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Month: September 2018

September 28, 2018

The 10 Alice In Chains Tracks Every High School Harrier NEEDS On Their Pre-Meet Playlist

I tweeted ‘If this gets 2,000 RTs I’ll write a post entitled “The 10 Alice In Chains Tracks Every High School Harrier NEEDS On Their Pre-Meet Playlist’ and it didn’t hit but I wrote it anyway.

September 28, 2018

Kyle’s First Blog: Slaying The King

Kyle Klosinski makes his long-awaited blogging debut for CITIUS MAG and he’s not holding back against Ryan Sterner.

September 26, 2018

The Sisyphean Climb: Once A Runner (Fanfiction)

We at CITIUS have written an exclusive excerpt from The Sisyphean Climb, a much-anticipated follow-up to Again to Carthage.

September 25, 2018

We are going to Chicago

It’s happening again: we are bum-rushing another unsuspecting city for the sake of bringing you just-ok media coverage of a world-class event

September 21, 2018

WILD, BASELESS SPECULATION: Elite marathoners would make the best ultrarunners, right?

Some people enjoy positing how either an ultramarathoner would have fared in the conditions (like Boston) or how Eliud Kipchoge would tackle an ultramarathon

September 20, 2018

It’s Been Almost A Week Since Kipchoge Ran 2:01:39. Did I Miss Something?

What can the reception to Eliud Kipchoge’s performance in Berlin tell us about the current state of running fandom?

September 19, 2018

Eliud Kipchoge called his shot

The origin of the Called Shot, as it relates to modern sports talk, dates back to a New York World-Telegram headline that read “RUTH CALLS SHOT AS HE PUTS HOME RUN NO. 2 IN SIDE POCKET.” This headline, of course, ran after game three of the 1932 World Series when (sure, I know this is disputed, but for the sake of history and not being a stick in the mud, we’ll believe the rest of this story) in the top of the 5th inning, the Great Bambino pointed to center field and then slapped the next pitch 440 feet into nothing but Wrigley Field grandstand.

The man called his shot. The man then did exactly what he said he was going to do.

This trope plays out in sports all the time, though it takes many different forms: Cassius Clay driving to Sonny Liston’s house in the middle of the night just to tell him he’s going to kick his ass. Michael Jordan closing his eyes before a free throw and saying, “Hey Dikembe, this one’s for you baby.” The 40-year old white guy at your local YMCA screaming “game” as he releases from Steph Curry-distance, game tied 19-19, then actually drills it.

Displays of confidence, earned or unearned, are heralded. The anything-can-happen quality is what makes sports fun. Upsets and close games are what keep us watching. But there is something to be said, and I’d say arguably more entertaining, about witnessing a sporting hero declare their intentions, and then watching them deftly navigate through the chaos to land safely, exactly, where they said they would.

This is what I saw on Sunday in Berlin. I watched as Eliud Kipchoge called his shot, and then went out and ran faster than any human had ever done before him. He denied going for a world record, instead opting to say he was looking for a “personal best.” But then Kipchoge asked for world record pace — the rabbits would go out in 61-minutes for the half marathon. This was Eliud calling his shot in a truly Eliud way. But unlike shooting a free throw or swinging at the next pitch, we’d have to wait for nearly two hours to see what he could do.

I caught a glimpse of him at the 5km mark, flanked by three pacers, where he already had 10 seconds on the field. Behind him was Wilson Kipsang, the second name on the bill, who already looked cooked.

By the halfway point I was sitting in a beer garden near the finish line where they had the race projected onto a huge inflatable screen. The early morning crowd, half intoxicated at that point, watched him clear halfway, down to a single pacer, in 61:06, just six seconds off his intended goal and more than a minute clear of the 2nd place runner.

Calling your shot doesn’t always go as planned. There is that now-infamous GIF of Nick Young launching a three-pointer from deep, then turning around to walk away with his arms in the air, not bothering to watch as the ball bricks off the back iron.

The running equivalent would be just not bothering to go with the rabbits. No one would blame Kipchoge for blowing up, as there are plenty of opportunities to do in the marathon. But at the halfway mark we realized that this was not a Nick Young-level attempt at calling your shot. He was going for it, and we’d either watch him blow up or get the record.

The next time I saw him I was standing on the photo bridge behind the finish line. He was hammering towards the finish, fully enveloped in the moment. After running for a little over two hours, Kipchoge was slapping his chest, arms outstretched as he broke the tape in 2:01:39. Covered in salt, the man who had just averaged 4:38 per mile for 26.2 miles sprinted to his coach Patrick Sang and covered his face in what was probably a few different emotions. Disbelief? Elation? Sweet relief?

Not all world records are equal. We can’t immediately recall how all of them were set, what kind of build-up led to the moment in time where someone did something no one else had ever done. Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, however, has the intangibles — those things we can’t quite reach out and touch that make something special.

People that you probably don’t want to meet at parties will tell you that it’s because of Nike and their never ending marketing campaign. But for me, and hopefully for the rest of you, it’s because we watched someone at the peak of their talent, calling his shot like one of the greats and then gently closing his eyes with a grin before executing completely, unquestionably, beautifully, what he set out to do.

September 17, 2018

Breaking Down The Most Impressive Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s World Record

The splits are crazy but we’re going to breakdown the actual most impressive part of Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record yesterday. It’s his post-race celebration.
The man accelerated after running a 2:01:39 marathon. People typically can’t walk after a 26.2 mile race but as we’ve come to learn in recent years – there is no one like Eliud.
A few things to note:

As he crosses the finish line, he does the classic hand clap and fist pump. That’s a great celebration because it shows that you’re happy. Sometimes people finish the race and don’t feel happy. Maybe they didn’t run well and they don’t do the hand clap. The hand clap is nice because it shows that Eliud is impressed with his performance – as he should be.

Another interesting thing to note is that he didn’t wear a watch. That’s good because he didn’t leave the door open for that terrible picture of someone crossing the finish line and looking at their watch. I think he knew that he was going to set a world record today and that’s why he left the watch at home. Maybe we should all leave the watch at home?
Probably about 10 steps after he crosses the finish line and stops clapping, he does a similar head slap to the one by Mo Farah after he won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. That’s an interesting move. It kind of insinuates the “unbelievability” of what just happened. He can’t believe it so he hits his head. He jumbles his brain around a little bit to make sure that what has happened is real. Eliud, it is. It’s really cool, man. You don’t need to hit your head so much. That’s probably not a safe thing to do after a marathon.
After he does the head slapping, he does an arms wide open move and runs for 10 steps past the finish line and toward his coach Patrick Sang. At this point he jumps – well, it’s kind of a jump but more of a three to four inch vertical leap (an estimate based off nothing). For a distance runner that seems fine.
Patrick Sang lifts him up but first gets low. That’s important to note. He gets a little lower. Eliud goes over and Patrick goes under with the arms. Sang uses the momentum of Eliud’s vertical leap to propel Eliud like a child into his arms.
It’s beautiful. Eliud is tiny and looks like a newborn in Patrick’s arms. So happy to be alive and run such a beautiful race.
And of course…it sounds so much better when you add Celine Dion to it.

Thanks to Taylor Hite for the illustration!
September 16, 2018

PURE ELATION: ELIUD KIPCHOGE BREAKS THE MARATHON WORLD RECORD

Capturing the elation of Eliud Kipchoge and his world record-setting run at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

September 15, 2018

JBAC in Berlin

Travel, etc.:

Nick, Eleanor and I arrived in Berlin mid-day on Wednesday the 12th, 4-ish days before the Berlin Marathon. Despite drinking water at seemingly every opportunity on the flights from Portland to Amsterdam to Berlin, we felt dehydrated and road-weary upon our arrival. We waited for our baggage to arrive and from across luggage carousel Nick and I recognized Valentijn Trouw, Eliud Kipchoge’s manager. As an avid Kipchoge fan, it took a lot of energy to not walk up to him and say “You’re Valentijn Trouw, Eliud Kipchoge’s manager” and stare blankly at him until he slowly walks away. We arrive in Berlin city center at two in the afternoon and wait in a cafe below the apartment we rented until the “landlord’s friend” finishes cleaning the unit. We check in, pretend to stretch some, and hit the streets for a 30 minute shakeout. We jokingly hedge that we can run at 9 minute mile pace based on how loopy we are and surprisingly slip into 7:30 pace around Berlin’s historic Tiergarten.

We wander around for dinner after and find some very tasty Indonesian food; Berlin surprises in its diversity and consequently its delicious foodstuffs.

 

Race ready:

The following day, I wander to the Olympic stadium west of the city, as I am to meet a physical therapist there to take a look at my Achilles. This PT is a friend of a friend of a colleague and I’m hoping they can straighten out my body after the flight. I’ve been dealing with some Tenosynovitis on the left side for the past few weeks and despite the effort of everyone in my support system to tell me  I haven’t lost much fitness, I am a little bummed that I am coming into the race without crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. There is a bit of comfort for me in knowing that I am in my best shape before racing and this time I don’t have that luxury. I am just going to have to deal with it. Also, I wouldn’t be able to even think about starting the race without the help from Karl at Rose City Physical Therapy, who saw me every-other-day for two weeks leading up to the travel.

The rest of the pre-race includes walking around the city while trying to keep my feet up a respectable amount, making coffee, and jogging in the park. In a certain way, the international trip forces us to relax more than say traveling down from Portland to Sacramento, where you can work on a Friday and race on Sunday. We’re on vacation and despite my best efforts to add stress to the equation, we are going to have some fun, damn it.

Humans and other oddities:

We visit the expo wade through the sea of humanity, some of which are there exclusively to pick up their bibs, while others are buying jogging hats, trying all assortment of gels and ointments, and even indulging in a mid-day beer. I tend to identify with the prior group. We take the U-bahn back to our rental and start planning our  Maurten bottle strategy, gel situation, and ensure that we didn’t leave any race gear in Portland. Nick has sights on the Olympic Trials Qualifier time of 2:19, but mostly to see where his fitness will lead him. I’m in a similar boat, using mantras of “let the pace find you” and “measure your energy in the second half,” which is very fine advice, although I prefer the more concrete directives of “run 5:35s, you’re fit enough.

In a strange way, maybe this experience will be good for me. At CIM in 2016, I checked all the boxes before the race and knew I was ready for a big PB. I ran a time of 2:26:47 but came off the race knowing I had more in the tank for the next one. Berlin 2018 will be my fourth marathon and I’m learning to deal with the cards I have in my hand and being grateful for the opportunity to work hard. I’ve jokingly told inquirers of my time goal, “I’m just here for the transcendence.” But with any self-defeating joke-deflection, there’s usually a bit of truth involved. I love to turn myself inside-out on asphalt and if that means running 2:25 or 2:35 or 2:45, yeah, I’m just here for the transcendence.

September 13, 2018

What to Watch For At the 2018 Berlin Marathon

Ryan Sterner breaks down Eliud Kipchoge’s chances at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and why he’s not buying the “PR” talk.

September 12, 2018

I am going to Germany

We have decided to send Ryan Sterner to Berlin to cover the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Did we make a mistake?

September 12, 2018

The Fierce Faces of 5th Ave

Jason Suarez captures some of the faces of the elite women before the start of the 2018 5th Avenue Mile in New York City.

September 4, 2018

Feast Your Eyes On The Best Cross Country Roster Portraits – Part X

The return of our hit series. We round up the best cross country headshots and portraits and roast them just a little.

September 3, 2018

PHOTO DAY FOR GEORGETOWN TRACK AND FIELD

It’s picture day for the 2018-2019 Georgetown Hoyas track and field day. Here’s a Behind the Scenes look by Spencer Brown.

September 1, 2018

Full Moon, Full Send: Brooklyn Track Club Kills from Hood To Coast

CITIUS MAG contributor and photographer R.J. McNichols followed the Brooklyn Track Club at Hood to Coast, where the team finished 13th overall and third in their respective division.

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