When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times

While fans struggle to make sense of recent doping revelations, athletes in the sport have had to deal with their doubts for years.

By Sarah Lorge Butler;

When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times

Image by Steve Baccon / Getty Images Published March 30, 2015  When Cheaters Win Podium

Shalane Flanagan started the 2014 Boston Marathon with a 5:11 first mile. She had made no secret that winning Boston, the race she had watched as a child, was the dream that drove her—and she figured an honest pace from the gun was the best way to achieve it.

In close pursuit that day was defending champion Rita Jeptoo, 33, of Kenya. She stuck to Flanagan through torrid splits: 32:34 for 10K, 1:09:27 through the half. In the Newton Hills, Flanagan fell back while Jeptoo dropped a 4:48 for mile 24. Her winning time was 2:18:57, a new course record.

Even though she ran a PR by more than 3 minutes and posted the fastest American time (2:22:02) ever on the Boston course, Flanagan’s efforts were good for only seventh place. “I don’t wish it was easier,” she said after the race. “I just wish I were better.”

Perhaps she didn’t have to be. On Oct. 31, the running world learned what might have been behind Jeptoo’s otherworldly performances—which included a repeat Chicago Marathon title last fall—when news broke that she had failed an out-of-competition drug test in September. In December, her “B” sample confirmed the finding.

via When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times.

What’s next?

This man is on fire, watch out world!!


After opening up my season with the team at Nz cycle classic it was off to Sydney for the team launch and then up to Toowoomba for Oceania champs.

NZ Cycle Classic was my first time riding for GC (general classification).
It was really interesting. A lot different to just doing a job for your teammates. I was looking at starting my season off strongly but felt I had missed an opportunity. Wrong decisions cost me in the end general classification but I left feeling positive and confident. I learned some valuable lessons very quickly and I’m looking forward to the next time. One thing I admired was my teammates belief in me which was through the roof even before the tour started. Their support was awesome and will be repaid.

Getting a podium on the prologue was a one of the targets of mine heading into the NZCC.


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Race Week is Busy Man!!

With only a few days to go until my second attempt at the Ironman New Zealand the realisation of the msgnitude of the race has hit again.  There is just so much stuff to think about to make this race go smoothly.

Race week
Monday – Day off training and daddy daughter day.  You may think it would be relaxing, it wasn’t but the best day of the week for me. 
Tuesday – quick 40 minutes on the bike followed by a 20 minute run. That was the easy bit.  It was then time to clean, service and fine tune the price of equipment that slowly becomes part of you over race day.  The bike! 

The Pure Black beauty


sparkling clean

With the Black Beauty sparkling and race ready it was time to head home and do some chores before packing for the weekend ahead. 
Wednesday – a last visit to the shop for final race nutrition, a spare tubular tyre and last minute banter from the team then back home to wait for my ride, filling time with small chores (folding nappies and the like.  WOW! Who would have thought?)
1pm the call comes in and time to load up the truck and travel down with Bryan, one of the Three Coaching crew!  
Arriving in Taupo around 6pm to an amazing spot, thanks to regular customers and fellow athletes Andrew and Mike. 

Thursday – wake up at the a reasonable hour to go for my first dip in the lake this week, what a chore (he says with a hint of sarcasm) I have to walk out my bedroom door and take 25 steps to the waters edge!  Leave my towel and kit on the beach as there is no one else using it and take a casual 22 minute swim out in the clear blue waters.  Aaaaahh! 
Then it was on to check in, a quick trip around the expo centre to sort out goggles and catch up with a few people on the stands.  Thank you Triathletes Corner for hooking me up with some sweet goggles.  When it came time to pay my card wouldn’t work, slightly embarrassing for me but quick as a flash Emma (legend and far better to hug than Jason BTW) check my points on their loyalty system and gave me the goggles at no charge!  “Points cover it Alan”. 
If you are reading this don’t tell Nina about that last bit, she might start asking how much I actually spent to earn enough points. 


After coffee and more catch up in town it was time to head back to the house to ready the bags and take the bikes out for a spin to make sure all is well.  
This was tough!  A 40 minute cruise ride at an average of 32 kph felt like I was pushing the bike up hill the whole way.  I checked the bike over and nothing wrong with it so it must just be me feeling a little under the weather a few days out, all will be well on race day.  I hope! 
Pasta party and race briefing at the events centre in the evening which was far quicker than last time I did it, we actually left before it was dark!  Was also great to be able to catch up with a few of the others from the crew, Brian ‘living the dream’ Farrell looking stronger than ever.
Friday is rack the bike day and race bag check in,  I am sure there will be a bit more expo wondering but then it’s time to get into back to the room and watch movies for the rest of the day.  Can’t wait! 
Looking forward to seeing everyone on the start line on Saturday and hope that all competitors and family have enjoyed a busy race week and are ready to rock n roll!

Its all coming together.

“In Ben we trust” is a statement that I had made quite regularly last time I went through this journey to the Ironman New Zealand start line and I say it again “In Ben we trust” (yes I went with ‘the journey’)

This time, the journey has been a little quieter due to the fact that any spare moments I had last time to write have been spent with #babyparry in the lead up to #IMNZ2015.  Mostly everything else has been the same,

  • lawns are getting out of hand
  • housework is left to Nina (I am so lucky to have such a supportive wife)
  • work colleagues have suffered with constant brainfarts due to training fatigue
  • friends have spoken to my answerphone more than me

This time round Ben (coach) had to put up with a few more restrictions on my training programme with alternate days off in the week and my schedule being a little more rigid than in previous years but he managed it really well with me able to complete 95% of training sessions set out.  The other 5% were missed through bad luck more than any planning issues too.

  1. Running injury in calf muscles due to lack of stretching (which I was told to do on more than one occasion)
  2. Falling off my motorbike and aggravating nerves and soft tissue in the leg.

Even with these issues and a less than stellar running build up I feel like I am actually ready to hit the ground running (did you like that) and the training session below from Saturday explains why.  The aim of the session is to simulate the ride on race day with nutrition, perceived effort, heart rate and distance with a 40minute run to see how the legs react.

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Stats from 180km TT effort.

The ride was awesome!   2 laps of a 90km circuit with 965m of climbing in each lap on an out and back course.  More climbing than race day but road surfaces to match that of the road to Reparoa and back.

I started the first lap in Zone 2 and 3 (heart rate between 60-75%) and I am pleased that I managed to hold myself back in that range for the whole 90km.   The second lap became a little more difficult to control myself.  As soon as I hit the Dairy Flat road I could sense Bryan (training partner for the day and Ben coached too) up the road and the chase was on.  Also, the new bike I am on just screams to be ridden fast.  Zone 4 and 4.5 were see a quite a few occasions.

After a good ear-bashing (from myself) and 40km of it, I slowed things down a little and managed to reserve some energy for the run.  Super excited about a 31.1km/h average for that course.

40 minute run off the bike

40 minute run off the bike

After a few minutes replacing fluids and getting changed we were off on the run which actually started off at a slow jog / fast walk, just as is planned for race day.  Even starting off in this manner I managed to go far to quick for my own ability, only this time I stopped myself 30 seconds into the run and not when my body failed, collapse and curled into the fetal position.  40 minutes went really well and I felt like I could keep it going all day.  To find the average pace was 5.47/km was a huge bonus.

If you had asked me 4 weeks ago how I thought Ironman would go this time around, the response would have been “I’ll get through it”  “hopefully better than last time” “we’ll see how it goes.”

Ask me now?

“In Ben we trust!  Bring it on!”


Black Sands Triathlon Group session

Saturday mornings have been reserved for the Department of Cycling rides of late with housework on the weekend off.   This weekend I had the car for the morning and Black Sands Triathlon Club had a ‘Splash n Dash’ training session on at West Wave.

Arriving at 7.25am with 10 others and 2 lanes booked I could feel the buzz in the air.  A quick chat with another lane of triathletes getting their workout done and it was time to jump in the water for the start of our 2.5km session.

The Swim start

Starting out with 200m choice warm up, nice and steady.  300m breathing every 3,5,7,9 on rotation was next as hypoxic part of the warm up.

100m into the set Ben shouts out to move over a lane, “we need to take 3” 19 swimmers in the pool for the session and the buzz was amazing.   Main set up next 10 X 200’s on 3.30.  1 and 5 fast and the rest steady.  Starting at the front of the lane felt great for the first 200 until I realized young Harry (who I used to leave in my wake) had gotten a lot quicker.  He could take the front for the rest…

Black Sands Triathlon Club splash and dash post swim briefing.

Black Sands post swim brief.

We finished the swim at 8.30, jumped out of the pool and congregated out the front of West Wave for the ‘Dash’ part of the session.   What was really cool about this was that everyone was welcome, no matter the ability.  We had a couple of swimmers not make it out for the run and head for coffee instead, one went for a ride for the hour session and another who was on a long run in his program.  The rest of us did a 1km warm up run to Tui Glen where we got into some dynamic stretching before starting an interval session.  After running through 4 stretches under Ben’s watchful eye we started the main part of the run set.

  • 2 X 400m at 5km pace (1min 34sec/ 400m for my first)
  • 3 X 400m at the same pace (1min 38sec each lap this time)
  • 4 X 400m at the same pace (1min 38sec each)

Was super stoked to have completed the laps at the same pace although I had to slow it up a bit after the first set, the lack of running over the past month definitely showed.

To finish off there was an easy 2.5km for those who wanted to finish short and 5km for those that wanted a little more. (and a walk back to West Wave for anyone who wanted to finish up)

The morning finished off nicely with a coffee up at Sierra on Lincoln Road and most of adults in the run crew made it up there along with others who had the long run or a ride instead.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the session this morning with everyone there to learn, train and have fun.  Such a supportive environment to be involved in and I can’t wait for the ocean swims to start next week where we will get to enjoy similar session but in the open water.

Check out the web site for all of the Black Sands Triathlon Club sessions and how you could be involved in the newest Tri NZ affiliated club.

Running angry hurts – but the anger has gone…

Angry is probably a bit strong to use, probably disappointed is a better way to describe the feeling.  Tonight I organized an event for one of the projects I work on and invited one of my good friends to speak at the event but unfortunately I had to cancel due to lack of attendance.

Luckily my friend is very understanding and actually joined me for the run after shooting home to throw down a little nutrition and grab the pavement pounders!  Planned today was actually an easy run but due to missing my 45 minutes yesterday with 3 1600m efforts I decided to do that today.  (after consultation with the coach of course.)

We head out the door at 7.10pm, leaving the AvantiPlus Waitakere / Department of Cycling spin class to their sweat pouring, gut wrenching  and laughter filled session and ran ourselves down Lincoln Road at a comfortable 5min 10sec /km pace.  The 2km length of Lincoln Road, taking us to Henderson Park was to be our 10 minute warm up before the efforts.

First effort, my friend kindly offered to be my ‘pace donkey’ and hold me to 4min 40sec /km, the pace seems fast but I hold on to his shoulder.  3 minutes in and I can feel my lungs burning a little but its sustainable.  Running through Henderson Park with the lights out, probably due to the recent storm, is not the most pleasant run but all I can think about is keeping one foot in front of the other fast enough to hold onto that shoulder which seems to keep creeping away from me.

5 minutes in and I am puffing like a 70 year old 2 pack a day smoker who has just jumped off an exercycle in a steam room. Sweat pouring and hoping for this effort to end soon I hear “We only have about 400m to go” followed a moment later by a buzz from my trusty Garmin.

WHAT?  That buzz means we have only covered 1km and there are 600m to go. “I don’t know if I will survive”  but survive I do!  STOP!  This first effort was probably 80m short but I didn’t care.

45 minutes with efforts

A minutes rest and into effort 2.  Running back to our start point “going this way is downhill, I normally feel a lot better going back this way” comes from the trusty shoulder to my right.  I didn’t feel any easier to me.

6 minutes later and the same result for me except I looked at the pace on my trusty wrist monitor and found we had been running 4min 30sec pace and not the 4.40 we had agreed.  Thanks Donkey

Nothing really to report on the last effort except for the slow in pace to reflect the original plan and more of the same pain.  The run back to the store, a 10 minute warm down, felt more like Survival, the Lincoln Road edition and I had to slow the pace to a slow jog for the last km but when we got back the disappointment was not so big in my mind.

Well worth the pain of the run!

Thank you to my running partner for putting me through my paces.

Ben – Please forgive me for allowing my heart rate to perform as below.