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Christian Hesch

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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:59 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:
Sky-diving is dangerous. Driving a car is dangerous. Hell, running in an urban area is exposing your body to poisonous chemicals. Yes, I'm being a shit. But my underlying point is: is it not ultimately up to the athlete, and therefore their responsibility, if they want to engage in something dangerous?


Back to Matt's original point - there's a difference between evaluating one's personal decisions in a vacuum and evaluating the impact that decision has on others. If you want to take EPO and run 12 laps around the track to see how much your 5k time improves, go for it! (In fact I'd actually be really interested in the experiment and the results).

But when you take EPO and then compete against others for prize money, sponsorships, championships, your actions are no longer just judged by the personal side effects.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:06 pm

Dave - I'd argue that in a social situation, alcohol IS performance-enhancing. I will cite my brother as an example. Kid had some small-time fame in LA/OC/Santa Barbara for 4 years because of how hard he partied in college. But like I said, it's a stretch analogy because there's no real end-game in sight, whereas with running, there is.

I completely agree with your point about decisions in a vacuum vs. having effects on others, which brings me back to the question I posed to Jim: is it wrong because it's taking away from ALL the other runners? Or only those in the upper echelon? If it's related to the idea of making a profit off of it, isn't the whole economy of sports based on entertainment? We like seeing amazing things happen. If someone wasn't telling us that seeing those things happen with assistance from a "banned" substance, I don't think we'd see them as any less amazing.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  ssilvert on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:29 pm

@Dave-O wrote:
@ssilvert wrote:
@Dave-O wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Can I stir the pot just a little? Remember, I'm just asking for the sake of questioning established thought patterns/norms.

What is inherently wrong with doping?

Not much to add to Matt's answer, but as a follow-up, aren't there body building circuits for clean vs. supplements? Maybe we can do something like that for running, have clean races, where entering such a race on a banned substance is punishable with criminal charges (to ensure no one is tempted). And then a doped circuit where the runners can take whatever the hell they want.
Criminal charges? How would that be possible, counselor? If there is a doped circuit then that implies that the dopers are doing something that is perfectly legal. Wouldn't a doper on the "clean" circuit be committing, at most, a civil offense? How would you get a criminal conviction out of it without changes in the law?

Stan

Off the top of my head, criminal fraud and a form of theft. For fraud, make them sign an affirmative statement that they are not doped and that the race directors are relying on that statement to allow entry into the race. For theft/criminal conversion, any doper in the clean race would be unlawfully taking possession of prize money.

With no experience in the criminal sector, I believe both those charges would stick. Now, getting the AG to prosecute those cases is another story.

Gotcha. That does make sense. I hadn't thought of the theft part. So even if it would be hard to prosecute, the threat of prosecution might work.

Stan
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:40 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:
I completely agree with your point about decisions in a vacuum vs. having effects on others, which brings me back to the question I posed to Jim: is it wrong because it's taking away from ALL the other runners? Or only those in the upper echelon?

In my opinion its taking away from all the other runners in the race. Almost every report on even this website lists finishing position, place in age group, AG%, etc. In the one race I've run with Hesch, I finished 27th overall and 7th in my AG, behind him. What if I was 6th and top 5 in the AG won a prize?

@Mike MacLellan wrote:
If it's related to the idea of making a profit off of it, isn't the whole economy of sports based on entertainment? We like seeing amazing things happen. If someone wasn't telling us that seeing those things happen with assistance from a "banned" substance, I don't think we'd see them as any less amazing.

This may be an interesting discussion point, but personally, I would not be entertained by lifetime lab rats performing athletic feats. I am amazed by someone running a 2:04 marathon because I have a real, human, frame of reference of the ridiculous amount of talent and training it requires. If the accomplishment was gained through being injected with state of the art drugs every day, I couldn't care less about it. I am blown away by Usain Bolt because he seemingly did something no one thought was humanely possible. If he's juiced to the gills, then all that shows is that running those times isn't humanely possible.

I guess my takeaway is that I would not be impressed or even entertained by the athletic accomplishments in a league where everyone is doped up.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  mul21 on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:57 pm

Two questions:
1. Don't genetics drastically alter the playing field
from the get-go? After all, genetics are the ultimate determiner of
how far you can go.
2. Does the level playing field benefit you as
the runner who, theoretically, is also racing for the prize money? Or
you as the spectator who wants a clean fight?

1. Well, yeah, but you're born with that. It's not something you inject into a vein or your but at certain intervals to artificially improve your natural abilities.

2. It benefits those who are competing for the same dollars/accolades as the cheaters without the benefit of any PED. And as Dave mentioned, it really does benefit the spectator (me anyway) because it's so much more impressive to know that the athlete doing amazing things is doing it of their own ability rather than some juiced up freak getting help from injecting whatever into their body. I also happen to think EPO use is probably more widespread than believed because honestly, $400 is relatively cheap for a 6 week PED cycle and there's probably more athletes of this guy's level using than at any other level.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Diego on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:03 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Can I stir the pot just a little? Remember, I'm just asking for the sake of questioning established thought patterns/norms.

What is inherently wrong with doping?

That is an excellent question because we do not apply the same standards to other professional activities. And I only mean paid professionals except for the college applicant example I use.

Two equal candidates and one gets into the top law firm because his dad knows a man at the top. Cheating?
Two equal applicants and one gets in over the other because her dad is a big university donor. Cheating?

Congressmen and women make millions by getting inside Wall Street info that we do not get. Fair/Ethical?

Two actors-- both very good, one gets the part because he takes HGH and "looks more beautiful".
An actor sleeps with the director and gets the plum part.
A coach steals the other team signals to give his team the advantage.

I'm sure many here can come up with even better analogies.

In an ideal world, everything would be equal and the playing field would be fair, but Mike asks a legitimate philosophical question.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:26 pm

@Diego wrote:
What is inherently wrong with doping?

In an ideal world, everything would be equal and the playing field would be fair, but Mike asks a legitimate philosophical question.

What's inherently wrong with strapping on some roller blades and a jet pack? Boom. World Records.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Interesting analogies, Diego. I can tell you that if they get caught the Congressman and the woman go to jail - ask Martha Stewart.

That aside - the college analogy while often true will play out in the end as the applicant who got Daddy to buy his way in most likely will flunk out (there are actually statistics on this).
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Admin on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:36 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Interesting analogies, Diego.

I didn't find them interesting or analogous. Sports are in a class by themselves due to rules of competition. Taking the argument to overall fairness and equality in life is absurd.

If you want to take PEDs, please do so. If you want to take PEDs and compete in a sport that bans them, please do not. I guess that stealing another team's signals (if done through deception) is somewhat analogous, but that's about it.

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RE: Hesch

Post  Christian Hesch on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:48 pm

Dave, should have tried the jet-pack idea, would have been much wiser move.....right?

seriously, Mul21 has the most eloquent answer, because it DOES create an unlevel playing field. side note, quotes mis-paraphrased or taken out of context DO make it look like I'm trying to say i never received any benefit from "not racing on it".....far from that, if there wasn't any benefit, i wouldn't have taken it, DUH!!!! I know full well that, since i was returning to health with a hct approaching 50, I sure as hell WAS getting a benefit. have you ever tried returning from an injury and tried to hit race pace? know that "balky", akward feeling when you try to run fast? it's not there (at least, not as much) when you're hct is 10% higher than normal....sure sounds like a benefit to me, so it was pretty disappointing to see quotes and paraphrases try to indicate otherwise in mult articles.

back to Matt's posing of philosophical questions, yeah, tough to say where that line is.....but the easiest contention is that whatever IS banned, tips the playing field unfairly. I tipped it, that's not allowed, viola there's a consequence. doesn't matter if I tried to justify it in my own mind that I would stop before i started running again, I was STILL getting benefits 3, 4, even 6 weeks later. that's an advantage that ethical athletes don't have access to, so you're basically doing one of those goofy handicap races, even though it "looks" like we all started at the same spot. I guess it all boils down to your personal level of comfort/ethics with enhancers. some might stop at caffeine, some might stop at an altitude tent, some stop at a TUE (theraputic use exemption), and some go the road i took and take banned drugs. I hope that for the rest of my life i revert to the caffeine guy, or less......mainly b/c i'll never kick my coffee addiction.
oh, and dave, thanks again for the ride....even if your rental car was tiny Wink
CH~

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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Jerry on Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:22 pm

Reputation.com, check it out, guys.

Jerry heard it today in Howard Stern show today.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Chris M on Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:40 am

Thanks for posting here at our little corner of the running universe, Christian. Its particularly interesting to get your take on all of this. For the 365ers who had not seen it, here is Christian's open letter of apology about his doping



October 14, 2012



Dear family, friends, and fans:

When I first began running, my coach told me that someday I would face a choice. He said he wouldn’t tell me how, or what, to choose, only that the day would inevitably come. It would be up to me which direction I would choose. For many years I chose the proper direction, but two years ago I made a choice that will disappoint, sadden and, perhaps anger you. I chose to use EPO. I won’t expect anyone who’s cheered for me over the last few years to lack a feeling of being cheated, betrayed, and let down.

At the time, I rationalized that, “if I just don’t race on it, it won’t be that bad.” Let me tell you how that’s working out for me — not so good. Sure, [it] doesn’t seem very rational anymore, especially as all it’s done is saved me a few weeks of training each time I came back from injury, at the cost of tearing my reputation down, damaging friendships and, worst of all, leaving me to inform my family that their son/brother/grandson is a doper.

MORE: Road Ace Hesch Doped, Facing Ban [Runner's World]

I was certainly never pressured (by anyone other than myself) or coerced into making these decisions. The decision was an (ir)rational choice that I deliberated (and agonized) over a period of time. With the knowledge that my career was likely approaching its twilight, I chose to take the easy shortcut, to make it easier on myself than it was on everyone else who’s ever come back from adversity. I’ve come back from approximately 5 injuries before this in a clean fashion. Why would I risk it all now, just to save a month of training? It certainly wasn’t the pressure of making an Olympic Team (I know full well I wouldn’t make it, clean or dirty), nor was it monetary stress, as I was rather financially comfortable at the time. All I can point to is allowing my frustrations with being so oft injured to give me a crappy “reason” to take a shortcut, and try to cheat my way back to fitness.

I truly admire clean athletes such as Lauren Fleshman, Anthony Famiglietti, and countless others, who have successfully returned from incredible adversity, yet have held to the highest ethical standards. It is their example of integrity that I hope to follow from here forward, and perhaps earn, at least to a small degree, a level of the respect I used to command from my peers, family, and fans.

As one who has lost arguably thousands of dollars from athletes racing “not normal,” I won’t tell you I succumbed to a “culture of doping,” nor will I tell you I felt there was no other choice. The truth is there was always a better choice, one that I simply, freely chose not to take. There should be nobody feeling sorry for me, I was acutely aware of what I was doing each and every time. Too aware, perhaps. One of the greatest problems with synthetic EPO is the lack of danger, when dosed carefully. As the (in)famous cycling doctor Michelle Ferrari once stated, “EPO is not dangerous, it’s the abuse that is. It’s also dangerous to drink 10 liters of orange juice.” Unfortunately, in many ways, this is true. This leaves us with only doping controls (or your own ethics) as a primary deterrent to potential abusers of EPO. It is my profound hope that the information gleaned by USADA from the cycling sanctions, my sanction, and others, will facilitate a better understanding of how doping tests are so easily beat, so easily avoided, and how doping is so easily ignored by the powers that be. While the resources may be difficult to obtain, it is my sincere belief that with those proper resources and significant cooperation from athletes who’ve “been there, done that,” it will be possible to develop testing that is sufficient to make oxygen vector doping an option that is not viable for athletes. Only when EPO is essentially no longer an option will we have athletes refuse the dark side of sport.

I am well aware that some will be very understanding and forgiving of my misdeeds, and I thank them for that. I am equally aware that there will be many who will (and have already been) happy to vilify my behavior and me. Not only am I in no place to cast stones back at them but I would not do so, even if I could. I can also understand that some are going to be skeptical. I’m skeptical myself of those who seem to “sorta” admit their doping — be it duration, amount, level of involvement, etc. I can only offer this: My performances have never shown any sort of “spike,” nor have they been otherworldly. I’ve run the same times and level of performances for the last 10 years, and I look forward to returning to competition, largely so that I can assuage any doubts that I can, have, and will continue to run the same performances, with a more certain assurance that those performances are on the level.

While I know that this return to competition will be with a less enthusiastic reception than before, I was brought to tears twice this weekend in speaking with two different race directors. Both had every right and reason to castigate and belittle my behavior. Instead, both encouraged me for coming forward, offered their unbridled support, and encouraged me to continue moving in a positive direction. I cannot thank them enough for renewing my motivation to repair the damage I’ve inflicted to everyone.

For those who have, continue to, or will dope, regardless of when, why, or how, I do not look upon them with contempt, animosity, or even pity. I look at them as human, with flaws much as I am flawed. Even before I made the choice to dope, I came to a realization that I was guilty of holding those whose behavior I didn’t approve of to a double standard. I was guilty of “ranking” an individual’s transgressions, as if cheating on a spouse was “worse” than driving drunk. I believe it is with this mindset that we hold dopers, repentant or otherwise, to a more severe judgement than the drunk driver, the philanderer, or the race course cutter.

I hope that this is, if not a leap forward, then at least a step in the right direction for my life, one that helps me guide others to make more reasonable decisions than the ones I came to make.

I hope that you will weigh the evidence and make a reasonable decision. And if you feel that there is more to the story, then I won’t hold your skepticism against you. Lord knows that I have my own of skepticism of some athletes seemingly half-baked confessions. I will promise you that when I return to racing if you yell “doper” or “you suck” at me as I pass by, I will not flip you the bird, nor will I throw a sarcastic thumbs-up. I might wave though, and I’ll be happy to hear you out after the race, no matter how rough the content. As Tyler Hamilton said so well, “I’m an ex-doper, and I don’t suck.” I hope you’ll feel the same way about me after sharing a word, a race, or a beer with me. I look forward to seeing you all on the roads, next year.

Sincerely,

Christian Hesch, ex-doper:
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Nick Morris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:09 am

Thanks Chris for posting the letter and thank you Christian for taking the time to post on our site. It is always nice to here the true side of the story without any press/reporter bias or out of context quoting.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  John Kilpatrick on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:15 am

@Nick Morris wrote:Thanks Chris for posting the letter and thank you Christian for taking the time to post on our site. It is always nice to here the true side of the story without any press/reporter bias or out of context quoting.
+1

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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Admin on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:49 am

@Christian Hesch wrote:...tough to say where that line is.....but the easiest contention is that whatever IS banned, tips the playing field unfairly. I tipped it, that's not allowed, viola there's a consequence. doesn't matter if I tried to justify it in my own mind that I would stop before i started running again, I was STILL getting benefits 3, 4, even 6 weeks later.

With all seriousness, I think that this is simply 'quite human'. The temptation for some, particularly those who are on a threshhold of talent/ability, is enormous... and the application can be so easy. For most of us, the payoff just isn't there... how many would be tempted to do PEDs to go from a 4hr marathon to a 3:30? I don't think that many would... but what about getting to 2:30 or under? Or better still, what about being able to race at 2:30-2:40 every weekend? Or even on back-to-back days? I can actually see the temptation and can relate to it.

I think that if you took just about any 'fast' runner and gave them the experience of EPO... just once... it would be very difficult to resist the temptation... if they thought they could get away with it. Rationalization is an amazing human quality.

For whatever it's worth, while I may sit in defense of sport and the rules of competition, I don't condemn people for being human. I know that I am not above compromising my ethics... should a situation arise that fit my desire and allowed me to rationalize my decisions... I might just succumb.

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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Diego on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:45 pm

Thanks for the note Chris. It's nice to put a human side to the story.

I do find it curious where we draw the line on cheating. Just because something is legal doesn't make it ethical and vice versa---cliche yes, but often lost is how we make value judgments.

After reading the article in RT about Rupp and Ritz using the underwater treadmill, something that isn't allowed on Nike's premises for liability reasons, and recognizing that many potential elite runners have no access to such high tech nor access to the coaching advantage supplied by Nike and Salazar, I have decided that they, too, cheat.

They are using known PED's that are legal-yes, but ethical--no, at least not in my conservative opinion. Both guys have lost my respect. It's really no different than epo. I hope these treadmills are banned by the USATF. Use your god given legs rather than a cash cow to help you do the work and make uneven the playing field.

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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:11 pm

Thanks, Christian for the post and thanks Chris for the copy of the letter. I completely understand where you where coming from Christian, and Matt's point is quite valid as I am struggling with coming back from an injury myself and I am having a hard time realizing that my current race pace would have been my training pace back in June. Of course, I've already hit 50, and the benefits are just not there. But I certainly wish for that magic potion during some of my recent runs.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  JohnP on Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:39 pm

@Diego wrote:Thanks for the note Chris. It's nice to put a human side to the story.

I do find it curious where we draw the line on cheating. Just because something is legal doesn't make it ethical and vice versa---cliche yes, but often lost is how we make value judgments.

After reading the article in RT about Rupp and Ritz using the underwater treadmill, something that isn't allowed on Nike's premises for liability reasons, and recognizing that many potential elite runners have no access to such high tech nor access to the coaching advantage supplied by Nike and Salazar, I have decided that they, too, cheat.

They are using known PED's that are legal-yes, but ethical--no, at least not in my conservative opinion. Both guys have lost my respect. It's really no different than epo. I hope these treadmills are banned by the USATF. Use your god given legs rather than a cash cow to help you do the work and make uneven the playing field.


I can't go as far as you. I think the line is drawn at the law. Break it in professional sports and it's cheating. Look on a far less scale and see how the same situation you've given works: because I buy shoes frequently and Gu and Gatorade for when I run (and a GPS watch, HRM, etc.) and maybe I can afford to travel somewhere in the hopes of finding a marathon that is cold or downhill or fast, gives me an edge over someone who doesn't have the ability for all that. For us, it means nothing as we don't compete against each other. But in a cutthroat professional world with millions of dollars at stake in endorsements, they take every edge they can within the bounds of the law.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:41 pm

John got to the heart of my question, which was essentially a Foucault-ian questioning of the institutions in place. Essentially, there's no good in trusting "the law" to tell us right and wrong if we don't question its legitimacy.
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Re: Christian Hesch

Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:44 am

Christian, thanks for popping in to our little internet hangout. Sorry about the small car. The cramped space probably had a detriment on your race, but I was serious in my initial post that since that race I had followed your racing with interest.

I do find this story interesting for a number of reasons, one of which is that you have openly admitted use and not tried to hide behind the "I took a legal drug that had a banned substance" BS most athletes use. While I think you deserve to be punished - and it sounds like you agree too - I will watch with interest to see if you can work your way back to those same times.

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