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This race put Albemarle on the national scene in a big way.  Back in 2009, Garrett Bradley, Zach Vrohovac, Luke Noble, and Anthony Kostelac, set the 4x800m national record at the Penn Relays in front of a crowd of 50,000.  The great thing about these four boys is that they worked hard day in and day out, had complete confidence in themselves, and had a blast competing.  With these three things they were able to reach all the goals they set out in front of them.  Now your goals could be different at this point but there is no reason you can’t reach your own goals if you work hard, believe in yourself, and, most importantly, have a lot of fun like these guys did.  As Buz always says, Tradition Never Graduates.

A week ago, the Albemarle boys and girls track & field teams competed at the 5A State Championship in Newport News.  Though there were plenty exciting, great performances by Albemarle athletes, including many all-state performances and a state championship by Kathryn Mayo in the 800m, the event that stood out maybe the most to me was the boys 4x400m.  The foursome of Kevin McCarthy, Noah Gregory, Dacarai Clark, and Rooney Turay finished 3rd in this race, which was the first all-state performance in the boys outdoor 4x400m since 1982 and the highest finish since at least 1978.  But what made this race so special was how well each runner competed.  You could tell they were giving everything they had and it was incredibly exciting.  Nothing displayed this effort better than Rooney's anchor leg where he split a blazing 49.8 second 400m!  We could not have been prouder of these boys..

This week's race video is of maybe my favorite race of all time.  It is the last four laps of the 1972 Olympic 5000m final.  This race is famous because it features the American distance runner, Steve Prefontaine, or Pre.  Sadly, Pre died in a car crash in 1975 at the young age of 24, but even 40 years later, he is still considered by many to be the face of American distance running.  


Some of this popularity is due to the achievements he accomplished on the track, as he held every American record from 2,000m to 10,000m when he died.  But, most of this popularity is due to the attitude he brought to his races.  Pre approached every race with the belief that he would win.  A race was a test of how tough someone could be and he believed he was tougher than anyone.  This extreme confidence basically allowed him to believe he was "limitless".  (One of the movies made about his life is called "Without Limits.")


Though this race doesn't necessarily have the ending you hope for, it is my favorite becuase of the way Pre races it.  He races on instinct and with confidence.  In hindsight, some say he raced stupidly, but I love it because he is just out there competing in the truest sense of the word.  He is running with one thing in his mind.  He will get to that finish line before anyone else in the field.  I love it!  Leads to an incredibly exciting last four laps and an impressive finish for a young 21 year old against the best in the world. 

This week's video once again showcases some of America's best distance runners but unlike Pre's race last week, this video is much more relevant to all of you, especially the guys that were on the team last year.  On Saturday, UVa's own Robby Andrews, who came out to our practices at Panorama twice a week last season, finished 2nd in the 1500m at the USA outdoor track and field championships.  Since Robby finished in the top three, he will be representing the USA at the World Championships in Beijing later this summer.  


Enjoy the race!  It's pretty exciting.


It's great to see Robby's hard work and patience paying off. 

This week's race features three of the word's greatest distance runners of all time racing the Great North Run, the 2nd largest half marathon in the world, and it's quite the battle.  Haile Gebrselassie, the oldest of the group, previously held the world record in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and the marathon with times of 12:39, 26:22, and 2:03:59 (4:43/mile).  Kenenisa Bekele currently holds the world records in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters with times of 12:37 and 26:17.  Mo Farah won gold in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in the most recent Olympics.  These three runners have won a total of 7 gold medals between them.  



For this week's video, we are back to watching one of Albemarle's very own.  This is a video of Adam Visokay winning the 2012 indoor state 3200m title.  For those who don't know, Adam graduated from Albemarle in 2012 as one of of Albemarle's most decorated runners of all time.  He was multiple time state champion in track and a national runner up in the 2 mile to Edward Cheserek, who now runs at Oregon and is halfway through the most dominate NCAA career of all time.


Adam has continued his running career locally at UVa as one of their top distance runners.  He is the perfect role model for everyone on the team as he began his career at AHS on the developmental squad for his freshman year seasons of Indoor and Outdoor track.  His 1600m PR at the end of his freshman year was 5:07, but through four years of hard work he was able bring his 3200m PR down to 8:56, 4:28 per 1600.  Like the four Albemarle runners in the first video of the week, Adam was able to reach the top of the sport through working hard everyday, having complete confidence in himself, and having a blast competing.  These are the three things all of you should be striving to achieve everyday with this sport.  


**Video begins with 1600m (8 laps) to go**

This past Friday was the annual Herculis Monaco track meet.  This meet is one of the most famous meets in the world and always offers some of the fastest times of the year.  This year the meet exceeded expectations with great race after great race, with the 1500m races as the most exciting.  


At the international level of track and field the mile distance is hardly run as most meets, including the Olympics, run the 1500m.  This distance is also known as the "metric" mile.  On Friday, Asbel Kiprop of Kenya ran away from the very competitive men's field with a time fo 3:26.69, the third fastest time ever!


On the women's side, Genzebe Dibaba ran maybe the most impressive race I've ever seen.  The women's 1500m world record has long been considered one of the most untouchable records in track and field.  To give you an idea, the world record of 3:50.46 was set in 1993 and since 1997 no women had run faster than 3:56.  That was up until last week when Dibaba ran 3:54, and less than a week later, Dibaba set the world record in Monaco with a time of 3:50.07, which converts to a 4:08 mile!


Lost in the excitement of the world record was Shannon Rowbury's American record time of 3:56.29.  What a crazy race.  Enjoy.

This week's video is slightly different that week's past because it's not a video of a race.  It is instead a video of a workout.  Flotrack is a running website that posts runnign videos and stories.  It's a great website to use to follow and learn more about the sport.  I love it!


Every Wednesdy, Flotrack posts a Workout Wednesday, a video of pro or college runners doing a workout.  This specific workout is BYU doing tempo intervals.  It's basically the exact same workout we've been doing each week.  I love it because this shows how we are doing the same thing as great college teams, like BYU who finished an impressive 6th at NCAAs the year this workout was run.

Last week, the video of the week was a Workout Wednesday video of BYU completing a workout.  The workout they did was basically the exact same on we did this past Wednesday.  Coach Coop had the great idea to video tape our workout and make his own Workout Wednesday.  Hope you enjoy!


I've loved the attitude you guys are bringing day in and day out, especially on workout days.  It's going to pay off.

This week's race fits so well with many of the things we talked about at this week's team camp.  It is a video of Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley competing over the last few miles of the 1982 Boston Marathon, also known as the Duel in the Sun.  This race is one of the most memorable moments of our sport's history.   In the race, the underdog, Beardsley, tried to take down Salazar, who was the best in the world at the time.  Salazar stupidly did not drink water through out the 26.2 miles and pushed himself so hard in the race that he was rushed to the ER to get an IV of 6 liters of water.  


Check out the excerpt from a Runner's World article on the race that describes what Beardsley and Salazar are feeling at mile 21 of 26.2.  To give you an idea, the video starts around  mile 21.  


"After watching the early part of the race on TV, and discovering that an extraordinary contest was in progress—two runners, stripped down to bone and will, relentlessly moving down the streets of their city—the citizens of Boston turned out of their houses to witness the finish. Fathers lifted their children up on their shoulders and told them to pay attention, as an estimated crowd of two million turned out to watch some part of the 1982 Boston Marathon.


Beardsley had come off Heartbreak with Salazar breathing down his neck. The crowd pressed so close there was barely a path to run through. They were screaming so loud he couldn't hear himself think. He couldn't feel his legs. They seemed to belong to somebody else.


Twenty-one miles into the 86th Boston Marathon, and he was running a stride in front of the great Salazar, who must be hurting, too. Because if Salazar wasn't fried, he would have blown past him by now.


Five more miles was unthinkable. Beardsley decided he'd just go one more mile. That would be easy—or at least possible. Stay ahead of Salazar for one more mile. After that—well, he'd think of something.


He couldn't feel his legs. One more mile.


Meanwhile, Salazar was hurting. Shards of pain splintered up from Salazar's left hamstring. Sometime during the last few miles he had stopped sweating. His singlet had stiffened, as if covered in dried blood.


All that mattered now was not losing. That made things simple."


For this week, we are back to the track for the 2008 US Olympic Trials 800m.  I was lucky enough to be able to watch this race in person and, to be honest, it might have been the most exciting and loudest sporting event I've ever been to.  This is coming from a Virginia Tech football fan who has been to countless Tech football games and is very proud of how loud Lane Stadium can get. 


The 2008 trails were held in Eugene, Oregon at University of Oregon's Hayward Field, which is also known as Track Town USA.  Three of the men who were in contention for the top 3 spots going into the last 100 meters all lived and trained in Eugene.  Nick Symmonds and Christian Smith were professionals on the Oregon Track Club and Andrew Wheating was a sophomore at the Universtiy of Oregon in only his third year of running.  Over the last 200m the crowd realized these three runners had a chance to finish in the top 3 and qualify for the Olympic team which created an environment were everyone in the crowd was getting louder and louder.  


Click to check out this 2nd video which was taken from a seat very close to mine to get a better understanding of how loud the crowd grew.

This week's video of the week is the first one that is of a cross country race.  It's a video of the 2013 Footlocker National Championship.  This is the annual championship race run in San Diego in December that decides the individual national championship.  It might be the most prestigious race of the entire year and usually has all the best runners in the country racing in it.  


This is definitely a very exciting race but it's obviously pretty long as it is a full 5k.  If you don't feel like watching the whole race skip to the 11:30 mark of the video to watch the last 5 minutes of the race.  


Make sure to check out the down hill running around the 15 minute mark.  This is how all of you should be focusing on using the downhills.

American Ashton Eaton, also known as the best athlete in the world, just set the decathalon world record at the World Championships in Beijing.  The video posted is a highlight of his last event, the 1500 m, which he had to run in 4:18 to set the world record.  Going into the last 200m it looked like Ashton did not have a shot to get the time but he closed in a crazy fast 29.6 secs for the last 200m to get it done.  He is as good as it gets when it comes to being a tough competititor. 


The decathalon is made up of 10 events and they are competed over two days.  The order is 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110 meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters.


Ashton's marks in each even are listed below:


100 meters - 10.23 secs

long jump - 7.88 meters (25.85 feet)

shot put - 14.52 meters (45.96 feet)

high jump - 2.01 meters (6.6 feet)

400 meters - 45.00 secs

110 meter hurdles - 13.69 secs

discus throw - 142.19 feet

pole vault - 5.20 meters (17.06 feet)

javelin throw - 63.63 meters (208.76 feet)

1500 meters - 4:17.52


The farther or faster you go in each event the more points you recieve towards your total points.  


Click this link for an awesome interview with Ashton.  What a great guy!

The 1500 meter is known in the track world as the metric mile.  At all international championships the 1500 m is run isntead of the mile, and, In my opinion, this is the greatest 1500 m race of all time, Hichem El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat.  It has the two greatest 1500 m runners of all time, at least according to their personal bests, and it has maybe the most exciting last 700 meters of any 1500m race.  And this doesn't even take into account that it's the Olympic Final and Lagat and El Guerrouj are each trying to win their first Olympic Gold to cement themsleves as the all-time great.  

Going into this race, El Guerrouj's personal best is 3:26.00 and Lagat's personal best is 3;26.34, which are equivalent to 3:42.42 and 3:42.79 for the mile, respectively.  


The race goes out conservatively and tactically, like most championship races do, but the last 700 meters is blazing fast.  Enjoy!


Note: A few years later, Lagat would become an American citizen as he had moved to the United States in the 90s to go to University of Washington and has continued to live and train in the US since college.  He know is considered one of the best American distance runners of all time.

Alan Webb is the most famous Virginia High School runner of all time.  Maybe the most famous high school runner of all time.  He's a legend.  As a senior at South Lakes High School, Webb broke Jim Ryun's high school mile national record when he ran 3:53 at the Prefontaine Classic.


There's two things I want all of you to notice from this race.  The first thing is how smart Webb runs.  He runs his own race and is able to focus on that.  This is the key to his success as he avoids going out way too fast.


The next thing is how Webb does not put a limit to what he can accomplish in this race.  To give you an idea who's in this race, Hichem El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat who were the two from our video last week, were in this race.  Imagine being a senior in high school and lining up against the two of the greatest milers of all time.  It did not faze him one bit.  


Enjoy the race!  It's one of the best.

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