LessThanOurTweets

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Everything's Coming Up Us!!

As you may or may not have noticed by now, one of LTOB's videos from our Boston trip has made it from our humble blog to the front page of the uber-popular letsrun.com. This marks a bit of a "milestone" for me in my life, actually, as being on letsrun.com was one of the many things that I wanted to do before I died.

You see, the day I turned 15 years old, I felt a stinging during urination. Since I had just finished my Catholic high school's mandatory sexual education course, "For Everyone. Abstain. REALLY!" or F.E.A.R. for short, I knew that such stinging could only be the result of sexual deviance. Or, since it was me as a 15 year old, the thought of sexual deviance.

Anyway, I was sure that my young life was soon to be taken by some mutant, indestructible form of syphilis. As such, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do before I died. As you can see, I'm still working on most of them but, thankfully, it turned out you can't get syphilis from thinking about something, so I have plenty of time. The complete list is after the jump.


Click list for closer look


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Ritzenhein ALLEGEDLY Racing Healthy Kidney 10k


Apparently, it has been asserted that Dathan Ritzenhein will allegedly be racing in Central Park for the Healthy Kidney 10k on May 17. (the crack staff of LTOB lawyers have required we use such noncommital language whenever dealing with this sort of "news item." We got into some real trouble leading up to the 8k championships field that eventually dropped from "a whale of a field" to "a bloated sea lion of a field" in, like, a few hours.)

Joining him will be that Brazilian guy who came out of nowhere to win the NYC marathon in 2006 and the guy who won the last IAAF world half marathon championship. Yes, I've been told they allegedly have names too: Marilson Gomes dos Santos and Patrick Makau of Kenya.

Also, and perhaps most interestingly, Andrew Carlson ("AC" to his friends and the guy who
writes the bib numbers) will be prowling the roads once again after his super impressive 1st and 2nd place finishes on back to back weekends in the USATF 15k and 8k championships. We are very curious how he will do against what will probably be a fast pace in what might be called a "second-tier" international field. That's fair right?

I wonder what his plan will be for the race. Oh, yeh:
PAIN.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: Penn Relays

We recently had a spate of gnarly leg muscle photos, but I have to say, this week's Photo of the Weekend takes the cake, to the point where there was no Runner-Up close to worthy enough to share in its glow. Post-London, Ryan Hall had a cucumber sheathed in his leg. But this young fella here seems to have a cauliflower tucked up in his thigh.


I can't even pretend to know what that muscle does. Maybe it's a goiter or some sort of cancerous lesion.

I mean, that's a real humdinger.

It's got me stumped, personally.

He really should get that examined, or at least looked at by an expert. Someone who will know what to do with it.

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VIDEO: Boston, Day 1 - City Tour & Puma Party

VIDEO BELOW

Here it is: Less Than Our Best's EXCLUSIVE coverage of Boston 2008. On our first day in Beantown, please allow us to escort you around the city. That evening, witness our attempt to crash the "exclusive" LetsRun/PUMA Party... all in an effort to get YOU an inside look at all the action.


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VIDEO: Boston, Day 2 - The Trials

Here it is: Less Than Our Best's EXCLUSIVE coverage of Boston 2008. On Day 2 of our excursion we take to the streets to dish the dirt with our fellow fans, learning who they liked to win the race, and also, what they REALLY think about the marathon as a spectator sport...

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Monday, April 28, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: Penn... and Beyond

THE WEEKEND for all you relay lovers. You got your Penn, your Drake, your Hillsdale "Gina" Relays. Apparently Oregon is trying to get in on the act, but, as ben said Friday... too far west. Probably were some local high school races running relays as well. No time for all that, now - straight ahead, all the news from this past weekend, including What They Didn't Tell You.

At Penn Relays, Jamaican high school Calabar clocked a 40.74 to win the 4x100, a time which would have put them ahead of all but 12 college teams, as well as tied a relay team of Canadian pros, who competed in the USA v. the World competition. The lesson, as always... Canadians should stick to making bacon.

Hillsdale "Gina" Relays produced a 1500 that was downright "sizzling" with Nate Brannen falling to Boaz "the Lesser" Lalang, 3:37 to 3:38. The lesson, as always... Canadians should stick to making bacon.

Overall, the Hillsdale "Gina" Relays once again showed an ability to put together solid races, even on one of the most stacked weekends of domestic track. However, Drake Relays and Penn Relays will continue to call it the Hillsdale "Vagina" Relays, when they are all in the locker room together after gym class... due to the meet's steadfast refusal to drop that embarrassing, embarrassing syllable from its name.

NEWSFLASH - there is this site called Facebook. Have any of you heard of it? Meantime, have any readers heard of this new thing called the Internet? I hear it's gonna be huge.

Alan Webb, who had pulled out of Drake owing to some ailment or other, played video games all weekend. Just thought you'd like to know.

And finally, also at Penn, Texas swept the Men's Mid-D/Distance Relays, winning the 4x800, 4xMile, and DMR. They are now just 10 relay-sweeps behind Villanova, and the lesson, as always... Canadians should stick to making bacon.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Fearless Predictions: Relays Edition

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is learning what Zach Galifianakis thinks about physical comedy. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. Here's a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

PENN RELAYS

1) Teams like Villanova, Georgetown, Michigan, Arkansas etc. will care way too much about if they win or not. They REALLY love this meet. Like, a lot.

2) Villanova will snag the coveted golden cheese steak (I'm assuming that's what they win) in the DMR and the 4x800, making them the toast of Philadelphia, which is roughly equivalent to being the best dancer at your 50 year old aunt's wedding (Yeah, people are impressed but you aren't getting any action out of it because the only people there are your cousins and old people).

3) Bill Cosby, an annual relays attendee, talks to some kids and it. is. hilarious.

THE DRAKE RELAYS

4) Teams like Northern Iowa and Iowa will care way too much if they win or not. All they get for winning is a sissy-looking pennant that they have to jog around the track with. No golden cheese steak.

5) The relays sell out for the one hundred billionth year. When reached for comment, Drake, Iowa official historian and lifetime resident Earl Foldershoes, 96, had this to say about the popularity of track in the quiet midwestern city: "We like track here almost as much as we like corn and, WWWhhoooo-WWWwweeee do we like corn. Corn on the cob, corn salad, corn meal, corn mush, corn ribs, we like it all. I could go on all day about how..." and that's when I stopped listening and went and got some corn ice cream (a Drake Relays staple!). I had a craving.

6) After news that Alan Webb dropped out of the men's mile, meet directors shame him publicly by forcing him to walk a lap on the track wearing a Nebraska sweatshirt in front of the packed house of rabid Drake fans. Let's just say it turns out ugly, there are some places a corncob should never be forced.

HILLSDALE "GINA" RELAYS

7) The showdown of three fromer world champs/Olympics qualifiers in the 1500 (Nick Willis, Nate Brannen, and the long-forgotten Grant Robison) will be one for the ages! Willis wins in 3:41, looking easy, Brannen close behind in 2nd, also 3:41, and Robison finishes seventh in 3:45. In future retrospect, I suppose that is not quite "one for the ages," rather, "one to be forgotten very quickly and very easily."

8) All kidding aside, they have really turned this "Gina Relays" into a super credible event, especially considering the competition for athletes from Drake and Penn. One day, I hope they decide to provide more than 5 toilets and a few rolls of toilet paper for all of the athletes. A nervous runner's bladder is nothing to underestimate.

SOMETHING OUT WEST?

9) Hahahahahahahahahaha! You hippies are TOO funny. Like we really care about anything that goes on out in la-la land (except Mt. Sac and Stanford meets...And Eugene meets. And the Real World. But other than that? HA!).

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday Weekly Worldview With Wjake Wkrong: Cheruyiot, Willis, Kournikova

In case you haven't noticed, if it isn't American male distance running, it probably isn't going to get written up by ben or Jeremy. (Excepting, of course, easy-on-the-eyes female runners of any discipline... RRRRarrr... "discipline"....) So in an effort to broaden our coverage, we are pleased to give you urbane traveler-of-the-world, Jake Krong, of Lets-Krong.com, and his "WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORLDVIEW WITH WJAKE WKRONG." We swear that picture of him will change to coincide with the nation he's reporting on... but given what follows, safari-style dress, continues to be appropriate.

When a major marathon is on a Monday, everything gets pushed back a day. Plus, for all I know, its Wednesday on the LOST island. [Challenge for LOST fans: figure out if that is true]

This week I'm adding another "W" and bringing you the first Weekly Worldly Wrapup. I'm not out on assignment right now, but there is still plenty of news to report. Here are the three most important items, spanning the globe from Kenya to New Zealand to Russia / Florida.

Kenya - Cheruyiot's "Meat is the new bread" nutrition plan proves to be successful once again
at L: RC taking down the second biggest name in the Boston elite field

All of the international running attention is on Kenya this week, as Robert Cheruyiot successfully dodged the competition to win his 4th Boston Marathon. I was more impressed by RC's post-race comments than his actual race:
"For me, it was better to kill them before. When the lion wants meat, he has to kill."
Not always true (sometimes they are fed candy through cages), but he raises a good point - American runners are too friendly. Even if they actually like each other (it really seems to be quite an incestuous circle among the elites), they should at least make the effort to throw some trash talk out there (Alan Webb is the one exception).

New Zealand - Not much going on there, but the previous quote made me think of Nick Willis
We all know that Buster Mottram is distance running's Charles Barkley when it comes to soundbytes, but Nick Willis is beginning to make his own mark as a somewhat politically incorrect wordsmith:
"It would be fantastic for me to get his scalp"

"It's really important for me to get some scalps of the best guys in the world."
He's really driving the point home by mentioning scalping foreign competitors twice in the same article. That's meaty!

In other admittedly random New Zealand running news, I loaded the new Flight of the Conchords album on my iPod this afternoon (not fantastic running music due to the high potential for constant laughter). In one episode last season, Bret used "having to go jogging in the morning" as an excuse to NOT have sexual relations with Lisa.


Russia - Anna K runs sub 30 4-miler

The former tennis bombshell dropped a 29:59 at the South Beach Triathlon. Luckily for us, she was born in Russia, which is not part of the United States. And that gives me a perfect excuse to link these photos.

Anna knows that is she is going to break 29, she's going to have to keep working on her "cucumber hidden in the quad" a la Ryan Hall.









Jake Krong is a
LTOB columnist and the creator of Lets-Krong.com

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: Boston & the Women's Trials

Before the start of Monday's Boston Marathon, someone wrangled up a really cool little photo-op of the top 3 placers in the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials, which were held Sunday, along with women's pioneer and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist (marathon) Joan Benoit Samuelson, who raced Sunday, clocking 2:49:08, good for 90th. And at age 50, mind you. Of course that kind of photo journalism is going to win Photo of the Weekend.

They are holding the Olympic torch because, L to R, that is your Olympic Team, with Blake Russell (in red) serving as alternate. What's that you say? Samuelson wasn't top 3 at the Trials?

Oh right - our runner-up for Photo of the Weekend honors actually documents that story, capturing Benoit-Samuelson just moments before the ugly incident that moved Russell off the team.

Turns out "Joanie" wasn't so satisfied with just participating on Sunday, and, as you can see here, came to Monday's start -- how do you say? -- "packing." There was a scrum, shots were fired, and when the dust cleared Benoit Samuelson had her ticket to Beijing. Apparently.

Just prior, she had been heard saying, "I'm no geek off the street. I know how to handle the steel, if you know what I mean."



[ both photos Victor Sailer/PhotoRun.net ]

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lance Armstrong Apparently Runs Boston, Shoots Hoops


You would think a guy who has undoubtedly spent an average of 4 hours a day in spandex would not be so bashful with the traditional short shorts of marathoners. You would be wrong.

When asked about the untraditional bottoms after the race, Lance quipped, "I ain't wearin' on that fruity shit. Who do I look like,
Larry Bird?"

Also curious about Lance's marathon experience was the finishing tape that he ran through despite not winning the race. Some in the running community were confused/outraged about the presence of said tape for the 496th finisher.

What those people don't understand is that Boston brings out a special finishing tape for the 496th finisher every year because 496 is one of the few perfect numbers and, let's face it, those smug Bostonians think they are way more perfecter than everyone else.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: Women's Trials & Boston

A HUGE weekend in running with the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials, the Boston Marathon, and a ton of other action both in and outside of races. I guess it stands as no surprise then, that some things were bound to fall through the cracks in the mainstream coverage of this weekend's events. Less Than Our Best even traveled to cover an event for the first time, and so, we -- for once -- actually kind of know what we were talking about instead of just making shit up. Most importantly, we had front-row seats to witness all the stories that aren't getting ink. Find out What They Didn't Tell You, after the jump...

On Sunday, in the women's marathon Olympic Trials, Deena Kastor spent much of the race well back in 2nd, before throwing down on the final crit-course lap to catch and pass Magdalena Lewy Boulet, and take first place. Reports alternately said that Deena was not 100% comfortable, and implied that she assumed Lewy Boulet would eventually come back to her. But in reality, the gap opened up when Kastor stopped for a spell to ask one of the race marshals where she could buy one of those sweet, sweet Segways.

Longtime race leader Lewy Boulet was quoted as saying that for a moment she actually thought she was going to win the race. A field sobriety test later confirmed that, at that moment, she was still highly intoxicated from the previous night's LetsRun/PUMA party. Which only made her still-excellent run more impressive.

As reported, the crowds on Sunday were also quite impressive. The flip side of the story, though, is that race organizers had been telling Bostonites for weeks that Sunday would be a special Red Sox "Costume Game" for charity. The plan worked to perfection, as thousands of locals turned out, all too drunk to catch on. To wit: as Samia Akbar passed by, one person was overheard slurring, "Wow, Manny has great legs under those baggy pants. Go Sawx!"

That person may or may not have been Boston resident Matt Taylor.

Monday, in The Boston Marathon proper, the second biggest name in the field ran 2:50:58. While that is well off Lance Armstrong's PB of 2:46:43 run last fall in New York, this still has not stopped co-workers across the country from asking you if that time was good enough to give him a shot at the win. [ Feel free to retort: "Yeah... in 1899!" And then slap them. ]

Mt. SAC was going on this weekend. No, that's it. I don't think I saw a single story on it in any publication. (PS. McDougal got housed.)

Robert Cheruiyot won his fourth straight Boston this morning. What they didn't tell you is that for the past three years, Boston organizers have been sending him the following entry literature:


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Back Home in the Center of the Universe...

We survived. Barely. Boston'll chew ya up and spit ya out. And talk funny. Suffice it to say, we arrived home very late last night pretty much exhausted. We'll get to "What They Didn't Tell You" a little later in the day, after the Boston Marathon has wrapped up. So for now, some quick tidbits from the Boston weekend:
  • Boston Pour House >>> New York Pour House aka the Chach Mahal. $5.50 for what's essentially a double beer. Cheap burgers, too. Not the best selection of beers, per se, but all things considered, a pretty passable option, right across the street from the Prudential Center/Convention Center. The fact that it didn't feel like a giant all-inclusive frat reunion was a major plus, too.
  • The trains in Boston are weird - some are only two cars long, and everyone riding them talks funny.
  • In the Women's Race, Deena caught Magdalena pretty much right in front of us, and despite that happening on one of the most sparsely-spectatored parts of the course, it was still an exciting, semi-electric moment.
  • It was a great weekend for an out-of-towner visiting for all the running: gorgeous weather (Ben got his trademark pink nose from all the sun) and Boston makes this little marathon they have going, really seem like a big deal.
Check back later for a full wrap-up on the unreported stories of the weekend. And our video documentation will be leaking out throughout the week.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boston, Day 1: It's Been a Long, Crazy Road...

After a comedy of errors in our long trip from LTOB headquarters to the heart of Boston, we have decided to lay our head down for the night. Since we didn't make reservations in a hotel, "laying our head down for the night" really means its time to get serious about finding some chick to hook-up with.


Needless to say, the Puma party exceeded expectations for white guys and percentage of guests sporting running shoes with their jeans. It also was the setting for a wicked break dance battle between letsrun's brojos and a team of NYRR prez Mary Wittenberg and Chasing ______'s Matt Taylor. All I'll say about it is that one spectator described Ms. Wittenberg's worm as "tasty," whatever that means.

We'll be back tomorrow, I just spotted some low-hanging fruit teetering over a cosmo at the bar. Wish me luck.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

BOSTON BOUND!

No, we didn't run sub-3:05 or whatever it is to qualify to Boston - although my co-workers tell me that's a "really REALLY amazing time, and might even get you into the Olympics." Rather, Less Than Our Best is driving up simply to experience the excitement of our SECOND Olympic Marathon Trials in six months. That's hardcore, huh?

As you may have heard, LetsRun and PUMA are teaming up to throw a little shindig. Unfortunately I guess our essay didn't make the cut to get in, so we're going to have to get creative and find an alternate way into what is rumored to be the biggest bash Boston's ever seen.

So check back over the weekend for updates. And tell your friends that early next week everyone can expect full (video) documentation of everything you missed out while sitting at home.

PS. Let us know if there is anything you'd like to see from the weekend, and we'll do our best to deliver.

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Fearless Predictions: "Park ya Caahh in the Yaahhd" Boston Edition


We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis." The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. Here's a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:


Ladies and Gentlemen, your USA women's Olympic marathon team:

1) Deena Kastor. I don't know if the word lock properly describes how automatic this is. How about, "Patriots in Super Bowl XLII?" Oh wait... Maybe not so automatic. No, never mind, it's a lock.

2) Kate O'Neill. Was 3rd in the intense heat of Chicago this past fall. Grew up in Boston. Went to Yale. Is most likely very Irish.
Has a pretty famous cousin. I think we can all agree she's in.

3) Elva Dryer. She's been to the Olympics before, right?

In Mt. SAC action...

4) Khadevis Robinson runs 3:48 in the slow heat of the 1500. Inspired, Jeremy Wariner hops in an 800 heat and runs 1:48. Doubly inspired, Tegenkamp sets the American record in the 10,000 with his 27:08. Triply inspired, I go on an ether binge that takes me into next Tuesday. Finally, everyone on the message boards get their wish.

In Boston action (LTOB will be there over the weekend to taste their beans, we hear they're pretty good)...

5) The fact that the splooge-fest that was the London marathon went down last weekend combined with the anemic-at-best elite field at the Boston marathon on Monday, makes me less excited for the "grand-daddy of them all." (Yes, if by grandaddy you mean oldest, slowest and most out of touch with the times of all the marathon majors, then yes "grand-daddy" it is). Therefore, my prediction is that I get caught by my boss watching the live feed at work on Monday, making LTOB my full time job and an abondoned refrigerator box my full-time residence (thanks Maytag!).

6) While in Boston this weekend, Jeremy and I,
two men from opposite sides of the law, go undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles (read: Matt Taylor) are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities.

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Great News in USATF CEO Search!

This morning, Scott Bush's US Distance Running blog brought to my attention a juicy little tidbit: the USATF has hired a search firm to find them a CEO, and whose firm did they hire? Drumroll..... KATHY GRIFFIN'S.

Now, it's a scientifically proven fact that women tend to be -- how do you say? -- not funny. But Kathy Griffin defies science. Her stand-up, her work on the red carpet, her appearance on the Anna Nicole Smith Show's Christmas special.... all exemplary.

Hopefully she will use her Hollywood connections to help the USATF make a big splash with this very very important hire.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Runnerville: If Pope Benedict XVI Were a Runner...

I'm introducing a new, and potentially regular feature over at Runnerville today. You might recognize the format, as it had it's birth here at LTOB. It's called "If [BLANK] Were a Runner" and this week, our chosen figure from current events is the 67th Pope,* His Supreme Classiness Benedict XVI.

Let us know over there if you think it should stick...

*Denotes rough estimate.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday Weekly Worldview With Wjake Wkrong: Costa Rica, Part Dux

In case you haven't noticed, if it isn't American male distance running, it probably isn't going to get written up by ben or Jeremy. (Excepting, of course, easy-on-the-eyes female runners of any discipline... RRRRarrr... "discipline"....) So in an effort to broaden our coverage, we are pleased to give you urbane traveler-of-the-world, Jake Krong, of Lets-Krong.com, and his "WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORLDVIEW WITH WJAKE WKRONG." Jake's final dispatch from Costa Rica is after the jump.







This is not the track where elites train; possibly because the surface is asphalt.

When my last column went to press, I was in Costa Rica working on the Nery Brenes profile. I wasn't having much luck locating him, or anyone that knew anything about him, so I switched up the game plan and set off in search of 2:17 marathoner Jose Luis Molina. My big mistake was putting that information in the public domain. The "Costa Rican Bob Kennedy," it turns out, wanted nothing to do with me.

They wouldn't let me go inside these gates!

Less than three hours into my journey to the country's high altitude region, I was robbed and lost all my possessions. The dream of meeting JLM was over.

Who was behind this international crime of passion? There are three possibilities:
  1. Ben - he was clearly upset that I scrapped the Nery Brenes project, and there's no better way to get back at your new guest columnist that to hire a group of Columbian rebels to jack his passport, clothes, and money in a 3rd world country.
  2. Bob Kennedy - In 2004 I met Bob Kennedy several weeks before the NYC Marathon and wished him good luck. He tallied a DNF and has been plotting his revenge against me ever since.
  3. Alberto Salazar - he didn't want me to find out about his secret brother
After bumming around for a few days, I finally got a new passport and was able to fly back to the USA. While waiting in the San Jose airport, I picked up a copy of the local newspaper and saw the following headline: "Four Tico Athletes Headed to Olympics in Beijing." All the information about Brenes I needed was right there in front of me, in an article by some jerk named Peter Krupa. Calling Brenes "the most renowned among Costa Rica's Olympic hopefuls," Krupa reports that Nery's training includes 10 speed sessions per week (that's 1.428571 PER DAY!) and his coach is named Walter SALAZAR (which probably means he has access to some type of upside-down underwater anti/ultra gravity treadmill). It also turns out that Brenes' training location was about 15 minutes away from where I had spent several days. Perhaps I should have picked up a newspaper at the beginning of my trip.

The volume of speed workouts and a coach named Salazar have forced me to reevaluate Brenes' chances in Beijing. I'm going to make my first LTOB Fearless (Guest) Prediction and declare that Nery Brenes will finish in the Top 8 at this summer's Olympic Games.

If he gets there.


My spanish is a little dodgy, but according to the article, Costa Rica doesn't have enough money to send all FOUR of their athletes to China (they also have someone in triathlon, rifle shooting, and taekwondo) , and they are currently looking for sponsors. Hey, feel free to contribute all that cash you bastards stole from me to the fund!

With my Costa Rican voyage complete, I received my next a
ssignment in the mail yesterday:





Jake Krong is a LTOB columnist and the creator of Lets-Krong.com

Who was the culprit in "The Costa Rican Job" starring Jake and a moustachioed Edward Norton?
pollcode.com free polls

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: London Marathon

This weekend's Photo of the Weekend comes to us all the way from the far side of the Atlantic. Ryan Hall throws down a 2:06:17, earning respect from everyone except the kind of folks foolish enough to keep snakes as pets. I think you know what I mean. As evidenced in the Photo, Hall knows what I mean, too.














The runner-up photo was, in fact, snapped just one moment later, and narrowly misses weekly honors...




What I find most impressive about both of these pieces of photographic craftsmanship, was how the photographer was able to, ya know, capture something that Hall was saying verbally in a still image with no sonic accompaniment. Now that's talent.












both photos courtesy Photorun.net

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LTOB's First Annual Night Out With the Nets


Every once in a while, the minions of writers that contribute to LTOB, and live in our basement closet, are set free for a night out on the town in a pre-planned, shoddily supervised activity. It raises morale and allows said minions to do something other than constantly refresh the letsrun message board. We do have interests outside of races and professional wrestling scandals after all. A brief recap (and video) of the night are after the jump.


Last night's activity was a trip across the Hudson to that smelly cousin of New York City, the kind of cousin who used to always ask you to come over for a sleepover after family functions and look at his penny collection while snacking on cold garlic bread and grape-aid. You know, New Jersey. We went to see the New Jersey Nets game last night and boy was it average.

The highlight of the game, as always, was the fan cam. It caught yours truly in the act:




If you look closely at the end, you can see Jeremy in his red shirt laughing smuggly at me. He's always judging me. It was a night of celebration, what can I say.

The other highlight was the short intermission between the 3rd and 4th quarter. The players on the court had just heated up from totally to mildly disinterested as the 3rd quarter buzzer sounded, and then all hell broke loose.

Literally: All. Hell. Broke. Loose.

My vision was just blurred enough from the empty wallet's worth of beer that I had consumed and everywhere I looked there were cheerleaders, dance teamers, huge wolves with guitars, ALL either throwing or shooting t-shirts out of big cannons!

There were even, and this is the best part, t-shirts parachuting in from the top of the arena.
Everyone was going nuts. It was like someone we all were rooting for just won the super bowl.

(We're looking at you, Eugene. t-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts, coming at us from all angles. We love that shit.)

And then the game ended and someone may or may not have won.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: London Marathon Weekend

You know, it's easy to sit around here and make jokes, acting all disaffected as the world of running plays out its little dramas for us. But you know what? Sometimes a performance demands the respect to be treated as the achievement that it is, and not undermined by jokes. This weekend, one American athlete gave us just such a performance, so, after the jump we dig into that sterling, inspirational performance to place it in a historical context and celebrate it for the accomplishment it is. It's What They Didn't Tell You - Serious Edition.

Chris Derrick. Wow. 13:55 for a high schooler. That's some serious shite. Check these numbers out:
  • 7th American high schooler to break 14-minutes.
  • 5th American schoolboy all-time behind Rupp, Lindgren, Ritz & Pre.
  • To my knowledge, neither Ritz nor Rupp achieved their marks in HS-only competition, as Derrick did.
And, that's about it. Not much else to say about the weekend.

Well, except for the fact that Flora, the title sponsor of the London Marathon, is a manufacturer of margarine (pronounced mar-gar-EEN, over there) and that the margarine-eating-contest they held in conjunction with marathon weekend saw an American actually take down a whole field of Africans. Until Ryan Hall throws shit down in Beijing, THIS will be the victory I savor.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Live Blog Beer Bash: 2008 London Marathon

Less Than Our Best proudly presents our first ever Live Blog Beer Bash (its like watching it normally, but with dick jokes!!) We will be following the London Marathon and, let's face it, we mainly care about Ryan Hall. Enjoy, and don't be shy, crack open that Zima that you've been eying and make sure to throw in a comment or two. We're going to get started around 4am Eastern (mens' race starts at 4:45) or whenever we stumble home from the bars tonight.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Fearless Predictions: File Your Taxes Edition

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is Larry Legend dropping rhymes. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. Here's a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1) Ryan Hall wins the London marathon in 2:06.14. After the most intense LIVE BLOG BEER BASH in internet history, we hold a special Champagne toast at LTOB headquarters (you're all invited) at approximately 6:51am Eastern Standard Time. Afterwards, Jeremy proclaims: "Let's keep this party going...You're ALL invited!!" No one is there except the old Greek guy that cuts my hair down the street. I am able to get half a Budweiser tall boy down with Mr. Popadopolis before I pass out in a gutter. With a smile on my face.

2) As Hall makes his way toward the finish line in London, victory well in hand, the following picture is snapped and runs in all American Newspapers Monday morning, creating much hostility between the English and USA.



London Marathon champion, Ryan Hall, left hanging as bitter Britons refuse to give it up.
(thanks to reader "Seth" for this tip)

3) At approximately 6:52am EST, letsrun.com explodes the entire internet. It is never mentioned again (neither letsrun NOR the internet). The last person seen in the message board, a man simply known as RunningArt2004 describes the final scene in the popular forum as "chilling" and "boners galore"

4) In other action, some people race at the Sea Ray Relays and some other places. No one is impressed.

5) Inspired by the Golden Boy's performance in London, American youth put down their footballs and basketballs and pick up their heart monitors and inhalers. American 20 somethings quit their high salary business jobs to live in the woods to train full time and chase their dreams. American Moms and Dads of adult children collectively groan, roll their eyes, and go bankrupt.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ryan Hall = The Future... NOT

The hype for London is in full gear (ha ha ha, get it? wait, that references a joke I haven't made yet). And at the center of it all is folks saying that Ryan Hall is "The Future."

Ummmm, you sure about that, pundits? Look, Mr. Baldini, you may have won the Olympic Marathon, like, back in the pre-electricity days, but you clearly do not know anything when it comes to science, fact, or scientific fact. You want to see the future? This guy is the future:



He is bio-mechanically flawless. He has successfully harnessed the energy from the sun's rays. He has a man in a white lab coat to assist him. And... he has laser eyes. From New York, to London, to Boston, to Berlin... humans had better GEAR up (GET IT???) because the robot marathon invasion is coming.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't Miss LTOB's Live Blog Beer Bash: London Marathon

Most American running fans are excited about the London marathon on Sunday. How will our Golden Boy Ryan Hall fare against the world's best? They cannot wait to watch the race when they wake up Sunday morning (WCSN will have free video on demand!).

The hard core fans, though, they are going to bed early. They will forgo the ignoble debauchery of a Saturday night, just like they have done so many times for Sunday morning long runs or races. They will peel themselves out of bed at 4 o'clock Sunday morning with a fresh cup of coffee and plain bagel in hand. They are to be commended for their commitment.

Your good friends at LTOB are committed too. We are committed to peeling ourselves away from the physical embodiment of bad decisions that we have been chatting up all night, just in time for the gun and one of the most intense, beer-goggled, all-nighter live blogs you have ever witnessed.

So, come Sunday morning/Saturday night, be sure to keep LTOB open in one window while your watching Ryan Hall do the robot down the streets of foggy London-Town. And don't be afraid to make that coffee a little Irish. But keep the bagel plain, don't kid yourself.

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Wednesday Weekly Worldview With Wjake Wkrong: Costa Rica

We are very very pleased to announce, as part of our re-design, a new addition to LTOB. In case you haven't noticed, if it isn't American male distance running, it probably isn't going to get written up by ben or Jeremy. (Excepting, of course, easy-on-the-eyes female runners of any discipline... RRRRarrr... "discipline"....) So in an effort to broaden our coverage, we are pleased to bring aboard a new correspondent: urbane traveler-of-the-world, Jake Krong, of Lets-Krong.com who will be writing "WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORLDVIEW WITH WJAKE WKRONG." His second dispatch is after the jump.

Costa Rica Track & Field - Where Nobody Knows It Exists!


In my introductory post last week I mentioned how LTOB was sending me overseas on assignment. What I did not realize at the time was that I would not be reimbursed for any of my travels. I always thought that when you are a field reporter that kind of stuff was covered. Jeremy, however, assured me that even writers for magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Track Fancy pay their own way. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

I should briefly explain what its like to be a guest columnist at Less Than Our Best. You would think that there would be limitless freedom to write whatever you want, but that is not the case. There is a lot more structure involved. Ben sends you an envelope in the mail with an index card. The card simply states the destination, topic, and deadline. Here's the card I received on March 26th:


I really thought they were sending me to the World XC Championships!

So on the 29th of March I made it through Philadelphia Airport alive (no small feat) and was on my way to Costa Rica in search of Nery Brenes. You may be thinking, who is Nery Brenes? I was too. It turns out that Brenes is greatest medal threat Costa Rican Track and Field has ever possessed. And that is not saying much.

Bear with me while I recap all of CR's Olympic track history in a few sentences (that's all it will take), just so we're all on the same page. In 1972, Angel Perez Rafael was the first Tica athlete to participate in the summer Olympics. He didn't actually run, though, because he was intimidated Steve Prefontaine's mustache and blinding self-confidence. Then Jose Luis Molina came along, and rocked the country's distance running scene for over a decade, dropping a 14:09 5K in Barcelona, 2:17 marathon in Atlanta (24th place overall), and a 2:20 marathon in Sydney. Many Central American track experts (3 of the 4) have labeled him the "Bob Kennedy of Costa Rica," a world-class runner lacking the domestic competition to push him to the next level.

Back to Nery Brenes - at last year's World Champs in Osaka, he shaved a full second off his PR, running 45.01 for 400m. At the Indoor World Champs last month, he finished in 4th place (I assume he must have beat out guys like Jeremy Wariner in the preliminary rounds, since I didn't see many of the big names in the finals).

For the past few days I've been traveling around the country getting the local opinion on Brenes' chances at the Beijing Olympics. No one I've encountered yet has even heard of him. Costa Ricans, it turns out, are a lot more passionate about soccer (or football, as they call it, which has been very confusing for me) and surfing. I've heard some stories about this really cool long distance stage race down here, but haven't figured out the location of Nery's training camp.

I still have a few more days to locate Brenes, but I'm thinking of changing the plan and looking for Jose Luis Molina instead. Bob Kennedy, after all, is my favorite runner, so I wouldn't want to pass up the opportunity to meet the Costa Rican version. Plus, I've always wanted to know what it feels like to finish 39th at the Sydney Olympics. So my next stop is Cerro Chirripo, because I have to assume Jose still lives at altitude.

Sorry for going way over my 500 word limit. Check back next week for the thrilling conclusion of my Costa Rican Odyssey (with more pictures).





Jake Krong is a LTOB columnist and the creator of Lets-Krong.com


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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: Road Racing Etc.

Apologies to running fans everywhere; Photo of the Weekend honors went to the Kansas Jayhawks as they celebrated a well-earned NCAA Championship, with what is, I must say, an attractive piece of hardware.

A very very close runner-up is the trophy from this past weekend's Carlsbad 5k, which was won in 13:34 by Terefe Zewdie. It can be seen below:


Slightly nosed out for this week's honors because it's only slightly less handsome than the NCAA trophy. And also this weekend we have a rare honorable mention because, well, just c'mon...


There's a word for that. Onions.


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OMG, Webb DNF! WTF?

OMG you guys. Can you believe this? Alan Webb dropped out of the Carlsbad 5k this past weekend after running like super crappy two weekends ago at the NYRR 8k. WTF? Are you guys like totally freaking out or what?

This is totally not a good way to start an Olympic season you guys. Totally. I am like super worried.

Webb is totally training all wrong. How fast is he doing his tempo runs? Too slow I'm sure. He needs to do more hills. More mileage. Work harder. He needs to be stronger. Tougher. He's totally worthless. I hear there's a 15 year old in Iowa that just ran 4:20 by himself on a windy day. Now THAT is a guy we can root for.

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Nice Offering By Reid Coolsaet

Reid Coolsaet (13:21, 27:56, for you 'Mericans that don't know nothin') reports in from Flagstaff, Arizona on his blog, painting a pretty cool picture of international fellowship and really, really fast running.
Last Sunday we had a good group for our long run, Mike Smith, Fasil Bizuneh, Abdi Abdirahman, Mo Farah, Rob Krar, Steve Osaduik (Oz), Eric Kiauka, Eric Gillis and myself. Gillis, Oz, Krar and myself put in a solid 2hrs and covered 30km on Woody Mountain road as the others went a little shorter.
There is can be no doubt about the destination on their run: IHOP. Hey, what are pancakes, if not the Great Uniter and the Ender of Wars?

Now: if I could just figure out what that "175km" he talks about a little later on, means.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: April 7

Nice little weekend of running with the 10k-er down in Richmond and the 5k-er out in Carlsbad, and the beginning of the legit outdoors NCAA action. After the jump, find out What They Didn't Tell You...

Alan Webb dropped out of Carlsbad citing cramps, or something. Real reason? Scared of bats.

Abdi won the USATF 10k Champs over Ben's nemesis (OCC) and a few others. Shades of ESPN and the Men's 3k at USATF Indoors, though, as they didn't tell you THAT THIS RACE WAS EVEN FREAKING HAPPENING.

A substitute teacher won a "Dash For Cash" bonus by making his almost 3 mile head start stand up against the pros. Before the race, Abdi had a laugh with the contestant, saying, "When you see me coming, you better run for your life." After the race, Abdi stabbed him to death.

The whole Webb-Steve Scott connect leading up to Carlsbad generated lots of ink, what with them being the current American-record holder and the AR-holder emeritus, respectively. Generating no ink? The Jeremy-Steve Scott connect: he's my dad.

And in another father-son story,
The Browns became the first father-son tandem under the 4:00 barrier for the full mile, snatching that honor away from Sam Bair, who clearly had long-suffered some sort of mental block, which was, we have learned, caused by fear and a childhood trauma. Now if you believe the papers, with the Browns claim officially on the books, Sam Bair now has no purpose in life. But if you only knew...

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Friday, April 4, 2008

LTOB - The First Half Year... in Pictures (30 per second, in fact!)

Today we wrap up our little week of retrospection with a trip down memory lane... to a simpler time: September, 2007. The video below documents many of the behind-the-scenes-stories of what goes on -- when we're working on the site -- behind... the... scenes. I wish I could be more illuminating.


Think of all the things that never make it past six months of life: cut flowers, certain infant endangered animals, a delicious hot dog. Now, we can officially look those flowers and animals squarely in the eye and say, Ha! We BEAT you! As we move into our second half year of life, celebrate with us... with a look back...

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Half a Year of LTOB in 9 Moves or Fewer...

As we begin our 2nd-half-year of existence, we thought we'd put together a little crib sheet for anyone late in joining the game. It's a little cheat sheet of who we are. Just mail us $24.95, and we can even have it printed microscopically onto the side of an unassuming-looking pen, for you to use during the test. (Magnifying viewfinder disguised as water bottle is just $49.95 and will be necessary to read the printing.)
And, our inaugural post:

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This Weekend in Running: Fearless Predictions


We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is a relaxing game of tennis. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1) Now that we know who is actually racing in the US 10k champs this weekend, here is how they will finish:

1. Alan Culpepper (he loves coming out of nowhere to win non-track US championships)

2. Abdi Abdirahman (he loves waiting until everyone has sufficiently forgotten that he is one of the best US distance runners ever, then resurfacing at the US track champs and in Europe somewhere to run 27:22)

3. Fasil Bizuneh (he loves participating in road races and finishing near the front)

4. Fernando Cabada (he loves youtube)

5. Matt Gabrielson (he loves the Mall of America, probably)

2) Alan Webb accidentally eats a candle at the pre-race banquet, wins the Carlsbad 5k the next day, thousands of high school kids seek medical attention for excess wax consumption.

3) The Stanford Invitational 10k this weekend will result in a staggering number of PRs. Skeptical, the Cal track coach finally rememebrs to bring his measuring wheel, takes a lap around the track with it, proves that the track is actually 380 meters. No one listens to his shouting it from the rooftops. It's don't ask don't tell over there at Stanford.

***Special Predictions for Less Than Our Best as we enter the second half of our first year:

1) This weekend's "Half-Year Anniversary Celebration Party" is going to be a complete success. If you're asking "where's the party?" Here's a hint: In my pants. Jeremy was not invited.
1b) After no one shows up, I can the "pants" theme and decide to
have a
"Monster Bash." Dracula doesn't show up. Bitch.

2) The LTOB staff will eventually get so influential in the running world that, drunk on their new power, they decide to make the beer mile a new Olympic event in 2012. Todd Williams comes out of retirement and wins Gold.

3) After luring Jake away from
Lets-Krong just long enough, LTOB swallows Lets-Krong.com and does away with all 'Lost' posts (Some of us are trying to get through it on DVD and don't appreciate the spoilers).

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New Addition: Weekly Worldview














We are very very pleased to announce, as part of our re-design, a new addition to LTOB. In case you haven't noticed, if it isn't American male distance running, it probably isn't going to get written up by ben or Jeremy. (Excepting, of course, easy-on-the-eyes female runners of any discipline... RRRRarrr... "discipline"....) So in an effort to broaden our coverage, we are pleased to bring aboard a new correspondent: urbane traveler-of-the-world, Jake Krong, of Lets-Krong.com who will be writing "WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORLDVIEW WITH WJAKE WKRONG." (Obviously, that will typically go up on Wednesdays.) Please allow him to introduce himself after the jump...


About a month ago I was approached by Ben and Jeremy about writing a guest column for LTOB. I'm actually not 100% sure who I've been communicating with all this time, as the two of them seem to share an e-mail address, which I find a bit strange. I'm all for the open group shower, but not necessarily on board with the open e-mail account. Sometimes you need your privacy.

Regardless, I was recruited by Less Than Our Best is to keep you up to date with the most important happenings in world of running outside of the United States. It's an Olympic year, after all, and because Benemy proclaim to be "borderline xenophobic in the lack of attention we pay the international running scene," I agreed to join the team over here. We were supposed to make the partnership official at the 8K Champs a few weekends ago, but they either didn't show up or ditched me; I'm still not exactly certain of what happened.

Now, don't expect my columns over here to be full of the same type of robot/LOST/shirtless-athlete nonsense that my posts at Lets-Krong contain. I've already been given a few very specific topics to cover by my editors. For my first article, which will be posted next week, LTOB actually sent me out on assignment last week to a foreign country! I can't really give the details of where I'm headed to right now, but think for a second about what the biggest international running event over the past few days was... needless to say, I'm really excited for the chance to do some first-hand reporting from overseas!

If you have any news or tips that might be helpful for this column, feel free to start your own blog.





Jake Krong is a LTOB columnist and the creator of Lets-Krong.com

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