Alan Webb’s 3:46 minute mile.  NUTS.

lilybw One of many memorable fantastic evenings with Alan & Rima. Such fun we had. You will be forever missed Alan. You inspired me then & inspires me now. I take you with me into my future xxx💫

Alan Rickman with Rima Horton and a family friend and/or goddaughter, Lily Bertrand-Webb, (who attended the DH2 premiere with him in 2011), c. 1990s-2000s [x] [x]

Alberto Salazar's Secret Weapon for Rapid Recovery

It sounds like the plot of a James Bond movie.  In a electrical room on the 6th Floor of the Niketown store in Manhattan, Coach Alberto Salazar has installed a cryosauna, a six-foot tall metal cylinder that rapidly cools his runners using nitrogen vapors at -275 F. 

For two-and-a-half minutes, the runners stand in the cryosauna as their blood rushes first to their internal organs, then back to their skin after they exit the machine.  Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished 8th in Sunday’s NYC Marathon, was the first to use the sauna.  Kara Goucher, Alan Webb, and Galen Rupp have also used it. 

According to Salazar, after using the $50,000 cyrosauna, his runners recover from tough interval and weight lifting sessions and are ready to run again in a few hours.

What do you think?  Would you turn yourself into a human popsicle to recover faster?  Tell me in the comments.

A video of Ritzenhein and Salazar using the cyrosauna is embedded below.

An interesting New Yorker article on some of Salazar’s training methods and his effort to change Dathan Rizenhien’s running form can be found here.

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Alan Webb: Where are you?

Alan Webb is one out of 5 high schoolers ever to go under 4 minutes in the mile (including Jim Ryun [1964-65], Tim Danielson [1966], Mary Liquori [1967], and Lukas Verzbicas [2011]).What made Webb even more famous is he is the only one that beat Jim Ryun’s time, setting a high school mile record of 3:53.43 [2001].

After going to the University of Michigan for one year, Webb decided he was better off just turning professional and furthering his career from there. He continued schooling at George Mason University, but went back to his old coach, and got a nice sponsorship with Nike.

Webb was one of the elite 1500m/milers for the United States. He set bests of 3:30.54 for 1500m and an American Record of 3:46.91 for the mile in 2007. Webb was looking to go into an Olympic year as America’s best male hope for a distance medal. He won the Olympic Trials in 2004 so he wasn’t in an unfamiliar situation.

He placed 5th, missing qualifying by 2 spots. In August of 2009, a year after the Trials, he decided to join the Nike Oregon Project and to be coached by Alberto Salazar, who is one of the best coaches in America. He raced a few times under Salazar, including a disappointing finish this winter at the Boston Indoor Games, where he was nearly beaten by high-schooler, Lukas Verzbicas. After the race Webb threw a “temper tantrum”. Since then, Webb has run a 3:38 for 1500m, then left Salazar. Right now, we don’t know where Webb is and what he is doing. It was reported by in March that “Webb’s former sponsor, as was told late on Wednesday night, by a source that wishes to remain anonymous, that Webb’s contract with Nike actually has run out and that he no longer is receiving paychecks from Nike, as negotiations are ongoing.” Webb is only 28 years old, which is relatively young compared to American record holder, Bernard Lagat (37), who is still setting records in the 5000m after setting the 1500m earlier in his career. The blog Track Focus received an e-mail from him Monday saying, “I will not be running at (U.S.) championships. I strained a muscle in my shin that I couldn’t seem to get right. It is much improved now but have had to take a little break.”

As an American, and given Webb’s age, I can only hope he can pull it together for the 2012 Olympic Trials. Since he has gotten worse, America has gotten better and young guns like Andrew Wheating, and Matthew Centrowitz have a good chance at beating Webb at Olympic Trials and US Championships. All I can say is good luck Alan, you obviously need it.

UPDATE 6-19-2011: Webb is now reported to be back being coached by Jason Vigilante. It was reported two months ago that he was but it was not confirmed by Webb, his wife, and his agent. The two month old article is here.