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Fleshman to return at XC club champs; Oiselle update

In episode 8 we interviewed Oiselle’s Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace, along with CEO and founder of the Seattle-based company Sally Bergesen (see interview transcript). Since then, Fleshman had a baby, Grace cracked the 2:00 barrier in the 800 and was an alternate at World’s, Bergesen committed to run this weekend’s ING NYC Marathon, and the three showed off the company’s spring 2014 collection at NYC’s fashion week.

Look for Fleshman to return to competition at the USATF National Club Cross Country champs on Dec. 14 in her hometown of Bend, Oregon. Here’s a quick update on Lauren, Kate, and Sally, in their own words:

Fleshman: After 12 weeks of post partum semi-jogging and some Elliptigo, I’m feeling ready to start pushing myself a bit. My focus has been building into a schedule again, living like a pro runner again. It’s an adjustment getting into the routine of weights and PT and massage and all the little things much less adding in hard workouts and two a days which won’t come in for a while. Training with my new team, Little Wing, is exactly the community and energy I want in my life. I’m with the people I want to be with doing exactly what I want to do. Club Cross Country champs are in December and Oiselle will have a few teams. I’ll be gasping for air somewhere in the middle eating humble pie and enjoying every bite. Hopefully you’ll see me racing at USA outdoors and if things progress well before that, I’ll take an early spin around the tracks in Australia in March and do some key road races.

Grace: I have so much positive to take away from 2013. I felt strong and confident going in to my races, and started to see that I could compete with anyone in the US. The goal is to have that feeling with anyone in the world, and that is on the horizon. My base treated me well, but I also learned that I have a ways to go with injury prevention – knowing when to push the gas, or pump the brakes. Starting around when we last spoke in mid May, I had a succession of mini setbacks, nothing major, hamstring here, plantar fascia there, but the sum of the time off meant I probably started my taper prematurely. By the time USAs and Europe rolled around, I was running very limited mileage. The 800 was the right race to choose under the circumstances, and I was blown away by how strong I felt with very minimal speed work. I did hit my A standard, one race too late for the Moscow team (came in 4th at the USA Championships). Overall, I am excited and inspired by the strength of the US middle distances. We had 5 women in the World finals of the 800 and 1500, and two medals. It’s great to know that being at the top of the US puts you at the top of the world. So, I’m back here chugging away working to get there. I took a long break, and now the goal for this fall and winter is continuing to focus on tightening my stride, and increasing tissue mobility and strength, so the body can absorb all the work ahead.

Bergesen: NYC marathon training has gone the best since my last sub 3 in 2008. That aside, my goal is to run as fast I can while still having fun. Like a showboat with a few jet packs tucked away. 😉 Captain Fleshman has been a thoughtful, experienced, intuitive coach. No matter what transpires by the clock, it will be an honor to run alongside my Every Mother Counts teammates and support their efforts to raise money and awareness for maternal health. Oiselle continues to fly. 100% growth year over year is exciting but also rife with challenges. Fortunately, we have a crackerjack team…one that is focused and tightly knit. We hope to continue to take a strong stand on pro runner issues as well as ways in which the sport can grow by welcoming more players to the dance floor.

Episode 8: Oiselle Versus the Establishment

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It is said that birds of a feather flock together, and so it was in podcast episode 8.  Oiselle runners Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace are joined by the company’s founder and CEO Sally Bergesen in a wide ranging interview that covers Fleshman’s best races, Grace’s taking flight on the track and roads, and Bergesen’s attempt to turn the running industry on its head. Elsewhere in the episode Brenn does an inventory of shoe contracts and reads viewer feedback from the mailbox, while Gregg takes Bill Rogers’ “Marathon Man” off the shelf of the library and climbs on the soapbox to rant about new baggage policies at races.

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Wanamaker Mile Preview

Women’s

None of the 13 competitors in the women’s Wanamaker Mile on Saturday ran in last year’s 1500m “Metric Wanamaker Mile.” Absent are Jenny Simpson (last year’s winner), Shannon Rowbury (2nd last year), and Morgan Uceny (who won the 800m at Millrose last year), all of whom represented the US in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympics. And yet this year’s race, loaded with young talent and with no clear favorite, is just as compelling without them.

Sixteen-year-old prodigy Mary Cain (4:32.78 indoor PR), former prodigy Jordan Hasay (still just 21), and 20-year-old Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino, who barely missed qualifying for London last year with her 15:19.98 at the dramatic Olympic trials 5000m, headline the youth movement. Sarah Brown (nee Bowman) beat Cain in the mile at the Armory on Jan. 26, running 4:31.61. Emily Infeld (22 years old) is the 2012 NCAA indoor 3000m champ and 4th place finisher at the 2013 USATF x-c championship, and has been training with Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher in Jerry Schumacher’s Oregon Track Club group. Her sister Maggie finished 4th in the Metric Wanamaker Mile last year. Kate Grace (24), running for Oiselle, which recently signed Lauren Fleshman from Nike, has been slashing new PRs and beat both D’Agostino and Hasay in the 3,000m at the University of Washington Invitational. Giving the race the slightest of international feels are Canadian Olympians Sheila Reid (23) and Hilary Stellingwerff (31). A third Canadian Olympian, Nicole Sifuentes (5th last year), was originally slated to run but is out with a plantar injury.

Cain has both a blistering kick and home track advantage. The trick for her will be retaining contact with the leaders for the first seven laps so that she and the crowd can ride the wave of high drama in the eighth. I expect D’Agostino or Reid to take it with a time in the high 4:20s, with Grace and Cain in the mix. Whoever wins, expect to see several of these runners at Rio in 2016.

Men’s

Unlike the women’s race, the men’s Wanamaker Mile has a clear favorite and plot line. Twenty-three year old Olympian Matt Centrowitz is the defending champ, it’s seen as his race to win, and the question is whether he will

  1. break his Armory record of 3:53.92 from last year’s race
  2. break Bernard Lagat’s Millrose record of 3:52.87
  3. beat Galan Rupp’s 3:50.92 from earlier this season
  4. go sub-3:50 and take down Lagat’s indoor American record of 3:49.89

Centrowitz controlled last year’s race from the front, a tactic he repeated to win the mile at Boston two weeks ago (3:56.26) and that seems to work for him when Leonel Manzano isn’t in the race. There are some high-upside guys who could pose a challenge: Lopez Lomong, Lawi Lalang, who ran 13:08 in the 5,000m at the meet last year, or Robbie Andrews (winner of the High School Mile at Millrose in 2009). It’s unlikely, though, that they will bring it in the low 3:50s.

Centrowitz is such a smooth runner that it seems he leaves energy unspent on the track. Despite how smooth he might appear, though, we can’t assume that he’s left gears untapped, gears that we wouldn’t see until his veins are popping out of his neck and his head bobs back and his form goes all to hell.

In order to knock all the names off the list, Centrowitz will probably have to win the race by several seconds and run it as a personal time trial, much how Rupp ran his 3:50. In three months Rupp will turn 27, and Alberto Salazar has not been afraid to push the pedal to the floor on Rupp’s short track races, which aren’t even considered his forte. The incentives are different with Centro, who has a longer horizon and less reason to risk a race for a record. He ran a 3:31.96 1500m at the Lausanne Diamond League meet outdoors last year and he’ll likely run sub 3:50 for the mile at some point, but it’ll take elite international competition to push him to it.

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