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Movie of the Month: 2007, Page 2

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December 2007:

Order at Amazon.com

1988 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s
Outdoor Track and Field National Championship

The NCAA has started to release their televised coverage of National Championship competitions (indoor, outdoor, and cross country events). This title was selected for several reasons: To see if the broadcast lived up to the live action, to check the advertized content, and to watch great performers and record setting action. Having been at Hayward field for this sunny track meet, you can be assured that the energy and excitement is captured in the selected events. The initial film description, both online and printed on the back of the DVD case is unfortunately incorrect (the producers from Thought Equity Motion have been very responsive to feedback and have now corrected this error). The actual result is the UCLA men winning their second straight title and the Lady Tigers of LSU also taking home their second consecutive team trophy. As far as records are concerned, in this meet there are three meet records, two collegiate records, and two performances that are the fastest times in the world that year.

Overall this package is filled with full races of some selected races, no commercials, good commentary from Jim Nantz, Nancy Ditz (Olympic Marathon qualifier) and Craig Masback, slow motion replays, many lane assignment and on screen introductions, and interviews with coaches. There is one athlete profile where you will see Joe Falcon, the 1987 10,000 meter champion, talk about his favorite activities away from the track. It would have been nice to have the ability to select individual races from the DVD menu, yet this option is not present so you will see action from the start to finish. It also would have required extra effort to list complete results, either as a paper insert or as additional DVD footage. Instead you are given the top three finishers in each race as well as the American and Collegiate Records before the action.

Here are the featured races in order that they appear:
  • Men’s 400 Hurdles. From hurdle three to the finish you will see the outstanding form of UCLA’s Kevin Young as he dominates this event and finishes with an NCAA Meet Record time of 47.85.
  • Men’s 400 meters. Danny Everett pulls away from UCLA teammate Steve Lewis to win in 44.52. Coach John Smith, himself a two time winner in this event, is thrilled with the Bruin dominance.
  • Women’s 4x100 Relay. The last 100 meters is shown where Gail Devers moves from 5th to 2nd place with Arizona State taking the short relay title.
  • Women’s 400 Hurdles. Schowonda Williams is shown surging over the last two hurdles to be the only LSU individual title winner in a time of 55.53.
  • Women’s 100 meters. Coach Bob Kersey and Jackie Joyner Kersey look on as all the lanes are announced. Gail Devers runs away from the field in a wind aided time of 10.86.
  • Men’s 100 meters. Joe DeLoach wins in 10.03 over a field of easily recognizable sprinters: Mike March, Dennis Mitchell, Leroy Burrell and Raymond Stewart of Jamaica.
  • Men’s 1500 meters. Twelve participants stay gathered for the first half of this race. After Matt Taylor’s fall on the backstretch, Joe Falcon of Arkansas pulls away for a 3:38.91 finishing time.
  • Women’s 100 High Hurdles. Arizona State’s Lynda Tolbert (12.82) wins when Gail Devers strikes the 9th hurdle. This is Dever’s first loss since the 1986 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
  • Men’s 110 High Hurdles. Arthur Blake hits the first hurdle throwing him out of this competition while Georgia Tech’s James Purvis (13.58) runs a clean race to edge Rod Jett of California.
  • Women’s 4x400 Relay. UCLA freshman Janine Vickers has an amazing last leg to pull ahead of LSU. Gail Devers also gives her all in an outstanding second leg for the Bruin squad. The team title was also decided in this final event and LSU wins the team trophy by a three point margin with 61 total points.
  • Men’s 4x400 Relay. The UCLA team of Steve Lewis, Kevin Young, Danny Everett, and Henry Thomas become the first ever collegiate team to break the magical three minute mark in the 4x400 event by posting 2:59.91.
Running events dominate this 35 minute production. Only a couple of throws and jumps are included. At the end of the victory laps by each school, other notable performances are listed with the event, athlete’s name and winning mark. On the men’s side the 200, 800, Steeplechase, 5k and 10k are all mentioned, with only the 200 and steeple event showing just a glimpse of action. The women have seven additional running events and it would have been great to see Vicki Huber in more than the last 100 meters of the 3,000 meter event as she ran the fastest time in 1988 with a 8:47.35 victory. University of Oregon athlete Annette Hand won the 5,000 meters and is shown crossing the line in the finishing time of 15:38.47. There is no footage of Suzy Favor winning the 1500 meters in 4:13.91.

Although it is great that the NCAA is finally releasing their broadcast footage, I was hoping for more than a commercial edited presentation. DVDs offer much flexibility, yet the technology is not fully employed in this situation. What you do get are some great athletes, young in their careers, who battle for individual and team titles, setting records and firmly implanting memories along the way. Search to see if the year of competition has been released yet by visiting the NCAA pages: Outdoor Track, Indoor Track, or Cross Country. These would make an outstanding gift and keepsake for the athlete who competed in these championship races. Amazon.com is where you can go to place your order for this and all the other currently released titles.





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November 2007:

Order at Amazon.com

Breakthrough to Advance Performance: Building Confidence Everyday
                Gain confidence. Gain time. Gain advantage.

On November 3rd 134 men will line up at the United States Olympic Trials Marathon Race in New York to seek the top three positions to make the 2008 Olympic Marathon Team. One of the key differences that will separate the pack is how much time and attention has been devoted to the mental preparation of their training. This 55 minute DVD from The Center for Advanced Performance features Executive Director Bill Adams. Adams, himself a sub 2:49 marathoner, with a background that stretches from being an Army Ranger, to the Director of the Center for Advanced Performance and assistant professor of Psychology at West Point, to a visiting professor of Leadership at Duke University. He is intimately familiar with the concepts of applied performance psychology and leads the viewer through both discussions and exercises to promote real world application of improved performance, both during athletic competition as well as other life applications such as personal relationships and work settings.

The DVD is broken into 17 chapters and is accompanied by a small workbook that features five practical exercises in three main concept areas: Selective Perception, Controlling Self-talk, and Affirmations. You will gain the insight needed to control your thought process to obtain a powerful, positive mind set which will help you perform at your very best. This mind set will allow you to look through obstacles and realize possibilities as you strive for personal excellence. This well crafted DVD uses many examples, quotes, interviews, and maintains a nice rhythm and flow to present the information. To best incorporate these practical methods, a periodic review of these concepts will allow you to refocus attention where it is needed most. With continual practice, your mind may become one of your biggest strengths during both training and racing experiences.

Quotes from Bill Adams:
  • "Confidence is the result of how you think, what you choose to focus on, and how you react to the events in your life." ~Chapter 4, "Misconceptions About Confidence", where it is described how confidence does not equate to arrogance.
  • "You can purposefully create an upward spiral, a powerful, positive, self-fullfilling prophecy, but you have to be disciplined and willing to practice these skills every day and make them an integrated habit." ~Chapter 6, "The Self-fulfilling Prophecy", where the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and performance are examined.
  • "Affirmations are essential in developing your own sense of self-efficacy. Affirmations are essential in getting people to believe in themselves. It’s what great performers in all fields use to prepare themselves to accomplish great things and you can do it too." ~Chapter 15, "Marathon Affirmations." Are you using each of the "5 P's" when stating your affirmations?
  • "If you really want to make a change for the better in your life make it a priority to practice these skills every day. Practice these skills until they become second nature and become your dominant way of thinking. Greatness is not due to innate talents, rather it is the result of deliberate practice and disciplined effort over a period of years that sets the person apart from all others in their field." ~Chapter 16, "Putting It All Together"
If you are want to be your best and unlock your fullest potential then this production is a must to add to your training routine. You may order this DVD through Amazon.com as well from its source, The Center for Advanced Performance, where a holiday sale runs through December 10th where you get a ten dollar discount on your order. You may also visit their site to view The Advanced Performance Model and see how building confidence is the first of five concepts to round out an entire package of scientifically based mental techniques. If mental strategies are one part of your training you have yet to fully recognize and practice, wait no longer, the first tool is now available.



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October 2007:

Order at ZombieRunner.com

Massanutten
Two Runners, 100 Miles

Have you ever wondered what kind of person chooses to run 100 miles just for fun and how the running community gathers to support an ultramarathon event? This 75 minute documentary from the 2006 running of the Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 gives a special insight into these issues through two of the participants of the 151 runners who start this ultramarathon adventure. Gary Knipling, the 62 year old Virginia Happy Trails Running Club member, is seeking his tenth finish on his "home course". His personality encompasses the word outgoing and he reaches out and involves everyone whom he comes into contact. The ultrarunning community is often a close group, and Gary is the type of person who meets and involves everyone during his race experience. 43 year old Kerry Owens returns to this course for the third time, seeking an improvement in her previous performances. Although two runners are featured, many other participants, volunteers, pacers, and event staff also share their experiences with the race.

From registration to the awards ceremony, the weekend is well recorded. If this is an event where you have competed, or plan in the future to attempt, this DVD would be a great tool to see how this event, and many other well organized ultras, feel over the 36 hour time frame. Most of the footage is taken near the aid station checkpoints, allowing well over a dozen glimpses into the progress and struggles of each runner. The course had to be altered a bit for this event because of a forest fire just a week prior to the start, yet that did not take any of the excitement or drama out of the task at hand.
  • "Ultrarunning is not only a hobby but its sort of become almost a way of life with the friends I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had out on the trail." ~Gary Knipling
  • "I just really want to get going, get running, everything is good once you get going...everything just sort of works itself out." ~Kerry Owens
  • "At some point the body protests. 70 to 80 miles into the event runners are sleep deprived, dehydrated, and low on calories. They may be questioning their sanity. They may believe that cannot continue. For some, recovery comes quickly and they return to the task. Diana Widdowson, appearing here to be out of the race, overtook her competition and finished as second woman" ~Written by Beth Lancione and Spoken by Narrator Craig Staudenmaier
  • "The routing is questionable in many many places and when you get tired there seems to be no place to put your foot. If you do the same trail fresh you would totally disagree with your own opinion but the mind changes after 90 miles." ~Stan Duobinis, Race Director
This straight forward film was directed, edited, and produced by Ben LaDieu. It shows that a film can be completed with a couple of film crews and a desire to show what can be found out on the trail. Although there is some lighting issues providing some "special effects" and an occasional microphone visible in the shots, it is easy to overlook these issues by keeping on track with the storyline. This film’s official website, brookwoodstreet.com, is where you can go to read about the filmmaker, view a trailer, and watch about 20 minutes of deleted interviews from race director Stan Duobinis. You can also order this film there or by visiting ZombieRunner.com to see the camaraderie, determination, and perseverance shown by the ultramarathoning community. Visit VHTRC.org site for results and details about this race as well as entry information about the 14th running of this event scheduled in May of 2008.

See other Ultra Running films.



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September 2007:

Order at USATF.com

2007 Nike Prefontaine Classic
June 10th, 2007. Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.

This meet is the fourth of five stops in the 2007 Visa Outdoor Series and is filled with world leading performances. The footage is the same as was broadcast live by NBC, complete with their commentators: Tom Hammond, Lewis Johnson, Carol Lewis, Bob Neumeier, and Dwight Stone covering the field events. Usually there is a USATF symbol where the commercials would have been located however during the 3,000 meter steeplechase they let the cameras role so you get to see the entire race without any interruption (including 2 minutes of no commentary). In all, there are six different athlete interviews, an "Athlete Insight" of Kara Goucher, and the complete 2004 Athens Olympic 110 meter high hurdle race (from track level) also included during this telecast. This is the last meet to be held at historic Hayward Field before the 7.4 million dollar renovation leading to the 2008 US Olympic Trials.

At the end of this day six meet records, two US All-Comer’s records, and two National records all fall. Below is a quick look at the 14 running events (without too many spoilers) in the order in which they were contested:
  • W 400 M Hurdles Featuring Melanie Walker and Sheena Johnson.
  • M 100 M With Darrel Brown and Leroy Dixon running into a -2.1 m/s headwind.
  • M 3,000 Steeplechase Complete race with Kenyan Paul Koech hurdling the water jump.
  • M 800 M Can Olympic Champion Yuri Borzakovskiy hold off upcoming American Nick Symmonds?
  • W 100 High Hurdles It’s Michelle Perry vs. Ginny Powell with five athletes under 13 seconds.
  • M 110 High Hurdles World Record holder Liu Xiang faces American Record holder Dominique Arnold.
  • W 100 M Watch Torri Edwards pull away at the finish.
  • M 400 M Gary Kikaya of Congo holds off Americans LaShawn Merritt and Angelo Taylor.
  • W 1500 M A meet record for Gelete Burka of Ethiopia.
  • W 400 M Sanya Richards opens her season here for the win.
  • M 2 Mile Run Craig Mottram sets an Australian Record and Matt Tegenkamp sets an American Record.
  • W 800 M The amazing Maria Mutola makes this her 15th consecutive meet win. Can she do it again next year?
  • M 200 M Carter, Crawford, Powell, Spearmon, and Wariner make for a loaded field.
  • M Bowerman Mile With six runners under four minutes, it is Kenyan Daniel Komen who steals the show with a US All-Comers record of 3:48.28.
Although the footage is great, it would have been nice if the production crew would have put chapters relating to each of the events, making it much easier to cue up those favorite races and avoid manually search from the beginning to get to the events that interest you most. It also would have been nice to include official results for all athletes instead of just the top three finishing times on screen. Complete results can be found at Preclassic.com. Also lacking were any additional interview questions or even brief trailers to advertise other USATF productions from the Track and Field Tour. Perhaps the USATF will incorporate some of these ideas into future DVD releases. Order your 96 minute DVD directly from the USATF where you can also view past productions dating back to 2002. USATF members get a discount on the price and shipping is a quite a bit for the first item, and free for each additional, so consider picking up more than one title when shopping.



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August 2007:

Order at Amazon.com

Showdown
Five Elite Distance Runners, One Dream

Author and columnist Michael Sandrock opens this film with the comments: "This is probably the best long distance race ever to be held, not just in the state of Colorado, or Boulder, but in the United States." Although this is a high standard to set, the five featured male athletes of the 2007 USA Cross Country Championships make up a very impressive running resumé. The structure this film takes is meeting each of the elite athletes as they discuss some of their background and those close to them (coaches and family members) share how running has been influential in their life. It is like watching mini biographies that all merge at the championship with only one person taking the title. Here are the athletes, in order of presentation, and some of the footage you will enjoy seeing along the way:
  • "Eventually, you work hard, patience, and as you develop and become, your body gets used to it and you mature physically and emotionally, the rest will solve itself out." ~Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medalist. He describes starting to run in seventh grade and how he continued at UCLA under coach Bob Larsen. Meb is shown in the 2007 US Half Marathon National Championships where Ryan Hall establishes a new American Record time of 59:43.
  • "To achieve greatness in the sport you have to take risks because you can’t just go into anything half hearted, and to tell you the truth, no one really remembers second place if it isn’t worth remembering and so you have to make people appreciate what you did." ~ Dathan Ritzenhein, NCAA and High School National Cross Country Champion. Dathan is shown in the United Kingdom racing in the 2006 Great North Run, his first half marathon, as well the Great Ediburgh International Cross Country race in Scotland, both against outstanding international fields. Dathan shares how he started running with his father and his Coach, Brad Hudson, shares his impression of this young up comer.
  • "You have to be so focused, I mean it’s almost borderline ADD. It’s almost silly at times, you’re like I can’t believe I’m this focused on this thing, but you have to be because somebody else is gonna be and it’s not just the training, it’s all the other little stuff that surrounds it." ~Alan Culpepper, 2-time US Olympian. You will see home video of Alan running in high school competitions as well as his 1996 NCAA 5000 meter victory in Eugene, Oregon. Comments from his father, Dan, share insights into his development as a runner.
  • "Running you love from self esteem. It teaches you discipline, like setting goals, like motivation, all this little things you need in life you can learn from running." ~Abdi Abdirahman, 2-time US Olympian. Abdi is seen in the 2006 US Cross Country championships in New York, NY as well as from his training ground in sunny Arizona.
  • "My career has been something I’m really proud of. Over the years I’ve taken small steps and trying to become the best athlete I can possibly be." ~Jorge Torres, Only athlete to make the High School National Championships four times. Footage is shown from the 2006 10,000 meter US National Track Championships where Jorge pulls away from Meb and Dan Browne on the last lap. Additional racing from the 2006 US Cross Country Championships is also included as well as some discussion about what it is like to also have his twin, Eduardo, being an elite runner.
These stories merge in Boulder, Colorado on February 10, 2007 for the "Showdown" race. After the fast start, segments from each of the six 2K laps are shown, complete with individual lap splits and place being shown on screen. There is one 25 second long shot of Alan Culpepper that is outstanding and captures the speed at which he is racing through the crowd-lined course. Interviews, commentary, and race reviews all follow the conclusion of the race (no spoiler found here).

To order this film by producer Peter Han, who also worked with Wit Productions on the triathlon documentary What It Takes, visit Showdown Race.com or Amazon.com. You can also see a quicktime trailer that is included as part of the extras on this DVD at their site, although you must purchase the DVD to also see an interview with Ritz, along with portions of his 8:11 2 mile run at the Prefontaine Classic, held 4 months after the XC Championships.



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July 2007:

Coaching Cross Country
with Jack Hazen

Summertime is planning time for the coaches looking to bring their cross country runners into full bloom in the fall. Here is a 38 minute VHS tape from Coach Jack Hazen of Malone College in Canton Ohio. Based on the out of print 1994 extensive manual entitled "Cross Country" by Ed Derse and Skip Stolley, Hazen brings the concepts to life as cross country runners are seen on screen in a variety of racing environments. The seven main chapters of this tape include:
  • History and Facts. 6 minutes explaining the original game of "hounds and hares" leading to the harrier reference used today as well as why cross country is a "pure sport".
  • Implementing your Philosophy. 2 minutes is used to describe three levels of athletes and how each fulfills a team role.
  • Developing a Sound Program. 5 minutes is taken to describe staffing, scheduling, 12 suggestions to aid in athlete recruitment, and hints on how to keep runners involved in the program.
  • Building a Tradition. 7 minutes is taken to outline the 10 traits to building a team identity, a sample table of contents for making a team handbook is provided, and suggestions for improving cross country as a spectator sport is outlined.
  • Planning and Organizing a Season. 6 minutes is needed to cover the coaches tasks for summer preparation, 15 point pre-season checklist, an early fall checklist, in-season steps, and post-season responsibilities. You will need to prioritize these lists because there is only so much time to accomplish this huge list of tasks to improve your overall program.
  • Organizing Home Meets, 10 minute section. A whole host of ideas are shared which would be extremely valuable, especially for a first year coach including: Course design and marketing, meet job descriptions, and meet materials checklist.
Coach Hazen ends this informative session by stating "I hope we have presented some things today that will give you some ideas about how to develop your team, to get kids out, to help them have fun, follow a scientific training plan, and to get spectators involved in our great sport of cross country." Produced by and sold by Championship Productions.com, this tape is currently being sold until the stock is gone as they are in the process of discontinuing all VHS products. This tape is encoded with macrovision anti-copying process and originally sold for $39.95 yet is now being offered at the price of $19.95. Hopefully this, and as many as 25 other VHS tapes will be provided once again in DVD format in the future.

Here are the last remaining Championship Production VHS running titles that are being discounted for $9.99 and will no longer be carried when stock is sold out:
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