Tehachapi to Tonapah

if you give me weed, whites, and wine
Then you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’ to be movin’
— the prophet lowell george

Sometimes maybe it’s best not to know.

Now that the 100 meter guy and I were on a chatty basis, it was driving me nuts. What’s his story? After a little sleuthing, I found out.

He’s 26. Serious sprinter. Fast. And barred by the U.S. doping agency from competition until 2020.

He accepted a four-year sanction in 2016 for his prolonged use of prohibited substances in he form of “growth hormone releasing factors” beginning in 2013. All his times from 2013 on were wiped out. He would be what I have always lovingly referred to as a “drug cheat.”

I’ve read about drug cheats forever, but this is the first time I’ve sat on the bench next to one. I’m not even sure what to think. You’re in a sport where one second is the difference between a world record and a ho-hum run. You suspect everyone else is bending the rules.  It must be so tempting to look for an edge wherever you can find it, whether a spring-loaded Nike marathon shoe or a sprinter’s syringe.

He’s offering a coaching service now, which is why he’s constantly filming. If I were a promising sprinter, I think I’d worry about guilt by association. I try to think of him as John Candy in “Cool Runnings,” the guy who learned from his lesson. And in all fairness, I don’t know his side of the story. This is just a USADA report. Maybe he didn’t know what he was taking was illegal. Maybe he couldn’t afford to mount a defense and gave up. The rules can be tricky, especially for someone without a team of doctors and scientists. I guess I’ve just grown  jaded after a decade of athlete denials.

He showed up at the track today the same time as me. I said hey and then took off in the other direction. I just wasn’t up to seeing him every 400 meters today. I went out on the dirt road instead. No chatting, no cheating, no emotional turmoil, no internal debate. Just a long stretch of nothing. Which coincidentally is what his running career turned into.

He seems like a nice guy. So did Lance. So did all the others. Sometimes I hate sports.

Sometimes maybe it’s best not to know.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
This entry was posted in running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tehachapi to Tonapah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s