I Wanna Be Like Meb
During the men’s Olympic marathon on Sunday, the world’s top contenders bunched at the start line. World Champion Ghebreslassie from Eritera was there, ready. American Galin Rupp was nervously waiting, ready. Kipchoge from Kenya, considered the most prolific marathoner of our time, was definitely ready. As was the American fan-favorite, 41 year old Meb Keflezighi, last Olympic’s silver medalist. They shook out their limbs. They looked ahead of them in a semi-focused stare playing the race plan through their minds again. They had trained months — years — for this moment. It was time to test their training. It was time to push the edge to get on the podium.
For the first 10k, all hummed along as expected. There were sixty top contenders still in the lead group. At 20k, the top pack was still strong, but down to forty-eight runners. But at the half -way mark, things started to fall apart. A top medal contender from Ethiopa, Tesfaye Abera, was suddenly off the course, hugging a tree. He retired from the race. World champ Ghebreslassie fell back off the lead pack. American Meb dropped way back, now besieged with stomach problems. Over the course of the next thirteen miles, he stopped seven times to vomit or dry heave.
It seems that no matter how much you prepare for one day, one race, one PR, it sometimes is just not your day. This is true at the very top of the elite athletic world. And this is certainly true on test days and competition days at humble ol’ CFLA. When you’re prepared, you bring the chances down exponentially of things going wrong. But sometimes the wheels fall off no matter what.
Galin Rupp’s coach Alberto Salazar said, “Running a marathon is in many ways an imponderable exercise. No matter how thoroughly you prepare, there is always an element of discovery and surprise, sometimes gratifying; more often, unfortunately, otherwise.”
Meb, who says he will not compete in another Olympics, had a more gracious approach to his off day: “This is the best victory lap ever,” he said. “You can see [runners from] India, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba. All those guys. I enjoyed every bit of it.”
Meb had been instrumental in reviving American distance running, which hit a low point in 2000. “That dream has come true for me,” he said. “And to be part of it and witness it is a huge reward. I feel honored to be a part of it.”
On top of all the stomach issues, Meb slipped in rain puddle and crashed to the ground just as he was about to cross the finish line of Sunday’s marathon. In true master-of-the-silver-lining fashion, Meb stayed on the ground and did three push ups before he hopped to his feet to cross the line, waving to the crowd. Crap happens, but who are you when things get crappy? I decided then, even after watching a beautiful performance by the winner Kipchoge, that I wanna be like Meb.
Running Skill Session
3 RFQT of 3 unbroken circuits
3 DB Deadlifts (60% 1RM Strict Press)
3 DB Hang power cleans
3 DB Thrusters
–1min Rest between rounds–
7 MB Seated Chest throws (20/14)
14 Kipping Dips
7 Strict Pullups
Front squat (Use True 2RM)
75% x 5
80% x 5
85% x 5
5 RFQR (30s:30s)
Hanging L-sit hold
Squat snatches (55%)
Balancing foot hand crawl