From the Soccer Field to National Champion in 18 Months
Long-distance runners have a reputation for being as wacky as they are driven. Marathon Man
Inside the NFL's relentless, existential, Big Tobacco-style pursuit of your children. Hooked For Life.
Track and field athletes can, and do, make money
Does your coach ask, How does it feel? For a time, I was coached by Mark Covert. Every session, to everyone, he asked that question. Joe Newton, one of the best prep coaches ever, invariably with 125 kids doing cross country, would have an exchange with every kid, every day.
Bikes outnumber cars in Copenhagen
Nuts! Pro tip du jour. Obama eats seven almonds every day.
Eric Fernandez writes: We saw you posted Lexi's results at AAU nationals. They split up the ages at AAU so Lexi got first place in 13 year olds (even though she turned 13 the day after the race). The first girl was 14 years old and won the 14 year old age group. Lexi's team California Comets also took first place. ...She is still deciding on whether or not to compete at USATF in Alabama. She won state and regionals in San Diego two weeks ago. It's been a lot of traveling this month and she did USATF track post season this year which we normally don't do. She also ran the Santa Clarita 5k and won first female so we are letting her make that decision to take a break before track season resumes.
Steve Watanabe, 64, ran a 3:50:38 at the California International Marathon (Sacramento), 37th out of 157 in the 60-64 age group. With the exception of Denise, Scott, Mark, and doing root canals and extractions, Steve loves the marathon... For at least a dozen years, along with other crazies, we did a Sunday 24 miler, sometimes substituting it with a 30 miler. ...Didn't notice any of the other crazies in the CIM results.
Video interview with Doug Soles. Thinks it's unfair that 7th and 8th grade girls are in the F-M program. ...Curious that it seems to make a difference with the girls, not so with the boys.
You probably don't come here for clothing tips. Especially if you've seen me, know me. So consider this Oregon news. Eugene gets twice the rainfall of Santa Clarita. But folks here don't wear raincoats or use umbrellas. Here it's about shells (for light rain) or rain jackets. I got that one in black. It's light, warm with layered clothing, waterproof, and (dare I claim?) stylish. $90, though more for you as OR has no sales tax.
Andre DeGrasse, only 22, won three medals in Rio. May be the next Bolt. And has terrible form. Consider. What mechanical quirk is limiting us?
NXN webcast and results. First race (girls) at 10:05 AM, PST (Portland Standard Time).
Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell: The Future of Football. If kids stop playing football, just think of the millions (billions?) of people who will be unable to say, "can't run because of my knees..." Or had their bell rung fifty times.
Alex Hutchinson: Should Your Doctor Check Your VO2 Max? ...A PCP once told me, "Racing 5Ks is great stress testing."
We all need A Restful Sleep
Stephen Hawking Doesn't Understand Why We Sit All Day. Even if you get in your 10,000 steps.
Terrific: Hillbilly Elegy ...NYT review.
Yesterday we captured and deported the 53rd gopher, a new (course/house) record for the year. With still a month to go, it's awfully exciting around here.
Lexi Fernandez 2nd, team wins. Click
Foot Locker West Regional results
Vin wins! ...Now slightly dated, but what the fuss is all about. Here.
Brad and Steve: Our 13 Favorite Books of 2016
Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis on reading. ...I've never met anyone 'too busy' to read, and doubt most people who say they would 'love to run but can't because...'
Rant about Tweetstorms
Awesome Adventure Bumper Sticker Slogans.
A brief history of competitive eating.
NYT: Can You Regain Muscle Mass After Age 60?
What I learned from Mad Dog.
Best Christmas gift for mom and dad, grandpa and grandma. Here. You or anyone you love. ...Don't be stupid. Or cheap.
Who wins at NXN? Predictions.
She thought she ran the race of her life. Officials call it a terrible case of cheating. Story.
38% of students at public and private four-year colleges reported that “Books have never gotten me very excited.” And 45% said “I don’t enjoy reading serious books and articles, and I only do it when I have to.” Read
Healthy Habits of the World’s Longest Living People
Steve Magness: What Unlearning and Re-learning How to Ride a Bike Can Teach Us
Terrific story about a former (kinda crazy) NFL coach. Sam Wyche: A Thankful Heart
You might like HealthNewsReview
Whoa! British study finds running is no benefit to your long term health. Story.
Lexi Fernandez will be racing at the AAU National Championships, Saturday, in Tallahassee, Florida. ...Who is racing at Foot Locker?
1. You now live in Bethpage, Tennessee, pop. 388, 40 miles from Nashville. "Flyover country" per West and East coast media. Compare and contrast Santa Clarita and Bethpage.
Well, Gallatin, pop. 30,000, the nearest town that can give us any semblance of comparable grounds, is a 15-minute drive which I need to make to get to decent running trails and parks. Running on the roads in Bethpage you risk being mauled or at least scared "poopless" by farmers' dogs. One huge difference: A giant athletic field complex in Gallatin, Triple Creek Park, is almost always unoccupied. Acres of baseball, soccer fields and running trails constantly empty. That never happens at Central Park in Santa Clarita. Athletics and sports, other than football, are relatively insignificant here.
In Gallatin, I'd run by two Hillary yard signs in the middle of town. In Bethpage, all the Kasich signs, and there were many, turned into Trump signs shortly after the convention. Most Sunday afternoons, one or more of the neighbors will be shooting their guns. The properties are huge, so you never feel uneasy about a stray bullet. Our 20 acres is surrounded by parcels of 30, 40, 50 plus acres. Some are skeet shooting. Some practicing home defense. Others may just like to shoot. I have recently joined in myself with my own "better buy an AR-15 now before Hillary bans them" which I walked out of the gun shop with the same day back in September. Awesome weapon!
Other than that, everything is the same! Walmarts are the common denominator. People in Tennessee Walmarts look just like the people in California Walmarts.
Downtown Nashville is quite fancy and booming. Maybe too hip for its own good. Still has its basic music roots and grounding though. I work a block from the Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway. So fun to seeing other guys walking from their parking garages to work with guitar cases on their backs!
2. You coached West Ranch (extremely well, we think) for four years, ending in December, 2015. You continue to follow it like a parent, including a trip to Foothill Finals. Thoughts on the West Ranch season?
The West Ranch season long performance exceeded my expectations. Dominated league! Major statement in Mt SAC Sweeps! Podium at State! I knew they had that potential and that Sara was the right coach for the job. Could the boys have won state? Of course. However, once you get to that level, Claremont and Loyola were equally strong and ran just a little better that day. It was no let down at all being on the podium, as you can see from the smiles in the pictures.
In my exit interview, I lobbied hard with Principal Crawford for Sara Soltani to fill my vacancy. Bringing her on was actually Cyndi Hoelzel's idea which we wanted to make happen even before I knew of my opportunity in Tennessee. I have to say now – we were right! Sara has done an excellent job. With all the team dynamics, different personalities and tension points involved – she executed a masterpiece. In no way did she inherit a sure thing from me. They were a talented group who understood that "work works" and had a decent endurance base in development. Sara and her new team did all the rest with a set of looming variables that could have easily blown-up! As for her coaching team: Major coup pulling in Rodrigo Ornelas and Steve Lowe, Chris's dad.
And the girls! Their performance this year speaks for itself. Solid 2nd in league. CIF SS Finals. All led by a frosh/soph scoring five. Strongest first two years of talent ever at West Ranch with more incoming.
3. Who rules in 2017? Programs to watch/fear?
In Foothill League, no one will rule. It will be one of the most exciting, evenly matched seasons ever for both boys and girls. Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch all competing well on the boys side. That'll go four teams deep on the girls side with Hart included in that fray. Leon Maldonado is making things happen at Valencia.
In Southern Section and statewide? Gonna go out on a limb here: Great Oak! LOL!
4. We saw major ups and downs in Foothill and elsewhere (NCAA D1), some being over just one week. Further thoughts on motivating the team, ensuring everyone is focused and giving it their maximum effort through the finish line?
One of my biggest regrets about having to step away after only a few years is not acquiring enough experience and collective knowledge to have sure-fire answers on tricky motivation issues and wild performance swings from race to race. I do think that one of the most important characteristics to encourage is a deep desire to sacrifice one's self for the sake of the team. At one end of the spectrum are those emotional commitment and character issues at play. At the other end, basic physical function and the need for proper nutrition, sleep patterns, etc. Handling both ends involves discipline and the need for self understanding that may be elusive given maturity issues of some high school athletes. So one of the most important areas in which a coach must be effective is in developing maturity. A very insightful comedian, Louie CK, said this about parenting which is very applicable to these coaching issues: "You're not raising children. You are raising the adults you want them to become."
The sooner a coach can get their athletes to make adult decisions and not childish ones, the sooner success will happen and repeat itself.
5. What's the latest on the younger Welkers?
Carter and Hunter both live and work in The Valley. Carter is a test technician for aerospace and aeronautics electronics. Ran a series of half marathons this year but says his rock climbing interest has cut into his run training. Hunter is an animator at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios in Burbank. They make the late-night stoner hit Robot Chicken!
Ashley graduated from the Naval Academy in May and is now a judicial officer with ordinance responsibilities too aboard the cruise missile destroyer USS Sterett stationed in San Diego.
Taylor, now in her 2nd year at the Naval Academy has jumped from XC and track to the Navy Triathlon team. Not a varsity team. A club team but very competitive. She is working her way to the scoring side and they are a legit contender to win the national championship. Turns out she can swim fast, too!
Tucker is pursuing his film making future in the Cinema and TV Arts School at Cal State Northridge. The distance coach was not able to convince the track coach to extend any scholarship funds. So, "No money. No runny." He would have been their top guy. No regrets. The film major is all consuming at the level of his passion.
The Week That Was
Must read. Two Dramatic Photos Show What Can Happen in Cross Country
No. 1 ranked Casey Clinger and the No. 1 ranked American Fork Boys on The Grinder. Video.
About Great Oak. Best girls and boys teams in California.
NYT: Should a Simple Fitness Check Be Part of Your Checkup?
13 things mentally strong people don't do
Excellent. Front Row at the Women’s Running Revolution
Top 10 takeaways from 2016 California State XC Meet
the morning shakeout
Steve Magness: John Landy: The Training of history's 2nd man to run a sub-4 mile:
Brad Stulberg: Life Lessons From the Guy Who Ran the AT Faster Than Anyone
Why so many hard scientists are also hard core endurance runners
All-Time California XC State Meet Podium Teams '87-'16 (Girls)
NYT: How to Feed a Runner
Amby Burfoot, 70, is a running immortal, editor, and author. He won the 1968 Boston Marathon. He has raced the Manchester Road Race --the New England equivalent of Butte to Butte, shorter (4.74 miles) and larger field- 54 times, most recently winning his age group (80 old boys) with a 7:27 mile pace.
David Elliott, 71, is faster. In 2015 he smashed the Butte to Butte 10K record, 7:17 pace, and this year ran nearly as fast (on a tougher course) with a 7:24 pace, besting 19 old boys, his closest rival (me) by almost five minutes.
1. Always a runner? How did it all start? Earliest achievements in running and other sports?
I was not always a runner. A motorcycle racer, I started running as conditioning for motorcycle racing. In my early 30s, I injured my shoulder and couldn't race or do the bow hunting and competition I also enjoyed. So I took up running road races. The only racing I did in school was the 440 in the 7th grade. Wresting was my high school sport.
2. Obvious question. How have you retained your racing ability? Three things you've done right over the years?
I've maintained my racing ability by watching my weight, staying active, exercising in one form or another. I used to hike Mt, Pisgah six times a week. I've never done drugs, smoked, and hardly ever drank. I figure that has helped me so much over the years.
3. Three things you've done wrong and overcome?
I used to run in cheap shoes and with that comes injuries. I used to run hard every day--"No pain no gain" was the word back in the day. Not good. I was self taught on running and with that come bad habits and bad techniques.
4. In recent years you have been coached by Cathie Twomey Bellamy. How has she made a difference for you?
Cathie is the best coach in the business. I'm proud and honored to have her as my coach. She has corrected my form, running techniques and kept me injury free. About the only time I get injured it is from non-running activities. Cathie has made me a better runner over a broader range of distances. She makes out my weekly workouts. I don't have to worry about what I'm doing. I can just concentrate on running. I have the utmost respect for her, trusting everything she tells me, and try to follow her words of wisdom to the letter.
5. Three CTB workouts you enjoy and seem to work best for you?
I like speed intervals, fartlek, and hills. 400s and hills are my favorite..
6. Do you have other non running activities that keep you fit and healthy?
My other activities include going to the gym for low weight lifting with a higher repetition rate, push ups and stretching to keep me limber
7. Top 3-5 runners, other coaches, gurus you admire? And why?
Top runners? I could easily name 30 or more. I especially like Craig Godwin, Joshua Gordon, Dan Jackson, Jenifer Fedorov (my running and training partner) and Sharon Gerl ( the workout queen). All those people work hard at running as I try do. I can relate to them. The coaches I admire start with Cathie Twomey Bellamy, Anna Denn, Jeff Sather and Ian Dobson.
8. Current running goals?
My goals are to stay healthy, injury free and to keep trying to lower my racing times. I will pick out a few races next year and go for it.
9. Eating and drinking tips?
Every morning I have a bowl of raw rolled oats, with milk, and sugar. And a cup of coffee. On race morning, it's egg on toast, oats, milk, and coffee. I avoid fast food except for Taco Bell. All that seems to keep me healthy and my weight down.,
10. Parting wisdom, pro tip for the day?
Easy running days are meant to be easy days. They are just as important as hard running days. Took me years, even decades to learn that one. The old saying is true: You have to slow down to go fast.
Coach Gags: 10 Pointers For Championship XC
Video with Bill Aris. F-M boys and girls teams qualify for NXN. ...Dominating since 2004. ...Review
I love crazy coach stories. Read.
We Need to Read. Books. ...Smart people and best coaches read a lot. Bill Aris, for sure. And Gene Blankenship. He owns over 1300 books on running.
Must see. Kick Of The Week. How do you coach/train yourself to give it your all?
Amby Burfoot: How Weight Affects Your Race Times
CA XC Boys Podium Teams (1987-2016)
King Cheserek. Good runner, good student, good guy.
Terminally Ill Man Takes On Marathon Towing Oxygen Tank to Raise Awareness for Pulmonary Fibrosis