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Rupp on the road to recovery but not yet the road to victory

Galen Rupp's health is improving, but it's still up in the air when he will resume his running career.

The former national junior record-holder at 5,000 meters, who will be a junior at the University of Oregon next fall, is fine-tuning his medication levels after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism in May. He hasn't raced since running a nonqualifying ninth in his 5,000 qualifying heat in the NCAA championships June 7 at Sacramento.

'Training is going good,' says the former Central Catholic standout, the Track and Field News boys athlete of the year in 2004. 'There have been a few setbacks, and sometimes I get frustrated. We're trying to do with the medicine in two weeks what it takes five months for most people.

'As much as I want to go race right now and try to prove to myself and everybody that I still can run fast, the smart thing to do is be careful.'

Rupp's personal coach, Alberto Salazar, says it's still possible he will race in Europe in the next few weeks.

'Galen's heart rate is close to normal, his workouts have improved tremendously, but we're waiting for his overall health to be at 100 percent before we go forward,' Salazar says.

• Two other Salazar pupils, Adam and Kara Goucher, are having successful summers. Kara finished second in the 5,000 in the U.S. championships and qualified for the U.S. team at the World Cup in Athens, Greece, this September. Adam, Kara's husband, finished fourth in the 5,000 and is still waiting to see if he will gain entry in the World Cup.

With naturalized American Bernard Lagat, a former Kenyan, dominating the U.S. distance races right now, Goucher's chances for making world and Olympic teams are lessened. But Salazar, who was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. when he was 2, has a unique perspective.

'I'm fine with (naturalized citizens) competing for our country, but you have to look where I come from,' Salazar says. 'I certainly understand the other point of view. With all the Kenyans defecting to other countries, there may be a day in the Olympic (distance) final here you have nine of the 12 runners born as Kenyans.

'In Adam's case, he is trying to make an Olympic team by finishing among the top three at an Olympic trials. Now he's facing a guy like Lagat who is unbelievable. It cuts down your chances.'

-Kerry Eggers