Back at it... by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on April 5, 2012
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Guys Answers Your Footwear Questions—April
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on April 5, 2012
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
Q: I have worn the Brooks Beast for several years, but like the fit and feel of Mizunos that I have tried on much better. I need a lot of support and cushioning. Which Mizuno has the best combination of support andcushioning for me?Gary Fields, Portales, New Mexico
A: That’s easy. The Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 combines great support and a well-cushioned ride with a very comfortable fitting upper. It also has a smooth, flexible ride. I’m biased, but it’s a much better pure running shoe than the Beast and much lighter with a smoother, less bulky ride.
Q: I am a forefoot striker, have very high arches and I’m not a very efficient runner. Right now, I am running between 25-30 miles per week, but I’m suffering from plantar fasciitis. For several years, I wore the Wave Creation and loved it but decided to try an Adidas shoe and have lived to regret switching brands. Right now, I am torn between going back to the Creation or switching to the Wave Precision. Which shoe would you suggest? Priscilla Moss, Akron, Ohio
A: My suggestion is to go back to the Wave Creation 13. Evidently, you’ve had good success with the Creation and I don’t see any reason why you should switch to another model. The latest version of the Creation is a beauty. It has better cushioning and a snugger fit than earlier models, while retaining that great arch support which so many runners love. The Wave Precision is certainly a good shoe, but since you seem to be suffering from plantar fasciitis, I would definitely stick with the Creation. One suggestion to treat your plantar fasciitis: After every run, ice the bottom of your feet to reduce the inflammation.
Q: Hi MSG. I’m a neophyte runner who does most of her running on the treadmill. I am very slow, but want to run a 5-K this spring and know I need a good running shoe. But I don’t know which shoe. I do know I need some support and also want a shoe which is comfortable and relatively light. What do you think? Liz Chavez, St. Louis, Missouri
A: I can certainly suggest a good Mizuno shoe for you, but the absolute best piece of advice I can offer is to go to a good running store in St. Louis with exceptional service suggest as Big River Running Company or The Running Center. At either store, you will get properly fitted in exactly the right Mizuno shoe for you. I can’t tell you exactly which shoe that is, but I would start by trying on the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 and/or the Wave Rider 15. Carve out a good 30 minutes of time to get checked out by the store staff and try on several Mizunos to get fitted in the perfect shoe for you.
Sprinter Needs A Good Training Shoe
Q: I was a sprinter in high school and college and I’m still a very powerful runner. I’m a big guy (195 pounds) and an underpronator who has moderately high arches and lands mostly on my mid-foot. After picking the wrong training shoes, I have decided to get either the Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 or Wave Rider 15. I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about your shoes and want to try them. But I don’t know the exact difference between the Rider and the Elixir. Is there much difference? Matt Crow, Mooresville, Indiana
A:Yes, there is a world of difference between the Elixir 7 and Wave Rider 15. Both are terrific shoes, but the Wave Rider is much of a conventional, daily training shoe than the Elixir. The Wave Rider is our most popular shoe due to its well-cushioned midsole and its light, flexible ride. It is designed primarily for underpronators like yourself. The Elixir is more of a lightweight trainer-racer. That is, plenty of runners use it as a second shoe for faster-paced workouts and/or racing. Some runners use it as a daily shoe because they appreciate its responsive ride and moderate amount of support. Although the Elixir is lighter than the Wave Rider, I’m betting due to your size and high arches, you would probably be better suited in the Rider as a shoe you can use on a daily basis.
Q: I wear the Wave Alchemy 11 to help with my overpronation. I weigh 110 pounds and like the shoe very much, but I’m wondering whether I need to rotate the Alchemy with a different shoe. I was also told that I shouldn’t wear the same pair of Alchemy every day and if I didn’t buy another shoe to rotate with the Alchemy, that after awhile, the Alchemy wouldn’t work for me. Is this true? Cindy Kalton, Bowling Green, Kentucky
A: No, you are getting some bad information. You can safely wear the Wave Alchemy (or, for that matter, any other shoe) on a daily basis. The midsole cushioning in running shoes does compress when running, but it bounces back just about as quickly as it compresses. That is, if you go for an hour run, after about an hour, the shoe is ready to go again. So, there’s no need to “rest” a shoe for an entire day. Simply air it out so it isn’t wet when you run again. Should you rotate the Alchemy with another similar model? Doing so, certainly won’t hurt but it is not essential. If you do want to get another comparable shoe to the Alchemy, I would suggest getting the Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 which is just as supportive.
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
May 14, 2013
My Return To Racing
by Antonio Vega on April 2, 2012
After a long injury-induced layoff, I finally returned to racing at the Jacksonville Gate River Run 15-K. Without a doubt, this one of the top races in the country and there isn't a better venue for my first race in well over a year.
My schedule for the weekend of the Gate River Run included dinner on Friday night with my fellow Team USA Minnesota. The following day I had the opportunity to go to an after-school program called the Sanctuary where I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some great kids.
As we drove up to the Sanctuary, a swarm of children came running up to us. Every one of them shooting “Are you fast? Do you wanna race?” A race? Sure.
I raced about 20 children and was pleasantly surprised the speed some of these kids have. I just felt thate that the next future track star might be coming out of this great program. Afterward, we went back to the school for a little pizza and a Q&A session. WE did this for the kids, but I found it personally rewarding to give something back to the Jacksonville community which puts on such a terrific event like Gate River every year.
The two hours spent at the Sanctuary was a nice way to break up the long afternoon of prerace monotony. Sometime the day before race can get a little on the long side. After leaving the after-school program it was back to the hotel and time to start focusing on the race for the next day.
I will spare everyone the play-by-play of the race and just sum it up by saying it was a good first effort and a great feeling to be back running again. In hindsight, I took some risk going out at a fast pace trying to maintain contact with the chase pack and—of course--paid the price in the latter stages of the race.
But my goal for Jacksonville was just simply to get into a race again and have the hip feel good. Mission accomplished! Now, it's back to the drawing board, to get some more training in. and look forward to my next race knowing that this was a step in the right direction.
May 14, 2013
Playoffs in Poland by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on April 2, 2012
It's playoff time here in Poland!! We just finished the semifinals against a team called Dabrowa. The series was best 3 out of 5. We tied the series 2-2 and played the fifth match at home. It was a crazy match. We came out really strong in the first set and killed them, they came back and won the next two sets. They were close but they came out on top. The tide had turned, a lot!! We had to keep the hopes of getting to the finals, so although we were down in the fourth, we battled back and made it go to the fifth set. We were optimistic until it was 4-8 at the side change. Then we knew we were in for a fight. We battled back but it seemed to late because we were still down 10-13 - but then we found some serious inner strength and came back to win 15-13. It was crazy!! We were in shock a little bit, extremely tired, but so very excited!!
Our 15-13 win in the seminfinals!
We're moving on to the finals now against, Muszyna, the #1 team. We are #2 so it should be another battle. We lost to them the last time we played them, but we think that we've done some serious growing as a team so we're hopeful that things will go differently this time around.
I'm also very excited because my mom is coming to see the finals! She'll get to see where I've been living and what I've been up to these last couple months. I'm very excited to show her our city and for her to get to see our team play!! I can't wait for that. First things first though, we have two matches away on Monday and Tuesday, then a week in-between, then we come back home to play another two, depending on how the series starts off.
This is what overseas volleyball is all about. Playing in competitive leagues where you learn a lot about yourself and your interactions with teammates. I think this team has grown and so have I. There's still so much left to learn, but I'm really enjoying doing it!!
May 14, 2013
Home may be where the Heart is…but my heart is in Southern California by Brian Thornton
by Brynn Murphy on March 29, 2012
May 14, 2013
Marathon Peace In Seoul
by Serena Burla on March 29, 2012
Looking back, it seems fitting that an old Chumbawumba’s song “I Get Knocked Down but I Get Up Again” played just prior to the Seoul International Marathon last Sunday, even if it was just for that one line of lyrics. Following my disappointing DNF at the trials, my coach, Isaya Okwiya, and I decided to use my level of fitness to lace up again and give the marathon another go. You just never know what life has in store for you.
There was a sense of peace surrounding the whole experience. I was greeted in Seoul at the airport by one of the marathon’s numerous interpreters calling out my name. He was prepared to converse with me through well planned notecards from which we quickly diverted. He was actually the interpreter for Chinese, but I was very impressed at his willingness to give English a try and make me feel welcome. We talked baseball, family, Korean history, the marathon, music preference, t.v. etc. as we waited for a few other athletes to arrive. Maroon 5’s song “Moves Like Jagger” was very popular for South Korean ring tones, but it didn’t go unnoticed when my recommended Adele was played during the athlete’s dinner.
I spent the week reading, eating pasta, relaxing, eating rice, watching t.v., eating bread, socializing with the other athletes and interpreters, and shuffling along the Hongie Water Stream in Seoul, which is a path for runners, bikers, and pretty much anyone who wants to exercise. It runs along the stream and passes rock gardens, small waterfalls, stepping stones, paintings by famous artists on the pillars holding up the roadways above, big exercise equipment stations, and badminton courts. It was really neat to see so many people exercising in one place and to see a badminton match when it was 7 a.m. and 30 degrees outside.
I took the course tour to both check out the roads and see a little more of the city. The race finish was in the 1988 Olympic track stadium and I was in awe and got goose bumps. Seeing a track stadium that grand was amazing, and I could feel the energy from events past. It was also pretty entertaining when at the end of the tour we drove back to the start for an impromptu photo shoot. We pretended to be running and half the group was in jeans and winter jackets. Love these bonding experiences.
Another interesting experience occurred in the bathroom at the hotel. The toilet seriously had ten buttons on it. I wish I had a picture to share. My coach often encourages me to try new things and since he is a seasoned traveler I assumed (I came to find out incorrectly) he had encountered a toilet like this before. I figured I had to try it out before he arrived so I could act like the toilet was no big deal. So, the heated seat function was really nice and I was actually disappointed my toilet at home did not have this function. But the other buttons, Woo wee. Even though I had an inclination as to what they did I was still surprised (and I only had it on the children’s setting). If you have seen the movie Cars 2 (Boyd’s current favorite), think in terms of the scene where Mater uses the bathroom. This toilet may have even giggled at me too. It wasn’t my only Mater from Cars 2 moment either…Wasabi…aahhhhh!
Race morning I felt calm and ready to try and make the most of this marathon opportunity. I remember little things about my journey, like when I pictured the pack at a recent track workout; the racers became my teammates Yihunlish, Amanda, Kristin, and Jacqui. That I almost got hit in the head by a flying water bottle. The drums and gongs I heard summoned me on, and the smiling children became fuel as I relaxed using their energy and even gave a few waves and smiles myself.
The big construction site with multiple cranes made me think of Boyd and how he would have loved this site, and how we would have had a long conversation about it. I thought of an e-mail my good friend Andy sent around the time of my surgery about overcoming such obstacles. Memories of my husband Adam who has his own way of encouraging me and of my family and coach with whom I share the desire to succeed popped into my mind. I remember when I made my move and thought, “Commit to the move and go with it.” I thought of many talks and lessons from Isaya and I remained committed to proving I had grown as a runner.
At times I was filled with such peace and grace I imagined God holding my hand and running by my side. Towards the later part of the race I imagined him tying a rope to me and pulling me along. The last 2k I am pretty sure he was right under my feet, pushing them back up off the pavement. When I crossed the finish line I was overcome with gratitude, joy, relief, humility, and personal growth. I was so glad Isaya was there to share this special moment and race with me, as he has been there through thick and thin. We didn’t have to say much to each other because each of us knew what this race meant.
The rest of the trip consisted of talking our fun loving English interpreter into taking us out via the subway to new parts of the city to eat authentic Korean food-yum (a side note: practice using chopsticks ahead of time because when you are tired and hungry they are even more difficult to use- I am embarrassed to say the waitress offered me a fork). The rest of the time was spent hanging out with a sense of gratefulness that we are granted such a spread of highs and lows in life, and that each is an opportunity to build character, learn lessons, and grow. For me this was a chance to show that “I get knocked down but I get up again.”
May 14, 2013
My Transitions Championship
by Luke Donald on March 22, 2012
My Transitions Championship win was very gratifying. I had no doubt that I would get back on track. Hard work always pays off.
I’d got off to a slow one this year but you just keep on the path of what you need to do to keep on improving and trust what you are doing. It was always going to be tough to start as quickly as I did last year but it’s now nice to get back into the winner’s circle. The rewards are great – back to world number one and great preparation for a couple of weeks’ time and the Masters.
The first time I got to world number one it was a big deal. There was a lot of shifting and changing in the rankings and suddenly I had an opportunity to do it. I was a lot more nervous trying to do that than I’ve been in trying to get it back. For a good while it was like a carrot dangling in front of my nose and I couldn’t quite grab it at first. This time, because I’d been at number one for 40 weeks, I’d experienced it all, so it wasn’t my sole focus for sure. I was more intent on winning. World number one was just an end result.
It was my fifth PGA Tour win and 16th top 10 in the last 22 tournaments. Consistency is the key to being number one. I don’t think anyone would argue with me that in the last two years I’ve been the most consistent player on the planet. You put yourself into contention every week and the results come. My short-game, my iron play and driving, are all starting to come around again.
I really enjoyed that seven-iron shot from the rough on the first playoff hole which set up the putt of just over six feet to win. I got just about perfect control. I was probably in the worst position (of the four) after the drive and then I was in the best position after the second shot. You always need a little bit of luck out of the rough; sometimes it comes out hot and sometimes dead, but that came out perfectly. The equipment definitely helped me out.
The 18th was the toughest green on the course – they don’t come much tougher. But I work very hard on my putting and I felt very confident standing over the ball. I left it in a great position so it was a reasonably simple putt for that green. But it’s nice to be able to hole them when they really matter. That’s another thing that will give me more confidence going into Augusta.
Another good thing that came out of the playoff win was the way I handled the nerves and the pressure. I aimed to be as relaxed as possible. It’s important to have a little bit of a laugh and John, my caddie, and I did that before we went out. I’ve seen myself on replays in the past and I look a bit too serious. I had a good feeling, even before the week started, and that showed in my body language. John made me laugh because he told me he had a flight at 8.45 that night – he said: ‘If you could birdie the first hole I might be able to catch my flight’. I was glad to oblige.
So now the plan is to stay number one. Losing it for a couple of weeks, well the only person I can blame is myself – for not playing as well as I should at the beginning of the year. Rory played great and that’s the way the rankings work. If you have a little bit of a lapse you’re going to lose some points. The game’s in a great mix at the moment, you’ve got Rory, Tiger coming back into world reckoning, Phil Mickelson having a great run. Now I’m the one getting attention again and I like that. It’s great to have someone like Rory pushing you and making you find that next level.
Augusta is the immediate goal now. I’ll be keeping up my practice on the full swing, working on getting my takeaway a little bit more solid. I tend to get my legs moving a little too quickly. I want to really get the head of the club moving first. That allows me to get my right shoulder at the top of the backswing to really get down in a strong position, where I have a little bit of cup in my left wrist. And I’m working on the transition again. Perhaps it was ordained I should win the Transition Championship! I’m working on letting my body start the downswing a little bit sooner so I’m able to deliver the club in a more neutral position, with the hands coming back to where they were at address. I’ll obviously be putting in a lot of work on and around the greens. The short-game and putting speed work will be important before Augusta.
Rory and I are planning to practice together. There’s a chance we might go up to Augusta together in the middle of next week. We have different games and we go about it differently. He’s already figured it out how to win majors. I certainly know my game better than I did a few years ago and I’m ever hopeful I can figure it too now. They’ve done a little work on the eighth and 16th greens but I’m sure that will be hard to spot. Apparently they’ve created a few more pin positions. I’ll have my coach Pat with me and then we’ll do a bit of work back in Florida afterwards.
For this break, too, I’m looking forward to being with the family. Little Sophia is wonderful. We’ve been very fortunate with both our girls. They both sleep all through, so no sleepless nights. I’m sure that’s part of my success. They’re a joy to be around.
May 14, 2013
Donald Rides His New MP-59 Irons On His Way Back to World #1
by Iver Maple on March 19, 2012
Luke Donald reminded the golfing world that he would be a big factor in the 2012 season with a playoff win at the Transitions Championship.
Luke Donald at the Transitions Championship
A flushed Mizuno MP-59 seven iron into 6 feet on the playoff hole also dispelled speculation that an off season equipment change could be detrimental to his game. The win moved Donald back to No. 1 in the world, a position he held for 40 weeks before briefly letting Rory McIlroy borrow his throne.
"Absolutely," Donald continued when asked if he felt as if he'd been written off after McIlroy's ascension to the top. "I don't pay too much attention to it, but I certainly wasn't in the media at all. I think people thought that my last year was maybe a little bit more of a, not a fluke, but I don't think many people thought I could do that all over again this year. Hopefully I can prove them wrong."
In a final round that saw as many as six players share the lead late in the day, Donald did just that in his latest effort to convert the non-believers.
After a final-round 66 to erase a three-shot deficit, Donald landed in a four-man playoff with Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Sang-Moon Bae. There has never been a better example of our "The Iron Truth" campaign than what transpired next. When they all teed off on the par-4 18th hole, it was Donald who was the shortest and widest off the tee, leaving himself 159 yards that played more like 170 uphill and out of the rough. Despite playing first, Luke relied on what counts, his iron game, to seize the moment. Donald flushed his MP-59 seven iron and the ball narrowly cleared the bunker, landed softly and settled 6 feet from the hole – setting up the winning birdie putt.
"That seven iron came out perfectly." Donald said. “To get a win so quickly with the new irons, shows that we made a sound decision to change. The whole point was to find an iron with the same control and shape as my old MP-62’s, but with a touch more forgiveness. That’s why we switched to the MP-59’s. That last shot was good early payback.”
To find out more about "The Mizuno Iron Truth" visit www.theirontruth.com.
May 14, 2013
Serena Burla Runs A 2:28 Marathon, Finishes 3rd Place in Seoul, Korea
by Ron Wayne on March 19, 2012
March 18th, Seoul, Korea, Mizuno Racing Team Member, Serena Burla, placed 3rd in the prestigious IAAF Seoul, Korea, Marathon in a personal best time of 2:28.27. Her improvement was 6 minutes and 41 seconds. In January, Serena was running with or near the lead group at the US Olympic Marathon Trials when she collapsed at 19 miles. It was a disappointing experience, but she knew she still had her fitness from the January Trials and her coach Isaya Okwiya wanted to find another marathon for Serena to run. Said Isaya,"Just prior to the trials, Serena's fitness tested out to a 2:25-2:29 marathon and I wanted to find another race for her to compete". Finishing 3rd in a very competitive international field was a big break through for Serena. Isaya reporting the results to me from Korea wrote, "This is only the beginning for Serena's Marathon Career - Never Settle".
Serena Shown Leading The US Olympic Marathon Trials On NBC In Houston This Past January
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave: Lessons Learned - What a Stud Taught a Pud
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on March 16, 2012
I consider myself a very lucky guy. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to run with some of the world’s greatest runners from Olympic gold medalist icons like Herb Elliott and Rosa Mota to American heroes such as Bill Rodgers, Meb Keflezighi, Steve Scott and Alberto Salazar. I’ve learned something from every one of them. But there’s one great runner who has always stood out for me: That man is Rob de Castella.
If you’re a relative newcomer to running, that name might not mean much to you. But de Castella—Deek--is an Aussie, who at one point in the early ‘80s, was the top marathoner in the world. He won such major marathons as Fukuoka, Rotterdam, the Commonwealth Games, World Champs and Boston during his reign and actually set the world record for the marathon (2:08:18) in 1981. But his record wasn’t widely recognized because Alberto Salazar ran five seconds faster at New York City that fall on a course which was later found to be short.
No worries. Not much bothered Deek which is just one of the many reasons I had such admiration for him. He embodied the Australian sporting ideal which basically was if you start a race, there are no excuses. None. You start, you finish and accept the result for what it is, not for what it might have been.
A running lifetime ago, I met de Castella when he was still a virtual unknown, living in Perth in Western Australia where I happened to be working Soon after, I showed up to run with Deek and his training mates, followed by blowing the froth off a few Swan lagers after every evening run. Life was good.
Over the years, I ran with de Castella several times, went to his training sessions (both in Australia and his U.S. home of Boulder) and covered some of his greatest races. Along the way, I soaked up all I could from the master marathoner and learned plenty of lessons—that are applicable to recreational runners like you and me.
Here are a few I gleaned that might help you:
1. Train, don’t strain.This was Deek’s guiding training philosophy. His workout schedule was deceptively relaxed and laid back, as to the intensity of most elite marathoners of his time. De Castella never ran workouts that defeated him or left him so wasted he couldn’t recover in time for the next day’s. His weekly speed session (always on a Thursday) was so amazingly easy for a runner of his caliber--6-8 x 400 meters—that there were three-hour marathoners training on the same track who did more than he did. In fact, that would be me.
2. Consistency is the key. From the time de Castella began running in high school until he retired from competitive running in 1993, he had the same coach (Pat Clohessy) who developed a training system that never really changed. Although he certainly ran higher mileage as a world-class marathoner than he did in high school, de Castella followed the same basic schedule for years. That way, Deek never had any indecision about what workout to do; he knew if it was Wednesday, he would do a medium long run of about 18 miles. If it was Tuesday, that meant hills. Saturday was fartlek. His long run was always on Sunday. He almost never deviated from this schedule in 15 years of world-class running.
3. Relaxation is the key. Running relaxed was his fundamental principle. Most coaches preach relaxation, but de Castella had it ingrained in his “no worries mate” psyche. De Castella also practiced running relaxed with consistent, balanced training patterns as well as training and racing goals that were reasonable and attainable. Almost all of his easy runs were on dirt trails that were far away from the mental strains of traffic and pollution. (There was even a dirt, logging road named for him in Canberra—Deek Drive—where he used to live.)
4. Easy runs should be really easy. I have a clear memory of going on an easy run with Deek one morning in Canberra and he was running so slowly, it was even leisurely for me. I assumed he was slowing down for my sake. When I told him he didn’t have to run that slowly just for me, de Castella bristled, “I’m not running slow for you. I’m running easy for me.” When his schedule called for an easy morning run, no world-class runner ever ran slower.
5. Group training. Deek almost never ran by himself. He had a pack of mates that ran practically every workout with him. This was by design. He believed strongly in the positive influence of a peer group. Even though he was the Alpha Male, de Castella’s belief was the power of the group motivates, strengthens and carries a runner to greater heights. And it was more fun to run with friends than slog the miles by yourself.
6. Adaptation must be gradual. As de Castella progressed into one of the best runners in the world, his training load also grew. The long runs became a little longer, the fartlek efforts were a little tougher, but he only upped the volume and quality slightly over a four-year period. Instead of jumping up his training, he would simply add a mile or two a week and give himself a full year to adapt to the increased training. Once Deek found his optimum training level, he stuck with it and didn’t try to push it to unimaginable heights. That’s a major reason why he was never injured.
7. The most important aspect to speed training isn’t what you do; it’s simply doing it. Deek’s speed workout was incredibly simple. Week in, week out, he would go to the track on Thursday night and run six or eight quarters in 62-64 seconds. But that was it. Such low volume and such short repeats were unheard of for a marathoner of his caliber. Mixing speed drills and/or spending long workouts on the track didn’t matter to him because he felt his formula was just honing the natural speed he had.
8. Do a long run every week. This was inviolable. Every Sunday meant a long run, regardless of whether de Castella was getting ready for a marathon or not. The distance didn’t matter as much as the time spent running did. Usually, he ran for at least two hours, but Deek believed in at least one overdistance run before a marathon. Occasionally, de Castella would go as long as three hours which for him was close to 30 miles. His belief was a 30-mile run made the 26.2 race effort that much more manageable.
Finally, there was this pearl of wisdom from Deek about marathoning that you might want to print and tape to your frig:
“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”
May 14, 2013
Women's National Team Athlete Blog: Liz Cordonier
by Adam Vella on March 15, 2012
Jan 30th 2012
Ahh back in Europe once again, where I unwillingly receive my dose of Top 40 music that will last me through the rest of the year. This time I’m in a small town in Finland where I live in my parka and Ugg boots when I’m not on the volleyball court. Believe or not, it’s still warmer than Winnipeg.
When our Olympic qualifier was rescheduled until the end of April, most of us were left scrambling to find a team to train and play with for the winter months. It’s never ideal joining up with a squad halfway through their season. Often, any team looking to hire a player at that point in the year is struggling with injuries or trying to stay afloat in their league. I was fortunate to join up with LP Viesti, a team that hasn’t lost in the Finnish league in the past 105 matches. As the strongest club team in their country they participate in the CEV Challenge Cup, meaning they play a series of matches against top ranked teams from other leagues around Europe. As a result they were looking for another leftside to help them out in their upcoming matches against Smart Allianz Stuttgart. I arrived on a Thursday, had my first practice on Friday and was thrown into my first match the following Wednesday. We played a gritty match at home and came out with the win in five sets. It was so much fun to play a high intensity game against a great team and I felt at home with the girls from LP Viesti right away. We ended up losing the series against Stuttgart but since have continued on with regular league play and just this past weekend came out on top at the Baltic Cup tournament.
This weekend was also my initiation which was a throwback to my rookie year as a UBC Thunderbird. I was forced to recite an oath (in Suomi) on my knees in the shower room while knocking back a glass of vile tasting Salmiaki (salty liquorice liqueur). It wasn’t until after when the pledge was translated that I discovered I had agreed to a karaoke competition with my club manager (among other things). And finally, a raw egg was cracked over my head (not gently either), to complete the ceremony. Needless to say this team has its character and its own traditions. And so far it’s been a lot of fun…
May 14, 2013
Women's National Team Athlete Blog: Marisa Field
by Adam Vella on March 15, 2012
Marisa Field is currently playing her third season of professional volleyball in Sinsheim, Germany. This will help her prepare for the Olympic Qualifier which is taking placing April 27-May 6 in Tijuana, Mexico. This blog was written right before Christmas.
January 4, 2012
So it’s been almost exactly a year since my last blog, and I’m back reporting from the same place as last time! Well, technically I’m in a hotel in Berlin right now gearing up for a 5 day extended trip up north to play 2 games in 3 days, first in Berlin and then in Hamburg. I came back to rejoin my professional team in Sinsheim, Germany again this season right after finishing up at the NORCECA Championships in Puerto Rico with Team Canada in September.
But before that I spent my fifth summer training in Winnipeg with Team Canada – eating, sleeping, and living volleyball… and of course enjoying some good times with the girls and even attending a teammate’s wedding, as well as traveling and competing against some of the top teams in the world. Unfortunately, I started the TC season this summer coming off some ankle injuries I sustained in January playing in Sinsheim and was unable to train at a hundred percent and missed the friendly competition against Argentina in June and our first official tournament – Pan Am Cup in Mexico. So my first games wearing the red and white this summer were during our exhibition tourney against the Netherlands for our Ontario tour in August. It felt great to finally put the jersey back on after 3 months of training/only being able to cheer from the bench in the team tracksuit. After our prep with Team Holland we enjoyed a week break and then it was back to training for the NORCECA Championships. At the end of that trip I had to say goodbye to my teammates and get ready to head across the pond for my first solo stint playing pro….
So I thought I was being “brave” this season by venturing out to Europe without a Canadian partner in crime for the first time... that is, right back to the same team as last year… in a town that you can pretty much get around in by walking everywhere… and where I have a German “family” that takes care of me, and that I am pretty much set up nicely in… but anyways…… Turns out that after 2 months of being here alone I was destined to continue my trend of playing in Europe with a Canadian teammate! Sweet deal for me, enter Tammy Mahon.
Well after two slightly rough months for the team – due to literally half the team being out with either injuries or illness, myself included (again with the ankles) – some new life was added to the team; first with the arrival of a new Spanish libero and then the arrival of Tammy shortly after. Now things are looking up and I’m back to rooming with my buddy on road trips J Only a week left here until we both get to fly home for Christmas and see our family and friends… can’t even wait!!
So that pretty much covers things since I left Germany at the end of last season! Looking forward to getting back to Canada for the holidays and eating a whollle lot of turkey and cookies!! I mean… salad and whole grain breads… and water.. without bubbles.
Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year!!!
Tschüssiiieeee!! (That one’s for Lupo ;) )
May 14, 2013
Gate River Run 15K National Championships - Mizuno Women Place 5 In The Top 15
by Ron Wayne on March 14, 2012
Mizuno Racing Team Members Run Well At The USATF National 15K Championships
Antonio Vega competes For The First Time In Over A Year
Jacksonville, FL, March 10, With over 17,000 runners competing, the Gate River Run is the largest 15K in the United States and the race served as the 2012 USATF National 15K Championships. There were 10 Mizuno Racing Team Members competing in a very competitive field. Placing 4th in the women's division was new MRT member, Lindsey Scherf, in a personal best time of 51:08. Clara Grandt was 7th in 52:08, Heidi Westover 11th in a personal best time of 52:52, Meghan Peyton 14th, 53:14, Kristen Zaitz 15th in 53.17 and Melissa Todd, 17th in 54:22. On the men's side back from a series of injuries that has spanned over a year, Antonio Vega, the 2010 US Half Marathon Champion and 2nd Place Finisher at Gate in 2010, ran his first race in over a year placing 17th with a time of 46:26. This was a very good first effort for Antonio as he is still training himself back to championship form. Other Mizuno Men's Finishers, who were racing the 15K distance for the first time ever, were Zach Hine,16th place in 46.09 and Craig Leon 18th place in 46:41. Rounding out the Mizuno Finishers was Patrick Rizzo in 25th 47:40.
Mizuno Racing Team At Pre Race Dinner
All Smiles After The Race As The MRT Sports The New Racing Uniforms
Clara Grandt Post Race Interview By RunnersSpace.com
Clara Grandt and Lindsey Scherf With Their Top 10 Plaques and Medals
Lindsey Scherf Mingling With The Performance Running Solutions Club Members After Her Talk
Mizuno Employees Rick & Erin at our Expo Booth
May 14, 2013
What to Look For in Running Shorts
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on March 9, 2012
Although choosing the right running shorts isn’t quite as critically important as finding the perfect training shoes, if you pick the wrong pair of shorts it will cost you in the long run.
Running shorts matter and there are nearly as many different styles and models as there are shoes. And buying the right shorts for your body type, gender and size—as well as the type of training and racing you do—will make your run more enjoyable and comfortable.
In running shoes, fit is everything. Same with running shorts. With shoes, the colors and styling doesn’t matter as much as it does with shorts. After all, they are clothing and even the least style-conscious runner, doesn’t want to look like a dork by wearing shorts last worn in a PE class.
To make certain you run comfortably, you first need lightweight shorts specifically designed for running. In other words, long, floppy, cotton basketball (or tennis) shorts that are fine for the court, are out for running.
Why? If you wear cotton shorts on a run, you will almost certainly end up with severe chafing in a sensitive area that will make every step painful to the end.
If you’re going to be a runner, you need running shorts. Mizuno offers the best line of technically driven shorts in several styles to address the fit and performance needs of every runner. Each short is distinctive in its styling, comfort and performance qualities.
If you are new to running, here are some tips to picking the right pair of shorts:
- Fit, fit, fit.The only way you can be certain a pair of running shorts fits you well is to try them on. All reputable running stores will allow you to try on shorts. Do so. Even if you know your waist size, shorts are available in a variety of sizes and some experimentation might be necessary to find the perfect size for you. You want a snug fit without being too tight.
- Fabrics.All technical running shorts are made with light, soft fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin so it evaporates. Mizuno shorts are made out of a breathable Polyester and have an internal brief or liner made of DryLite which is a moisture management fabric. Mizuno shorts also are extremely durable.
- Underwear or not?Not. All Mizuno running shorts are made with a non-chafing, built-in liner. (If you buy shorts that don’t have a built-in liner, they aren’t running shorts.) But wearing underwear—especially if it’s made of cotton—is uncomfortable and negates the anti-chafing fabrics of running shorts. Plus, the liners provide enough support without underwear. Nor do men need to wear a jock with running shorts.
- Lengths. Running shorts come in a variety of lengths, starting with “short shorts” such as Mizuno’s Maverick Splits and extending all the way to mid-thigh shorts such as the Inspire Short or Mid Tights. The length you choose is a matter of personal preference, but if you have “thunder” thighs that tend to rub and chafe on long runs, longer shorts will minimize the problem.
- Is there a difference between men’s and women’s shorts?Absolutely. Mizuno shorts for men and women not only look different, they are shaped differently through the waist and hips to create a better fit for each gender.
- Pockets are a must.All Mizuno shorts come with a key pocket on the inside of the front waistband. But since many runners need a larger pocket to carry gels on long runs, most Mizuno shorts come with an additional side pocket to accommodate any additional nutrition you wish to carry. These side pockets are also deep enough to securely carry a cell phone, iPod or those pesky hotel room keys.
- Does color matter? To some runners, it matters a lot. There are plenty of color options available with Mizuno shorts. Many of the shorts match up with corresponding shirts and singlets for style-conscious runners.
Mizuno Running Shorts Collection:
- Maverick Split:Made of 100 percent stretch Polyester with DryLite brief, the Maverick is ideal for racing and training. The Maverick Split is comfortable and so light it will never slow you down. It has all of Mizuno’s top short features such as side pocket, drawcord waist and anti-abrasion labeling. Inseam, 2 inches; Outseam, 11 inches. Available in three color options for women; four for men. Sizes: (m) S-XXL; (w) XS-XL.
- Mustang:A slightly longer, fuller cut than the Maverick, the Mustang is made of 100 percent stretch Polyester with the DryLite brief. It has mesh inserts for increased ventilation. Inseam, 3.5 inches; Outseam, 12.5 inches for women; for men, Inseam, 4 inches; Outseam, 14 inches. Available in seven color options for women; six for men. Sizes: (m) S-XXL; (w) XS-XL.
- Meridian Short(women only): Breathable and light, the Meridian is made of a Polyester/Spandex blend with a DryLite brief. Beautifully designed, the Meridian has a contrasting waistband with an exposed drawcord. Inseam, 3.5 inches; Outseam, 10 inches. Available in four colors. Sizes: XS-XL.
- Shorty Short(women only): The shortest length short specific to women runners, the Shorty has a 100 percent stretch Polyester shell, DryLite trim and brief. Combining soft knit and stretch woven, the Shorty Short has an elastic waistband with an internal drawcord. Although it does have an internal coin pocket, it does not have a side pocket. Inseam, 3.5 inches; Outseam, 10 inches. Sizes: XS-XL.
- Ascend 2-in-1 Short: Made of 100 percent Polyester with a DryLite internal compression short, the 2-in-1 has a stretch shell fabric which allows plenty of mobility for running, walking or other sports. Comes with a drawcord waist and anti-abrasion labeling. Inseam, 5 inches; outseam, 14 inches for women; for men, Inseam, 5 inches; Outseam 14 inches. Available in five colors for men and women. Sizes: (m) S-XXL; (w) XS-XL.
- Rider Short(men only): A long, comfortable short which works well for running or other fitness activities, the Rider is made of stretch Polyester with a DryLite liner. The stretch shell fabric provides plenty of mobility making this a versatile short. Inseam, 5.5 inches; Outseam, 15.5 inches. Sizes: S-XXL.
- Inspire Short Tight(women only): Aggressively stylish, the Short Tight extends to mid thigh for races and/or long run comfort. Made of a Polyester/Spandex blend, the Inspire Short Tight has stretch mesh ventilation inserts, a gusset crotch and back zipper storage pocket. Available in five color options. Sizes: XS-XL.
- Inspire Mid Tight(men only): Ideal for racing or long runs, the Mid Tight extends to mid thigh and prevents any chafing between the thighs. Made of a Polyester/Spandex blend, the Inspire Short Tight has stretch mesh ventilation inserts, a gusset crotch and back zipper storage pocket. Sizes: S-XXL.
May 14, 2013
Time Flies by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on March 6, 2012
It has been a pretty "uneventful" month for me... We have been playing so many games and traveling so much it is hard to know which way is which and where the time has gone. Time flying by has been a huge blessing in that it is one step closer to seeing family and being back in the USA gym.
Since I last wrote we had qualified for the next round of Champions league. This meant we were going to draw a new team/pool and get an opportunity to play someone different. This next round of champions league would consist of one game home and away. If you win both games you move on to the next round. If you split you would have to play one "golden set" to 15 to see who would move on. We ended up drawing Dresden which is a team from Germany. Since we were the higher seed we went to Germany and played them first. When we arrived in Germany it was a nice refresher to get out of Russia for a few days and go site seeing. Since we arrived 2 days early our team arranged for us to go on a tour of a historical area of the city. We were really excited until the tour guide only spoke Russian...ugh!! I know you are probably thinking well duh you are with a bunch of Russians but I thought they would maybe do the tour in both English and Russian, but that didn't matter because just seeing the beautiful city was enough for us. After our tour we went to the local shopping mall so the girls could go crazy. It is amazing to me all the things these girls buy when we are outside of Russia. It's a real treat for them because most things they find are half the price they can find in Russia. After shopping for a couple hours and leaving empty handed it was time to go back to the hotel and prepare for the upcoming game. I had never seen this team play but knew they had a couple girls from the German national team and I knew they would put up a good fight. We played a well-rounded game and were fortunate to win in 3. After the match we had a nice relaxing evening at the hotel before heading back to Russia the next day.
After leaving Germany we were off to Ekaterinburg to play one of the other top ranked teams in the Russian league, Uralochka. We had a nice surprise waiting for us when we arrived. We would be staying at the Hyatt Regency for four days. This was so refreshing being able to stay in a five-star hotel. This was by far the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in in Russia. It was an escape to what felt like America for a short time. We played Uralochka and although they played well, we pulled the win out.
After a few short days back in Kazan it was time for Luke to go home for a while. I have been blessed in that my husband gets to travel with me. All other American national team players that are married do not travel with their significant others. For all of you that don't know Luke, he is actually a licensed structural engineer. We are currently in the process of finishing up house plans in which Luke has been doing all the work. He will be spending his time at home working out details and we hope to begin building this Spring. Luke has been putting his job on hold to follow me around the world. I am so thankful for his sacrifice so I can reach my dream. I love you!
After Luke left I have been trying to keep myself busy as I don't like to be alone. I walked into practice one morning and the director of the club pulled me aside. I was like oh gosh am I in trouble? He was informing me that a local clothing store wanted to do a photo shoot with some of us players. At first I was really confused and I thought some things got lost in translation. They told me to go to this clothing store to try on clothes for a photo shoot at a later date. I went to the clothing store and when I arrived I was so overwhelmed. It was 3 floors of high end designer clothing from the likes of Mark Jacobs and Burberry. I felt honored to be there and getting a chance to wear such beautiful clothing. I spent about an hour and half trying on clothes and after every outfit taking a picture for future reference. The photo shoot was going to be held two days later. I was nervous but excited at the same time. I arrived at the photo shoot around 12 and after 5 outfits and hair and makeup I finally left at 8. It was such a long day but a great learning experience. I have watched Americans Next Top Model and would get angry at some of the girls because they couldn't pose right... Well now I have a better understanding of how hard it really is.
As a lot of you may know I am a Mizuno ambassador and was recently contacted by Mizuno Europe to do a photo shoot in London. I did not know if I would be possible because my schedule has been so crazy. Luckily I was able to fit it in my schedule but for only one day. I left Moscow in the morning of the photo shoot and arrived in London around noon. I started the photo and video shoot around 3 and finished around 8. It was such a great experience to model for Mizuno and to promote the upcoming Olympics.
May 14, 2013
Never Take a Day of Running for Granted
by Serena Burla on March 6, 2012
Years ago my Aunt Chris told me to never take a day of running for granted. I think it was shortly after I accompanied her to her doctor’s appointment where she received a scan and walked home with images of a knee that doctors would say should/would never run again. I remember the tears and the sadness. My Aunt had been and always will be my running idol. I remember her kicking my butt on runs when I visited her in Colorado. Everyone she met wanted to run with her because she was so inspiring and just a wonderful person. I remember Chris telling me when she taught in Ecuador she would have to wear jean shorts instead of running attire if she wanted to get a faster paced run in, otherwise the whole village would come join her. She had a great motor and was just so tough. She had this rawness about her that I try to emulate. In any case, her career was cut short and although I know Chris still runs some and can hike up those Colorado fourteeners like they are nothing, I know there is unsettled business. Therefore, her life lesson has a strong grasp on me.
Many of you know that two years ago I was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, and I was the one sitting with the scans that questioned my life, and since it was in my biceps femoris, my ability to run again. Once I knew the cancer had not spread beyond the tumor, I underwent surgery to remove both the tumor and a cancer free margin. I remember Chris’ call in disbelief that running may have been taken from me too. She didn’t realize that by telling me to never take a day of running for granted, I hadn’t. I had no regrets. Of course I still prayed that I would at least be able to run to keep up with Boyd, or that maybe I could be a jogger. Who would have known that God had other plans? I truly believe that it’s a miracle that I can still run. Celebrating being cancer free for 2 years on Monday February 27th, I want to pass on the message to never take a day of life for granted, and if you have the ability to run, never take a day of running for granted either.
Earlier this week I was reminded of this lesson once again. I have always loved the fact that most children can run so freely. It is their means of transportation and they love to run. We often joke that running is the only way Boyd moves. Quick bursts from here to there; it’s so natural. If you have ever taught young children in the classroom, the moment you open the door for outside time/recess they cheer and run. When I taught, it was a moment I looked forward to every day. This week we ended up in the Emergency room and then the hospital for three days with Boyd. What started as an ear infection and strep turned into questioning that something else was wrong. When Boyd started furniture walking and took only two steps before stopping and saying it hurt, we knew it was time to take him in. He could hardly move. I prayed that the doctors would figure out what was wrong and that the treatment would return Boyd to his normal self. Boyd had Kawasaki disease and fortunately, responded well to the treatment. Chasing Boyd around the room trying to keep up with his IV pole our final night in the hospital was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Running is a gift. Appreciate it; share it with those in your life. Go lace up, put one foot in front of the other, do a mile for someone who can’t, and never take a run for granted.
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions—March, 2012
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on March 5, 2012
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. He'll pick five questions a month to answer and if he picks your question, we'll send you a beautiful Mizuno tech T-shirt.
Plantar Fasciitis issues
Q: I am a forefoot striker who has very high arches and has bad case of plantar fasciitis. I loved my old Wave Creations and switched to another brand. I now regret switching as the new shoe caused the plantar problems. I do not have pronation issues and am considering going with the Wave Precision 12. Do you think it would be a good shoe for me? Priscilla Johnson, Oakland, California
A: The Wave Precision might be a good shoe for you, but I would strongly recommend going back to the Wave Creation 13 and trying on the Wave Rider 15. Since you had success with an older Creation, my first inclination is to suggest you go with that due to its support and cushioning. The Wave Rider is somewhat similar to the Creation and my thinking is either of those two shoes would be a better option than the Precision which might not have enough cushioning or arch support for someone who suffers from plantar fasciitis.
Using Nirvana as long-run solution
Q: I have worn Mizunos for several years. Before I started wearing Mizunos, I was having a hard time getting up to marathon distances and Mizuno made that possible. For the last few years, I have worn the Wave Inspire and have liked it for most of my runs. But when I run farther than 15 miles, I have some soreness and was wondering whether you think the Wave Nirvana 8 would be a better option than the Inspire for long runs. Do you see any reason why a more supportive shoe such as the Nirvana would be an issue for me? Samantha Sanders, La Crosse, Wisconsin
A: No, I don’t see any reason that wearing a more supportive shoe on long runs would present any problems whatsoever for you. In fact, it might just be what the doctor ordered. The added support and cushioning that the Nirvana offers will come in handy on those long runs. Both the Nirvana and Inspire are supportive shoes, but the Nirvana 8 simply offers more cushioning and better support than the Inspire. It’s also a little bit heavier, but that added protection could be very helpful to you to reduce some of the pounding your body takes on long runs and hopefully, reduce your post-run soreness. Additionally, I don’t think you’ll need any adaptation to the Nirvana since it is so similar to the Inspire.
Are two shoes better than one?
Q: I am a new runner who has been enjoying all my runs in the Wave Rider 15. It’s a great shoe with just the right amount of cushioning and support. It’s the only shoe I own, but all my running friends seem to use two or three different models. They say having more than one pair will extend the durability of the shoes and that I need at least another pair. Is this really necessary? Don Rose, Omaha, Nebraska
A: Necessary? No, it isn’t. Is it helpful having more than one pair of shoes? In some ways, yes. But for a beginner who is just enjoying his runs, one pair of shoes works out just fine. Veteran runners often do have more than one pair of shoes. Generally, they’ll have one pair for daily training and then another pair—usually lighter--for faster workouts. Some runners also have a third, even lighter pair for road racing. Some runners feel that rotating between one or more pairs of shoes helps with injury prevention (because you don’t become biomechanically dependent on one style or model). Other runners believe that rotating shoes results in a longer life for the shoes (by giving each pair a “rest” day), but this does not extend the life of a shoe in any appreciable way.
Storing Inspire 6s
Q: The Wave Inspire 6 is my absolute favorite shoe of all time. I love this shoe so much that when it first came out, I immediately bought five more pairs. Now, I’m down to my last pair and I’m wondering if storing the shoe for so long damages it. Does the shoe deteriorate if it hasn’t been used? Joe Schmidt, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
A: No, the shoe should not break down in a year or two of storage. That is, provided the shoe was properly stored in its box in a closet and not outside or in an unheated garage. Running shoes are made of foam, mesh and rubber and those materials don’t break down in storage. Your unused Wave Inspire 6 should perform just as well as if it were brand new. BTW: The Inspire 8 is just as good—if not better—than your beloved Inspire 6s.
Mizuno overpronation shoe suggestions
Q: Until recently, I have worn the Saucony Hurricane but I am disappointed with it. So many of my friends have told me great things about Mizuno and I am anxious to try a pair. I am a high mileage runner who weighs 150 pounds and overpronates. Any suggestions? Ali Cumbalon, Mississauga, Ontario
A: Ali, Mizuno has several exceptional overpronation (support) shoes that work great for high-mileage runners. I would recommend trying on three shoes: The Wave Nirvana 8, Wave Alchemy 11 and Wave Inspire 8. Of the three, the Alchemy is the most supportive and has a very well-cushioned forefoot. The Nirvana 8 has the best blend of cushioning and support—and it is the most durable. The Inspire 8 is the lightest of the three, but it is moderately supportive and not as supportive as the other two. I would suggest trying on all three shoes and going with the one which fits and feels the best.
May 14, 2013
Meet Three New Members Of The Mizuno Racing Team
by Ron Wayne on March 2, 2012
We are proud to announce 3 new team members to the Mizuno Racing Team. Welcome, Lindsey Scherf, Meghan Armstrong Peyton and Loretta Kilmer.
Lindsey Scherf is one of the most talented distance runners in the US and after a year off due to a foot injury, she is hungry to compete. As a 19 year old sophomore at Harvard, Lindsey set the US Junior 10,000 Meter Record with a time of 32.51, a mark that still stands today. In her freshman year at Harvard, she was one of only 2 collegian Freshmen runners in 2004-2005 to earn All-American Honors in all 3 running sports of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. In addition, Lindsey ran the second fastest 5,000 Meters as an American Junior (under age 20) with a time of 15:42. After Harvard, Lindsey had 1 more year of eligibility and ran for the University of Oregon, where she broke the school indoor 5,000 meter record. In 2010, she completed her Master's degree at the University of Michigan and is currently a coach at Duke University. Lindsey is deciding between competing for a spot on the US Olympic Team in the 10,000 Meters or making the US World Half Marathon Team that will compete in the World Championships this October in Bulgaria. Lindsey will be running the US 15K Championships in Jacksonville on March 10.
Lindsey Scherf, Finishing A Cross Country Race At the University of Oregon
Meghan Armstrong Peyton first represented Mizuno in 2010 as a member of the Mizuno Sponsored Team Strands. In 2011, Team Strands folded and Meghan continued her running as a member of Team Minnesota USA, where she remained loyal to Mizuno footwear and apparel. While competing at the University of Iowa, she was a 4 time All-American and was the 2008 Big Ten Indoor 3,000 Meter Champion and Outdoor 10,000 Meters Champion. Meghan holds the Iowa School record for the mile in 4:40.59, an event she was twice All-American. In addition, she finished 6th in the NCAA 10,000 meter with a time of 33.28. In 2010, Megan won the ING Miami Half Marathon and has improved greatly on the roads the past 2 years. Some of her 2011 accomplishments include 5th at the USATF 5 Mile Championships, 6th at the USATF 10 Mile Championships, 5th at the USATF 15K Championships, 7th at the USATF 20K Championships. Meghan was runner-up at the prestigious Manchester, CT Thanksgiving Day Road Race. Running a 1:13.43 Half Marathon qualified her to compete in the recent US Olympic Marathon Trials. It was Meghan's first marathon and she now has the bug for the event. Meghan has the greatest range of ability on the team, as she can compete with the best at the mile through 25K.... and pretty soon the marathon. Meghan will be representing MRT at the US 15K Championships at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville.
New MRT Runner, Meghan Peyton
Loretta Kilmer is no stranger to Mizuno, as she competed for the Mizuno Sponsored Team Riadha the past two years. A graduate of Columbia University, she was a 4 time NCAA Division 1 Qualifier. In 2010, Loretta finished 6th place in the US 20K Championships and represented the US in the World Half Marathon Championships. Also in 2010, Loretta was the 5th place American in the Boston Marathon. Most recently, she ran a 3 minute personal best time of 2:36.41 at the US Olympic Trials Marathon finishing in 20th Place. Loretta is currently pursuing her Master's Degree at Columbia and her next race will be the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday, March 18th.
Loretta Kilmer Visits The Mizuno Booth At The 2011 New York City Marathon Expo
May 14, 2013
On the Road to Recovery
by Antonio Vega on February 28, 2012
The life of a professional runner isn't always as glamorous as some people might think. The life of an injured runner who is in the recovery stages is even less exciting. But I have settled into good routine as I make my comeback after a year on the injury shelf.
Most mornings start with me stumbling out of bed feeling extremely sore from the previous day's workout. My first few steps are always the worst, but I loosen up by the time I reach the coffee pot in the kitchen. After a light breakfast, I take the dog out for her morning walk. But there's a practical reason for this as I count this as my morning shake out jog since I do very light running with my geriatric K9 to get us both ready for our day..
Once the dog has been walked, I do some light stretching and some of my hip rehabilitation exercise before going for my first run. I have been relatively conservative with my training thus far. My focus has been on running fast over mileage. So my weeks have consisted of one shorter tempo run, short hill sprints and a long tempo run.
After my run, I follow that with more core work and stretching. Then, after a quick lunch break, I am off to the gym to finish the rest of my hip exercise routine which, believe it or not, takes almost 90 minutes to complete.
The dog needs her second walk of the day which is always nice and slow and serves as as my cooldown after the gym workout. After dinner, I do one more stretching routine followed by some more core work..
This type of training can be pretty monotonous and it wears on me. But I am happy to have this cycle broken up by my first race in more than 1 ½ years as I am running the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida next month.
Just the thought of racing again brings joy to me and I can't wait to dust off my racing flats again.
May 14, 2013
TALKIN' VOLLEY by Brian Thornton
by Brynn Murphy on February 24, 2012
When the topic of volleyball is brought up in conversation and being an American professional volleyball player at that, there is really only one idea that I hear repeatedly over and over again (I love a topic sentence where redundancy is King). That one idea is said in a variety of different ways….a professional league in the USA, more fans at domestic games, more college volleyball, more publicity, more coverage, more recognition, more tv, just more volleyball anywhere possible, etc. It's basically the majority idea of those involved with volleyball that expansion is necessary. Expansion seems to be the ultimate goal for volleyball and while I think that's a natural idea or thought to have, I think that people don't really stop and ask themselves why? Why is expansion of the sport, or growing of the game so important? What is there to gain? Why are we not happy with the way the sport is right now? Some of the best people I have met in my life are what we consider to be volleyball people. It's a community…a family. I have seen people in this community help out people they didn't even personally know in some extreme ways and the only thing they really had in common was volleyball. It's a culture that I think can be easily lost with excessive expansion and popularity. It's a throwback sport. The best volleyball players in the country are accessible, approachable and available. I have seen Clay Stanley stay for over an hour after matches making sure that absolutely anyone in the crowd that wanted an autograph would get one. Meanwhile, NBA stars duck fans waiting outside the arena to get to the bus. The popularity and money ultimately breed a culture of ego and greed. There may be no cameras, flashing lights, or Will Ferrell player introductions in volleyball. There may be no front page headlines, sports center highlights or tmz articles about a volleyball player dating a celebrity. But I'm okay with that…because I think if volleyball was like that in America, I wouldn't have met the kind of people I call my best friends today. It may be a small, third-tier, culture sport but I'm glad that it is.
May 14, 2013
Wave Musha 4
by Seth Hasty on February 22, 2012
When the alarm went off at 5:30am this morning I groaned, not because it was still pitch black, cold, and I wanted more sleep... but because I knew I had a 5 mile time-trial workout that I had been dreading since I saw that my coach (Mizuno Race Team member; Tyler McCandless) put it on the schedule. Went downstairs, brewed a pot of coffee, and then a smile cracked across my face... I GET TO RUN IN MY MUSHA’S!
Shoe nerds like me (and probably you) tend to rotate our shoes daily. For most of my everyday and long runs I’m in either the Wave Elixir or Wave Inspire, slow/recovery days I’ll rock the Wave Rider or even the supremely plush ride of the Wave Prophecy to give my legs a break. But this morning was special, it was a speed workout day... which meant I got to bust out Wave Musha 4’s!
When it comes time to go fast, you’ll almost always find me in the Musha. My bio-mechanics are um, “not perfect” which makes the Musha my sole-mate (haha, see what I did there?) for all my speed workouts and any race above above the 5k. I overpronate a bit, so the touch of medial support within the Mizuno Wave that runs from the heel into the forefoot of the Musha, provides just enough guidance without over correcting.
Some cool things about the Musha, sure it’s lightweight (7.8oz men, 6.8oz women), provides an awesome, minimal and low to the ground experience, and like all Mizuno shoes you get that smooth, responsive ride! What will really amaze runners when they drop the hammer and kick it into gear with these on, is how much cushion and stability can be put into such a small, lightweight package!
Oh, and this is for the ladies... No more sizing down to race in a men’s shoe! I’m super happy to share that Mizuno listened, and released a Women’s specific Musha this season for you!
The biggest update on the Musha from last year has been the addition of Mizuno’s AP+ midsole, which enhances rebound and gives a bit of bounce to the shoe, while maintaining that superior lightweight performance that brought us all to Mizuno in the first place! The new edition saw the fit being refined as the heel collar was opened a touch, yet still keeping the same superb fit. I’m pretty stoked on some of the overlays being tweaked a bit too, as I’m 150 miles into my pair and I have no issue with rubbing or blisters! Of course, in true Mizuno fashion the new Musha also looks fast! The “Lime Punch” colorway is beautiful, and when you blur past your friends at your next race... they’ll for sure be able to spot you!
Ok, you get it... I obviously love this shoe, so I wanted to share someone else’s take on the Musha 4 with you. Someone much, much faster than I. I looked no further than my pal, Mizuno Racing Team runner Zach Hine. Zach finished as the 2nd American in the 2011 Boston Marathon (2:16:54), and followed that up by chopping 24 seconds of his PR last week at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston. Most Mizuno runners went with the Ronin at the Trials, but Zach embraced his pronation and went with his favorite Mizuno flat, the Musha 4.
I recently asked Zach about his choice to join the Mizuno team, and how they stack up vs. other brands he has ran in:
“Since I've switched over to Mizuno, what I like best about the brand is that they are able to provide me the support I need for my pronation but also keep the shoes incredibly lightweight. Most stability shoes are on the cumbersome side due to the added material but Mizuno's are just as light as a neutral shoe”
Right on Zach, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Zach went a bit more in depth about why the Wave Musha was the best option for Houston...
“I chose the Musha 4 because it had the best of what I was looking for in a race flat. I knew Houston would be a lot of concrete so I wanted something that had more cushioning than the Ronin but not at the expense of a heavier shoe, the Musha worked great! In addition, the little bit of stability was an added bonus, especially over a distance as long as the marathon.”
Both Zach and I invite you to join us as Musha runners!
Give it a test ride at your local running store... just be warned, it’ll get you excited to go fast!
Until next time... Never Settle.
May 14, 2013
My Kind of Fun!
by Clara Grandt on February 20, 2012
These past few weeks have been a completely different post-marathon experience than Boston. After Boston, I tried to tell myself I was recovering just fine, but I wasn’t. I was physically broken down and mentally exhausted. This time, I’m eager and ready to take on new goals and improve. I have been looking forward to these new goals since I crossed the finish line in Houston. I did take time off, but since I’ve started up again, I’ve felt more like I’m building on something instead of rebuilding.
With my body and mind in a good place, Sean (my coach) and I have discussed some new goals. The truth is, I lack the quick track times that the others ahead of me in the marathon have accomplished, and we both felt this is something that needs to be given some attention for ultimate success. My strength in long workouts and long runs have always been something I’ve felt very good about and even improved on in the build up to the Trials. Therefore, feeling like I am coming off a great “base,” I am thrilled to attack my weaknesses and bring them up to par.
I have already seen the track a few times in the past few weeks, and it’s been fun! I’ve had company during my workouts, which has been a nice change from all the long lone tempos and long runs I’ve done by myself. I really enjoy those, but having company really can help bring things up a notch at times.
Recently, as an introductory track workout, I paired up with one of my former WVU teammates and Riadha teammate, Karly Hamric, who focuses mainly on the mile. It’s really hard to find two distance runners more contrasting than Karly and I, so this was a fun workout for Sean to watch. We did cut down 1200’s, which challenged me with the speed toward the end, and challenged Karly with the total volume. We both walked away with it very pleased, and it was a lot of fun to get to run with my college freshman roommate.
However, I have a feeling “fun” will soon have to leave the description of these workouts. If I’m going to get faster, I’m sure I’ll be using adjectives more like “grueling”, “punishing”, and “gut-wrenching” to try to explain the experiences I’ll have in the upcoming months. As Sean put it, “You’ll have to see God a few times in some of those workouts.” If that’s what it’s going to take, I’m looking forward to a holy experience.
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave: Trials and Tribulations of Race Photos
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on February 16, 2012
I am not one of those racers who has a lot of fears. But the one aspect of road racing that absolutely terrifies me is the post-race email from the race photo company that appears in the inbox a few days after the race with a link to all sorts of mid-race and finish photos. I dread that seemingly innocuous email so much that I always hesitate before opening it.
Clinically, the fear of having your photo taken is called camera phobia (seriously), but I don’t actually mind getting my picture taken. It’s the result that makes me open the email with such trepidation.
Let me explain. I realize that picture-perfect running form is not one of my attributes. Quite frankly, I suck. I might be a determined, persistent runner who can stubbornly hold onto a pace all day long, but my form stinks. I realize that graceful, effortless running is just something I dream about.
Which is OK. I just don’t like having my less-than-perfect form shoved in my face. Or on my computer.
Obviously, I can spare myself the agony and simply delete the email from the photo company, but it’s kind of like turning my head at the sight of a train wreck. I just have to look.
Determined to put an end to all this race-photo craziness, I had one goal in the Houston Half Marathon last month: To strike a pose.
Brightroom Event Photography was shooting Houston and, as usual in major road races, there were signs at various spots along the course, alerting the runners to look good for the photographers who were just up ahead.
Here was my chance to erase a lifetime of rotten race photos and maybe if the Houston photo was good enough, to even buy one which would be news in itself. (The only race photo I have ever bought was from a triathlon in California where I was shot emerging from the water, all oxygenated and buffed in my trisuit. Looked good, but wasn’t actually running.)
Anyway, as soon as I spotted the first photo sign in Houston around the seven-mile mark, I immediately got up on my toes, repositioned my hat so it wouldn’t cast a shadow and painted a broad smile for the cameras.
Didn’t work. Must have started to pose too early because when the mid-race photo arrived, I looked just as terrible as always. There was snot hanging off my nose, my feet were going every which way but straight ahead and my skinny arms looked like they were pulling weeds. At least, my hat was straight.
A few miles later, at the next photo stop, I tried a different tack. This time I got as much air as I could with a few loping strides, but the results were similar. Instead of capturing me flying gracefully, the cameras just happened to catch me landing awkwardly.
As I neared the downtown Houston corridor and the finish, I still felt pretty strong and easily picked up the pace in the last mile. Approaching the long straightaway to the packed finish area, I was determined for once to look triumphant, rather than crushed for the finish cameras.
Miraculously, I sprinted the last 50 meters and felt secure in the knowledge that I had—finally--beaten the cameras with a classy, celebratory finish. I didn’t exactly thrust my arms Rocky-like, but I launched myself across the finish line with one last exultant burst.
But then a few days later the email arrived from Brightroom. In addition to the lousy shots of me flailing away on the course, it included a 30-second finish video. Every single runner in the clip—most of whom I had run the 13 miles with—looked great as they cruised through the finish, arms joyfully waving.
Me? Even though I felt fast and smooth, the finish video captured me waddling to the line, looking as decrepit as normal.
Bummer. My time was fine and nothing to be ashamed of, but the race cameras beat me again and consigned me to the clumsy plodder division. Cameras don’t lie.
But, there are no style points in road racing. Unlike figure skating, diving or gymnastics, there aren’t any pesky judges waiting to award a score.
I might not have stuck the landing in Houston, but fortunately running is a bottom-line sport. My race photos might not look like much, but the results and satisfaction of finishing are always much sweeter.
May 14, 2013
Playing Overseas by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on February 8, 2012
Hello all!! Playing volleyball overseas is definitely a blessing. You get to play the sport you love and travel to new places. However, sometimes, that travel is a little more of a burden than a blessing. For example, yesterday we left Sopot, Poland at 4:30am, drove to the Gdansk airport for a 6:30 flight. We flew the one hour it takes to get to Warsaw, which is a pretty big airport. We then had to walk around and find a transfer desk in order to get our next two tickets for the rest of our trip. We found one lady helping us, we have just about 18 people, so needless to say that took a little while. We had time though; we had a three hour layover there. Then we flew to the Moscow airport. We had to stand in line for a transfer security check for about 30 minutes. Time wasn't an issue here either because we had a nice five hour layover here. We then left on our last flight to Azerbaijan. We got in at 12:30am, only 17 hours later with the time change. While trips like this can take its toll on the body, it will all be worth it in the long run. Now that we're in Azerbaijan, we get to play against Nellie Spicer and Kim Glass, and also in this city are Heather Bown, Jennifer Tamas, and Tayyiba Haneef-Park. It will be so great to see so many Americans in a foreign city. It will make those 17 hours seem like a breeze. Our match against Kim and Nellie is the second of this round for the quarter finals in Champions League. We won the last match and a win against them would put us in the final four which would be an amazing accomplishment. If we lose, we immediately play a golden set, to determine who advances. Either way, it should be a fun night! Hopefully afterwards we'll have time for dinner and a chance to catch up with them. This will be a long road trip for us because after this match we head straight to play a team for Polish league, and after that we head straight to playoff game. We'll be gone a total of 8 days. It's important to break up long trips into pieces in order to keep our focus on each match, one at a time. It would be great to get back to Sopot with three wins under our belts. Wish us luck!!
May 14, 2013
Are Racing Shoes For You?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 31, 2012
One of the most frequently asked questions road racers have is whether or not they should wear racing shoes. It’s a good question, especially among runners who want to race faster, set a PR or contend for age-group honors.
But what about the average recreational racer? Can wearing racing flats help you race faster?
In a word, yes. But like just about everything else it isn’t quite that cut and dry.
Intuitively, we assume wearing a lighter shoe in races will make a substantial difference and help us improve our times. It stands to reason that the less weight your foot has to lift means your feet will spend less time on the ground which means your legs’ turnover rate will be quicker and you will run faster.
How much faster? Not a lot. Depending how much weight you “lose” from trainers to racers, you might gain three or four seconds per mile.
Even so, wearing extremely lightweight racing shoes (or road flats, the terms are synonymous) is not a shortcut to a massive PR. Training will do it; not just the shoes. In fact, racing shoes on the wrong runner could lead to a personal worst.
The harsh reality is that racing shoes are not recommended for the average recreational runner. And they are absolutely not for the beginner who is running for fun and/or just trying to finish a marathon.
Why not? After all, racing shoes are as much as four ounces lighter per shoe than most training shoes. But the reason road racing shoes are so light is that they are built with much less cushioning and support than trainers. And most recreational racers and newbies can’t sacrifice cushioning and support for lightness.
On the other hand, experienced, faster racers can give up some cushioning and support to squeeze every last second out of their race. For fast guys and gals, every second counts as they battle for top 10 finishes and age-group awards.
If that doesn’t sound like you, you probably shouldn’t consider wearing racing shoes. Flats simply aren’t worth the risk of injury and beside, flats won’t make a major difference in how fast you run, unless you run 7-minute per mile pace or faster.
However, if you are an experienced racer who is biomechanically efficient—i.e., doesn’t overpronate to the extreme—racing shoes can be worth it. Again, road flats won’t take you from a 3-hour marathoner to 2:45, but they’ll help.
Most good road racers wear flats and if you are contemplating whether to wear racing shoes for your key race, try a pair out in a few of your tempo runs. Doing so, will give you a feel for the extreme lightness that will allow for a faster leg turnover.
You might find out you like the snug fit and feel of racing shoes and decide to use them in your next race. Go for it. Just don’t make your first race in road flats a marathon. Too risky. Use them in a 5-K first.
If you find flats too light and not cushioned or supportive enough, stick with your everyday training shoes in races. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what most citizen racers use.
However, if you still want to wear a lighter shoe for road races, try a lightweight trainer-racer such as the Mizuno Wave Precision or Wave Elixir. Both shoes are lighter and more flexible than conventional training shoes and have a moderate amount of cushioning.
Here’s a look at Mizuno’s family of road-racing flats and performance trainer-racers. Mizuno’s three exceptional road-racing shoes are the Wave Ronin, Wave Musha and Wave Universe as well as two popular lightweight performance that are suitable for racing: The Wave Precision and Wave Elixir.
Road-racers: Intended primarily for road-racing. Extremely light uppers and flexible, Mizuno’s family of road flats are designed to fly.
- Wave Universe (3.8 ounces) is a stripped down racer which is built purely for speed. The lightest racing shoe on the market, the Wave Universe weighs about half of what most conventional road-racing shoes weigh. With a heel-to-toe ramp of only 5 mm, the Universe has a very low midsole profile which has gained considerable following among minimalist enthusiasts as a training and racing shoe. Available in unisex sizing.
- Wave Ronin (m: 7 oz; w: 6 oz.) is a fast, well-cushioned racing shoe designed primarily for biomechanically efficient racers who want a snug-fitting flat. Although it’s extremely light, the Ronin has most of Mizuno’s top technologies found in its trainers, including Dynamotion Fit, AP+ midsole and SmoothRide engineering for fast heel-to-toe transition. The Ronin’s G3 outsole is especially valuable on wet roads (for example, at aid stations) as it grips the road—even at high speeds. Heel-to-toe ramp is 9 mm. Suitable for all distances up to the marathon.
- Wave Musha(m: 7.8 oz. W: 6.8 oz.), available for the first time this year in a corresponding women’s specific model, is different from the Ronin in several key aspects. The Musha is slightly heavier, offers a hint of support and fits a broader fit than the Ronin. With a light, highly flexible midsole (AP+ cushioning) and outsole, the Musha has also gained popularity as a lightweight trainer for fast days as well as race days. Heel-to-toe ramp is 9 mm. Suitable for all distances up to the marathon.
Performance trainers: Many runners prefer a lightweight trainer for daily running. Others, use lightweight performance trainers as a “second” shoe for fast, tempo days, interval workouts and races. Mizuno’s performance trainers are two or three ounces lighter than conventional trainers without sacrificing cushioning, comfort and durability.
- Wave Elixir: (m: 9.3. oz.; w: 7.7 oz.) defines lightweight support with its cushy, yet moderately supportive ride. If you have support concerns about most lightweight shoes, the Elixir delivers enough for all but severe overpronators. The Elixir’s low profile has a racing shoe feel, but has the cushioning and comfort of a training shoe. With a snug fit and great flexibility, the Elixir lets you get up on your toes to top speed at any distance. Heel-to-toe ramp is 12 mm.
- Wave Precision:(m: 9.6. oz.; w: 8 oz.) is the perfect companion (or second shoe) for Mizuno’s neutral trainers such as the Wave Rider or Wave Creation. The Precision is lighter, has a bouncier midsole and is more appropriate for faster running than its neutral brethren. But it still has the comfort, fit and cushioning of a daily trainer. Also suitable for races of any distance. Heel-to-toe ramp is 12 mm.
If you are thinking of buying road racing shoes before your next big race, here are some factors to consider:
1. Racing shoes are faster.. Research shows that for every ounce that you shave off the weight of a training shoe, you will run one second per mile faster. If you compare a typical 11-ounce trainer to a seven-ounce racer, that’s a savings of four ounces per shoe which translates to four seconds per mile. That equates to 12 seconds in a 5-K or nearly two minutes in a marathon. That’s not a lot, but for some runners, every second counts.
2. Racing shoes make you feel faster. Race morning is different from a normal training day and chances are you want this day to feel special. That’s why you wear a singlet with a number on it and that’s why many racers also wear racing flats. They want to feel faster and racing shoes allows them to feel like there’s almost nothing on their feet to slow them down.
3.Use racing shoes for a few shorter runs before a race. Racing in flats is an acquired feeling and you must get accustomed to the extra pounding your legs will take. Racing shoes weigh substantially less because there is less shoe. If the shoes feel too light in training, chances are they are too light for races.
4. If you need plenty of cushioning, racing shoes are out. Most road flats offer about 20 percent less midsole cushioning foam than training shoes. If you need that extra comfort, race with trainers
5. If you need support and stability, stick with your trainers.Racing shoes have almost no support or control features. If you overpronate and need those added support features, stick with your trainers.
6. If you’re a big runner, racing shoes are not for you.Simply put, bigger, heavier runners need all the support and cushioning they can get. Racing shoes don’t have adequate beef for bigger runners
May 14, 2013
2012! by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on January 30, 2012
Happy New Year!! This year is a big year for everyone involved in the Olympics!! Can't believe it's already here. However, there are still many events that occurred in 2011 that I would like to tell you about. First, is our trip to Zurich, Switzerland. This was my second trip to Switzerland this year as I went to Montreux earlier this summer with the National team and needless to say it was beautiful. We were going to Zurich to play a champions league match against Volero Zurich. We arrived a couple days before the match so we were able to walk around a bit. It was nice to get out for a bit and of course grab a Starbucks. :) The most important thing was the match and we were able to take care of business. We were able to beat them in 4 but they definitely put up a fight.
After we returned from Switzerland we took a trip to one of our sponsors to receive a gift. Since my first season we have been sponsored by a fur company called Melita. Melita is a well-known fur company all over Europe. In Russia fur is a must have, but a lot of people cannot afford high end fur because it is too expensive so needless to say the girls on my team were thrilled. My first season here I got a coat tailor made just for me. It was made out of beaver and fox. I also received a blanket made out of beaver. One fur coat is enough for me so last season I chose wolf pelt and also another blanket made out of beaver. This season I am considering the fox blanket in the picture below. We are hoping to use all the blankets as throws in our house, if I ever have one! Below you will see a picture of me and my teammate Gamova modeling some of the coats on display.
Before you know it Christmas was here!! This is always a tough time to be away from family. For me I always remember the many traditions I have with my family. This year we were fortunate enough to get to spend Christmas with the Priddy's. For those of you who don't know who the Priddy's are, Reid Priddy is an outside hitter with the US National team and was a member of the 2008 gold medal Olympic team. He is playing for the Kazan men's team and has brought along some of his family including his wife Lindsey, son Caden and his sister Dylan. Lindsey is a great host and made a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner. We had a small gift exchange but the most enjoyment came from watching Caden open his gifts. A special thank you to Reid and his family for making this Christmas memorable.
Christmas came and went and we were back to work. Next up was the Russian cup. The Russian cup is mid season tournament with the winning team qualifying for Champions league the following year. We were fortunate enough to win the cup last season and we wanted to try and bring it back to Kazan. Our semi-final match was against Krasnodar a very good team that includes my friend and teammate Foluke Akinradewo. We battled it out and there were some close sets but we came out on top. We couldn't relax because the next day was going to be a tough match. In the final we were to face Dinamo Moscow who is traditionally one of the best teams in the Russian SuperLeague. They pushed us and we had no answer. We took them to four but had a chance to win 2 other sets with game points in both. We made critical mistakes at the wrong time and it cost us the match. This was very disappointing for us and the club. There is no time to dwell as we still have over half the season left.
After we finished the Russian cup it was time to celebrate the New Year. For those of you that don't know New Years in Russia is like our Christmas in the States. Everything shuts down and it's their time to celebrate with family and friends. Lucky for me Foluke got to come to Kazan and celebrate with us. We went over to the Priddy's for dinner and hung out and played ping pong till it was time to ring in the New Year. We celebrated with champagne and sparklers (inside the apartment!). The next morning we returned to their apartment. My husband’s family has a New Year ’s Day tradition of making a pastry they call grebble so we carried on that tradition in Russia.
After spending a couple of days with us it was time for Foluke to return to her team. It was great getting to spend time with her. After she left we had to travel to a team in northern Siberia near the Arctic Ocean. They said normal temperatures reach as low as -50 Celsius. Fortunately it wasn't that cold outside. They did have some neat life sized ice sculptures outside their gym.
Every year our team treats us to a day of snow tubing at a local ski resort. We go tubing in the morning and then enjoy a nice lunch. Most girls bring their families as we get to swim and use the sauna at the resort. It is a great time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. This has been an eventful couple of weeks. I have truly enjoyed spending time with friends and celebrating the holidays. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012, this year should be exciting.
Dream Big & Never Settle
May 14, 2013
by Serena Burla on January 30, 2012
The Trials certainly lived up to the definition of the word: Trials- a test of faith, patience, and stamina. Of all the times to DNF, why the trials? Oh there’s that “why” question again, the one that sometimes produces answers, sometimes life lessons, sometimes a delayed response, and sometimes silence. The question that always makes me take a step back and remember, I am not the one in control. “Why” often comes to mind when my heart breaks or a momentary emptiness takes over my soul and there is nothing left to do other than put my hands together in prayer for strength.
During this trial it happened somewhere between mile 18 and 19 when my body refused to go any further despite the amazing roars of the crowd and my brain urging it to go. I experienced an out of body feeling that I was going down, and then I did. When I came back around I was surrounded by event volunteers and medical staff. After a while I was cleared to go, and in the presence of one extraordinary volunteer I sat down and sobbed and prayed, and interestingly enough gave thanks. Despite all the pain I was feeling from not reaching my goals and not finishing, I was reassured that I have great joy in my life. I have my son Boyd and my family who loves me no matter what, and I could still put one foot in front of the other, something that had once been in question.
As I got back to the convention center and the other finishers filtered in, I felt for each one of them: the joy for those who will represent a strong field of American women marathoners at the Olympics, and the grief for those placing just behind them. I also felt for those who PR’d, for those happy to finish, and for those who had mixed emotions on their outcome. After all, it’s the trials, and not just any trial, the Olympic MARATHON trials. To all those who played a role in the trials: the organizers, cheering wise, support, as a coach, family member, and participant- well done and thank you.
The next day I got out on the course as a cheerleader in an attempt to give back to some of those who lined the course the previous day (the crowds had been spectacular). I cheered on several friends and my incredible training partner, Yihunlish Delelecha, who had been my rock throughout the training cycle. I ended up getting far more in return. I flew home recharged with inspiration and hope, and affirmation that I really love this sport.
Later, my coach, Isaya Okwiya, who has endured all life’s ups and downs with me the past six years, and I reflected on what had occurred, reviewed medical data, etc. in an attempt to identify the culprit and prevent this from happening again. I felt a pang in my heart upon realizing I was severely hypoglycemic, thus the reason I was not able to finish was probably due to not eating enough carbohydrates leading up to the race. I felt foolish, for this was something I could have controlled. I had let my fear of having stomach problems, which had occurred in a previous marathon, keep me from eating properly. If you ever have this fear, take it from me, having stomach problems is a far better scenario than not finishing the race. Oddly enough, a scene from The Lion King popped into my head: where Rafiki hits Simba in the head and convinces him to return as king. Rafiki tells Simba, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” Having this great of a disappointment will surely make me learn.
I take this low humbly and know there will be better days. I go forward, learning, and growing; looking forward to my next test of faith, patience, and stamina- whatever that trial may be.
May 14, 2013
Just Getting Started
by Clara Grandt on January 26, 2012
The Olympic Marathon Trials are over, and life is still going on. Imagine that! A big race can have a funny affect on the mind of a runner, and this one was the biggest I have ever experienced. The training that goes into it is such a big build up, and that one day, race day, is such a big focus that we don’t think much past the race. It seems to be the end of life as we know it… It’s not!
The few days before the race seemed quite full of activities. As soon as I arrived in Houston, I went straight to Fleet Feet for a Mizuno event were all the Mizuno Trials athletes were doing a question and answer session for runners in the store. It was fun to get to see everyone on the Mizuno team as soon as I arrived, knowing we all had gone through a long haul of training and was here for the same big reason. Dinners, meetings, uniform checks, fluid bottle turn-ins, and media interviews followed in the next few days, all building excitement for the big event.
The hype going into the race was a new experience for me, mainly because I actually was somewhat involved in it. I have been looked at as a young runner with a fast marathon debut (that seems to carry an annoying asterisk with it due to the wind in Boston that day I debuted.) I liked my chance to stand up for myself during the media interviews. I was nervous, but more than that, I was excited to prove myself as a top marathoner despite my inexperience and young age for this particular event.
The hardest question I was asked to answer during interviews was, “What is your biggest fear?” I didn’t have any huge fears. I didn’t want to run with fear of anything. For example, if I missed a fluid bottle, which I did miss my first one, I was just going to deal with it the best way I could. I ended up knocking my first one over, thought for a split second of picking it up off the road, said no, and grabbed a cup of water a few seconds down the road.
Race morning, I felt very good and my nerves were being replaced with confidence and excitement. While the National Anthem was sung, I felt an incredible pride for my country and was so glad to compete for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympics. I knew I wasn’t a favorite, but the honor that comes with that possibility would be great, and I knew I’d do my best to have that honor.
I had competed against many of the women in this race at some race or another, but this time THEY WERE ALL THERE. That was perfectly fine by me. I was thrilled to have the chance to line up against the best in the country all at once.
The gun went off and the race went slow, but quickly picked up after the first mile. I found myself running with the lead pack for a few miles, and then intentionally dropped back once it dropped below 5:30, hoping it was a smart move. I lead a small group that turned into a group of one soon after. I felt great on the second loop of the three loop course and felt I could possibly catch up to the lead pack during a few miles. My excitement in the second loop may have gotten the best of me though, as the third and final loop proved to be quite tough. I still managed to catch up to Deena Kastor in the last few miles and we had what I have described to many as a “turtle race.” We both were hurting, but in the end she pulled away from me by six seconds, and I ended up in seventh place.
The race was over, and not setting a PR or reaching my high goal of top three, I wasn’t completely sure what to think right away. I knew I had run very hard, but if you would have told me that’s the time and place I was training for all these months, I would not have been pleased.
However, the women that were in front of me were very great women, the greatest to ever line up at this event, and my time was less than a minute off of my debut at Boston, so I found something good in that. I look at it as inspiration to keep reaching for that Olympic opportunity, because this is not the end… life does go on after the Trials, and then four years later, there is another opportunity, and four years after that. I’m just getting started!
Thanks for reading,
May 14, 2013
by Antonio Vega on January 23, 2012
There's no question that watching the U.S Olympic Marathon Trials at home brought a range of emotions to me. I was excited for my fellow Team USA Minnesota and Mizuno teammates, but I was naturally frustrated that I wasn't on the starting line with them in Houston.
After the race, I made two promises: This would be the last Olympic Trials that I am going to watch on television and secondly, it's time for me to double my efforts and train like a mad man to get back into racing shape.
Getting back into shape is well underway. I have started putting in some decent mileage, but my workouts—as could be expected after such a long layoff--have been anything but perfect. Sometimes, I feel like that high school kid who goes out way too hard in the first mile, only to find myself doubled over two miles later. After catching my breath, I laugh it off and decide next time to start at a more reasonable pace.
But with each workout, I can see improvements in my fitness level. I even welcome a little sore from the previous day’s workout. The best news is that the hip pain that has bothered me for well over a year continues to get better every day. So every morning I wake up and can't wait to get out the door and train.
I'm not all the way back yet, but I'm excited to see where my running takes me this year. I can now see a point where I'll be back competing with the top guys once again.
While it's true that I missed the Marathon Trials, I will pursue a 10,000-meter qualifying time that will get me on the starting line for the Olympic Track in June in Eugene.
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave: The Best Finishes in Road Racing
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 19, 2012
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of any road race is the final mile. By the time I get to that last mile, I just want to get to the finish as quickly as possible and get the darned thing over and done with.
Plus, the crowds are usually thickest in that last stretch and if I have run well, I can savor the applause and acknowledgement from the spectators. To hear my name called is even sweeter as I hit the finish line. It makes all the hard racing worth it.
When I think back on most races, the final mile is all I ever even remember. For me, that last mile in just about every race is special, but some are even more special in my memory banks.
I’ve run all over the world and in some of the biggest races in this country. Some I ran well; some not so hot. But I’ve always loved that final, celebratory mile.
Here are my 10 favorite final miles in road racing (with the 2012 dates):
10. Manchester Road Race (November 22). This 75-year-old race in Connecticut is one of New England’s classics. Held on Thanksgiving morning, the entire town turns out to support the runners who come from all over the world to race this odd distance (4.7 miles). Most racers try to wait for the last half mile before unleashing their kicks straight down Main Street which is lined 10-deep on both sides with wildly cheering spectators who have been coming to this race for generations. Equally cool, the last stretch is a gentle downhill.
9. The American Mile (July 4th) in Longport, New Jersey. This is one of those small-town races that just brims with a mixture of fun, speed, hot dogs and Americana. I love this smallish, out-of-the-way race which starts in early evening. The American Mile (it’s also known as the Longport Mile) is in a ritzy, beach community where every able child, woman, man and dog runs this flat road mile which starts at the southern end of town and finishes at the fire department. The course is dominated by a huge American flat on the finish line that you can see for the entire second half of the race. After the race, there are hot dogs for every runner. After that, there are fireworks and parties that go long into the night.
8. The Eugene Marathon (April 29). When I did this marathon, it was called “A Gathering of Eagles” and believe it or not, it was free. (Shows you how long ago that was.) Over the years, the course has changed, but one constant has been the inspiring finish that is on the hallowed Hayward Field track where such immortals as Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Bill Dellinger and Mary Slaney trained and raced. Finishing on the University of Oregon track, once again the site for the Olympic Track Trials, is one of the most thrilling moments in road racing that every marathoner should get to experience.
7. Congress Avenue Mile (May 19). My hometown road race in Austin, Texas is a completely downhill road mile where a PR is all but a certainty. The course starts near the Texas State Capitol and hurtles down Congress Avenue--the main drag in Austin—to the finish on the Ann Richards Bridge. The first 400 meters is so steep you have to hold yourself back or you’ll go out too fast and flame out. There are about a dozen heats in the Congress Avenue Mile, culminating with the best boys and girls high-school milers in Texas competing just a week after the State Champs. If you want to relive your high-school mile days, Congress Avenue is the race to do it.
6. Falmouth Road Race (August 12). This gem of a race on the southern tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, goes 7.1 miles from Woods Hole to the spectacular downhill finish in Falmouth. The finish is dominated by the biggest American flag in Massachusetts and the thousands of wildly enthusiastic spectators who cheer for the recreational racers just as loudly as they do for the world-class runners who have been making a pilgrimage to this race since 1976.
5. Chicago Marathon (October 7). I love Chicago and its marathon. I’ve been coming here since 1982 and although the course has changed over the years, the finish has always been in Grant Park, right along Lake Michigan. The Chicago course is almost entirely flat until you make a sharp right turn in the final mile off Michigan Avenue onto Roosevelt. The hill on Roosevelt isn’t much, but in the last mile of a marathon, any incline can feel like a mountain. Fortunately, the Roosevelt overpass is short and makes the last few hundred meters to the finish along Columbus all that much sweeter in front of the adoring spectators who welcome every runner back.
4. Carlsbad 5000 (April 1). Since 1985, the fastest open and masters 5000-meter road racers have been coming to this small, coastal town in northern San Diego County. It is the fastest road race in the country (16 world records have been set here) and most assume it’s because the course is lightning fast. Not so. Although there are some nice downhills, the second mile is mostly uphill and usually into the teeth of a sea breeze. But once you make the final turn for home back into the village, there’s nothing better than the closing 400-meter-downhill in front of thousands of fans. Even though the course is tricky, it’s still a solid PR course (although I never did). Making it even better, there are seven separate races and by the time the elites run, all the recreational racers have made it back to the finish for the grand finale making for an unforgettable party.
3. Marines Corp Marathon (October 28). This terrific course starts in Arlington, Virginia, right near the Pentagon and, once in Washington, passes by all the memorials, museums and national landmarks. For the final 10-K, the course returns to Virginia before winding up on a short uphill to Marine Corps War Memorial which is better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Even though that little hill at the finish is tricky, it’s more than worth it with the gorgeous view of the capital and the Iwo Jima statue.
2. Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (September 16). Traditionally, the Philly Half is one of the fastest half marathons in the country and a perfect tune up for the big fall marathons. But what I like best about Philly is its amazing last mile. In that grand finale, the course flies down along the Schuykill River and then makes a short climb up to the Museum of Art (and the famous “Rocky” steps). From there, the course flattens out as it enters the Benjamin Franklin Parkway past glorious fountains, numerous classical sculptures (including The Thinker), memorials and museums. The entire parkway is lined with flags of countries from around the world, creating an international feel all the way to back to the finish. It’s hard not to kick it in with that type of world-class atmosphere.
1. Boston Marathon (April 16th). There is no greater emotion in road racing than running the final stretch along Boylston Street to the finish in Copley Square in central Boston. After a short uphill on Hereford Street, Boston marathoners take the familiar turn into the pageantry and sheer excitement of coming down the sweet downhill that is Boylston--the most iconic road in marathoning. With thousands and thousands of screaming fans tightly packed onto the sidewalks, the roar from the crowd is deafening as each runner approaches the finish at Exeter Street. Every runner should have the privilege of running Boston at least once. There’s no better feeling in our sport.