Wisdom to Change and Secrets to Success

My last blog I summed up why I crashed and burned at the biggest meet of the year. As I was relaxing in the hotel that afternoon before I was headed to the track I had endless, “I wish I would have done it this way” ideas pop into my head. Most of these are no brainers, I’d like to share what I learned from my experience. Finally I’d love to contribute to the world some of my personal “secrets” that have continued to help me succeed.

runninghard

Mid hard workout with Kristen Rohde. You need lots of these bad boys to succeed on the track, but timing is everything

The attitude -“Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run.” “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. These quotes are great when you are mid-race and need to gut it out, but dangerous if you take it to heart daily and just ignore red flags. Being stone cold and trying to stick to an ideal plan on paper while disregarding all reality of a given situation is a recipe for disaster! Sometimes that dumb horse’s leg breaks and they have to be shot. Don’t let it happen to you. Thankfully I haven’t been shot yet, but that’s only because I’m disguised as a human. (Besides my broken leg occurred during a soccer game, no stress fractures to date!)

What I Need to Improve On/You Might Too

😣 Communicate with your coach!! Pretty much a given, but even when you are ashamed of how you handled life’s challenging situations or embarrassed by how you’re not able to recover, the only way to improve your situation is honesty and speaking up. I was just trying to be submissive. I wanted to suck it up and not cause any more drama saying I needed another day or 3. I had taken endless days off in the winter from my illnesses, so I had made up my mind that somehow I HAD to hit every workout or I would be subjected to more feelings of “you are always missing workouts, you are not going to hit any goals” from thoughts and voices of others.

😣 Listen to your body! It doesn’t matter how tough you are, if you are constantly pushing through brick legs, it is telling you- “You are ridiculous. No, a 3 day taper at the very last second leading up to your race is not going to solve your endless dead legged/energy zapped problems!” Once again, even if it looks terrible on paper to have another random day off, it’s better than showing up and barely getting your legs to come off the track. Besides, you also look ridiculous, especially around actual professional athletes getting their workouts in on the same track.

😣 You can’t cheat distance running. I cheated last year and got away with zero long runs and pretty minimal mileage– I would imagine in the 50’s at the max but I didn’t even keep track (that is also my next goal-keeping track without obsessing). This season I rushed into speed work again without the standard “base training phase”. Once you get past the year mark, especially when your pregnancy hormones have dissipated; there is a law that states your previous years and years of long run base are gone. Good luck trying to walk normal on your recovery days, you will NOT handle the high volume workouts so well this time around.

😣 Cross train! To runners it seems terrible to have a “0” miles day in your log, especially if you sweat for over an hour and even worse- you didn’t even get to workout outside. It can be pretty heartbreaking to see your weekly mileage suffer as you still are putting work in… but it does feel pretty dang good to use different muscles. Even better if your right side is way more sore than the left from favoring it in the steeple or turning left way too often. It can be so much more effective than “recovery runs” when even 9 minute pace makes your legs feel like they are actually screaming so others can hear.

😣 Forget your past seasons and trying to measure up to them. You are in a constant revolving state as a human, and it is unrealistic to think that just because you did something last year, it will automatically mean you can do it again or better. Try to be in the moment and respect life’s constant changes. Stop obsessing about PR numbers and splits- remember its more about competing. If you compete well, the numbers will come.

Post PR Season Syndrome- noun. The belief that you will run each important race in any future season as fast or much faster than your PR and anything less is failure. Leads to impatience, unrealistic expectation, rushed fitness, obsession of splits, forgetting about racing. End results: frustration and severe disappointment. Athletes who have struggled with it: See Alan Webb and Julia Webb.

Another separate fact related to my event-

The women’s steeple has evolved. The days of sub 10 being a wow factor are over. The US Women’s level of competition has finally caught up to the men. Men have been competing since 1900, women are only in their 14th year since the NCAA offered it (and only 2 Olympic Games opportunities). It took a 9:48 to qualify for the finals this year, and there wasn’t even a World Championship team spot on the line. Compare this year’s final to the Olympic Trials only 2 years ago (even tougher and not all of the top US competition even showed up!)SteepleTrialsUSAs

For this year- Letsrun.com preview pointed out that a quarter of the field (7 women) had a 12 second PR or faster in the 2014 season going into the race!  Emma Coburn just set the American Record a week ago with a 9:11.42. Back in 2001 when I ran a 10:50 as a freshman at the D3 national meet, I remember getting an email stating “you have ran the 63rd fastest time in the world”. That time now ranks 900,293 (jk). This is all a good thing, but a reality check for myself!

Back to my own journey training/competing-I obviously had multiple areas to work on. The good news is that I was highly success in many areas that have previously been a struggle- and I have made a habit to solve a few of my other training mysteries this year. Here’s what I have to share.

My Successes and Wisdom 

H2CNuun

Running for Nuun Hood to Coast Team was very beneficial – met the people behind an awesome company and got me hooked on their products

👍Hydration with a coffee addiction I am in love with Nuun! I use it when I’m headed into a longer run or dealing with hot weather.  Great when I get that need to hydrate, but the more water I drink, the more I pee. I have tried Pedialyte for severely depleted states (but a miracle can’t be bought for $5.95). I have cut back my coffee consumption down to once a day-12 oz max and ONLY if I have a run planned within the next few hours. 

👍Iron levels Proferrin is awesome- a heme source that is highly absorptive in which you can take at any time! My ferritin levels used to be terrible- we’re talking max high teens even while supplementing. Now they are comfortably over 30. I also take advantage of any sleep disturbances (3-5am) with an extra dose of ferrous sulfate and vitamin C. This is the only point during my waking hours I have an empty stomach.

👍Eating “Bad” Food - I have to constantly remind myself in training that when the intensity and duration increases, you need some mega calories to keep the fire burning. It can be tough when you’re appetite is off or you’re finishing a race late at night. Many runners can get caught up in eating way too healthy (guilty). The best solution to unknown fatigue (when you visibly have not been gaining weight) is a day of pigging out. I usually feel the best in workouts or runs the day after I thought it was unnecessary to add on a late night desert with zero “healthy” ingredients.

I struggle with eating enough when I’m not working out. I am not at all inclined to eat a lot if I haven’t earned it. I cannot stand being tanked up on energy knowing I don’t get the outlet to move. I believe it’s from the irrational fear I’m going to turn into the size of an average American overnight if I start enjoying the feeling of laziness associated with eating (sorry Jim Gaffigan- view “LAZY” here).  I’m always at my healthiest weight when I’m running the most – I have no restrictions and feel good about eating cookies and ice cream.

👍Being lazy When and if at all possible the choice is to do something strenuous (aka taking your kid to the zoo) vs non (laying on the ground while you’re kid gets high quality entertainment walking on top of you). If you are deep in training and/or there is an important race coming up- choose non. I love rollercoasters and rides. Yet I have only been to a theme park on 2 occasions since I started running 14 years ago (that’s pretty sad!) I associate that with standing in line all day in the hot sun eating funnel cakes and having dead legs for about 2 weeks. I’ll take up my thrills of going on the monkey bars and swings at the local park, saving myself 10 hours of exhaustion. I have to add another Jim Gaffigan clip – Disney Land – he is so wise.

JojoMomma

My favorite time to bond. Laying on the ground time.

I learned from the pro – Alan Webb. He’s got this covered and goes to great lengths not to move when/if at all possible between training sessions. True story- during his achilles injury we went to the Holocaust Museum in downtown D.C. and he opted to be pushed around in a wheel chair. Since my daughter loves the swings, last trip to the park he brought a stool.

Alanbeinglazy

The master staying off his feet – waiting for the Max downtown PDX with portable chair

👍 Music amazing addition to your run to boost your mood. Especially those days when you don’t feel like moving. I finally upgraded my playlist and I can’t tell you how well running with one good song can change your day. The key is to not overdo it as the “amazing” factor takes a dive after each consequential use and you get sick of your fav songs.

👍Treadmill (vs stroller all the time)- Finding a gym with cheap childcare has been life changing (Check out 24 Hr Fitness)! For non parents, finding a treadmill surrounded by mirrors is also very helpful to monitor and correct form flaws.

👍Low Fiber Diet – We’re talking right a day or 2 leading up to race day. I had huge success with keeping my time in the bathroom minimal on race days and what shouldn’t be- is a big relief to me! I completely back off from excessive fruits, vegetables and the dozens of weird ingredients they put in “healthy” energy bars and foods. (Flax, chia seeds, inulin fiber…) So much easier not having to scramble to find a portopotty for the 5th time in the past hour just as you’re about to line up.

👍Nerves I really enjoyed each race day and had another successful year without the race day dread/nerves to waste my energy on. The combo of fiber and nerves have been historically the worst thing to sabotage my race day potential. I credit maturity and the reality check that my running results don’t really mean much to anyone except me. Yet I can be very hard on myself, so I do fear how I’ll react when a race doesn’t go well!

👍Painful track sessions did not scare me. I used to get anxious all day if I knew a tough one was coming. Worse with racing. Another reason why my nerves have subsided. I somehow seemed immune to gut wrenching pain of the hard sessions. Doesn’t mean I didn’t have to hide near the bleachers yelling obscenities  at myself to toughen up before I appeared to toe the line before the next. Thanks Chappelle Show! My theory – when you’ve grinded out workouts for so long, and you are getting older, you realize that pain in that format is a gift. It won’t be long (relatively speaking) til you are forced to retire and someday you will eventually even die. I still had the fresh memories of not being able to workout in the winter months. That pain is way worse!

👍Laughter and Love- You need it to survive life during hard training (or being a human).  I am so lucky to have my family and friends! I love you Alan and Jo Jo! I also need Portlandia, Jim Gaffigan, and all ridiculous comedy without swearing every line (or I start cursing too). Think Dumb & Dumber, Billy Madison, Napoleon Dynomite and preferably edited versions of Chappelle Show.

👍Alcohol – Another one in the feel good category. “I will never discourage you from a drink” – Alan on the subject of me consuming it. Basically I am much more mellow and likely way more fun to be around. It only takes a pathetically small amount. We’re talking like 4-5 oz of wine a couple times a week. If I get through the whole glass or a single beer, I’m past the necessary point (which makes sense based on weight). You get the desired effects and you’re good to go the next day without hangover symptoms. I have yet to do a beer mile, and would probably take 45 minutes.

👍Jesus – He’s right there with alcohol (only kidding). My personal promotional stance on God’s only son is that you need Him. You can have the longest, most successful career, do all the things right without self destructing like I do, and in the end, it won’t really mean much if you don’t have something to bridge the gap between here and the afterlife. When running fails you, it leaves you feeling empty. I know it has done that to me and I know there’s a purpose behind it. I accept that as God calling me back to reprioritize my life. Alan has influenced me heavily- that walking the walk is way more important than talk. Still it doesn’t hurt to mention it. There are so many people who don’t put much thought into concept that faith could/should (in my opinion) be something to be taken seriously. I just want to send a reminder that maybe it should matter. In that regard my role models in the professional running world would be Nick Willis, Meb Keflezighi, Josh McDougal and the Halls (Sara and Ryan).

Netherlandschurch

Cool fact- Mass is essentially the same in any country, only a different language. This was in the Netherlands.

Those aren’t all my secrets but a large sample of what I have found to be working. I’m hoping there is a next time for me to get a quality track season in so I can use my new found knowledge toward PRs, but I have to look at reality. I’m at the point in my life where I’m ok with taking a step back and focusing on what’s necessary for my family – finding my place and putting my energy into a new career. In the mean time, I’m living each day to the fullest and taking advantage of all the running I can get in while being ready for a life altering/ necessary change for overall good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Season Recap

“SERIOUSLY? Did I just RUN THAT?!” Yeah, in perfect conditions, optimal race situation to PR, at the biggest meet I could possibly hope to qualify for, a chance to prove I deserved to be there, no nervous breakdown, mindset of a champion and I had NOTHING.  I’m finally addressing what my last blog had hyped up- US Outdoor Championships- the steeplechase in late June. We’re talking 10:16 here- 20 seconds from the minimal time goal and 12 spots away from the place goal I had set. (Without shame: prelim results. Women steeple seriously dominated this year and I have much respect and appreciation for the true pros in the sport. Final results – all 13 women under 10!)

BTCgirls

With my Bowerman Track Club teammates Carrie Dimoff and Kristen Rohde- representing in the 10K

It wasn’t a total surprise after the physical symptoms of feeling zero desire to move forward had set in during the past 3 weeks. Yet I still thought by default of inspiration and a few days rest I could at LEAST improve on my 10:02 at Portland Track Festival (in the middle of that 3 week phase). My mind was right on par for success, with belief and knowledge on what and how to do it. At about 300m in, it was clear that I was in the real life version of the dream where you are running in slow motion. I know I just run for fun, but part of me really wants to be 100% productive with each race and take advantage of setting new PRs (especially since many of my track PRs are relatively weak)… It didn’t happen in my final race and it should have been obvious I was headed for a crash.

My final mega volume, mind-blowing (for Julia Webb) workout result occurred the final Sunday in May. I had dug so deep in the final 2 mile “tempo” after legitimately setting personal bests from 600-400-300-200m. My digestive system was a mess, I wasn’t processing foods to help my tired body, inadequate sleep (blaming that on Joanie) and other stresses all factored into why I couldn’t quite recover and by next week Wednesday’s workout I was still fried. My projectory up in fitness and moved south to down. My “get fit quick” plan from my gigantic lack of base training (missing crucial months leading up to the track season), was just not gonna cut it to survive consistent training at that level. But I had to do something. It was day 4. Don’t want to lose fitness here*.                                         (*common runner mistake thinking)

My coach was unavailable during that Wednesday workout and by rep 1 I was feeling zero pop, but able to muscle through it. Each rep I was continuing to feel the strain but able to rely on my persistence to get it done. By rep 14 (400’s over 5 hurdles which I was not too keen on anyway); I had pretty much gone deeper in that hole I had dug and eventually never got out. To make matters even worse I had to rush off, in fight or flight mode basically til I finally arrived at my parents house- 2000 miles and 10 hours later. I will never take for granted how relaxing a flight is without your kid. The direct flight to Sacramento was a luxurious experience, completely quiet, able to actually read more than one page of my book and completely zone out! I wouldn’t have minded if we ended up stuck in the air another couple hours.

My WI trip had been the 2nd of that duration and intensity within 2.5 weeks. Not great timing when you are trying to keep your life stress free and consistent in training. The intensity factor= solo with Joanie. And no she doesn’t fall asleep on any flights. From the 14×400 track workout with 70 hurdles- all well under my goal pace- I rushed home to shower, shoveled some food in while driving – over to pick up my toddler heading into the LONG night ending in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately Joanie did not have the chance to get her equivalent of running 12 miles in. She had been loaded up on a steady stream of carbs and sugar all day at daycare (like she always is)- ready to give mommy the ultimate test of endurance.

The following day on my first run back to the Midwest, the humidity added to my insult. It had just stopped snowing less than a few weeks ago, but now it was back to 85 degrees and 90% humidity. Pacific Northwest runners are spoiled. The following 3 days I struggled heavily through the brick of hot air in what was suppose to be “recovery” runs, willing myself to take steps forward. It was so bad I seriously had to say “step forward” at some points. I looked for any excuse to stop mid run to stretch to ease the suffering. Seriously an 8 mile run was that difficult. Why I didn’t take a day off I don’t have a flippin clue. I got a much needed massage and thought that would solve my problems. Instead I just ended up with $100 less in my bank account.

After witnessing my brother Jake get happily married on Friday, I planned a medium intensity track session to happen on Sunday. My old friend, head coach at UW-O Eamon McKenna and sister Molly Rudd joined in the festivities. I requested to begin the intervals at 1pm so I could get ready for any heat I may face later this summer. As I churned out one flat but on pace interval after another with Eamon’s sweat flying into my face, I knew continuing that pace for more than the rep required was a joke. How I was going to run the 9:50 I was imagining just 10 days ago was becoming more and more a no-longer-possible feat. Upon my return, later that week I pulled it together at Portland Track Festival, but to me at the time, it was a failure finishing well off my personal best. Unexpectedly I put my name into the USA entries on the last possible day and got into the US meet (ranked 23 of 26). I would not pass that up. For a non-pro runner like myself to qualify for that, competing is a no brainer.

marcopolo

A rare moment of calm at the Marco Polo Motel in Seattle -post Monroe Triathlon

From that point, despite my rough workout just before “hell weekend” with Joanie in Seattle to watch Alan’s race, I was constantly telling myself upstairs I was going to do great (even though the legs had other plans). Poor Joanie was not feeling 100% and I had dragged her around to watch one of the few opportunities to ever see Alan in person compete (Monroe Tri). It was collectively the worst behaved Joanie I had ever seen 3 consecutive days in a row and it was just enough to destroy me emotionally and physically. Alan kicked butt and was amazing to watch, so I don’t regret my trip!

Then came the rough workout the day after Alan’s race. It was ugly. Oiselle coach Dr Lesko and Lauren Fleshman who happened to show up just as I was getting started, likely thought I was a very sad sight/joke. My entire right side was locked up from restraining Joanie on the train and sleeping on the bed at the Marco Polo Motel. I had struggle written all over me. The “feel good tune-up” was more like “standing still running all out as Kate Grace was literally doubling my distance in that amount of time”. I cut the workout from what was suppose to be 2 more sets of 800/300/400 to a single 400. And mistakenly tried a few more. Alan showed up with more crying from Joanie and I got in maybe 6 minutes from my cool down feeling the need to punch someone in the face.

seattle

Running into Lauren with my positive attitude (before the workout began)

hurdles

Thankfully I found some hurdles I could assemble with sticks before my  final workout began!

And that was the last effort on the track before I flew into Sacramento to finally get a breather the day before my race. I really needed at least 1 more mom-free day and maybe I could have strung together a Portland Track Festival. Either way, I was in no place to compete at that level, but decision to race was made and I was going to at least give it my best shot. The weird part – I did zilch to take care of myself post race (complete with the largest beer sampler for $8 I have ever seen at 11pm) – and the days following the race, I had zero soreness. I was unable to use any of my speed or strength in that race. Just blah running in slow motion after gassing my engine the first 800m. It was a sad sight. By Saturday actually felt like I had pop in my legs playing frisbee. Seriously the first time all month I could remember thinking I had anything to do with the word “pop”. I can contribute most of this to the amazing 5 day vacation I was just finishing, with Alan easing my mind as super-dad during Joanie’s birthday.

jenaWjuliaW

Highlight of my trip- extended quality time with Jena Winger and other homie runners.

Immediately following the race, I decided to take a mandatory break from running to regroup and start fresh to do things right. During this time is when my thoughts turned to learning from mistakes and owning them. I didn’t want to end on a negative note…but this is getting way too long for one blog post. Coming soon- What I learned and wisdom to share on recent life changes that did work!

JoanieBday

Alan was killing it back in Dadville while I was in Sacramento. Joanie’s handmade cake for her 2nd bday.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Time to Get Tough

In about 24 hours I am privileged to toe the line with the nations top steeplechasers with my mediocre sneak in of 10:02.64 (A standard was 9:55.00). Originally I was intending to compete only if I “deserved” to be in with a PR (set 2013 – 9:55.36), but hearing the field would not fill, I was not going to pass an opportunity up. Firstly, because I get a 4 day vaca from the kid with a supportive husband to take over, and secondly because I do work my butt off and do believe I can mix it up in the field! My 10:02 left me waking up at all hours of that night reliving why I didn’t get more competitive with my eyes looking straight at the ground and why I didn’t make it hurt more. My attention was all over the place, reflecting on the downside of being a mom- being an excellent multi-tasker. I also had some guilt holding me back with the actual thought, “If you run really well, that means you’re gonna have to go to USAs”, (which meant the opposite of what being a mom stands for.. going on a trip focusing completely on myself). With the guilt removed from convincing of my family, my flights already set- I am holding nothing back! My mantra for this race is FOCUS! 

Image

Running my 10:02 in la-la land as the race gets away from me

Most people will count me out as a threat for taking anyone’s spot in the final, but people don’t know what ammo I am bringing. My secret weapon isn’t a seed time or gift of speed, but an endless ability to endure and push myself to my ultimate limit. By coincidence it is Joanie’s birthday on Friday, which is kind of crazy because exactly 2 years ago within the exact hour the gun to my race will go off (7:50pm Pacific Time), I went into labor (10:45pm Eastern Time).

Sadly I don’t remember much of the pain from the last few races but I DO clearly remember the agony of labor which appropriately started exactly 2 years ago (to the hour) to the time I will race tomorrow in the prelims. What made the difference? Labor lasted 1080 minutes (18 hours) where as any good steeple should be over in under 10 minutes (~.2 hours). Just giving myself a friendly reminder as I write this!

 

Image

Counting on Alan to repeat his cake performance for a 2nd year in a row

I really want to make the finals not because I have a shot to win, but because I saw the forecast for Saturday (94 degrees) and the time of the final (1:56pm). Am I heat trained? Not really. But this is good news for someone who thrives on less than ideal circumstances. If you see me in Saturday’s race, I will try to duplicate my same strategy as last year which lead to a 9th place finish. This is likely going to be sitting in the back, suffer to the best of my ability, then hopefully not fall off the pace, picking up the casualties (if I myself do not become one). I am one of those runners who rejoices when time isn’t on the line and you have awful conditions, which is why true cross country races are my favorite and the only comparative event on the track is the steeplechase.

Let’s see what I got! As you can see I’m excited to make my 3rd appearance at USA’s with 3 of my Bowerman Track Club teammates (Kristen Rohde and Carrie Dimoff in the 10,000; and Lindsey Drake in the 5000). I am humbled to line up next to truly talented U.S. distance runners and ready to give whatever I have using my God given talents. 

Tune in live at USATF.TV free and watch the finals on NBC! (Broadcast info here)

The last time a Webb stepped on the Sacramento State track:

Image

Alan winning the 2004 Olympic Trials -exactly 10 years ago!!!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembering the Moment

Pre Classic starts today. Men’s Bowerman Mile is Saturday at 2:49 pm pacific time. Watch it live on NBC Sports at and witness feats of greatness with guaranteed sub 4 minute miles (that stuff didn’t exist until 60 years ago people!)

Webb_Alan-FH-Pre04 (1)

Alan 2005 at Pre Bowerman Mile -picture by Photo Run

This is it. The final installment on celebrating Alan’s initial Prefontaine Classic accomplishment (3:53.43 high school American record) & beyond ends today with friends Jena Winger, Todd Iacovelli and Joe Jacobs. I appreciate my blog readers staying with me for the duration of the week. jena2

First up- Jena. We love Jena. The other “JW” became friends with us in 2010 when I was new to Portland and joined the same running club (Run Portland). We quickly found we had many friends in common and both had a severe love for track and field, and the pursuit of the steeplechase at a high level. We gave it our all and dreamed big, even both knowing inside we probably both didn’t have what it took to make it (and here we are 2014. You didn’t see our name in the results of any diamond league races, so nope we didn’t). The major thing we don’t agree on is Oshkosh. She hates my hometown because she had a bad race at D3 Nationals there her senior year and tore something in her knee. She needs to give it another chance.

JWs

Getting super serious about to take down the entire field except one guy (Danny Mackey) pre cross country action 2010.

Jena has been through it all and seen just about every side of the Webbs. She has witnessed Alan in action at the track in Eugene (succeeding at times and others not quite). She had the luxury of being featured in the infamous photos that floated on the internet the night of the post 2008 Olympic Trials party. If you are unfamiliar, this is where Alan, after an unspecified number of sodas*, apparently broke a ping pong table. . As newlyweds, we extended the invite for her to move in with us and lucky us she did! Even though both Jena and Alan could admit they were not in the best form during those months of their lives due to career uncertainty and injury, I enjoyed having 2 of my best buds within a 100 foot radius most of the day, crabby or not.

*beverage has been changed to protect the privacy of the potentially innocent.wingerjobear

Jena was there a year and a half ago when she was coming down from her hometown of Seattle for a visit and I mentioned via text just as she was about to walk in the door, “Alan’s upset.. I think he’s injured again.. Like really upset. You might want to wait a little before you come in”. This was after his attempt at months of 100-140 mile weeks, when his previous highest mileage was a lone 100 weeker once. In our house the word “injured” means “terrible news” and “not fun to be around”. Jena knew he needed time to cool off and made a pit stop at Fred Meyer down the street. Just as we could always count on her to cheer us up she arrived with numerous goodies including cookies and a Loadstar Rocket. rocketShe basically saved the day. Jena was there to witness Joanie’s first poop in the bathtub (and not her last). She is basically our “kid” as we like to joke.

In good times, Alan and I have shared many beers and Wilbur Burgers with cajunized tots at McMenamins with Jena post Lincoln High workout. I have seen how a simple stumble on a single root along Wildwood trail can turn your running partner not only dirt covered from head to toe, but bloody and woozy. Since her departure to Seattle for “real jobs” outside of pursuing the steeplechase (currently footwear product line manager at Brooks), I have been running with her ghost and look forward to our occasional run in.

jenaAlan3

Photo recovered from 2008 Trials party

Here’s what Jena experienced witnessing Alan perform as an upcoming track star back in their heydays.

I’ve been a runner since I was 5 years old, when I ran for the Hill and Valley Striders. Throughout Junior High and High School, I continued to run, but also considered myself a basketball player and I rarely ran in the summers. After my junior year of high school, I decided to drop basketball and focus on running. At that time I happened to be invited to join another local team on a trip to Eugene, Oregon to watch the Prefontaine Classic. Thinking this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I eagerly joined and thus had my first exposure to the world of Professional Track and Field.

Of all the events from that day the men’s mile was the one that I recall the most. To be clear, this was three years after Alan Webb had run the High School National Record. Instead I witnessed him win the mile in what was then a meet and stadium record time of 3:50.85.  My inner fan-girl came alive as I waited in line with my friends to get a photo with Alan.img-529081000-0001-page-001

Being a high schooler at the time, I quickly learned and was inspired by all that Alan had accomplished in high school and beyond. Although my high school running career had been a struggle, I went on to run track and cross country at Willamette University- a DIII school just an hour north of Eugene. Eventually I saw big improvements in my performances and was probably the biggest running nerd on team.

After college I had the opportunity to befriend Alan and Julia (who I was equally inspired by, as she is a former DIII national champion in my event- the steeplechase). The Webb’s have been inspiring me for years, not only because of their talent and speed, but also because of their openness and humility. I feel very lucky to consider them my friends. Congratulations Alan on the 13-year anniversary of your High School National Record!

Trivia Fact: Jena’s dad Dan Winger was an elite miler back in his day. Cool article mentioning Dan racing in the Prefontaine era in a “Where are they now article”.  

 

Todd2

Todd racing on some beach because that’s what Hawaiian runners get to do.

Todd Iocavelli, a Michigan cross country & track alum, hails from the great state of Hawaii. A little jealous because Alan’s been there 3 times, and I have yet to go. Todd is one of those guys whom both Alan and I knew before we knew each other. Todd and I met at the USATF Level 1 Coaching clinic in an inner city Detroit high school on a long weekend back in 2006. We had zero friends in common but looked to be the only actual distance runners in the group.

I knew he was a cool guy because he offered to run with me and didn’t try to drop me (unlike someone I know.. hint.. Alan- who does not usually possess a friendly Hawaiian type of attitude toward training). He mentioned he was finishing up his eligibility running for Michigan so naturally the convo likely shifted “did you ever run with Alan Webb!?” No proof on that, but not surprised if the line was dropped on my end. I didn’t agree with Todd’s decision to attend Michigan because let’s face it. Wisconsin would have been a much better choice. Todd attended Michigan a year after Alan, but met him during his senior year when he took his official visit. Alan was coming back from an achilles injury (see note above on = injury = likely not of friendly status), so they didn’t get past the “Hi I’m Alan, Hi I’m Todd” gulp stage. Awestruck was the best term to describe his initial encounter.

Once Todd graduated from Michigan (where he went on to run PRs of 14:23 for 5000m and 30:02 for 10,000m under legendary coach Ron Warhurst), he got a chance to run with Alan out in Hawaii and really get to know him. We last partied ages ago at a Nate Brannen’s wedding and currently I am waiting for Alan to surprise me with a plane ticket and nanny for a weekend getaway on a long overdue visit to hang with Todd.toddalan

Todd on Remembering the day of 3:53...

I actually watched Alan’s high school record live from Honolulu.  As a student and runner at a high school in a state without much of a distance running tradition, the 4 minute mile seemed like a nearly impossible proposition.  In fact, only high school runner had ever run faster than 4:10 in Hawaii.

I remembered Don Sage coming up agonizingly short as a high school senior in the year before Alan ran at Pre.  I knew Webb already broke 4 indoors, but there was something much more familiar and meaningful to me about an outdoor track.

I vividly remember two aspects of the race.  One was on the backstretch of the last lap.  Alan had moved out and appeared to be sprinting hard.  The shot was from straight ahead so only when the changed angles could you tell that he had passed the majority of the pack.  I believe the announcer said something like “LOOK AT ALAN WEBB!!” but I clearly remember the singular focus and the power.  This guy was an ATHLETE and he was COMPETING with the best in the world!

My second memory is after they finished.  I remember El Guerrouj come up to Alan and gave him a small tug on his ear lobe.  I know nothing of the Moroccan culture, but somehow this gesture seemed friendly and affectionate.  I got the feeling that he was proud of Alan and knew he must have run well.  That moment is so clear in my mind, the best miler in the world connecting for a brief moment after such a monumental event.

It seemed to take a while after the finish before they got the official time on the board.  In reality I assume it was only a few seconds.  It was an amazing time! I just didn’t realistically think a high school runner could run that fast.   Those two images from the race are still so clear to me.  I don’t actually think I ever watched the race again online, but I still remember Alan firing down the backstretch with passion and determination and sharing a moment with El Guerrouj immediately after the finish.

Trivia Fact: In high school Todd ran 4:05 for 1500m (3rd fastest in his state’s history) and 8:33 for the fastest 3000m time ever recorded by a high schooler from Hawaii. Impressive! (To compare- I ran the 3rd fastest 1600m for my high school alone)

 

joejacobsJoe Jacobs and I met working as tech reps for Saucony back in 2009-10. We once had a race walk competition, untimed, but I believe I was the winner. The same age as Alan, he was a standout high school runner from Jersey. With a 9:22 2 mile PR in HS, and being NJ State Small School champ in XC & 3200 he continued competing at University of North Carolina at Greensboro – he ran 25:02 8k, 15:07 5k, and became All Southern Conference in XC. Joe first crossed paths with Alan in the 2 mile at Nike Indoor Nationals (Alan 8:45 for the win) and again both competing in their first collegiate xc race at Great American 2001. As a professional cyclist, he now puts more time on the bike than in his running shoes. (I’m looking forward to their race in the near future). He is a new store owner for his very own Sneaker Factory in Florham Park, NJ.

sneakerfactory

Memorabilia at Sneaker Factory

Joe reflecting on Alan’s biggest high school race:

Spring of 2001 was my senior year in HS. Seniors were preparing for graduation, making college plans, and planning for the “best summer ever!” My spring was spent running intervals, chasing state championship dreams, paying attention to every detail that could make me better, and following the progress of a fellow senior runner; Alan Webb, and his quest for Jim Ryun’s record. I can remember logging into dyestat, when it was still run by John and Donna Dye, and following the latest from the Big Three of Webb/Ritz/Hall. As the season reached it’s culmination so did the legend that was Alan’s outdoor campaign. The Penn Relays, the legendary triple (1600, 400, 800), a ridiculous 800 at the Va. State Meet, THE RECORD! 3:53!

I can remember watching that race vividly. My father and I were watching an afternoon Yankee game, if the Yanks are on the Jacobs are watching. History was about to happen, though, and my trusty VCR recording would not fail me… I would want to share this moment with my children someday. We switched over to Prefontaine as two of my favorite runners were about to toe the line; one a World Record holder from Morocco, the other a schoolboy from Virginia chasing a record and wearing the same Yellow Zoom Kennedy’s as I raced in. Lap 1, 2, and 3 passed as expected with the high schooler taking up the middle of the pack. Lap 4 is still one of the most exciting 55 seconds I can remember in track and field, those yellow spikes were picking off elite runners one after another! As Alan broke the tape, the neighbors must have mistook the cheering for a Derek Jeter opposite field home run. 3:53… a smashing of the HS record… a victory lap with El Guerrouj. In the span of three minutes and fifty three seconds USA Track and Field had found it’s “next great miler.” We could compete with the Africans. We can set records and win medals. Running had it’s celebrity on Letterman. In that 3:53, it became possible for all of us to dream bigger… and I believe USA distance running began it’s ascent to the level we are at today.

Webb-StemberSF-USOT04

Joe was track side – 1500m before breaking away to win the 2004 Trials – by photo run

Trivia Fact: Joe made it on NBC slapping Alan’s hand on his victory lap after Alan’s 1500m Olympic Trials victory in 2004. Wearing a “Go Webb” shirt another fan passed onto Joe, Alan stopped and said “Nice shirt” as the camera happened to be rolling.

GoWebb

 

The original shirt featured in a “Go Webb” selfie

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

High School Rivals

Tonight is the eve of Pre Classic 2014. The meet which hosts the best of the best athletes in track & field begins tomorrow in Eugene, Oregon. This is a place where magic has happened for Alan in 2001 (setting the 3:53 high school record), 2004 (winning the Bowerman mile in 3:50.85), and 2005 (setting the former American Record in the 2 mile – 8:11.48). Here is once again another blog dedicated to Alan’s success starting with the mile back in 2001. Also check out Pre Classic’s Top 10 events of the 2000s. Final blog will be posted tomorrow. AlanPre

Keira D’Amato holds a special place to us in our heart. She is responsible for our initial encounter back in early 2007. Without Keira we would have never met and would still remain lost seeking a soul mate. Formerly Keira Carlstrom, she was a beast runner boasting PRs of 16:09 (5000m), 9:15 (3000m), 4:38 (mile). She is currently pregnant so less than beast status except for the reality that in the near future she will be soon to resemble an actual beast come November.DSC01006

Starting at Oakton High (rival to South Lakes) she began her running success in 9th grade winning the JV cross country race at Burke Lake (Monroe Parker Invite) – where Alan also stunned the onlookers with his varsity win.  At American University she became a 3x All American in cross country, and once on the track at 5000m. Eventually Alan and her became close buds in the same training group under Scott Raczko, until injuries (one including glass shattering on her foot coming out of the shower) forced her to look into post-running career opportunities. One of these being an MC at all the cool kids in the DC area’s birthday party, but more recently director of marketing at Potomac River Running and now MilestonePod.

keiraAlanJulia

Alan and I with his VA posse of speed (2008)- Moise Joseph, Alyssa Abbey, Nikeya Green, Samia Akbar & Keira 

Keira on Alan

3:53

Alan and I came from the same high school athletic district.  His low key performances were almost equally impressive to watch, even if he was doing a workout during the district/regional meet.  Everyone in our district (I’m sure region and state as well), were huge supporters of Alan.  My Oakton HS track team held a viewing party the day that Alan broke the high school national record at the Prefontaine classic back in 2001. Everyone was jammed packed into my teammates basement watching in anticipation as Alan lined up against all of our running idols (including El Guerrouj – he was in the same race as El Guerrouj… are you serious?!?!?!)!  As Alan went into his last lap, we all knew with his famous kick he would be very close to breaking the record and everyone in the room was on their feet cheering (like cheering thousands of miles away would actually help Alan run faster). With his monster kick surging past many in the field – my whole team went nuts.  We were so proud of Alan, as if he were our high school teammate.  I will never forget that day. It was surreal seeing the guy who wins every event in our district shatter a 25 year national record.  We all knew he could do it, but I mean, watching it happen was simply amazing.

IMG_0292 (2)

Keira’s been around long enough to remember “Alan Rns” license plate boasted on his parent’s Webb-mobile

mattmalineAlan

Matt Maline (far left) chasing after Alan (photo by Washington Post)


Outdoor State Meet

I take great pride in being the one to introduce Alan to his wonderful wife Julia.  Only recently I realized Alan may have had some hand in introducing my husband (Anthony) to me.  The year Alan ran the 3:53 high school mile, the press was onto Alan’s accomplishments and started following him early on.  Newspaper journalists would flock to our district, regional, and state meets with hope they would be there to witness one of his many record breaking races.  The state meet his senior year was no exception, drawing all sorts of press including Sport Illustrated.  Due to the all press, the VA state meet heightened security and procedures and now featured a press section which you would need to flash a pass to enter.  Somehow, as moms of the years would, my mom and my husband’s mom were able to get their hands on some press passes and enter the VIP zone.  As the only two moms in the arena surrounded by legit journalists and professional photographers – they spotted each other and  immediately became friends. After the meet was over, my mom came to me saying she met the nicest lady with cute sons that go to Midlothian High School. Little did I know at the time, one of those sons would eventually become my husband!! So, thank you Alan!!! Alan set the state 800 record that day, beating the competition by over 5 seconds (which in an 800 is HUGE!).DSC00699

The 2nd Best Runner in the District

One of the best runners to ever go through my high school, Matt Maline, was the same year as Alan.  Matt qualified for the World Cross Country championships his senior year in high school (made the USA junior national team) and was an extremely talented runner.  The thing that sucked for Matt was he was in the same district as Alan Webb, so it was pretty much impossible for Matt to even win a district title.  Matt was second to Alan at the district meet, the regional meet, and state meet.  It’s funny to me the runner up at the state meet couldn’t even win the district.  I can’t remember if it was at the regional or district meet, but there was a news article that was published directly after that summed up Matt’s pain perfectly.  The article described Matt leading the 5k race through 2 miles and Alan breezing by him. Matt’s quote from the article went something like this “Around 2 miles, Alan effortlessly went by me. Turns out he was doing a workout and was only supposed to run the last mile hard. The kicker was when Alan passed me, he was wearing trainers and one shoe was untied.” Again, this quote comes from a member of our 2001 Jr. National Team… but only the 2nd best runner in the district.

keiraWedding

EVERYONE jumps in a pool with their bridesmaid dress.. at least it was encouraged at our wedding

frey-austin (1)

Jacob Frey winning (Austin Marathon – photo by Ralph Berrara)

Jacob Frey has also been in Alan’s life a long time. Hailing from the VA, these guys were high school rivals at one point. They first met on a cross country course when Alan was a freshman at South Lakes and Jacob was a junior also competing (like Keira) at Oakton. Jacob went on to run at William and Mary (one of the 3 recruiting visits Alan made). Jacob would run with Alan when he was back in town during his days as an elite runner for Saucony (winner at Austin Marathon; PR of 2:16, Pan Am Games & Trials Qualifier) Recently Jacob has taken his energy into his professional career outside of running. A successful attorney he became Minneapolis City Council member in 2013.

frey_at_convention

Jacob Frey winning (photo by Emily Dunker)

I’ve known Alan since freshman year in high school. I remember selfishly attending his swim meets hoping that his success in the pool would outweigh his success on the track. Then maybe he would choose the swimming route, and would not cost me several state championships. For the record, he cost me at least 2, and was the first person to congratulate me on my single state victory – a race in which he did not compete.

I trained with Alan almost every single day during his epic 2007 campaign when he broke the American Record for the mile. When Alan was “on” he was nothing short of a legend. When Alan was “on” i became accustomed to expecting the unexpected. If I thought he could run 4:10 with ideal circumstances he would run 4:04. If I think he could run 4:02, he would run 3:59.

Alan’s 3:53, however, was simply epic. In that race he seemed beyond human, machine-like, a total freak. He took the doors that previously existed and blew them away. He cruised at sub-4 pace and then decided to start racing. It looked as if the oxygen was falling into his lungs, and his legs were begging for more speed. Before that day I remember weighing myself against Alan. That 3:53 was the day I stepped off the scale and sat back in awe to watch a legend.

jacobkeira

Chosen based on good looks to stand up in our wedding (2010)

Alanjacob

Alan and Jacob share a love of running & fried food

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Guy from the Band

Image

Aaron Reed is “the guy from the band” in which Alan had 2 recent run-ins with. Back tracking to the early spring of 2013, Alan and the Schumacher crew, now Bowerman Track Club, were in Mammoth Lakes (Lopez Lomong, Shalane Flanagan, Chris Derrick, Evan Jager, Andrew Bumbalough, Elliot Heath). The group was getting ready to run as Aaron was rolling through enroute to Reno after his car was stolen in L.A. Aaron looks up and recognizes one runner, then another. As a fan of track & field, he is blown away by his idols, gets their autographs and hits the road.  

Image
photo courtesy of Dathan Ritzenhein

Months later in early fall, Alan and I finally had an overnight sitter and planned a little date night in town. We checked into the White Eagle Saloon (our first pick of McMenamins hotels was sold out). ImageThe band playing was Monk. A couple songs in, the music stops and Aaron gives a shout out to a “guy in the audience who had greatly inspired him”. We didn’t realize he was talking about Alan til he mentioned him by name. It was Aaron on the guitar, playing with his old band, the Mammoth Lakes rest stop guy, in which Alan then recognized. We caught up with him post show and invited him for a run at Leif Erickson trail the following morning. Turns out he’s no slouch. He claims to have never ran fast in high school (2:02 for 800, 4:55 for 1600, 10:57 for 3200). He didn’t run in college, but still competes on the roads and trails.  He’s not known for his running but his music. Recently his fastest 50K finish was in 4:13. This guy is not elite and never made it big on the track, but he can speak for many of the high school runners in Alan’s generation.

Buckle-Rash

Aaron Reed with Buckle Rash, 2nd on left

Here’s what Aaron Reed has to share on Alan’s influence (maybe Aaron will inspire Alan again to pursue his guitar skills):

I’m a track geek, always have been.  I was, and still am not, the norm. Ever since my freshman year of high school cross country it has baffled me that the guys I run with know little to nothing about the professional realm of an activity in which they are obsessively competitive (ultra-runners aside).  While the best distance runners on every track team I have been a part of couldn’t tell you who the top 10k guy in the world is, you can be sure that a high school quarterback can name you their top five football players of all time.  

Part of the reason I feel that Americans don’t follow distance running like I do, is the lack of passion expressed by the top athletes in the country.  Interviews are often as methodical and boring as the races, and too often athletes are content to finish second or third consistently; rather than, to borrow an expression from boxing, “leave it all in the ring.”  However, since 2001 America has experienced a resurgence in distance running greatness after a nearly 20 year drought.  Certain runners are learning to market themselves to a wider audience, and some professionals are finding that laying it all on the line may not ensure victory, but it endears you to fans of the sport and creates a mythological narrative which allows the sport to thrive.  Fans want to see athletes win, or die trying.  Fans don’t want to see athletes run to the best of their ability. Fans want winners, and some American athletes are starting to understand this.  

The re-birth of American distance running can be traced back to a single moment in 2001; the day that an unassuming 18 year old kid from Reston, Virginia with a thirst for greatness brought down a record that many thought would never be broken.   The kid showed sports fans across America that the oldest form of athletic competition know to man can still be one of the most exciting spectacles on Earth.  The kid was Alan Webb, and the record was Jim Ryun’s 3:55 high school mile.  I first heard about Alan Webb when I was 16 years old.  My coach at the time told me about a sophomore from the east coast running a 4:06 mile.  He wanted me to look him up because he was “chubby,” like me.  While at 5’10” and 140 pounds I may not have agreed with how my high school cross-country coach saw me, but I definitely knew that I was not built like a runner.  The first thing I noted about Alan when I saw pictures of him was that he looked more like a wrestler than a distance runner. “This guy ran 4:06?” I thought to myself.  I became a fan right out the gate.  I related to him.  I would hear about these insane workouts this kid was doing and it inspired me.  I was always the guy who started the season having run 800-900 miles over the summer.  I was the guy who loved the mile repeats, quarter repeats, and long runs that everyone else dreaded.  I wanted to be good so bad and I knew that with the kind of training Alan was doing, so did he.   My frustration was that nobody really seemed to care about hard work or being great.  My teammates didn’t know who Alan Webb (or any other distance runner) was, and there was hardly any national press coverage for him or anyone else until that day in Eugene.  

In writing this I went back and re-watched the race a few times.  While it was a great moment, the manner in which the race was run was not necessarily classic Webb.  His mind was definitely on the record and not the win; understandable, but not indicative of his racing style going into the future.   What was classic about it and what really caused people to take notice was how hard he got after it on the last lap, and how elated he was to have broken the record.  At one point he covers his mouth (upon knowing he had the record) and gives a fist pump to the crowd.  You could tell that this guy was not just an athlete.  He was an entertainer, and he was there to give a performance.  He was there to fill our souls with inspiration and show us all what is possible when you don’t hold back.  Alan would go on to exemplify these traits throughout his career.  While some may say his career didn’t live up to the hype generated that day in late Spring, 2001, it would be important to know that Alan ran to win.  He didn’t run for second.  He didn’t go out and run to the best of his ability.  He went out to win.  Every. Single. Time.  Yes, his tactics didn’t always pan out, but when Alan Webb stepped on the track fans knew they were in for a show as the world stood still for the muscular miler from Virginia.  

Even when Alan lost, he always seemed to be right there at the bell.  I can relate to that feeling.  Sometimes in running and in life you have to just put it all out there and hope that when you come into the home stretch your body will have what it takes on that day.  Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but there is no greater regret in life than wondering if you gave it your all, if you had a little more in the tank, or if maybe you could have pushed just a bit harder.  Through all the emotional moments of Alan’s career I witnessed a man who left no stone unturned, and who truly, “left it all in the ring,” each time out.  He is still easily the most recognizable American distance runner since Prefontaine.  His Paris Diamond League win is still the greatest win for an American track distance runner in the last twenty years (with all due respect to Bernard Lagat).  He was and will continue to be an inspiration to future runners building upon the dynasty that he laid the foundation for that day in Eugene.  

If not for Alan Webb American distance running would not be what it is today.  We could still be stuck in the dark ages of the 1990’s, where any American born runner making a worlds or Olympic final may as well have been treated like a win by the few who cared.  Alan Webb brought distance running back.  He brought the “win” mentality back to a sport that had become complacent in it’s mediocrity; to athletes who had become comfortable with second, or medaling, or just running their own race.  He paved the way for the next generation to come along and show us what we are capable of; to dispel the myth that only certain body types, or ethnicities can be great distance runners; and to remind us of the value in winning or dying trying.  Fans want to see emotion.  They want athletes to be overjoyed when they win and furious when they don’t.  They want to see them sweat, bleed, and cry.  Alan gave us that.  He wore his emotions on his sleeve and he never gave up.  He settled for nothing less than greatness, and was dissatisfied with anything short of it.  Thank you Alan Webb for bringing the passion back to my sport.  Thank you for not being afraid to reach into the darkness, not knowing what is on the other side.  Thanks for showing all of us that there is no fear in daring to dream and be great.  Thank you for showing us how to run, to win.  

aaronAlan

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today in History: 3:53 to Alan’s Peers

 Today is the 13th Anniversary of Alan’s 3:53 high school mile record. A continuation from my last blog (with more to come), Nate Brennan and Kara Goucher share what his record at the turn of the century meant to them.

Webb-6320

At the finish at Alan’s final mile race (photo by David Bracetty)

Nate Brennan, was also a sub 4 minute high school miler (3:59.85); only 1 of 7 high schoolers in history to break 4 in North America. He had the luxury of being a roommate to Alan freshman year at Michigan and continued to excel winning 4 NCAA and 6 Big Ten titles, becoming an 11-time All-American in Track and Field and Cross-Country; setting 3 NCAA records, 2 Canadian Records, and the 2003-2004 University of Michigan Athlete of the Year Award. He has continued to dominate middle distances professionally into his 30’s, representing Canada at 2 Olympic Games and 6 World Championships. He recently set another national record this past spring at 1K. Nate’s wife Theresa (Feldkamp) had success in mid-distance, competing at Michigan (with much faster PRs than me in the 800/1500). This means that 2 year old daughter Gianna and soon to be son (due this summer!) have questionably better genetics than Joanie Webb.

Nate on Alan’s record:

(photo from “Sub Four” by Chris Lear)

I can’t believe it’s already been 13 years since I was awed when you not only broke the American Junior record but shattered it. I remember being at work at Old Navy, yes I worked at Old Navy in high school, and getting a call from my training partner, Matt Kerr. I had never received a call at work and thought it was very odd to be getting one and when I picked up the phone Matt said, “did you see what Webb just ran?” I said no and he continues to say, 3:53. I said no f**king way. With a straight tone in Sub4his voice he said, “I’m not kidding.” I thought he was just messing with me and I got off the phone still not sure if I should believe him. It wasn’t until I got home a few hours later and checked the results and was amazed to see what you ran. It was this performance, Alan, that truly changed American distance running and started the resurgence once again. You showed us that we CAN compete against the rest of the World and that we shouldn’t be afraid. It was your attitude toward running and being the best that was infectious to those around you. I remember wanting nothing more than to beat you, not because I wanted to beat ‘Alan Webb’ but I knew if I did then I must have made it in this sport because you were/are so talented that you became the measurement of greatness.

You should be walking away from the Sport of Track & Field with your head held extremely high. You had some of the best and biggest performances of any Track athlete EVER and you will always be remembered for this. No matter what you do in life, you will always be remembered as ‘The’ Alan Webb. Not just because you ran 3:53 in high school, but because you ran 3:53 in high school as well as achieved so many other amazing feats. 3:463:301:437:3913:10, 27:34 just to name a few. Only a runner knows what those numbers refer to and only another World class runner truly appreciates how fast they are. I would feel 100% complete walking away from track with PR’s like that and I hope you do as well. Sure everyone wishes for more and you probably had more in you but just the way you effected running in the US shows your impact as a runner and in this sport. You are truly amazing and I am proud to call you a great friend! Your kids will be VERY proud of you one day when they fully understand how good you were/are!

tnGoucher_Kara-WC09
Kara Goucher
needs no introduction  (Bronze medalist at 10,000m World Champs and many many more amazing feats). Alan shared coaches and training atmospheres with Kara (2010-11; 2013) before she moved to Colorado and Alan moved to triathlon. She is an awesome friend, amazing mom to Colt, and husband to former elite runner Adam Goucher.

Kara on Alan’s Record:karacolt

How has it been 13 years since Alan ran 3:53 in High School?  What a magical moment it was for Track and Field in America and around the world.  I remember being completely shocked with him running 3:53.  I also remember being even more shocked that he was so high up in the race- he and Bernard Lagat both ran 3:53 that day.  I remember being in total awe of this kid that was shaking it up with the big dogs and I immediately became a fan.  Following Alan over the years has been tremendously inspiring.  His racing style and the way he really went for it in races, made him exciting to watch.  Without a doubt he had a huge impact on running here in the US.  We all watched him and as he strove to be better and  we all picked up our game and started to think about bigger goals and success.  Seeing his progress was tremendously inspiring and captured the attention of so many people.

Getting to know Alan over the years has been great.  He is such a good friend and he always understands what I’m dealing with as an athlete and offers great perspective.  I’m proud to call him a friend and even more proud of how he has handled everything that has come his way.  I could never imagine living under the microscope like Alan has and trying to compete that way.  One of the reasons I became such a fan of Alan in the beginning was the way he showed emotions after his races, you just knew he was giving it all he could.  I will always be a fan of Alan’s and I will always be inspired by what he did for our sport.  He brought it back to life here in the US, he gave us hope and a reason to be excited.  It all started with that 3:53 and continue to feel the power of it now 13 years later.  What a career, what a person, cheers Alan!!

Old school pic (courtesy of dyestat): Alan & Kara (with Adam) representing for Nike at Footlocker

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment