Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Bubka-esque PR - and a Lance commentary

Sydkyst Marathon. Cold, windy and rainy described the day. 4 flat laps in a low-pressure environment. If it didn't work out, I could just drop after 3 laps.

I have two ways of burning up in marathons and ultras. It seems like in flat, fast marathons, I get more and more fatigued. It's hard to put a finger on it. My legs feel tired, although not really sore; I get a little disoriented and care less and less about the race. In ultras, or hilly trail marathons, I simply cramp up. My body and mind are fine, because I have been running slowly, but my legs cramp up.

Neither happened today. I clicked off 4 laps at almost equal pace (3:57, 3:56, 3:57 and 3:59 per K, respectively). My time was 2:48.06, which is a PR by 15 seconds. The first lap included 3K of warming up and 7.5K of catching up on lost time. Maybe I could have started out a little faster.

But hey, I ran a PR in cold rain, and it felt like there was a headwind the whole way. Vix Steen won in 2:45, his new PR. I have beaten Vix twice by latching on to him and then speeding up at the end, but today he took off right at the gun. I honestly thought he would come back to us, but he ran a great race.


Why didn't he admit it years ago, like so many other past stars? Fans of the sport have known that 99% of the peloton doped; people would have shrugged and moved on. Now, the dirty laundry is out for all to see.

I want to see it all, of course. I hope the report includes the medical details. I read an excerpt that described how they were able to not get caught with synthetic epo in their blood. Someone suggested that they slept in hypoxic tents, not to make more blood, but to obscure the endogenous:synthetic epo ratio. Fascinating. And the blood transfusions were apparently very small. In mainstream medicine, many physicians always transfuse 2 units of red cells (which is a little more than half a liter of blood), but they apparently transfused something like 100 to 200 cc's at a time.

It's almost too late for Lance to come clean. It would seem like too much of a defeat. If he had done it a few years ago, when the decision was his to make, he would have seemed like a true champion. Of all the dopers, British David Millar and American Jonathan Vaughters will be remembered as the ones who emerged as victors. Millar got caught and Vaughters voluntarily admitted that he had doped, but both were able to turn their past into an advantage.

What about the ones who never doped? They were stuck in the French and Italian equivalents of Cat 1 and now work as carpenters and TV salesmen. Who knows where Lance would have ended up, if he had refused to dope? Even today, knowing the final outcome of his decision, I think he would choose the ill-gotten millions and fame over a job working at Dick's Sporting Goods.

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