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February 16, 2016 | Issue 14
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the morning shakeout by mario fraioli
A colorful parade makes its way down Flower St. in L.A. on Saturday. instagram.com/mariofraioli

Good morning, loyal readers. I’m back home after 9 straight days on the road and admittedly had a hell of a time trying to turn thoughts into words this week. So, in lieu of my regularly scheduled missive here are some links to things I thought were worth sharing:

False hope?

Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden gives his take on this past weekend’s Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles. “…since this is the embattled sport of track and field and running, there cannot simply be drama, there must also be controversy. Always, there must be controversy, because the sport cannot run from itself.” 

+ Quick Trials Take: I was in L.A. over the weekend covering the Trials, and there was certainly controversy, not to mention carnage on the course, a few awkward/tense moments at the post-race press conference and enough drama to warrant considering selling tickets. I won’t get into all of it here this week, but Tim [Layden] had some interesting comments on Twitter regarding Galen and how he was virtually ignored at the post-race press conference in favor of Meb, who finished second to make his fourth Olympic team at the age of 40. It’s anyone’s guess as to why that snub might have been, but Galen—for all his successes, including an impressive win on Saturday—doesn’t help his own case by being closed off to media and fans. He was inaccessible to everyone but USATF.TV before the race, while Meb is personable, honest and generous with his time. The same can be said for many of the rest of the sport’s top athletes. Sitting on the stage next to Meb, Jared Ward, Des Linden and Amy Hastings on Saturday afternoon, Galen didn’t look like he wanted to be there in the least bit and all of his answers were sterile and canned. It made me think of Marshawn Lynch’s epic “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” Super Bowl press conference of a year ago.

Just Athletics

The Just Athletics podcast has been going since last August but it just came to my attention last week. I’m enjoying going through the archived episodes, which includes interviews with Jenny Simpson, Alan Webb, Bernard Lagat and others. Josh Rowe, who formerly worked in sports marketing at Nike and New Balance (which is where I first met him), and Chris Johnson, a successful high school coach from Oregon, interview athletes, agents and coaches while offering their own insight and opinions on any number of relevant topics. The audio isn’t the greatest but the content is interesting and that’s most important.

What’s your priority?

Like most other worthwhile endeavors in life, effective training is a matter of prioritizing what’s important at the right time. “You can’t be at the peak level optimum physical conditioning year around,” writes coach Vern Gambetta. “Priority training can help you achieve continual improvement by changing priorities based on the time of the training year and the state of the athlete.”

Don’t abuse your tools. 

Runners, this PSA is for you: Your GPS watch is a tool, not a crutch. “So what’s the point?” writes Steve Magness. “In a world of GPS watches and gadgets that provide us feedback on everything from miles run to steps taken, remember the point of it. It’s a secondary check, it’s not the governor. Just like the speedometer on your car doesn’t dictate how you drive your car, the gadgetry shouldn’t dictate how you run a workout or race.”

Happiness is not a finish line.

What does it mean to endure? And what can it teach you? NPR's lastest TED Radio Hour podcast attempts to answers these questions—and more—in its latest episode. It’s a four-parter, but my favorite is the first one about Ben Saunders, who in 2013 completed a 105-day round-trip expedition from Ross Island on the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. “The closer I got to my finish line, that rubbly rocky coast of Ross Island, the more I started to realize the biggest lesson that this very long, very hard walk might be teaching me is that happiness is not a finish line,” Saunders said in his TED Talk. “And that if we can’t feel content on our journeys amidst the mess and the striving that we all inhabit, the open loops, the half-finished to-do lists, the could-do-better-next-times, then we might never feel it.” 

That’s it for this week’s edition of The Morning Shakeout. If you enjoyed what you read here, please forward it along to a friend or share it on your social media platform of choice. If not, let me know what I can do to improve it by replying directly to this email. 

Thanks for reading,

Mario

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