Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Athlete of the Week - Marie Louise Asselin

The AotW for June 7th-13th is Marie Louise Asselin of WVU. Marie finished 2nd in the 5,000m at NCAAs in a time of 15:53.93. Marie ran one of the most brutally tough races of the meet, going out with Koll and Blizzari at such a pace that Blizzari cracked and collapsed into the infield at 3400m. Marie then held off a hard-charging Kosinski with a 69 second final lap. With Koll graduating, Marie will be the top returner in 2011.
Special tip 'o the cap to Marie, Clara Grandt (4th, 10,000m), Karli Hamric (6th, 1,500m) and Keri Bland (9th, 1,500m). This distance squad scored 16 points at NCAAs and secured 15th place for WVU. While Clara and Karli now move on to the post-collegiate scene, Marie and Keri will be back next year for one final push on the track.
Reminder that the WV 5K Championship is this Saturday. Last I saw, this race had over 500 registered and there is also race day registration. Should be a good week with NB Nationals, WV 5K and the Clarksburg 10K. Good luck to everyone.

Athlete of the Week - Jacob Burcham

The AotW for May 31st to June 5th is Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland High School. Over the weekend Jacob won the Beat Beethoven 5K in a stellar time of 15:39. That was an impressive win after a long track season. Next up for Mr. Burcham appears to be New Balance Nationals, where he'll run the Mile. Cam Viney (hurdles) and Dayton McVicker (5,000m) are also going to be competing. The meet runs from Thursday to Saturday (17th-19th) and will be webcast at and on Good luck to all three and a hat tip to you guys for having the stones to go to a big, out-of-state, post-season meet.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Athlete of the Week - Clara Grandt

The AotW for May 24-30 is Clara Grandt, a Doddridge County High School graduate. This was essentially a four-way tie between the four WVU distance ladies who qualified for nationals and Clara won by the trusty coin-flip tiebreaker. She won the 10,000m at the East Regional in a time of 34:29.86, Keri Bland (North Marion) qualified in the 1500m by winning her heat in 4:18.92, Karly Hamric (Preston) qualified in the 1500m right behind Keri in 4:19.98 and Marie-Louise Asselin qualified by winning her heat of the 5,000m in 16:20.43. NCAAs will be in Eugene from June 9th to the 12th.

Photo Courtesy: Michael Scott

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

W Interviews ... W

As the victor of the 2010 Fantasy Track Extravaganza, "W" has won an exclusive front page interview, conducting by... himself.

First off, are you really going to conduct this interview in the third-person?
Well, that's a great question. Yes, I'm going to. The grand prize this year was an interview by W, so I think I owe it to myself for myself to conduct the interview of myself.

I think that's a pretty stupid idea, but let's get this over with. How did you get involved at Run The Arb?
It was just a progression. I got so involved on the message board with the Best Performance List and AotW that eventually people identified me as the owner of the site. Eventually, the Casey handed over the keys to castle, so to speak.

Your choices for AotW leave much to be desired. Is there a thought process behind it, or do you just draw names out of a hat?
There is actually quite a bit of thought put into it. The choice is made subjectively, but there are a lot of race results, comparisons, opinions to compile before I award it. Because it is a weekly award, there are usually two to three comparable athletes to choose from on a weekly basis. Some times the week is a very busy week and I've having to split hairs in order to chose between All Americans. Other weeks, I literally have to scroll through random 40-people road races in order to find anyone to hand an AotW. There is a process to it, and, believe it or not, I do try pretty hard to stay neutral on the matter and not let any biases take effect.

Can you please stop some of the stupidity on the message board?
At times, I wish I could. However, users would be surprised at just which topics people consider to be stupidity. I've had both sides of a debate come to me and ask me to delete (or, in essence, censor) the other side because it was the other side that was so stupid. That's where I have to try to take a hands-off approach, aside from the few rules listed. If people want to make absurd statements that don't break the rules, refute them. Presenting some logic goes a lot further than simple deletion.

Can't you just require registration?
No, that's not going to happen. Anonymous posting has benefits that registration just can't match. Just as one example, there won't be a critical mass of posts to keep any discussion going if everyone was required to register. The board would suffocate in weeks. I do wish more people would adopt handles and stick to them. I have not posted as anything but "W" since I created that moniker. I get enjoyment out of being accountable and being a member of a community, as opposed to being a faceless anon. But, to each his own. I understand the choice to be anonymous.

Which high schoolers do you think are going to win XC '10?
Whoever works the hardest, the longest. It is nearly impossible to predict the finish of an October race based on observations in the track season. I mean, there's a five month period between state track and state cross. Smart runners are progressing during those off seasons, not getting drastically out-of-shape then working like a dog to get back into average shape by September. It's always the smart, progressing runners that screw up everyone's predictions, and it's impossible to know who those runners will be, unless you know their training. Hence, the futility of early season predictions.

Are you a quality or quantity guy?
Quantity, probably to a fault. The compounding effects of mileage are pretty amazing if looked at on a longer timescale. Speed is a good quick fix, but mileage is a long-term steamroller. The problem I run into most with HS'ers and some collegiates is that there isn't any growth in mileage because they're always trying to get back to previous totals, while racing. The training log looks like a roller coaster, and because of their racing schedule there isn't the proper time to build up to a healthy total. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice...

What's your favorite workout to give?
Probably 12x400m cutdown w/ 75sec recovery. I don't like to give it too often, but there's some primal about those last three or four quarters.

What's your favorite workout to run?
Any sort of hill workout. Usual choices are Towers hills or Arb hills. I would rather be in the Arb, but I'm just happy to do hills.

Ok, well congratulations on winning the Fantasy Extravaganza... I think you're going to be banned from prizes next year.
Thanks, just as long as I can defend my title, I'll be happy.