Category Archives: doping

Recently Read: Trials, Doping, and Rock’N’Roll

Obviously this week is all about the Trials and although I’m mostly watching through Twitter and Instagram, the drama continues to delight. I found this three-part article on the 2012 5000 meter final especially intriguing. The finish was everything a Trials event should be but it was especially interesting to read the perspective of the athletes involved and how it continues to shape their lives going forward.

We’ve made it big time? John Oliver took on doping this week and he is spot on, both in his analysis of how we got into this pickle and the barriers to make any changes.

I have the opportunity to race a number of Rock’n’Roll events over the years and will do so again in the middle of the month, so I found the recent article by Tony Reavis about the history of the series interesting. 

Finally, the debate over running form never ends. While the anecdote about the runner who was stuck at 2:42 and relearned how to run and ended up at 2:23 is certainly compelling, the fine print that was glossed over in the article was the amount of time it took to make the transition and the risks that come with monkeying with your stride.

A Small Victory in a Big Battle

Thanks to Ryan for sending me this article this morning!

The old adage goes that where there’s smoke, there’s fire and the training group out of Hebron, Kentucky epitomizes this. People have speculated that the group is dirty for YEARS, led by Mikhaylova who operates as their manager. The Hebron group shows up at small regional races with modest cash prizes (and as Ryan pointed out, the exact same races that I tend to frequent) and almost always walk away with a pay day.

The part about this article that saddens me, however, is that these athletes seem a lot like pawns in a bigger scheme. Distance running is a way out in Kenya and these athletes are just trying to make a better life for their families with the skills and talents they have. Yes, we are all responsible for what goes into our bodies but I can’t help but feel some empathy for these runners who show up here to make a living in one of the hardest ways possible, racing back to back days on the weekends, living in someone’s home only to be disgraced when they are found to be doping.

Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see U.S Anti-Doping starting to attack this cancer at many levels. Here’s hoping 2016 is a cleaner, more positive year for all of us!

A New Low in Cheating

It hasn’t been the greatest year for running with the NOP scandal and Russian doping bust but I guess we can take some solace in the fact that we have at least avoided putting motors in our legs (to date). For those who missed the headline, a professional cyclist at the World Championships for cyclocross was busted for having a hidden motor in one of her bikes. A motor.

What is going on in professional endurance sports that we have given up on chasing the next level the natural way? Is winning worth a lifetime of knowing you cheated and the risk of getting caught? What is the punishment for someone (arguably barely an adult) who participated in this?

Week in Review 6.1.15 to 6.7.15

Monday: 8 miles around Spear Street.

Tuesday: Off Day, prorated to 8 miles.

Wednesday: Speed day. 3 by 400, 3 by 300, 3 by 200 at R pace with full recovery. Hip smarting big time but moving well on the track. 10.7 miles for the day. Legs afterward.

Thursday: 6.5 recovery miles in the humidity with Carl. Botox Clinic for the morning for kids with movement disorders. Reminded me to be grateful for every run.

Friday: Saw my first delivery!!! I didn’t expect to be unmoved by a new human entering the world but it was all I could do to not cry as he arrived. So much for being the professional! Oh, and ran 8 miles around Red Rocks.

Saturday: Tempo Workout between events at the State Meet. 4 by 5 minutes at T pace (6:31, 6:34, 6:40, 6:38). Felt super easy. 9.4 miles total.

Sunday: 15 mile long run. Somehow didn’t think I needed to bring fuel or water, which turned out to be a bad call.

Total Miles: 65.6

Really excited to get a decent week of mileage in. The weather was pretty amazing most days and I am getting a handle on my hips. I’m still not doing a great job of getting strength work in, so I need to make that a priority now that I’m back to normal mileage. I’ll be staying at 65 for the next two weeks so hoping that as I get used to this, I can build in more strength. I’ve been good about marching and drills, though, and feel like my form is getting better. I didn’t end up running the Capital City Stampede as planned because it coincided with the Vermont State Track Meet and let’s face it, I’d much rather watch my girls run than compete. I’ll be looking for a replacement race shortly, however.

I don’t have much constructive to add to the conversation about Alberto Salazar and Galen Rupp, except that I’m really glad that my excuse/way of explaining things has nothing to do with “pushing the envelope” on supplementation. I spent a good part of the week angry about the whole situation but ultimately I’m proud to run clean and to have teammates who do too. I hope that NOP gets investigated heavily and I welcome all the drug testing US Anti-Doping and WADA can bring to clean up our sport.

On a more cheerful note, a lovely piece by Natalie DiBlasio about finding your OWN fast and being proud of your progress.

Week in Review: 4/20/15 to 4/26/15

An alternate title for this week in review could have been don’t burn the candle at both ends. What started last Sunday followed me through a truly miserable week of illness and fatigue that I just couldn’t shake. My time in Lewiston and Rotation 1 is almost done and besides the enormous amount of clinical learning, I’m also learning to accept this new normal of running for me.

Monday: Inspired by the Boston Marathon, I put 7.25 in through pouring rain and wind plus striders. Right hip pretty darn tight. Stomach feeling better but starting to get a wicked cold.

Tuesday: No run, thanks to the cold from hell. Couldn’t breathe or hear.

Wednesday: Spent all day in bed and was so restless by 5 that I went for an easy 4.3. Really dizzy but otherwise ok.

Thursday: Still dizzy and sick but went for my workout, figuring that effort above jogging still counted as a stimulus. 3 by 800 (2:59, 2:59, 2:55…woof) and 8 by 200. Total of 10 miles. Legs after.

Friday: Had a relatively quiet night shift on Thursday and got a few hours of sleep, so I drove home to surprise Will and the doggies for the weekend!! Glorious 5 miler around the golf course with my favorite running buddies. Arms after.

Saturday: Still feeling horrible. Dizzy, weak and couldn’t breathe so Coach Will took over and made me rest. Just a walk in the woods with the family.

Sunday: Workout 2 for the week. Paces still slow but starting to feel really smooth when moving fast(er). 2oo at R pace, 2 by 1000 (3:39, 3:42), 2 by 400 (81,82), 2 by 200 at R pace. 9.5 miles total. Legs after.

Total Miles: 36

I’m working on adjusting my attitude towards running and being grateful when I can get runs in and trying to let go of times when I can’t. I have one week left in Lewiston, which means that I’ll be back in Burlington in no time where I can run safely almost any time of day. I have the Champlain Classic next weekend and am looking forward to another opportunity to race.

A couple of articles from the week…

Really excited to try this new Nuun product when it comes out; could make Nuun the only thing I need for a marathon!

I’m not a parent so maybe I don’t get it, but I don’t see this move as inspiring and selfless like most people seem to; I’m in the obnoxious camp…

Similarly, I wish we’d get tougher on life after drug bans, both to send a message to young athletes that it’s unacceptable and to keep the playing field fair for those of us who don’t INTENTIONALLY INJECT EPO FOR ADVANTAGE. Sorry for the caps, but Hunter-Galvan didn’t even pretend to call it a mistake, she fully admitted that she doped to hang on to her competitiveness. Given that we still don’t know whether the benefits of doping continue for years, I feel horribly for the master’s women at Boston who were displaced from significant prize money.

Recently Read: A New Beer Mile Record, Winter Reflective Gear and Lots of Science

Now that I’ve survived our “hardest” classes in medical school, I’ve had a lot more time to sift through articles that I bookmarked over the past few months. To add to your Friday morning distraction, here’s what I’ve stumbled across recently in the world of running.

A new women’s beer mile record! Although it sounds like her beer times need a little work, this is an impressive improvement on the standing record. Hard to say if it will stand long, however, with the Championships coming up on December 3rd.

Although I don’t agree with headphones for any outdoor runner, regardless of safety features, this article is a good reminder that it’s the season for running in the dark. I swear by my Nathan reflective vest and recently added a pair of Nathan gloves to my collection (product review forthcoming).

Every 20 minutes in a marathon would ruin my stomach but in my most recent marathon, I took a Gu at mile 6, mile 12 and mile 18, which is far more than I’d taken in previous attempts at 26.2 and had zero issues with nutrition. This article looks at what goes into a successful fueling attempt and concludes (in a sort of no shit way) that a plan is way better than just winging it. Although this seems self evident, a plan can also help when you start to experience the inevitable full or sick of Gatorade feeling at the end of the race.

A heartstring read for sure. I still remember the Trials where Ryan Shay went down and the absolute panic afterward as everyone tried to get information on what happened. Sudden cardiac death in athletes remains a research interest of mine and reading about Stephan Shay’s run on Sunday is just plain gut wrenching.

On the line of sudden cardiac death in athletes, there’s new evidence to suggest that deaths during the swim leg may be due to swimming induced pulmonary edema. In short, pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lung space that shouldn’t be there. Fluid in a space that should be air filled interrupts gas exchange and can be life threatening in situations where ventilation cannot be restored.

Most of us spend our lives sitting way more than we want to and this sequence of stretches and movements can help with that. I’m embarrassed to admit that I cannot do the Grok squat. At all. I am religious about clamshells and glute bridges, however and can testify that they help injury proof one’s hips.

Finally, on the sad/frustrating/WTF news of Rita Jeptoo’s positive A sample, a timely explanation from Runner’s World about how EPO works in the first place. I found the fact that EPO alone has significant effects; generally I think of performance enhancing drugs as still requiring training and although that is still likely true, this indicates that EPO may have a significant impact independent of training load.

What have you been reading recently?

Happy National Running Day, a Run Bell and a Weird Sports Bra

First, Happy National Running Day! That’s a holiday I can really get behind. Ask me again when I finish a workout in the hot-humid-welcome-to-summer-weather we’re currently experiencing. National Running Day is a day to declare your passion for running and offers discounts on races and gear but also opportunities to raise money for charity.

I came across two truly bizarre gear items this week. The first was posted by This Running Life and is a “running bell” to let other pedestrians know that you’re coming up behind them. Granted I’m not a gear person anyway, but this seems insane. A simple “excuse me” or “on your left” should work for most people. For the people who have headphones in and music blaring, a bell isn’t going to get their attention any better.

I can barely find the battery for my heart rate battery daily, so this has no chance.

I can barely find the battery for my heart rate battery daily, so this has no chance.

If the bell seems absurd, hang on because I found the one item that might be more bizarre. The following is slightly NSFW on account of it comes from Victoria’s Secret. For those that can open the link, can someone please explain to me why I would WANT a sports bra that zips over my regular bra. Although I’m not always successful at this and have a run or two a month where I realize my regular bra is still on under my sports bra (#runnergirlproblems), I cannot come up with reason why I would need or want this item.

Moving on to more substantive issues, here’s an incredible article on what happens to our brains when we exercise. I’m currently in Neural Science, so we talk a lot about clinical syndromes associated with the brain but perhaps unsurprisingly, not a lot about what to do to prevent those clinical syndromes. The key takeaway from this beyond the already-accepted exercise makes you happy is that the happiness benefits of exercise extend beyond the day when you get that exercise, making another case for lifelong activity.

Tina Muir is a Saucony athlete who writes a blog that masterfully blends the art and science of running and coaching. She recently wrote an excellent article on the reasons you need to take breaks in training, my favorite part of which was this abstract, which talks about muscle damage and recovery after the marathon. I’ve learned a lot of things in medical school, one of the biggest being what words = bad in terms of clinical outcomes. Pro tip = necrosis is bad. I try not to criticize other runners (outloud), but in the week after VCM, I’ve had to use extraordinary self-control as I’ve watched numerous runners insist on starting to run again with almost no time off after the full marathon. My biggest pet peeve with the marathon is when people don’t respect the distance, whether that’s in training for the event or recovering from the event. Stepping off my soapbox now…

Two more doping stories are presented without much comment beyond looking for a noise to express how fucking frustrating it is to keep hearing these as a clean athlete who panics every time she files a TUA for her inhaler (that I’ve had since age 4). Adrienne Herzog has more excuses as she gets caught for the third time and an insider gives some perspective on the line between innovation and cheating.

Maggie Vessey made an interesting fashion statement at Pre this year. She’s currently unsponsored and went with the outfit below. I’m impressed that she got through the 800 with no mishaps, but not sure this would work for a marathon.

Image from Getty Images

Image from Getty Images

In the video of the week (well, from last week), Katie Mackey LIT UP the runner from Australia at the World Relays when she wandered out of her lane after the handoff.

Finally, USATF may never issue a statement on the SNAFU that was Indoor Nationals this year, but don’t worry, they are policing Instagram!

Kara to Sketchers, Track is Back, Booty Shorts and Tyson Gay

Another big news week in running! First, Kara Goucher signed with Skechers. As I wrote about in an earlier post, this remains a big effing deal because she is one of the only major athletes with separate apparel and shoe contracts. Meb has had considerable input at Skechers with his GoMeb line, so it will be interesting to see what role Kara will play. Along those lines, here’s an interesting article on Skechers versus Nike.

Track is back! The American Track League kicked off last weekend in Indiana. The brainchild of a Paul Doyle, ATL seeks to inject some life into track and get people out watching meets again. Each meet is abbreviated and features a few key races and field events with major names in track. After the races, athletes like Lolo Jones and DeeDee Trotter hung out with fans. The meet even invited participants down to the track, offering a lane in the 100 meter dash to the person with the fastest 40 meter time from a preliminary heat.

Stephanie Bruce wrote a great blog entry about what it means to be a professional athlete and the constant stress of running for a sponsor. Like so many athletes in this off year, Bruce finds herself without a sponsor. In her case, she also used to the off year as many do to start her family. It’s a great read and personal account of what the reality is for many of our star runners.

I stumbled across this article and LOVED the message. I am not into CrossFit and find the whole deal little cultish, but if it gets people active and I don’t have to repair their shoulders/knees/hips, it doesn’t affect my life. Body image is such a struggle for almost everyone and this mom’s thought process is just beautiful.

A review of the new Kinvara 5. This shoe was my first true love after my first surgery, so I’d love to see if they really have fixed some of the issues from the 3 and 4.

More f**king frustrating doping news, this time with Tyson Gay who got caught last year and apparently brokered a deal to only have one year of suspension. He managed to also affect his teammates, effectively stripping the US of a gold medal.

What did you read this week? Would you go to one of the ATL events?

Recently Read: 5.2.14

How is it May?! I ask both because I woke up in a start this morning when I realized we hadn’t paid our rent and because it’s been a miserable weather week. Anyway…

In annoying news, dopers are still all over our sport. On the one hand, I’m glad to see her get caught. On the other, I don’t understand our two year bans or the time frame that was assigned that allows her to compete in Worlds next year. Lauren Fleshman had an interesting perspective where she talks about a few years ago when she realized she couldn’t reach her goals without doping. Like Lauren, no outcome is worth cheating to me. My litmus test for most things comes from the poem below; it hung in my husband’s room when I first met him and now hangs next to our bathroom mirror.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t a man’s father, mother or wife,
Whose judgement upon him must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But the final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Moving on…I’m looking forward to trying out a class here. I like spinning fine but rowing is a totally new idea. I like that it is a huge cardio workout without direct impact on the legs, works through the hip joint and builds upper body strength perfect for a good arm swing.

I love this article on the impact of running, both because it comes from my alma mater and because we all know the benefits of running, so it’s nice to see them quantified for the world to appreciate.

This is just plain awesome. I’m not even sure I can drink a beer in 5 minutes, let alone 4 and run a mile. That being said, I’d love to know what the women’s record is. I have this thing about holding random records.

Finally, I’m thisclose to picking my fall marathon and kicking off my training cycle, so this is my go-to video to remind me why all the hard work will be worth it.

What are you up to this weekend? Racing? Long Runs? Cleaning up the yard?

Pee In This Cup

It seems like doping has exploded in running recently, at least the detection of doping. This is a great thing for all of us who compete clean (and worry about getting waivers for the inhalers we’ve had since we were 4). It’s tough to see news of positive tests for banned substances and masking agents cropping up with names we’ve admired, but evidently it’s a reality of all endurance sports at this point. I got this email today, which makes me feel both awesome to even be included and awful to realize that other people against whom I compete might not be competing on a level field.


I don’t even want to know how long it would take me to pee in a cup while completely naked from the waist-down with someone watching…