Fly Like the Wind

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Keep an eye out for new Nike footwear when the 2008 Olympic games kicks off this weekend in Beijing. The Nike Flywire running shoe has been supplied to the US track and field team and weighs in at an incredibly light 96.3g per pair. An even lighter version known as the Zoom Victory Spikes weighs just 90.7g and has been specially developed for middle distance runners (800m). Hopefully the shoe will play a part in the success of the US athletes Olympic mission, but either way, the new shoes, which were inspired by the same material that suspension bridge cables/wire use, will be available to the public in the fall.

Going for Gold (Update)

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Last month we interviewed Jordan Desilets, a US 3,000m Steeplechase athlete who was participating in the US Olympic Trials. Jordan took part in the 3km Steeplechase final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon yesterday afternoon and finished in 8th place with a time of 8:38.84, missing out on a spot in the US Olympic team by just 17 seconds.

Watch the Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase Final, US Olympic Trials
NBCOlympics.com.

The top three finishers, Anthony Famiglietti (8:20.24), William Nelson (8:21.47), and Joshua McAdams (8:21.99) will all represent the United States at the Beijing Olympics which begin on August 8. We wish Jordan and the three Olympic qualifiers the best of luck for the future.

Going for Gold

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Jordan Desilets, going for gold

An update to this article was posted on July 6, 2008.

We are delighted and honored to have had the opportunity to interview US-based steeplechase athlete Jordan Desilets. 27 year-old Jordan from Michigan in the United States is a national champion and will be taking part in the 2008 US Olympic Trials later this month. If successful, Jordan will be representing his country in the ultimate athlete’s dream — the summer Olympic games, which take place this year in Beijing, China.

  • Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Jordan! Could you give our readers some background information about your running level and experience?
    I started running the mile in the 4th grade and still hold the elementary record. In high school, I had a mile time of 4:15, and a 5k time of 15:16. I moved on to Eastern Michigan University where I was coached by John Goodridge and dropped my time to a 3:59 mile, 1:51 800m, 8:24 Steeplechase, 13:52 5k, and a 29:17 10k. I was a national champion in the steeplechase in 2004, and 6th at the 2004 Olympic Trials. I ran pro for 3 years for Reebok. I am now qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the Steeplechase and hope to fair well there.
  • What distances and races do you typically run?
    Mid-to-long distance, the mile, 3000m Steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m.
  • How often do you train?
    6-7 days a week.
  • What time of day do you prefer to run?
    In Michigan summers, I run first thing in the morning or at night… no one wants to run when it’s 90 out with 100% humidity.
  • Do you eat a special diet?
    Nope…but I probably should. :)
  • What advice would you give to runners wanting to improve their times and run faster?For most road warriors (weekend 5k runners), the biggest problem is that they don’t get on the track enough… They typically have a dedicated running regiment of a few miles per day but never actually get on the track for a work out. Running miles can only build-up your endurance strength, but workouts on the track will get you muscular strong. Even if you’re only getting on the track once a week and doing a simple work out of 8 X 400m with about 90 seconds rest, it will improve your racing substantially. Rest and the pace of a workout are very important. The rest and pace should always be accurate to the second to insure consistency when performing the same work out, this will help you judge your body’s small improvements over time. If you have a 5k goal of 15:37, which is 5:00 mile pace, then you should be performing your 400m reps. at 73-74 seconds, which is just a tad faster than goal pace. If you complete this workout with ease, then the next step would be to knock the rest down to 60 seconds instead of 90. Then, if this one went well, you can drop the 400m times to 71-72 and bump the rest up to 90 seconds again… Rinse and repeat!
  • What’s the best piece of running advice anyone has given you?
    Keep running!!! I applied this advice one time when my legs went numb and I was trying to finish my mile in under 4 minutes.
  • What motivates you to keep running?
    The desire to always want to better myself. I always have to set several small attainable goals so I can inch forward every race. When I first started running the steeplechase, I started at Olympics and worked my way back to slower and slower goals until I had a list of about 20 different goals, all for the steeplechase. I think one was the school record, maybe a few meet records, and some surrounding track records of places that I raced at often.
  • What goes through your mind immediately before a race starts?
    Lately its been “I’m just happy to be here.” After two foot surgeries in back-to-back years and over a year-off from running - and now having qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials - I am happy to be here. Every race seems like a blessing… until about 3 laps to go and my legs are jello, heh, heh!
  • Do you use any running technology, such as Nike+, Polar, Garmin etc… to track your times and/or heart rate?
    No.
  • Do you use any Web sites or computer applications to store and analyze any of your running data?
    No, but I was thinking about trying the Nike Web site. My wife uses Nike+ and it looks kinda neat. As for now, it’s standard running logs.
  • Do you stick with the same brand of running shoe all the time, if so, which one and why?
    No. All through college our sponsors kept changing so I ran in Mizunos and Adidas. I then got sponsored by Reebok coming out of college - just this past year I got a few pairs of Adidas and Brooks. I would have to say my favorite shoes were either Mizunos or the Adidas shoes. As for spikes, I actually bought a bunch of Adistar Steeple from 2001 that I still run in.
  • How often do you buy new running shoes?Well, the general rule of thumb is 500 miles or if you alternate day-by-day you can get 700 miles on a pair of shoes. I normally just wear them until they don’t feel good anymore or the tread becomes decently worn.
  • Do you have sponsorship? If a potential sponsor is reading this, would you like them to contact you to discuss sponsorship?
    As of now, I do not have any sponsorship but I would absolutely love one. As I said above, I have currently qualified for the Olympic Trials, which begin at the end of June through early July, and I am raising money through friends and family to help get me out to Eugene, OR. If anyone would like to sponsor me they can most definitely contact me. Here are a few track web sites for reference: http://www.eugene08.com/, www.usatf.org, www.iaaf.org
  • What events or athletes are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Olympics?
    I always watch the Olympics. I just love the whole process from opening to closing ceremony. I will be watching for anyone I know to be out there. It would be nice to see if Bolt can break the 200m record or re-break his new world record in the 100m. I would like to see someone break up Kenya’s 1-2-3 steeplechase sweep.
  • What are your running goals / dreams / ambitions?
    My goals are to make an Olympic team either this year or in 2012, make a world team, get sponsored again, race in Europe, hold an American record, and never get injured again :-)

If you would like to follow Jordan’s quest to represent the United States in the 2008 Olympics, here are some links to the event schedule and television schedule:

TV Schedule | Event Schedule

The Weekend Warrior - We Salute You

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It seems the past two weeks have been almost too much to bear, not just for me, but for everyone I’ve spoken to - my co-workers, my parents, the waitress at the bar last night, etc. The weather’s been horrible, work’s been piling up, and there’s definitely some sleep deprivation in there too. Despite all these obstacles, I still find myself running and working out, as do my colleagues, friends and acquaintances.

I’ve been thinking about the dedicated and talented athletes that will soon be participating in the Olympics. They’re the elite of the elite and have dedicated their entire lives to training and preparation. The recognition these athletes and their trainers receive is well deserved - medal or no medal. They made it to the highest level and should be proud.

You know who else should be proud? All of the weekend warriors out there, who, despite having kids, jobs, and other obstacles of life in their way, still lace-up their shoes and step onto the pavement. You might not receive a gold medal or have the national anthem playing for you in front of the entire world, but you’ve accomplished something just as worthwhile. We don’t have all the time in the world to train and may only be able to go running when it’s convenient, but we do what we can when we can. So, the next time you finish a race or just jog around the block, remember that you’ve accomplished a GREAT feat - you’ve stepped up to the challenge.

Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character. — T. Alan Armstrong