Monday, November 16, 2015

Fact Versus Hollywood

As all of you who have read my previous post, a few weeks ago, I finally had a chance to watch the movie, Mc Farland USA on the Starz cable channel.  What was nice about this was that it was without interuption unlike channels that have to have several commercials throughout the movie.

Since watching the movie, I've seen several write-ups about the movie.  Also, it was interesting checking the internet to see what was fact and what was Hollywood.  Yes, the movie is based on a true story, but not everything was done in reality the way it was done in the movie.

To me and many people who saw the movie, I thought it was great, perhaps the most enjoyable sports movie I've seen!  Too often, we get "caught up" into what can be too much detail.  Niki Caro, the person who directed the movie wanted this to be a movie and not a documentary.  That was meant for films such as Spirit Of The Marathon I and II and Fire On The Track. They're great movies as well.  It's just that this movie is not a documentary!

Though it never hurts to have someone like Kevin Costner in the movie, seeing actors and actresses that I've never seen before was fantastic.  Carlos Pratts (Thomas Valles), Hector Duran (Johnny Samaniego), Sergio Avelar (Victor Puentes), Ramiro Rodriguez (Danny Diaz), Michael Aguero (Damacio Daiz), Rafael Martinez (David Diaz) and Johnny Ortiz (Jose Cardenas) were outstanding!  The names in parenthesis are the actual runners.  They trained for their part in this movie by running at least five miles a day!  Sergio actually ran for Mc Farland Cross Country team in 2011.  His knowledge of running, I'm certain, helped the other six actors during the preparation.

Maria Bello who played Cheryl White, the coach's wife was excellent along with Diana Maria Riva who played the part of Juanita Diaz.  What I enjoyed about their roles was the fact that it was more than a cross country movie.  It brought out the way of life in Mc Farland, California, a small town in the Central Valley.  Also, it brought out family which the director wanted.

Another item was the music.  Enjoyed it!  One of my favorites, though I need to translate what's being sung, is Juntos by Juanes.  It's a really upbeat song.  

One thing was unfortunate however.  While the movie was in production, Mc Farland's streak of appearances at the CIF State Meet ended at 24 straight years.  The school, because of their success, was elevated all the way up to Division I level despite the fact that the school had roughly 750 students.  Personally, I feel that's unfair not only to the runners, but also the coaches and the Mc Farland community!

That being said, no question that Mc Farland USA is a "feel good" movie, especially to those who are Costner fans.  I'm looking forward to the DVD in the mail soon!      


Monday, November 9, 2015

The Last Four Weeks

Undoubtedly, the last four weeks of the return to running have gone well.  In 29 days, the mileage is at 142 miles (about five miles a day) and the base training has come back.  After about a week, the cadence had really improved a great deal after the legs feeling very lethargic the second and third day back.

With the Thanksgiving Day 5K race about two weeks away, this runner-blogger would like to see the pace pick up.  I've done two interval workouts of 8 x 400 meters on the track.  Though it's good, I'm looking at Yasso 800s in the next two weeks.  As a distance runner, interval strength training is important, for certain.

I'm pondering the thought of a marathon and half marathon in the next nine months.  The 21K is all but certain with the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in San Francisco next April.  It runs by my neighborhood in the last two miles.  There are others like the KP Half in February but I'd like to do a new 21K in 2016.

The marathon?  I've never run the San Francisco Marathon well at all, though I've done the first half marathon very well.  Maybe with a longer training period, I could possibly qualify for Boston next July.  Not a given yet, but a possibility.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Less Than 100 Days Until Marathon Trials

On Saturday, February 13, 2016, the United States will know who will represent the country in the Olympic Marathon in Rio.  The first three men and three women to finish on Los Angeles' 26.2 mile course will go on to Rio later in the year.  Here's the link to the marathon course:

The men's and women's fields, in number, are very close.  The men's field has a potential 157 runners (as of November 5) either through marathon or half marathon qualifying while the women have a potential 146 runners.  I believe this may be the largest qualifying in both the men's and women's fields.

Certainly, the men's field will be led by defending champion from 2012 in Meb Keflezighi.  Meb was fourth in the London Games in 2012, won the Boston Marathon in 2013 and last weekend, he set a U.S. Masters Marathon record in his seventh place finish at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.

The competition will be deep with Dathan Ritzenheim and Ryan Hall.  However, look out for the likes of 2015 U.S. Marathon Champion, Jared Ward.

In the women's field, Shalane Flanagan would be considered the favorite.  However, this field is deep as well with the likes of Desi Linden and Amy Cragg.  However, Deena Kastor, though she's not committed right now, would be running in her home area of Southern California.  Don't be surprised if we see her on the starting line.