Month: January 2014

TERROR, THE NEW JOBS CREATOR

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

The sporting question to be answered Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII is whether the best defensive in the league can stop the best offense. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that the best defense in the Meadowlands this Sunday won’t come from the Seattle Seahawks sidelines, but from the federal government.   SUPER SECURITY TAKES OVER SUPER BOWL...Hidden snipers deployed in stadium...Black Hawk Helicopters On Alert...F-16s prepared to scramble...

Yes, security at the Super Bowl has been ramped up to super-sized levels, and we know where it is headed next. With the bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon, and the government’s recent decision to seek the death penalty against surviving bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one can only imagine the security force that will encircle the 26.2 mile route come April 21. (more…)

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LOS ANGELES AWARDED 2016 OLYMPIC MARATHON TRIALS


Olympic RingsIt must have been the toughest of tough calls, but it’s LA over Houston in 2016.  Here some background on the selection from a previous post.

LOS ANGELES

–The City of Los Angeles will host the Women’s and Men’s 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, USA Track & Field, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA MARATHON LLC announced Wednesday.

The 2016 Olympic Trials will be held Feb. 13, 2016. With separate starts, the men’s and women’s races both will be carried in their entirety on NBC.
“We are thrilled with what Los Angeles will provide to our athletes, the Olympic movement and the sport of long distance running by hosting this event,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “With television coverage on NBC and incredible public and private support for the race in one of the world’s biggest media markets, everything is in place to continue to elevate the Olympic Trials and give our athletes a platform on which they can truly shine.”
“I’m happy and honored USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee have chosen Los Angeles as host city for the 2016 Olympic marathon trials,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  “With its iconic landmarks and decades of experience hosting world class sporting events, Los Angeles is the ideal location for America’s elite marathoners to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.”
“The U.S. Olympic Committee is pleased to be returning to Los Angeles with this amazing event,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. “As the host of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles has a tremendous Olympic legacy and L.A.’s status as a global center of sport and culture make it an exceptional host for the Olympic Trials.” (more…)

BATTLE LINES DRAWN IN KENYAN TAX REVOLT

PAAK
PAAK

Taxation can impoverish as well as replenish, overturn empires or elevate kings. It is getting the balance right that counts.   Last Wednesday 400+ members of Kenya’s running nobility gathered in Eldoret, the center of Kenyan running in the North Rift Valley, to unite in opposition to an imposition, an imposition of a direct tax on their athletic earnings.

In one voice the athletes said, nay! we already pay indirect tax via the local levies on holdings, businesses, and the like.  (Athletes are the Republicans in this scenario, the trickle down, job-creators.)  On the other side sits the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA) which says the law is simple, all Kenya citizens must pay (30%) tax on all earnings.

But as always in Kenya, there is the law and then there is the policy.  For years Kenyan athletes have been seen as ambassadors for their country, elevating its world standing by their superb racing exploits. What’s more, their income was considered an engine of commerce as they poured their earnings back into their local economies.   And since those businesses and investments were always subjected to taxation, the athletes say the imposition of a direct tax on earnings would not only stifle future economic development, it would double tax them as their earnings are already taxed in the countries in which they race.

But there’s more to it than that.  Just 50 years free from British colonial rule, Kenya remains a young nation, and the ties that bind a nation together are not as developed as one might assume. What further underlies the athletes’ opposition to the new policy is the duplicity they see as coming from the government.

Kenyan Parliamentarians are among the highest paid in the world in a nation whose citizens earn an average $1800 per year.  Last summer the MPs succumbed to public pressure and agreed to drop their salaries by nearly 40%, but from $120,000 a year to $75,000!  Then they voted themselves exempt from paying any tax!  That’s good work if you can get it.

The argument from the KRA vantage point says that the policy of not directly taxing the athletes’ income was initiated decades ago when there was just a trickle of men running overseas. Today, that trickle has become a torrent, and the time for such a lenient tax policy has long since passed, and the athletes must now be treated like any other citizen.  Thus, what we see is one side looking to overturn tradition, while the other wants to maintain its legacy. (more…)

COMPETITOR GROUP REVERSES COURSE ON ELITE COMPETITION

competitor-group     Admitting error isn’t easy, but it can be cathartic.  In light of the strong, some might even say vehement, reaction to its decision last September to precipitously eliminate elite, competitive racing at its Rock `n` Roll events – the announcement came just two weeks before the Rock `n` Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon after appearance-fee agreements had been made — San Diego-based Competitor Group, Inc. announced yesterday that it is reversing course and resurrecting its competitive, elite athlete program in 2014.

CGI Senior VP, Tracy Sundlun
CGI Senior VP, Tracy Sundlun

“It was obvious it was a bad decision,” said CGI senior vice-president of events Tracy Sundlun.  “It wasn’t working.  The fact of the matter is the leadership, our executive team, heard from the running community and we listened. (Cutting elite competition) wasn’t who we were, or who we wanted to be.  It isn’t what we represented, what the sport should be, and what we should be doing with our partners and friends.  So the decision was changed, and I’m just thrilled.” (more…)

TO RE-GRAMMAR THE WORKOUT

Coach Toya
Coach Toya

In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.  In the unspoken language of running the grammatical structure — the clauses, phrases, and words — comes from the components of the workouts – hills, repeats, tempo, long runs, etcetera. Only when properly ordered do these structural elements turn into the finished composition of racing success.

For many new runners it is difficult to understand the grammar of this language; running is just running.  This illiteracy is often seen first in the approach to workouts.  What many might see as tangential, the warm-up and cool-down, rather than being a precursor or postscript, are instead primary elements of the workout itself.  Thus, the grammar of the workouts must be understood before the composition of the race can be mastered.

“So now we have warm-up and cool-down paces,” said coach Toya, “because we can’t have them dragging their bodies during the warm up and cool-down.  ‘Don’t drag your body! That is what it will remember!’

“People condition themselves into believing their limitations, and the body follows suit.  People are not used to marshaling their forces. Plus, they work all day, and you have to take that into account and be sensitive to  it.  At the same time they have to remain focused.  ‘I need you focused till May. You are not just out here on Thursday night.  You are out here on Thursday night X weeks out from your race.  This is part of the plan.  We are doing this workout on this day, in this week, during this month as we aim toward that race.’ And you have to make them a part of it — ‘I see why we are doing this.’

“If they come to the workout after working all day and their mind set is, ‘I’m tired and down’, that isn’t setting them up for a positive workout. So the warm up is just as much to transition their attitude as it is to prepare their body.  And when we finish that last repeat, we’re not done. There is a reason for the cool down, rather than, ‘I’m through, so I can just walk-jog now’.

If Strunk & White had been coaches rather than an English prof and an author, they might have said, Vigorous running is concise. A workout should contain no unnecessary elements, a repeat no unnecessary steps, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the runner make all his workouts short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his training only in outline, but that he make every step tell, even the slow ones.

TReavisFitnessLogo.png2Treavis Logo 20131

Looking for a good running grammarian?  TReavisFitness.com

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FROM BULLDOGS TO BROADWAY – RANDOM THOUGHTS

CrossFitter Kevin Ogar
CrossFitter Kevin Ogar

Injuries are an inevitable weigh station on the road to sporting excellence.  Just this past weekend the world of CrossFit was rocked by the news that Kevin Ogar, a CrossFit coach from Englewood, Colorado, had severed his spine while performing a powerlift at a competition in California.  And of course these days football is nothing if not an outer waiting room for various orthopedic surgeons and increasingly, neurologists and medical examiners.

Running has its overuse injuries, for sure, but football has car wrecks.  (more…)

L.A. MARATHON CEO STILL AWAITING OLYMPIC TRIALS DECISION

Asics L.A. Marathon CEO Tracey Russell
Asics L.A. Marathon CEO Tracey Russell

     ASICS Los Angeles Marathon CEO Tracey Russell is still settling into her new position out west, having moved from her leadership of the Atlanta Track Club last June to take the reins at L.A.’s premier endurance event.  But as often happens on the roads of L.A., Ms. Russell has found herself nudging from one lane of responsibility to the next as the rush hour of marathon season begins to take hold.

So even as the Cleveland, Ohio native tries to figure out which of her things she had shipped out from Atlanta will work in the home she just purchased in L.A., she and her staff continue gearing up for the 29th running of the marathon on March 9th while anxiously awaiting the final decision by USATF whether L.A. or Houston will host the U. S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.

“I had to unplug from work for about 24-hours,” she laughed during a phone call from her office near downtown L.A.  “All my stuff was coming from Atlanta in boxes, and it was a little crazy. But I’m back at work now, and registration for the marathon is tracking well ahead of last year, so we will have a sell-out.  We are working on our pro field now and the Olympic Trials.  We also hired a new brand strategy VP, and he and Nick (Curl, race director) are working on TV.”

While previous rights owners of the L.A. Marathon were content with staging a national-quality event in their world-class city, current rights owner Frank McCourt, and the city itself, has an eye cast toward a larger target.  (more…)