LessThanOurTweets

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This Weekend in Running: 3 Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is reading Garfield minus Garfield (my favorite: the second one from Feb. 24th). The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, five things that WILL happen this weekend:






1) I fall asleep hitting refresh on the conference results. We at LTOB hate knowing that there are so many good races going on around the country, a veritable "Championship Weekend" of sorts for indoor track, and all we get is a page of results. While tactical races are great when you're watching them, they make the results page very unspectacular.

2) Semi-Pro turns out to be everything I hoped for. Will Ferrell's schtick, repeated over and over again, somehow still makes me laugh so hard I puke. "Bud Light: Suck One"

3) ...there's nothing else going on, unless you want our take on the NACAC's, and we all know that would just degenerate into a bunch of anti-Canada slurs. No one wants that.




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Indoor Conference Weekend: Where's the Buffet?


One of our favorite Mark Wetmore metaphors goes like this: "Track and field is Carnegie Hall; indoor track is Las Vegas, and cross country is Woodstock." I never really believed that until I woke up naked in a puddle of mud after the Toledo Cross Country Invitational. Jeremy never believed it until he woke up naked playing a violin the morning after the IC4A meet. Wetmore: coach, prophet.

We also really like Las Vegas because, just like indoor track, whatever happens there, stays there (read: is forgotten in a few months). After the jump, getting to know your indoor conference meets like you know your favorite things you find only in Vegas.




SEC Championships
Like the conservative southern tourists that have finally found an excuse to see a group of very flexible men embrace each other.

***SEC distance events are spectacularly unspectacular this year with no real stars to watch.

***Could Coach McDonnel’s comments about his nancy-boy DMR break the team spirit and lead to a disastrous weekend for the ‘backs? I don’t know, but I’m sure they will be serving sweet tea at the concession stands, so that’s good.

MAC Championships
Like the 7am crowd at the craps table. Yeah, a lot of the players have left (western mich., ball st., ohio, etc.) but you know that the ones left are the most hardcore players out there. The kind that will put their first born up against two jacks (I’m looking at you Coach Lawson) or the kind that will create a 7th year of eligibility for their runners (I’m looking at no one in particular...)

***Go Flashes!

***Hopefully it comes down to the final event and someone streams that shit live. The MAC indoor 4x4 is the most exciting 3 minutes in sport. There, I said it.

Big Ten Championships
Like a Neil Diamond concert at the MGM Grand Casino. Tough. Gritty. Forever in blue jeans.

***Distance races are always slow as balls but sound exciting when reading accounts of them on the message boards. That reminds me, gotta order that Big Ten Network on the satellite.

Big 12 Championships
Like the bachelorette party hogging all the time on the mechanical Bull. No one knows where this party is headed but something unexpectedly good always pops up. If you play your cards right, there’s definite hook-up possibilities.

***Texas. Manzano. DMR. World Record. You heard it here first, I like this Texas team, I think they got some real skill. Certainly the best indoor distance team in the nation.

***Downside: meet is in Nebraska Try the corn, I hear it’s delicious over there.

Heptagonal Championships
Like the uptight businessmen at a conference. They’re usually all business, but nothing's gonna stop them from having a good time in the city of sin on the company’s dime. Hey Grayson, your stripper needs more high priced champagne? Sure, it’s on the boss’ dime. Puff puff pass, Thompson, puff puff PASS!"

***I don’t know anything about this conference, only the stereotypes that I perpetuate for people who are smarter, more successful, and richer than me.

***Apparently this meet is a big deal to them.

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Mottram: Ready... For a Hug?

Mottram cruised to a 7:48 down in Australia last night as a final prep for Indoor Worlds. Or was that this morning? Maybe tomorrow morning? Don't ask me to convert time of day from the Southern Hemisphere: my brain will explode.

What I CAN tell you, though, is that he ran that 7:48 -- including a 54 second last quarter to open up the margin of victory on Shadrack Kosgei -- clockwise. Because that's how they do things down there. Regardless, he looks primed to win a world indoor title. And let me tell you: world indoor titles are sweet. I got one one time as the prize in my cereal box.


And one final note: Nick Willis fans take note of the picture at top. Looking easy while winning is all fine and good, but to really be class, one should emulate the Big Mazungo. In other words, it's all about looking positively gangly.

Good god, that man could be a 1970's ABA center.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Ph.D in Being a Prick

Interesting tidbit I stumbled upon over at RunnersWorld.com - their "Running Doc" talks about the perception among doctors that runners tend to be stubborn and have egos. And, frankly, I get where they're coming from: sometimes my pet chimp complains to me and accuses me of getting my body hair all over the couch, eating all the bananas and throwing my feces at him.

I dated a girl in college who was Pre-Med and she asked me why I thought doctors were worthless. I explained how the summer prior, I had heel pain and went to a doctor. I think it's plantar fasciitis, I said. I have really flat feet. My brother has had it. The pain diminishes a little when I stretch my calves, but never totally goes away.

He examines my foot. Says, No, you just have a worked your heel to the point of acute soreness, that's all. Let's take an MRI, though, just to be safe.

I get a phone call a week later.

Obviously, you see where this is going. But what galled me was HOW he diagnosed my plantar fascitis: I'm taking a look at your MRI. I think you have something called [speaking slowly] plan-tar fa-sci-i-tis. It often occurs in people with feet as flat as yours.

Hold on, Doc, can you give me that again? Let me get a pen so I can write it down. After reading this Runners World column, I realize that as soon as I left the room after my initial visit, this guy probably called up his buddy from med school and was like, "You'll never believe the asshole I just saw..."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some potassium-rich feces to go throw.

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APB for the Doby Crotchtangle of Running

As a nice little warm-up for March Madness, allow us to direct you to one of our favorite websites ever: Name of the Year.


Essentially, these folks trawl the Internet's high seas in search of the greatest names in the history of the world. The results are staggering: Olive McWeeney and Velvet English are lower tier names over there. So they have just begun their tournament to determine the 2008 Name of the Year. Truly these men do the Lord's work. See the early odds-on favorite, after the jump:


Meet Brian Suksomwong. Yes, you read that right. Will he fulfill his destiny and earn NOTY of 2008? (Lower-case "destiny" - not to be confused with Destiny Frankenstein, this year's dark horse.) Get over there and vote.

In the meantime, perusing NOTY got me wondering what the best name in running is. Threads at LetsRun have been devoted to entering oneself in a race under the name of a fictional character from pop culture, or under oh-so-clever made-up names like Miles Togoyet or Hugh Jass. Ha ha ha.

Well we're curious only about real people and their real, given names. We'd love to hear your nominations in the comments, below.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: US Indoors

Slow day so far, so we'll kick it off with the best part of the US Indoor Champs, courtesy our good friends over at the Associated Press.


Just as Khadevis Robinson edged out Symmonds, the above photo just barely edged out the following, for Photo of the Weekend honors:

(courtesy LetsRun.com)

Look.....at them.....go!

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Message Bored?

Sifting through the Letsrun message board is sometimes like rooting through your hamper the day before you do laundry. You have to find something that will get you through the work day, even if it isn't exactly "great".
To find that discolored and irregular diamond in the rough, so to speak, you will encounter some pretty vile articles of clothing. Some pieces are much more offensive than others, of course. Most are harmless t-shirts ("predict my time after this workout") or even slightly smelly socks ("Where to run in New York City") or even the rare jean shorts that you wore to your cousin's first communion ("Geoffrey's quest to break 15"), embarrassing but an endless source of amusement in hindsight.
Every once in a while, though, a reader can step back and see the brilliant collage of absurdity that is the letsrun message board and give a chuckle of satisfaction. After the jump, a few recent gems that I have been monitoring on the front page recently:



**Help becoming a manlier drinker

(please do not help this guy. How else will zima fund their great commercials?)

**Would you women date a 26 year old virgin?

(classic response from regular poster, txRUNNERgirl after the inevitable "you sure he ain't gay" issue comes up: "From what I hear, gay guys have a lot of sex..more than straight people." If you didn't guess already, the tx in her name stands for Texas, who knew?)

**world of warcraft

(anyone noticing a trend?)

**Christian Cantwell Drops F Bomb at Press Conference

(best quote from this whole "controversy": "He can trash talk all he wants," said (Reese) Hoffa. "While he's in Valencia, he's got to have someone to hang out with."
Hoffa in Spain as Cantwell leaves hotel room: Hey Christian man, can you pick me up a Whopper with cheese and fries while you're out?
Cantwell: Sure Reese, sure...
Hoffa after Cantwell hands him sandwich: I said with cheese mothafucka, CHEEEEEEESE!!...thinks for second...touche' Christian, you got me, you always do.)

**What percentage of 'pros' troll LetsRun?

(Some classic defensive hate being thrown around here: "how fast are you?!"..."faster than you!!" etc.)

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Monday, February 25, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: Oscars Edition

Here goes: the last movie-related post probably for the rest of LTOB's life. Or at least until next January when the only running going on is the annual JCC Race Which Shall Not Be Named 5k, held up each winter on the streets of Washington Heights. So, until the Tony Awards: putting the 2007 Oscars season to bed... after the jump...

I did a terrible job of handicapping the Oscars, woefully underestimating Hollywood's collective desire to be different. To be individuals. To be assholes, and cost me both cash considerations and an all-expenses-paid trip to the premiere of Wall-E. Which looks delightful. Also, the idiots in Hollywood gave us the biggest butchery of the cinematography Oscar since Brokeback Mountain. Until folks in Tinseltown learn that shooting broad landscapes does not equal great cinematography, they should just stop giving out this award, because, as it currently stands, its a joke. Not only was the camera work in There Will Be Blood not the best of the year, ONE MAN shot TWO MOVIES in THE SAME FUCKING YEAR that had VASTLY better cinematography. If I were Roger Deakins, the genius behind the camera for No Country and The Assassination of Jesse James, I would quit this business and go sell carpet somewhere. Utterly inexplicable.

However, the upshot of the night was that at least they got Best Picture right with No Country For Old Men. If the Academy had given it to that festering pile of self-important fecal matter, There Will Be Tedium, they might as well have just scrapped whatever pretense is left and turned themselves into the Grammys for Movies, with Oscars just given out according to the box office take of the movies in each respective category.

So, in this edition of What They Didn't Tell You, what I didn't tell you -- my Top 10 for the year...

THE BEST MOVIES OF 2007
10. Eastern Promises
09. American Gangster
08. Michael Clayton
07. 3:10 to Yuma
06. Assassination of Jesse James
05. Atonement
04. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in TWBB
03. Zodiac
02. The Wind That Shakes the Barley
01. No Country For Old Men

Honorable Mention: Once, Juno, I'm Not There
Dishonorable Mention: There Will Be Blood, Sweeney Todd

Nota Bene: I never got around to seeing Ratatouille, Charlie Wilson's War, The Savages, La Vie En Rose, 4 Months etc., Diving Bell & Butterfly, Into the Wild, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead or Norbit. Yeah, I know, probably all fine movies and some may have cracked my Top 10, but hey, if you want me to see your movie, try getting a bigger budget next time to get in some decent theaters, or try writing your script in English. (Hint: tip 2 will probably help you with tip 1)

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What They Didn't Tell You: Feb. 25th

I know there were some other things going on in track and field this weekend, but the gaze of our site and of our nation, were fixed squarely on Roxbury Community College, illustrious site of the USATF Indoor Track Championships. What they didn't tell you about the weekend, after the jump...

To be filed under, specifically, "Things ESPN didn't tell you" -- that there was a Men's 3k championship contested, never mind that it featured the #4 5k runner in the world, and saw the victor and both world team spots decided by mere seconds.

The consolation prize for just missing out on the free trip to Valencia by placing 3rd was $500, a handsome certificate stating that you are the 3rd best in your discipline in all of America, and a no-expenses-paid trip to Boston that probably cost you well over $500 to begin with.

Contrary to what their affable, back-porch rapport might have you think, Larry Rawson and Dwight Stones actually are mortal enemies and their blood feud finally boiled over Sunday evening, as they engaged in vicious slap fights during each commercial break. Stop it! No you stop it! No you stop it! I'm telling the producer! No I'm telling!

Prior to proving it with a lackluster performance, Adam Nelson publicly denied using any illegal chicken supplements.

Speaking of the throwers, you may have heard about the flap between Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa, in which Hoffa declined Cantwell's invitation to "Help out a brother, dude" by bringing one of Hoffa's own implements along for Cantwell to use. The reports, however, neglect to explain that the "128 indoor" to which Cantwell refers, is actually a code word for a massive, massive cock ring.

Those big Visa Championship Series novelty gift cards are actually just props. In truth, no money is awarded to any athletes and Lolo Jones' display of joy was actually prompted by a sudden pinch in the rear from a trackside admirer.

What the Visa Championship Series is, how it's scored or why it matters.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Forgotten Middle Child of Track...LIVE!

LTOB is ready to get. it. on. We have our cooler, our bag of chips and are sick of college basketball. We need a little track and field in our lives. Thankfully ESPN is willing to deliver some day old scraps. The only price: Listening to Luscious Larry Rawson and Dwight "No" Stones. We're Live Blogging the highlights of ESPN's coverage, after the jump...




6:59 J - I guess we just missed the 3k? Not cool. Of course, we are not so foolish as to have expected better. Oh well... that's all from us. Until next time... so long, from The Wedgie.

6:58 J -
To Adam Nelson: the gold tastes like curly fries. Just so you know. They are delicious.

6:53 J -
Larry... "normalcy" is not a word. The word you are looking for is "normality."

6:48 J -
Apparently, Jen Stucyzinskiwitz can bench press 200 pounds. I did not need to hear that.

6:40 B -
I agree, Lola Jones is the next big T & F star.

6:36 J -
Lolo Jones with a terrible start. But like I've always said -- double in her case -- it's all about how she finishes. Eh? Eh?

6:33 J -
Really not enjoying seeing Lolo Jones in her sit-down interview. Hearing her talk does very little for my appreciation for her. Eh - I'd still give her the business.

6:31 B
- Nelson loses, not evenmakes world team. Big news.

6:29 B -
Huge news, Steve Manz fouled in the shot put, I didnt want to watch the firt 5 laps of the 3k anyway, thanks for updating us on Manz.

6:22 B -
great 1500. Thought Shierer was gonna get it. Went way too early. Rob Meyers has a pretty good racket going, win indoors whenever its weak. Multiple time national champion, world team member, the James Thie of American running.

6:16 J
- Insert obligatory reference to Rob Myers' incredibly hot wife here.

6:15 J -
Gabe Jennings. Runner, lover, drummer... poet? Book signer at Barnes & Noble? What the fuck?

6:13 B -
Nelson, losing the shot put...big upset on the horizon.

6:07 B -
McWilliams giving it the old college second try. What is with Stones and Rawson's crush on Teter? I would be worried if I were Nicole.

6:00 B -
This just in, Dwight Stones loves the contact in track and field. Especially when runners are fighting over "that coveted pole" in an indoor track race.

5:57 B -
ESPN: How can we get "the kids" out there excited about the track and field. We should play a little of the rock and roll, but make sure to make it as generic as possible and play it throughout the some exciting 400s.

5:46 J
- I think the phrase "Reggie Lewis Center on the campus of Roxbury Community College" was just uttered for the 17th time. The Final Four gets in the Superdome, the Alamodome... US track gets into a small facility named after a basketball player at a community college. Awesome.

5:44 B - Nike athlete insight...this is new. Apparently, Adam Nelson likes attention, makes sense. Heres a tip from LTOB Adam, throw with a huge boner in your spandex, everyone will try not to watch, but they will.
Also, we're calling the reggie lewis center "the reggie" now, sounds a little too much like "the wedgie" if you ask us.


5:37 J - Cross highlights: You know what would really help the sport get popular? Only let hot chicks race.

5:3 1 J - Wurth-Thomas puts on a clinic. A running clinic. She credits her coach: Lance Harder. [ snickers uncontrollably ]

5:27 B - Here come the clip shows. 'Ol Rowberry (sic) pie gives that stellar 3k field a drubbing, out of nowhere. And the 1500 is off, let's watch...
More Rawsonisms to come...


5:23 B -
Ok, is there any way we could get two more square announcers for ALL of our track meets. How about we put Lawrence Welk in there. I don't think Dave Coulier is doing anything. Wait a sec, I'm on the phone with my nana right now, she suggested this guy Herm who she plays Bingo with on Wednesdays, I say give him a try.

5:17 J
- Great stretch run in the 8. "KD" by a chest hair... and yes, Dwight Stones... we DO love to see great races. Your words move in time to the beating of our hearts.

5:16 J - Rawson makes his first idiot comment saying "KD" has been the top US mid-D guy for the past 6-8 years. How many races did he win in Europe during Krummenacker's heydey, again?

5:15 Jeremy - Sorry I'm late. Doing laundry.

5:15 B - Eight hundo up first in the schedule of events I care about. Wow, Oden showing some media savvy. That was a great commercial.

5:11 Ben- Apparently they have coaxed Shamiqua Holdsclaw and Rebeccas Lobo off the court in enough time to let us watch some track.

5:09 Ben- I have always said that ESPN has decided what sports are popular for about 20 years now. Is there really a market for women's basketball? I can't believe there are people out there watching this. I guess you can't account for America's love for slow transition games and no-look passes.

5:01 Ben- I've made a concerted effort this time around to avoid results and get as close to a live experience as possible, which really only means avoiding a few internet sites for a while. Still couldn't do it. I know the 3k results. Jeremy was able to avoid it.

I just switched it on to espn2 and there is a women's basketball game on...typical. They just brought out the bucket of apples, that usually means the women's basketball game is about to over right?

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Best Movies of 2007: Call It, Friend-O

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. Below I document the conclusion of my journey through the Best Movies of 2007 with the Oscars just scant hours away...

BACKTRACKING: A directing team with plenty of misses, but sheer brilliance in their hits. A chilling trailer. No Country For Old Men.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, dir. The Coen Brothers.

Without flaw. A perfect film. One of the all-time greatest in American cinema.


Before we get to tonight's ceremony, I'll check in with my Top 10 list and my picks for the Oscars.

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Best Movies of 2007: True Fiction

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars TONIGHT, I complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007...

Keira Knightley was as beautiful as advertised. James McAvoy, less so. But would the filmmaking in Joe Wright's 2nd period drama in as many attempts be as beautiful as advertised?

ATONEMENT, dir. Joe Wright

Sadly, I just can't afford too much time on this one because bjw is hassling me to go run.

Atonement left me with mixed feelings, but don't get me wrong: really, really strong movie, and I really liked it. But in a year where I just saw good movie after good movie, Atonement completed my run through the major talking points of the season, and I was left wanting a little more bang for my buck. 2007 had terrific depth, but honestly, in 10 years how many of these films will still be discussed? How many of them will be must-have's for the old DVD collection?


Atonement may have come closest to that status, thanks in large part to an absolutely wonderful score that is great to listen to, but which also comments and even contributes to the plot. It's really an impressive achievement. But the picture, overall, is a neat little riff on post-modernism, while reveling in noteworthy performances and lavish production design... but it's not quite overwhelming cinema. Clever, creative, well-crafted, and definitely deserving of should-see status. And Joe Wright has definitely established himself as someone to keep an eye on with Pride and Prejudice and now Atonement. But in a year of really good movie after really good movie, I couldn't help but wish that Atonement made the jump into the stratosphere of the absolute greats.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

LTOB Goes LIVE!!

Just a reminder to all of our hardcore fans out there, Less Than Our Best will be Live Blogging Sunday's coverage of the USATF Indoor Track Championships.

Tune in Sunday between 5 and 7 pm to hear all of our judgements, exclamations, and parenthetical additions to ESPN's always stellar coverage.

Feel free to add any critiques or additions to our coverage by leaving a comment or two.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

This Weekend in Running: 4 Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is discovering stuff white people like. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. Since we have yet to meet anyone who knows how to correctly predict the future with any reliability, we will assume that we are the only ones who have that kind of insight. And, just as we do after every weekend no matter what we wake up in/next to, we will not hold ourselves accountable. After the jump, five things that WILL happen this weekend:


1) Ladies (who are we kidding), just gentlemen, your qualifiers for the U.S. Distance Team (in the events we care about) at the IAAF WORLD INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (we figure if we capitalize and italicize, someone out there just might get excited about a world indoor championship in an Olympic year):
Men 800
Christian Smith
Nick Symmonds
**conventional wisdom has Khadevis Robinson running away with this one, but we are not conventional, and we like beards**

Women 1500
Jenelle "Deathberry Pie" Deatherage
Sara Hall
**get you a slice!**

Men 1500
Steve Scheirar
"The Angel" Gabriel Jennings
**has VHI hybrid reality show written all over it: Where/Who are they Now?**

Women 3000
uuummmmmmmm.....thought they canceled it due to lack of athlete interest

Men 3000
Christopher Solinsky
Matthew Tegenkamp
**they finish, hand-in-hand, quietly walk to the nearest Panera Bread, and order a turkey sandwich, enough said**
2) Come Sunday, as news reports from Indoor Nationals slowly leak out, humans will finally put to bed the age old question: If a track meet is held but no one knows because there's no promotion, does it make a sound?

3) One of the two LTOB crew gets arrested for running, sans shorts, on the school rec center's new Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill. When reached for comment, we only will have this to say: "it's like climbing the rope in gym class, with air pressure...and without shorts.


4) Adam Nelson's inevitable domination in the shot put at Indoor Nationals prompts whispers that he's still getting a little special help:

C'mon Tyson - share the wealth!

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USATF Indoors: Au Natural?

Scott Bush looks ahead to the USATF Indoor Track Champs to be held this weekend:
With the big four (Alan Webb, Bernard Lagat, Leo Manzano & Chris Lukezic) sitting out of this weekend's 1500m championship race, this allows some fresh faces a chance to make a U.S. team. [...] With Galen Rupp dropping out, and all of the top college milers chosing not to compete, questions surround who else has a legit shot to make the team. My favorite questions [sic] is, can Gabe Jennings make the squad? I sure hope so...it will add flair to a second-tier collection of talent.
Gabe Jennings... hmmmm... An interesting option, as far as adding flair is concerned. But I can think of a much better way...

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Spirit of the Marathon: Boo-Hoo I'm a Runner

The documentary that has the running world in a mild state of something, Sprit of the Marathon, is having a second screening tonight nationwide. I saw it the first time and wasn't able to post my thoughts, so I'll let you know this time around.

Here is the thing I have realized about Spirit of the Marathon: It never had a chance.

Let me explain.

The movie itself is good. It has amazing visuals, a great soundtrack, and a gripping final sequence at the Chicago marathon. Professionally done throughout, the movie legitimately kept my attention, more or less.

That is my review, thanks for asking.

Here's the rub: I've seen all of the content a million times before (more or less) and, quite frankly, I'm starting to get angry with it.

All of the joggers' stories could not have been more formulaic than if they pulled them straight from the runnersworld.com forums. It is great that a woman runs for charity and that an overweight person with knee problems is able to finish a marathon (I'm honestly not being sarcastic), but I have heard it all before.

There is a possibility that media surrounding runners can be fun and unique and even genuinely interesting, without it being all about the runner's tragic life. There is a place and an audience for that type of media, but right now it accounts for about 99% of running media. Most of which, if I can be so bold to say, is little more than a circle jerk.



I certainly cannot pinpoint the reason why running media on a large scale, like that of Spirit, deals almost exclusively with the same old sadsack b.s. every time, but I know I've seen just about enough of it.


"Running is hard." "Yeah, it is isn't it?" "Yeah, I work really hard at running." " I do too." "Running is valuable and special and we are interesting and unique just because we runandblahandblahblah." And around and around.


This is why it was so difficult for me to walk away from Spirit with a good feeling, despite it being very well done.


But they do follow some pros (I hear you saying in your little winy voice).


The time the documentary spent on Deena was good because Deena is the top American female distance runner. She also has the kind of red wine personality that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Wanted more of that.


The time spent with the other pro, Daniel Njenga, was a bit more confusing. I'm certainly not saying Njenga is not relevant to elite marathoning, which some might falsely assume is the point of my next statement: Njenga is irrelevant to this movie.


There is the obvious fact that all of the people followed in this movie are Americans living in America doing a marathon in America participating in an American film which will be viewed by mainly Americans. Elite marathon racing is certainly an international thing, though, so this point on its own does not hold water.


Also, the filmmakers probably wanted to acknowledge the dominance that Kenyans have in the event that they are chronicling. Makes sense. So, they go to find a Japan-based Kenyan and proceed to include about 3 minutes worth of footage of him in Japan buying a train ticket and inexplicably opening a laptop in what I can only assume is an office building where he works (the film doesn't make it too clear). Does not make sense.


Almost all of the drama surrounding Njenga developed through 1.) the (limited) footage of Kenya (which, incidentally, was not done nearly as well as ChasingKimbia) and 2.) the fact that he keeps getting 2nd and 3rd. The film did so little with him, his inclusion just seems forced and out of place.


The point (Finally!): I'm tired of sadsacks. It's good to hear inspiring, overcoming the odds stories every once in a while, but that is not all the running world has to offer. Some good runners might actually have a fun personality with an interesting story to tell.

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Australian News: Fun with Guns/Stereotypes

Jeremy Wariner is getting some pub in Australia leading up to the first 400 of his Olympic season and, more notably, without Clyde Hart holding the stopwatch.

In a particularly interesting piece published today on the Herald Sun, it is revealed that Wariner packs heat whenever he drives around Texas. Also included in the column by Scott Gullan (Cathy Freeman's biographer incidentally) is...well...this:

Being a sprinter and being from America usually means you are black, loud and have lots of tattoos.

When will those crazy Aussies learn to put down their Foster's, leave Outback steakhouse, stop throwing more shrimp on even more barbies, and see people for the individuals they are and not stereotypes reinforced by a select few?

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Best Movies of 2007: The Truth Can Be Thumbs Up

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars now almost upon us, I must complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007 in preparation for Sunday's awards...

Michael Clayton - the movie that earned such strong word-of-mouth praise that the studio decided to re-release it in many parts of the country. Deserving? Or not? After the jump.


MICHAEL CLAYTON, dir. Tony Gilroy

I know. Who the fuck is Tony Gilroy and how does a person make a movie this good his first time directing?

Tom Wilkinson is the balls. Sydney Pollack is the balls. Tilda Swinton - sporting a mean Fupa, but still, also the balls. George Clooney demands your attention every second he is on screen, and I mean that in the best way possible. This flick, about a "fixer" at a high-powered New York law firm, is just solid, all the way around. There are few virtuoso moments of manic emotion in store for the viewer -- and the plot necessitates that I stay mum on some of the most gratifying moments -- but whoo-ee, this movie just works on you, with fine acting work, tremendous, natural dialogue, and a fascination with odd angles that often create stowaway elements, hidden until just the right moment. Like American Gangster, Michael Clayton trusts its viewer to connect the dots; to recognize when dialogue is expository and needs to be understood, and when it is simply developing character; to get into the head of a protagonist who usually keeps his own counsel, because that's all he's got.

Top to bottom: a winner.


Atonement is all that remains among the Best Picture nominees. Probably should see Ratatouille or however you spell it, too, but we'll see if we have time.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Best Movies of 2007: The Forgotten Films

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars now almost upon us, I must complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007 in preparation for Sunday's awards...

Today, we take a look at a couple of films that got royally screwed by the Academy. Granted, there are always snubs, and it's silly to get too worked up about them... especially when we've gotten to a point where just about everyone is willing to admit that the Oscars are essentially a giant Prom Queen vote. But the three following movies were really phenomenal entries into the hit parade of 2007, and I will not fail where the Academy has, in recognizing them for posterity's sake...




THE FORGOTTEN FILMS

ONCE, dir. John Carney. Finally, a movie musical I can get behind. Once -- the story of a red-scruffed Dublin busker and a flower-selling-Czech girl -- has the most organic musical numbers of any "musical" yet made, and the music itself is terrific: stuff you'd actually want on your iPod. That's thanks in no small part that the film itself grew up organically from the collaborations of the musicians directing and starring in therein.

In particular, "Falling Slowly" the first song the pair sings together, is the kind of scene you rarely find in your average movie, let alone the movie-musical which is usually content to take your $11.75 because, Hey, we're singing up here and that's enough, right? But "Falling Slowly" is shot and edited in a way that makes full use of the all properties of motion-picture. The shots, edits, and music are strikingly simple - the end result anything but. The song ends, and you are sold on these characters, this music, this movie. Sure, there are rough patches in the film -- particularly a montage or two that serve little purpose other than to beef up the run-time to a more theatrical-appropriate 85 minutes. But when this movie clicks... it sings. [nota bene. "Falling Slowly" DID receive an Oscar nom for Best Song.]

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THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, dir. Ken Loach. OK, OK. So this movie came out in 2006 at Cannes. It also won the fucking thing and didn't release in the US until March of 2007, so I would think that qualifies it for the Best Picture short-list. Superficially, this film is so simple, with restrained compositions, and lots of dialog shared in glances. Elegant, is the word, really.

The other side of the coin, though, holds the unflinching brutality of the Irish Civil War which contrasts that elegance, and the natural beauty of the Irish countryside, with bursts of down-and-dirty guerilla action, and the complexities of national (and family) politics. For example, there is a scene in which a room full of Irish patriots discuss the treaty that has been offered them by the British, with sides debating back and forth with such conviction and lucidity that it is breath-taking to watch.

And Loach just lets them talk and talk. It is wonderful - a side of the Irish political history that is all too often obscured behind the discussion of terrorism and religious intolerance. This movie serves as homage to the fact that Irish independence has always been rooted in ideals and ideas. It is that fact which enobles the struggle, and which sets the table for a movie -- and for a staggering performance by Cillian Murphy -- that is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. Cinema at its finest.

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ZODIAC, dir. David Fincher. This one actually did debut in 2007. Fincher just got stuck up the ass by his studio when they decided to release this film at the LEAST ADVANTAGEOUS TIME OF YEAR, as far as awards are concerned. Assholes.

Fincher demonstrated great craft in making Seven and the almost intolerable Fight Club. But in Zodiac he finally brings along the thematic big-stick and, paired with that considerable skill, he delivers a real wallop. Great casting in Gyllenhall, and Ruffalo, and Anthony Edwards, and Robert Downey Jr. Great writing, in the way we are drawn to empathize with political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhall) and even come to adopt the same obsession that drives him to risk his family and potentially, his life -- just to know who committed the Zodiac murders.

It is epistemology that drives Graysmith, the movie, and, eventually us, as audience. That may sound boring, and your friends who saw this movie probably told you it was too long or too slow. But the very first scene is pitched in stomach-knotting tension, and the movie sustains it until the very last. If that's not enough to get you engrossed in a movie, then there's no point in your going to the movies anyway. Just as the Zodiac murderer manipulated the police, the press, and the people of San Francisco, Fincher and his film manipulate us with pitch-perfect moods, staging, and performances.

If I ever decide to make a true-crime movie like this, mine will be about how a fantastic movie called Zodiac got totally ripped off by its studio and by its peers. Not a single nomination. That is a crime far worse than anything the Zodiac guy did.


These short blurbs do not even begin to do any of these three films justice. They all deserve rental and/or purchase, as well as a careful and devoted viewing. Yes, I know: I'm a pretentious prick. Did I mention I went to film school?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: Feb. 19th

I'm trying a new thing out today. It's a little feature called "What They Didn't Tell You" which I'll be putting up the first day of each week. Or the first day following a weekend of big racing. In it we'll sift through the storylines from the weekend that aren't getting the ink they deserve... until now.

Big weekend: Presidents' Day, USATF Cross Nationals, the Tyson Foods Chicken Invitational, and some meet over in Great Britain, no doubt spelled with extra "U"s following the "O"s, fish and chips, bad teeth, and what have you. Find out what they didn't tell you about the weekend, after the jump...

Oregon TC Elite DOMINATED Men's team race at Cross Country Nationals. Perfect score 1-2-3-4. Saying no one cares about the team race at Nationals is taking the easy way out, Lazybones.

Two thirty year-olds placed in the top 6 on the Women's side (Katie McGregor & Blake Russell). No one over 30 in the top 20 on the Men's side. Logical conclusion? Old runner men were scared of the inevitable post-race trip to the San Diego beaches, where they'd be shown up by the superior physiques of the young runner men.

As you probably know, the Razorback DMR took 3rd behind Texas and LSU at the Tyson Invitational, earning a public tongue-lashing from Hall of Fame coach, John McDonnell. What you probably didn't know is that the Razorback throwers ran down the boys from Texas in the Fat-Man-4x2 to save themselves the same indignity.

Adam Nelson threw down in winning the Shot Put at Tyson. But there was an insidious side to this story, as he did it by, in the week leading up to the meet, exclusively eating baby-fed-chicken provided by the event sponsor.

Presidents' Day was canceled this year. Yup. I didn't know it either until this morning when my boss fired me and when I asked why, he said because I didn't come into work yesterday, and when I said "It was Presidents' Day" he said, "Oh, that was canceled this year. You're still fired." Go figure.

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Best Movies of 2007: Across the Universe

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars now almost upon us, I must complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007 in preparation for Sunday's awards...

Ah, the official Love It or Hate It movie of 2007. No, I'm not talking about Southland Tales - that's the Love-Yourself-In-All-Your-Pseudo-Intellectual-Glory or Hate It movie of this past year. We're talking Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor, of Disney's "Lion King" on Broadway fame. My love (or my hate) for this film, after the jump...


ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, dir. Julie Taymor

So promising... the Beatles songbook + an appealing and talented young cast. And a cameo by Bono!

Alas, this movie is a mess, trying to alternate between traditional plot development, and a more experiential movie painting the changing moods and mindsets of its characters -- stand-ins for their generation -- with the music. The "I Am the Walrus" and "Benefit of Mr. Kite" sequences -- which abut each other -- are downright uncomfortable to watch, and kickoff a painfully boring stretch of film.

Julie Taymor shows an exceptional amount of imagination in her conception of many of the song-sequences; "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" are wonderful scenes and even "Mr. Kite" employs some pretty great visual effects. In fact, Taymor displays some of the mad genius I think may be necessary to fully pull off a contemporary movie musical. But, at least ostensibly, there are few visual motifs to draw a thematic thread through the film. And we're stuck watching 90 minutes of oft-forced-feeling MTV.

That said, Jim Sturgess could well end up a star, and the arrangements and orchestrations of these iconic songs are downright wonderful in spots -- both in the imagination and the execution. In fact, I strongly suggest just buying the soundtrack. After all, the music is what you came for anyway, right?

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Friday, February 15, 2008

This Weekend in Running: 5 Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those things is interesting chicken fight matchups, the other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. Since we have yet to meet anyone who knows how to correctly predict the future with any reliability, we will assume that we are the only ones who have that kind of insight. After the jump, five things that WILL happen this weekend:

1) Ladies and Gentlemen, your U.S. World Cross Country Team (in no particular order and excluding sore sports like Ryan Hall who are going to "sit out" Worlds):

-Dathan Ritzenhein (might seem obvious, but he has been training on his anti-gravity treadmill for the last month, and I hear San Diego... has gravity)
-Jorge Torres (remember when he was the only distance runner in a final at the 2003 world champs? what a sad sad world we used to live in)
-Anthony Famiglietti (Sly and the Famiglietti Stone, you might say, is doubtful to run World Cross... well he's also doubtful to do anything you'd expect him to)
-James Carney (how can you not root for a carney? They're the consummate underdog, they smoke, they don't button their cut-off flannel shirts in the summertime, AND they run 27:43 virtually unnoticed by the American running community)
-Andrew Carlson (NUTS. Now that I have your attention, Carlson
won the New Year's Emerald's Nuts 4 miler in a Central Park record time)
-Jason Lehmkuhle (What can I say, I like this Team Minnesota squad. The Midwest is great)
-Ryan Warrenburg(mansteinsilvermangoldburger)
-Louis Luchini (
Ryan Hall, Grant Robison, Ian Dobson, Louis Luchini, Adam Tenforde, Don Sage, Seth Hejny)
-Daniel Mazzocco (I once saw him eat a steak made out of beer cans)

2) Rupp runs 8:13, thinks of a wonderful thought, flies away.

3)
Steve Sheer, runs 3:56.04, (3:56 is the new 4 flat) beats 1 of the top three (Meyers probably, or Willis or Sullivan) scores one for us uncoached, unsupported on-our-owners.

3b) Despite running 3:55 to beat a solid field, people continue to spell Sheer’s name wrong.

4) Ugly salmonella incident mars lesser known USATF Invitational, a track meet for chickens held concurrently to the Tyson Invitational at a location on the other side of Fayetteville campus.

5) Jeremy gets rather inebriated Saturday night and, once again, confuses bjw’s bed with his own - “on accident,” according to him (again).

So there you have it: money in the bank. You can thank us later - ie. after you visit your bookie, and have something with which to thank us.


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fix Is In: NCAA Track

No, not a betting or a points-shaving scandal. We're literally going to fix NCAA Track and Field with this here little chunk of writing and a whole heap of naivete. From the Track and Field Superfan: college track should move to a "true" team championships, utilizing dual meets to heighten competition, first increasing drama, then interest, then buzz, then attention, then coverage, then exposure, then you're riding in the back of a cop car even though you've explained at least twelve times that she wanted to see it. She just didn't know it yet. jsquire points out:
Qualifying [to Nationals] is based on marks and marks alone. So unless you've got a chance to run a fast time, there's no reason to run. Even worse, running fast is more important than winning. Collegiate milers would rather run 3:58 and lose than run 4:01 and win--and any sport set up this way is going to be boring, boring, boring.
Too true. I can already hear the outcry from athletes and coaches at the prospect of doing a true "March Madness"-style championship. Too much racing! Too much traveling! Too much leveling of the playfield!

But imagine how exciting it would be - not only do you get head-to-head, easy-to-follow competitions, but the intrigue of coaches trying to use just enough of their resources to win an early round but keep their guys fresh enough to win next week. It would be quite the high-wire act and produce plenty of subplots and storylines.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stewing on Wariner's New Hart-throb

As you probably know, Jeremy Wariner has left (kicked to the curb?) his old coach Clyde Hart. In an Olympic year. bjw weighed in with probably the only voice of support. But after stewing for a couple of days on the interview with Wariner's new coach, Mike Ford, which you probably have seen already, as well, I think I'm finally able to give voice to what struck me as being a little "off" about that interview...

Dr. Track: How many races do you expect him to run prior to the Olympic Games?
Ford: I'm not sure. Other than the US Olympic Trials, nothing else has been set.
Hmm.... we are less than half a year out from the Trials, and we're still hashing out his schedule? Taken by itself, that comment is maybe a little worrisome, but not that big of a deal. Unfortunately, throughout the interview, Ford also seems kind of all over the place:
Ford: The training program we will use this year will NOT differ too much, if at all, from the program used by Coach Hart.

[...]

Ford: We will continue to do what he has been doing in the past. [...] We will stay on the plan.

[...]

Dr. Track: In the short term - this year - the major focus is the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Have any longer term goals been discussed? If so, what are they?
Ford: Everything is pretty much new, so we have not had the opportunity to discuss it.
Wait, so... which is it? Everything's the same? Or everything's new? Finally, the aspect of the chat that just baffled me were these statements of uncertainty:
Dr. Track: Will you be traveling with him when he competes prior to the US Olympic Trials? Do your Baylor responsibilities allow for this?
Ford: This has not been discussed. I expect to travel with him during "off weekends" - the weeks that Baylor does not have a meet.
So, in other words, you may travel with him when your primary job allows. Maybe. Does any of this sound like something you'd expect to hear from the coach of arguably the top athlete in the world?

I'm not taking anything away from Mike Ford's credentials or abilities as a coach -- that's not what this is about. What I will blast is the arrangement. bjw's point -- that elite athletes need less and less hands-on coaching as the gain experience -- is well taken. But if anything, a coach needs to be confident presence for his athlete to feed off of. What it sounds like to me, is that Wariner hired someone who will essentially be a workout supervisor and little more. But hey, plenty of elite athletes work without coaches. I mean, Roger Federer recently dismissed his coach and he's playing better... than... ev...

Shit.


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Ritz to Run Marathon in Beijing: 10k Spot Opens for Tegenkamp, Others

Word out of Camp Hudson in Eugene yesterday revealed that Dathan Ritzenhein plans to run the marathon at the upcoming Summer Olympics, even if he makes the team in the 10,000. This is big news for two reasons:

1.) Ritz certainly seems to have more Olympic potential in the marathon than in the 10k, if only because he will never close in 53 point, no matter how many barefoot strides he does. He can repeatedly run fast miles for a long time, though, so what the hell?

I suppose this can be viewed as more evidence of the alarming trend of ALL of America's best distance runners leaving the track for the marathon (looking at you, Frau Wittenberg), but I also suppose that the trickle down effect might work here better than it ever did in this "free" market economy we supposedly live in. Runners winning medals, whether in the marathon or the 5k (although I'd much prefer a 5k medal thanks), is going to create a larger pool of better runners. It's science, I can't explain it.

2. and most troubling) This leaves the door open for 'ol crewcut Browne to slip on to the Olympic team in the 10k. God bless us all.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tyson Start Lists Created: I Feel Like Chicken....This Friday Night!

As the title might have led you to assume, the Tyson Invitational start lists were posted today. Rather than following the link, though, you can just take a look at the highlights:

Men's College 5000 Meters

***Not sure why they tagged this race as "college" as there are three pros (Alistair Cragg, Stphen Hass (sic), and Braden Forrest) competing. Maybe they just wanted to attract a certain audience, like the "Women of the Big 10" editions of Playboy. If that's the case, then we'll definitely know where all the sweaty 45 year old dudes came from this time.

-The only thing to see here is Cragg and how he is doing at the beginning of the Olympic year. Has he finally gotten over the fact that he only has two wrists on which to put sweat bands? But, seriously, he has been quite aloof since beating Bekele and his Euro Indoor gold in 2005. Alist-where have you been? (think about it...groan)

-The field, despite lacking the big names of the Tyson 3k in the past (Amer. Record for Broe with Licoln and Tegenkamp getting very close in subsequent years, etc.), the collegiates in the race are fast. Cragg will most likely not be pushed to beat his 13:28 facility record, though.

Women's Invitational Mile


-Carrie Tollefson and Tiffany McWilliams will square off early in their build up to making the team at the trials.


-In bigger news, Reebok has found a way to harness the awesome power of Death's Rage in the form of a robot aptly named Jenelle Deatherage. Apparently, she knows how to throw down indoors, and could be using all of satan's fury on the two perennial 1500 powerhouses, to give them a slice of what they'll be eating come Eugene, "Deathberry Pie" (I reserve all commercial use of the term Deathberry Pie and 'rage cracker crust, including t-shirt, hoody, and cartoon rights for the build up to Eugene '08).


Men's Invitational Mile


-Wow, talk about your showdown of flashy potential and rock solid consistency. Kevin Sullivan and Nick Willis, in reverse respective order, both American based mid-distance mainstays from sparsely represented countries finally competing in a race where one of them will probably win. Not to mention Rob Meyers, a perennial mid-packer in his own right, might actually regain the spark he found during the 2004 indoor season.


-The real story here is Steve Sherer. A nose hair away from being a 3:55 guy (sorry Steve, but it does sound a lot better than 3:56), he will be right on the mix. This race will probably be won in 3:55-56, and he can run that on his own, so he will probably win. Why are we even running the race?
-The real story within this real story is that we may finally have a golden boy underdog come the trials. Underdog referring to the fact that he was a total unknown before he ran the 3:56, and golden referring to his bleached hair look (don't worry Steve, 2001 was a strange trip for everyone, I know).

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Beijing Olympics = Yum

You say 14-inch half-breast of chicken so riddled with steroids it would make any athlete who ate it test positive, I say More delicious chicken to go around.

Thank you, my brother, for your noble sacrifice...




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Monday, February 11, 2008

Getting Wet for Cross Nationals

As you may know, the Tyson Invitational will go down this weekend. And by "go down" I mean it will get crushed like a junior-high version of me by USATF Cross Nationals in the battle for "coolest event of the weekend."

Cross Nationals is probably my favorite race to follow each year, with the 12k distance enticing US distance runners of all different ranges to lace 'em up and get it on. This year looks to have a nice field on tap, as always. Some of the highlights, after the jump...
Ritz
Fam
Ryan Hall
Fernando Cabadapants
Dan Browne
Jorge Torres

James Carney
Jason Lehmkuhle
Josh Rohatinsky
Ryan Warrenburg
Fasil Bizuneh
Andrew Carlson
Rod Koborsi
John Rankin
Patrick Gildea

Louis Luchini
Ed Moran
Max King
Don Sage
Clint Wells
Ed Torres
What other race has such an eccentric collection of top-line American stars, talented young guys poised for a breakout race in one of the major National Championships, and veterans who very well may run terribly, but whose names still grab your attention, on paper? I mean, Don Sage and Louis Luchini might never place on the National Level again. But you see that name on the entry list and can't help but wonder, Maybe, if he's as fit as he used to be....

Those guys don't get into the small fields at Track Nationals, and that's what makes Cross Nationals great: it's a veritable smorgasbord of potential match-ups and stories. We've seen attention-demanding performances from college guys such as Matt Withrow and Josh McDougal. We've seen veterans working outside the limelight re-assert their top-dog status (see Culpepper, Alan - 2007). We've seen young bucks like Ryan Hall declare their arrival with field-tooling domination.

I wait with baited breath.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Watch You Some Running

Courtesy the (confirmed) Track Superfan, an indispensable tool for anyone looking for a little broadcast running coverage. Waaaay cheaper than buying TiVo.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's Party Time, Vinny!

Good news from the 2008 trials camp in Eugene: They're gonna try not to be lame!

Foremost among plans to take the l-a-m-e out of Lananna's fun time Trials (it's in there Boggle fans, work it out), is a festival zone in the few blocks surrounding historic Hayward Field. The zone will include a bar, interactive exhibits to keep the kids busy while daddy's drinkin', a Niketown store (surprise!), food court, concert stage for live music, and two big screens showing what is going on in the stadium.

According to Vin Lananna, the King Midas of NCAA cross country, and some guy from Nike I've never heard of, they want Eugene '08 to not just be a "well-run track meet," but rather, a "spectacle."


If there is one thing we at LTOB love, its a spectacle. From sporadically in-/de-flating balloon people outside car dealerships (Jeremy's favorite) to a Tom Green stand-up comedy show (mine), we like to look at stuff. We consider it a huge bonus if we can look at stuff for free while drinking beer and eating (frozen beer cubes), which is apparently what Eugene '08 wants fans to do.
"Festival admission will be free, which means fans without a ticket can settle down in front of one of the screens with a beer and a sandwich (ed.: beer sanwich?) and not miss a minute of the action."
This type of forward thinking blows my mind. A track meet with stuff to do other than wait for the 100m hurdles to turn into the 110m hurdles? Wha-wha-what!!! Also, the festival zone will be open after the meet to give fans a nightcap after each day of the trials.
"After the last event of the day, fans will be encouraged to hang around for live entertainment and, perhaps, mingle with the athletes."
Let me get this straight. I can go to the Eugene trials, without a ticket (they are super sold out), sit in a mini-track-fan-village outside the stadium and watch all the events on a jumbo-tron with hundreds of my closest track fan buddies, all the while drinking and eating and listening to some granola eating, Oregon hippy pluck his weathered acoustic. AND THEN, when the meet is over, I can party to (let's hope) a real musical act (fingers crossed: SouljaBoy?) while Abdi and I form a break dance circle to impress Carrie Tollefson?

DONE!

(I hope Mo Greene shows up)

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