My marathon, my 26.2, my London is in 8 days. But first, I am going to Boston to spectate. I will stand at the finish line and cheer for the elite men, then the elite women, and then finally for the speedsters, my friends, the riff-raff and the charity runners. This is one of the touchpoints of my annual cycle as a runner. One year, I will be there as a qualified racer, but for now, I must go, cheer and draw inspiration and motivation from the fastest among us. Normally I like to arrive Saturday night so I can poke around the Expo on Sunday–lots of companies use it as their launch for new products (it’s where I first set my sights on the Garmin Forerunner 405 in 2007)–but this year life’s twisted around to prevent me from leaving before Sunday afternoon.
This morning I ran 8.14 miles (let’s not forget the 0.14 miles, kids!!) and nearly the entire time I thought of my friends who will be racing the epic, historic course. Elyssa. Sarah (also a GMR teammate). Barb, a long-time blog reader who I hope to one day meet. Jeff. And Michael, who owns the PT clinic I use when I must. Robert and Antonia (also GMR teammates). Goodness gracious I am positive I’ve left folks off. Perhaps now is the time for me to say I love my network of NYC runners, it makes me so happy every year when I pull a few more quality people who run into my orbit. One day I want to have a massive party with everyone, where we celebrate our accomplishments and talk about running all night long. I digress.
The elites. Predictions. Yah, me & strict predictions is always a mess. So I will tell you who I am rooting for, which is tricky. I am rooting for Meb and Ryan equally, since I love them equally. This is the thing about marathon runners: the closest thing we’ll ever get to a grandstanding athlete like baseball’s Manny Ramirez, football’s* Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson or Terrell Owens (ugh, end-zone dancing), or basketball’s Dennis Rodman is Sammy Wanjiru, who has publicly said he wants to break Gebreselassssie’s records. Which goes to show: Meb and Ryan play nice. they train together, they race together, they each hope to win but manage their victories or disappointments solo. I guess deep down I want Ryan to win, the golden child, but I would still jump for joy if Meb did, too. I would like to see last year’s winner, Deriba Merga, run a strong race as well. Even though he won Boston last year, I still consider him an underdog, given his past racing results. As far as the women’s race goes, I am not so invested without Kara in the field–in fact, the only American LetsRun.com mentions in the bios is Michelle Frey, and I’ve never heard of her. (Perhaps that is my bad.) Nevertheless, I will root for Tune and Kosgei.
I ran this morning, my last chunky mileage run before race day (anything less than 15 really doesn’t count as a long run, does it?). It was nice, easy and humid. It’s the humidity that gets you, that’s what we said in Baltimore but it’s true for wherever there is moist air. It really does make the effort harder. Nevertheless, I managed to pull out a decent showing as I ran from Sunnyside to Astoria Park, around the park with a loop of the track, and then back home again. This is my “Hell Gate” route, since it takes me alongside of and next to the Hell Gate Bridge (and the Triboro). I like to run familiar routes the closer I get to my big race, because their familiarity makes me feel like the mistress of my universe, and therefore boosts my confidence. 8.14 miles in 1:16:40. Average pace 9:25; fastest mile 9:05; slowest mile 9:48
*I must admit I got these football names from Husband. But the baseball & basketball references are my own.