Galen’s 2:06 in Prague for months? Not really. The counter argument here is that if this was run by someone like Jared Ward or Meb Keflezighi, we’d be going wild. I think we would be because we definitely didn’t expect a breakthrough like that. We know Rupp is a good marathoner and would run fast in the first real chance that he got to do so. He did it. Neat.

Scott: Also, not a lot of American journalists in Prague, so that must have been nice for Galen since he’s been adversarial to the media lately. Or British journalists too. I remember when they were out in full force at the 2015 U.S. Championships in Eugene.

Chris: You saw he puked after the hard effort?

Scott: I did! That boy had a lot of fluids in his gut.

Chris: What’s the hardest effort that you’ve had that left you puking?

Scott: I’m not a big track-puker. Maybe I’m soft. But I did once yak after a 15K, where the last 5K was downhill. Really jostled the stomach. How about you?

Chris: I don’t recall what I was training for at the time but once did two sets of a ladder workout 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 200 and left breakfast in a trash bin by the track in Astoria, Queens.

Gabby Thomas is The Truth

Scott: Lotta buzz around this video.

Chris: Love the announcers saying that Harvard was down 2.8 seconds at the final exchange and then bam.

Scott: I love how much ground athletes can pick up in the last 100 meters of a race. There’s usually a point around 300 meters to go where you are just thinking “there is no way.” And there is usually a way!

Chris: If you just showed someone the video and not the tweet caption and without any context about who is who, you assume the race is over or even that the Harvard runner is going to run out of real estate. I like thinking in terms of ‘What would the common man think about this?’

Scott: I also very much enjoy that her coach was there to give her a very casual thumbs up and high five. And then her teammates just mobbed her.

Chris:  Look at all those empty seats. Would’ve been cool to hear the crowd roar with a full house. I do know one person who was in attendance. Survivor Ghost Island contestant James Lim. Thursday’s podcast guest!

Scott: WOW. I bet he was fired up.

Chris: He was!

Diamond League Chatter

Scott: Chris, is it possible that Noah Lyles never loses again?

Chris: I was thinking about this as well. Andre DeGrasse doesn’t look 100% back yet. If Christian Coleman just sticks to the 100 for a bit, then I’m inclined to think this would be a big year for Noah Lyles in the 200 meters and that may result in an undefeated season. Coleman just pulled out of the Shanghai Diamond League.

Scott: Are your muscles even 100% developed when you are 20 years old??

Chris: This is the second time that I’m teasing the CITIUS MAG Podcast in this column but in last week’s show, he said he’s only gotten stronger and looks bigger now.

Scott: I hope he wins all the Diamond League races. What a guy.

Side note: Also, as posted by Nick Willis to us on Twitter: Who do you think flies the most mileage during a track season? Love that he’s a reader of the site.

Chris: That was a great question. I liked thinking it was Erik Sowinski because of how much he races not just in the U.S. but internationally during the indoor season. Sowinski also has the worst luck with travel as documented on his social media channels. We’ll get him on the pod soon to chat about it. Sometimes I feel like I see Dafne Schippers or Elaine Thompson at every Diamond League meet and they would have the flexibility of competing the 100 and 200 at Diamond League meets.

Scott: I love it. No one cares about your best workout at altitude or what your energy bar carb/protein ratio is. Let’s hear some weird-ass travel stories.

Some U.S. Half Marathon Championship Grades

Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, Women’s Winner in 1:10:03

Chris’ Grade: A. I think you get an A for winning a national championship and now she’s up to eight in her career since becoming an American citizen. The move to NAZ Elite appears to be paying dividends for her.

Sara Hall, Women’s runner-up

Scott’s Grade: A. Apparently she wasn’t running in the month of March and just biked a ton. That’s pretty incredible.

Gwen Jorgensen, women’s 4th place finisher

Chris’ Grade: B. I think she’d be a little bit harsher on herself with the grading because of her lofty ambitions. I think it might also be a little humbling and helps you remember that you’re jumping into this sport and there’s much more experienced women in it. You may have the higher talent ceiling but there’s a learning curve that comes along with getting to the top.

Chris Derrick, Men’s Winner in 1:02:36

Scott’s Grade: A. He did what he needed to win, ran his second fastest half marathon, and was recently battling some sickness.

Parker Stinson, men’s runner up

Chris’ Grade: B. He’s rebounded well after a disappointment at CIM after going out hard. He made a move trying to pull away from Chris Derrick and Andrew Colley (who deserves an A+ for this race. I thought he was done a few years back) and I think CD just had one last gear left before the final turn. Parker was chatty about something right after the finish line.

Andrew Colley, men’s third place finisher

Scott’s Grade: A+. I hope his performance is telling of his future in a fall marathon.

Leonard Korir, men’s fifth place finisher

Scott’s Grade: B-. It’s hard to give him a really bad grade when he wasn’t a factor in the race and didn’t do anything stupid. He ran 59:52 earlier this year so the expectations are sometimes high for him. If he’s banged up I hope he feels better soon.

A few thoughts on Payton Jordan

Chris: Alrighty. We’re writing this at 1 a.m. ET so I want to go to bed soon. Hit me with your big men’s and women’s winners at Payton Jordan.

Scott: I’ll split the men’s award to the young Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who won the 1,500m in 3:39.06, and Garrett Heath, who was fourth in 27:56 in the 10,000m. For the women, I’ll go with Jessica Tonn. I was not expecting a sub-32 min debut out of her. That will put her on the short list for the 10K contention in Des Moines later this summer.

Chris: Wait…if we’re picking people who didn’t win their respective race, why Garrett Heath and not Riley Masters, who was second in the 5,000m in 13:16.96?

Scott: Yeah Riley had a good one as well! He was really charging at the end. According the the IAAF tables, Riley’s 5K time of 13:16.9 is worth 27:49 in the 10K. So on paper, slightly better than Garrett’s 27:56. Considering it was Garret’s debut, I’ll give it to him.

Chris: You love those tables.

Scott: They really are a thing of beauty. Ever think about if you threw shot put and were a woman what an equivalent performance would be to where you are at now? Wonder no more!

Chris: Jakob took the win but mainly took down some big scalps with Paul Chelimo in second and Eric Jenkins in third as they dropped down in distance. That’s a nice headline. Not the best day for Matthew Centrowitz as he ran 3:40 for sixth place. The Nike Oregon Project middle distance guys appear to be in a heavy block of training right now in Flagstaff. My big winner on the women’s side is also Jessica Tonn. If I’m looking at some of the splits correctly, I think she really had something left in that final lap. I’d also pencil her into 10K contention for Des Moines. I think similarly, we have to give some kudos to Rachel Schneider who was second in the women’s 5,000m in 15:15. She’s always been in the mix in the 1,500 but could be a player in the 5,000m.

Scott:  I always feel like that field has the potential to be a little more open, depending on who runs it. There are so many seasoned vets in the women’s 1500 meters right now.

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