Posts Tagged ‘Brian Sell’

Had family obligations landed differently on the calendar, I’d have come to Boston earlier, to watch Shalane Flanagan, Anna Willard and Ian Dobson run the Invitational Mile yesterday, and to attend the Expo. The Expo is nearly as inspiring as the marathon itself. Wandering around in a mass of the best marathoners in the country, at the peak of their fitness, I get jumpy with the thought that I want to belong to this fast tribe! But, for this year, at least, I would just swoop in and out to watch the race. 

JG and I watched the women’s 9:32 AM start on TV then gathered up our stuff and headed to the finish line to wait for a couple of hours. The announcer was pretty good about calling the race for us, letting us know who was leading and falling off the pack; I also had my trusty UK correspondent TS emailing me updates to my Blackberry. JG is easy, lighthearted company, and we stood there swapping stories and complaints, catching up the way only two women can (ceaseless chatter punctuated with laughter and exclamations of astonishment). I’ve somehow taken on Matt’s bias towards runners who train in Colorado so I was thrilled to know that Colleen de Reuck and Elva Dryer were hanging on tight with the lead pack for so long. But really, it was just encouraging to see these three American women leading the Africans. Around Mile 19, two things seemed to happen at once: Kara began to push the pace to break up the pack, and Deriba Merga completely pulled away from the rest of the elite men. Both exciting, gusty moves and I wished I could have seen them. (I will later.) By the time Kara was at Mile 23, I was fidgeting anxiously, pulling my course map in and out of my pocket, futzing with my tin of lip balm, and scrolling crazily through my Blackberry’s inbox. Fandom is a strange affliction, and having Kara so close to victory, so close at hand, was more than I could bear calmly. JG laughed fondly at me. When it became apparent that Dire Tune and Salina Kosgei were not only at Kara’s shoulder but also inching ahead of her, I began to pray. I was afraid of Dire’s bitter kick. Finally, finally the women turned onto Boyleston Street and sprinted towards us, where I stood in a mass of people, screaming my head off. It was clear from where I stood that Kosgei had it; I watched the two yellow singlets streak by and tears welled up behind my sunglasses. Kara would be third. She came by next looking like a giant after the two diminutive African women (Kara is the tiniest woman I’ve ever met). Her legs seemed heavy even though she was moving at an incredible clip, and her face was dismantled, whether it was from physical struggle or emotional distress I was unable to tell. All I could think was how the disappointment must be crushing all the air out of her; my heart ached for her. She has to face a cold reality when she considers her third place finish: even though it’s amazing to have two Americans on the podium at Boston, it’s all conciliatory small talk, really. 

Then a few more Africans trundled through, and Lidiya Grigoryeva, and I had to pick my spirits up and cheer like a madwoman for Colleen de Reuck, who finished 8th as the top women’s finisher. Wow, what a comeback, what an amazing finish! 45 years old! And she looked super-fit, lanky as all get-out. I was so happy for her, and that we had two American women in the top ten. I also recognized Veena Reddy when she pranced by with her black hair streaming loose behind her; I saw her race here at the trials last year. 

Soon, Merga was there in his orange singlet (because the women’s race was so slow, he caught them), bounding towards the finish line. I couldn’t help but be happy for him; he was grinning from ear to ear and he had so much to vindicate, most notably how he hit the wall at the Olympics, his whole race falling apart on the track with less than 400 meters to go to a bronze medal. I was glad he won. Some African dude I’d never heard of came in second. And Ryan Hall our Great Golden Hope, pulled out a third place finish, which frankly I am jazzed about. We all cheered our lungs out for Ryan–he is such a beautiful runner–and I had flashbacks of his inspiring finish at the trials in Central Park, where we were chanting his name. I am impressed with the way he reeled in half a dozen runners to get back into podium position in the final miles of the race.

Elva Dryer dropped off the pack to finish 12th, and Brian Sell, who looked like he was hurting at the end (his form was all crumpled forward, poor kid), finished 14th, in 2:16:31. Awe, Brian. JG and I lingered for hours more, watching the crowds pour through. I saw my physical therapist run by, and an old TNT coach. We cheered and cheered. My thoughts kept wandering to Kara, what was she doing, how was she feeling? I was glad she had Adam there. Back on the course, I saw more than a few women sporting pigtails. At a certain point I had a pang of sadness as I realized my moment at the finish line has been indefinitely deferred. I smiled when I saw couples running across the finish line, hands clasped together and raised like champions. I was excited for all the runners, understanding everything they’d done–training for their qualifying race, grabbing the brass ring, training through one of our worst winters ever, and finally beating those hills and that headwind– to get to the blue and yellow finish line in Copley Square. I admire them, every single one. 

Last year, when I watched this race, I wasn’t yet sure if I could run a Boston-qualifying time, or if I even dared to believe I could. But now, with NYC in my pocket, I do dare. This knowledge made for a different spectating experience, definitely more vicarious. One day I will be you, I thought as my gaze pinpointed a woman striding towards the finish with a grin spread across her face. I am injured now, but that’s just for right now.

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Election? What election? I’ve got a marathon to run (left work early to get my number and chip at the Javits Center)….Thank you friends and family who emailed me about the story in yesterday’s New York Times. It’s interesting, because before I even read the article I was saying how I was afraid the crowded course would bug me….. Mikeroscopic forwarded me a link to this profile piece, with video, about Joe Bastianich (partner, with Mario Batali, of one of my favorite restaurants). Bastianich lost 45 pounds training for the NYC Marathon, and this article details how he got fit and trim without dieting or giving up entirely his favorite piatti italiani… To all my fellow fans of elite runners, the Men’s Olympic Marathon team (golden Ryan Hall, surprising Dathan Ritzenheim, and huggable Brian Sell) will all be in the NYRR booth at the Expo Friday afternoon (specifics HERE)…I also saw, when I picked up my bib today, that Magdalena Lewy-Boulet will be in the Saucony booth tomorrow afternoon (at either 3 PM or 4 PM)… And in somewhat linkable news from my industry, the semi-original approach to flapping up blogger support for books from Thomas Nelson includes this review copy request page….. Rounding up some of my favorite elites for you, Anthony Famiglietti and Shalane Flanagan both won their respective 5K Championships recently, and Kara Goucher (currently prepping for her own big Sunday) won the 10-mile Championship. Who doesn’t love a winner? Or at least a finisher?….

Liz Robbins’ A Race Like No Other was reviewed in the most recent episode (#111) of the Dump Runners Club podcast (grazie, Matteo)…. Liz will also be signing books and answering questions at the Expo this weekend (Crawford Doyle rocks for being the bookseller-at-hand)… And, if you wish to peruse the many reviews that have been popping up for this book, rather than buying a copy and reading the whole thing for yourself (which, um, YOU SHOULD DO), click through the bullets.

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Some of you may have heard of this book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous & Obscure Writers. It is exactly what it says it is, and the memoirs are hilarious, poignant, universal and quixotically specific. I don’t own the book, I just enjoy watching the video (embedded below). When I am supremely bored (read: in a meeting), I write my own six-word memoirs, coming at my life from all different angles. Today, I had to sit through two back-to-back BS sessions that had me wishing I’d develop stigmata, Tourette’s Syndrome, or maybe a  left elbow that popped everytime I bent it–something, anything to amuse me and those around me. I finally gave up and honed my six-word memoirs to such a fine point that I decided to try for the six-word race report. I wrote my memoirs, then I ghost-wrote the memoirs of some of the American elite runners who have taken part in the Olympic Trials. Herewith, my six-word efforts:

TK:    Pigtails flying, panting notwithstanding, I PR’ed.

Brian Sell:     I ran away from dental school.

Christian Smith:     The track burn was worth it.

Kara Goucher:     Who said I’ve got no kick?

Jordan Hasay:      Finals now, London in four years.

Aren’t you inspired? If you could describe your last race, or your first race, or your best race, which six words would you use to tell the story? I challenge you to post your own six-word race report, either in the comments here, or on your own blog.  And just so you’re not all looking around in cyberspace saying Huh, who, me?  I am calling you out, bloggers. Sarah, Laura, Julie, Laminator, Dada, Paul, Alejandro, Rob, Andrew, ben and JeremyChia, Amy, SF, Robert, Uptown Girl, Staci, 1Mile, FlyGirl, Mike, Robert, JC, Ryan, Phil, Paul, Candy, Bryan, Kevin et al.: I want to read your six-word race report! And to the rest of you who read this blog and sometimes comment, now is your chance to blow us all away with your eloquence, wit, originality and racing chops. I wanna see those six-word race reports all over the comment section. What else do you all have to do at work all day, anyway?

Here’s the video:

Oh yeah, and my run home from work today was an encouraging return to form. 3.5 miles in 32:19.

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Ask Husband, I spent a good hour online on Saturday trying to figure out how I could watch these races on television on Sunday.  Grumbling the whole time.  Surely it was aired somehow, somewhere, but I failed to google the details. And when I channel-surfed, the only sport that turned up was college basketball.  Ugh, gross.

It would have been a great race to watch, since it was set up in an equalizer format (where the women are given a statistically-determined lead over the men based on average finishing times for the distance, and they then compete against each other to the finish).  This is the second time in a week I’ve read about races set up like this (the other was at the LA Marathon), and would love to spectate such an event one day.

But, I found the results online today, my one break in a 10-hour day (I had lunch at 4:30 PM, okay?).  From what I read, sounds like the men’s race was a sight to see, with Andrew Carlson shaking off Dan Browne (44:21) somewhere in the final 5k to take his first national championship (in 44:12).  My man Brian Sell, despite headlining the lead-in press, didn’t make it to the podium and came in 5th (44:47). Now, most days I’ll tell you I love to root for the underdog, but I wanted Deena to win and was psyched to learn that she took home her 6th championship title in the distance (49:36)–only after giving Carlson the thumbs-up as he passed her to an overall win.

This is the first I’d read about Carlson, and I like him already, based on the quote he gave for Team USA Minnesota’s press release about racing next to Deena:

Then I went into the tunnel toward the finish line and it opened up into a football stadium. There were all these people in the stands cheering. It was a great way to finish. . . You never think you are going to get a chance to duel with an Olympic bronze medalist so that was an interesting race (with the equalizer format).

Now, I imagine not all runners are grounded, and it could be that Carlson is being disingenuous with us via his team’s publicist; but I prefer not to be so cynical. So instead, I say: this is something I love about runners.  Even those who run at the top of their class, and train with the country’s top professional teams, still get a (positive) charge out of the other stars in their sport.  There’s none of that bullshit bluster and posturing I see during the sports news on TV. Or maybe there is; I could be wrong, I’m just a fan watching all this at a great remove.  But, it always seems to me like the elites are generally respectful of each other, even though they compete fiercely with each other.

I’d be a fool to deny that running has its share of doping and rivalries; and probably, if it got more airtime (see above: googling for broadcast info), and prize purses were larger, and more abundantly available, then I suppose the sport’s athletes would more frequently reveal the less savory personality traits we see in pros from other sports.  But for now, I’ll take a little romance with my running, and I’ll wear my rose-colored glasses as I squint into the champions’ glow coming off the podium.

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Sweetness.  $136 later, I am officially registered for the ING New York City Marathon.  The message that came up after I clicked “submit” read:

You have a confirmed spot in the 2008 ING New York City Marathon!

Exclamation point, indeed.  I’ll let the NYRR’s lift it up, since after all my striving to guarantee my entry to this race, now that no one can refute me my rightful place on Staten Island on November 2, 2008, all I can think is: since that’s done, may I go to bed now?

Normally, I’d be much more energetic in my excitement over this unimpeachable, indubitable, undeniable notice of my participation in this race.  But, I am completely wiped out. Flattened with exhaustion, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.  No running since Sunday, you see, and a grim amount of working over the past three days (30 hours, to be exact*).  It’s nearing 8pm, and I could lay down on my bed and sleep straight through till dawn. I’m not complaining. Nope, none of that here. But, every time I find myself in this situation (i.e. flattened), and I opt to “take it easy” because I’m feeling depleted, and not go for that scheduled run, I end up exponentially tired.  I know better; I know the costs to myself, those around me, and the quality of work I produce when I neglect my basic self-care trinity.

I did have enough energy to celebrate when my April issue of Running Times showed up earlier this week. My hero Kara Goucher is on the cover, and half the issue is dedicated to the Women’s Marathon Olympic Trials.  I delicately set my RT aside to read when I could savor it, but  I broke down this morning and toted it with me during my commute.  Straight to Kara’s profile, but lo!  Oh thrilling discovery!  RT flopped open to a Brian Sell centerfold!  (I swear I read this magazine for the articles.) A double-sided poster, one side him gritting it out on the course, the other him jubilantly wrapped in the flag at the finish.  Exclaimed out loud with joy and amusement, right there on the 7 train, with all sorts of cranky worker bees around me.  My outburst was loud enough that I even startled the droopy-eyed ipoder two bodies over. Brian Sell and Kara Goucher? Too much for me to handle before my morning cuppa.

The remaining ten minutes of my commute were hijacked by thoughts of Brian.  Did he get to approve the photos beforehand?  Was he amused by the centerfold?  Did his agent insist on it? (No, that doesn’t sound right.)  Got to work, tons of work, but was compelled to google Brian.  Most of what came up was timed around the Trials, like this post about how he went to work two days after his marathon. Refreshing, that. Someone else is set upon with tasks the second they arrive at work.  (I had tasks too but decided to scuttle them for five minutes so I could google lovely Brian. *Must adjust hours worked to 29 hours 55 minutes.)

Foot update: Toenail still black.  Right arch still sprained but feeling less achey today.  Need to apply The Stick to right calf.

Off to walk dog. Then to bed. Sweetness.

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Watch Spirit of the Marathon, and you will know what I meant when I wrote in my review of Chariots of Fire that I wished it had been “more about running.”

This movie was not everything I could have hoped (because I am a pain in the ass), but it definitely came pretty close.  From the first scenes, where they had cutaways of the elites (Khalid! Tergat! Paula!), I was riveted.  (In fact, I was hoping for more audience participation, as if we were at a sporting event, but I was the only nutter cheering.)  When the film introduced Deena, and they showed her winning the bronze at the 2004 Summer Olympics, I cried for her win, and for the beauty of her performance.  That’s right, 10 minutes into the film I was teary-eyed, and I pretty much stayed that way until the lights came up. But you see, I am highly susceptible to the drama of the marathon, no matter if I am spectator or participant.

Perhaps my one complaint would have been more time on the elites! I cracked up when Paula Radcliffe says that the Chicago Marathon holds a special place in her heart because “it’s where I set my first world record.” Ah, relativism. I could watch the finish of Joanie Benoit coming into the Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles a million times & it would never fail to move me. It was a total thrill for me to listen to athletes like Kathy Switzer, Bill Rodgers, and Amby Burfoot opine in soundbites about the marathon, and about their marathons.  These are the runners who inspire me, their past performances awe me, and their experience pushes me forward.   The honesty and unflagging champion’s attitude Deena gave the camera during her injury made me respect her more (if possible) than I already do.  And I got a total kick out of spotting Brian Sell and his other HBDP teammates at the front of the pack when the documentary finally showed the start of the race everyone had been training for.

I cried when the doctor told the guy who was hoping to BQ that he had to put aside his marathon plans because of a torn miniscus.  I cried when the Kenyan came in third.  I cried when the older guy crossed the finish line with his daughter. (See? I wasn’t exaggerating when I said was susceptible.)

It would have been great if they had delved a little deeper into the experience of the fundraising runners, but I suppose that could almost be a whole nother movie.  Nevertheless, I left the theater wanting to immediately watch the movie again. (Memo to Husband: this DVD = great gift!)

You can find other reviews of this movie on these blogs: Paul Merca, Absolut(ly) Fit, Bethree.com, Normal Rockstar, Mike Fox’s Marathon Blog, and Pursuit of Runningness

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I wonder if this Athlete Blog, posted on the Brooks Running website, was just to cover the exciting period around the Fall marathon season, and the Olympic Trials in Central Park.  There hasn’t been a new post since 12/30.  Would love a few updates from the Hansons-Brooks guys.

Of course, their own website is a good place to keep tabs on the team.  Love that they still have Brian Sell wrapped in the flag after his Olympic Trials race on the homepage.  I’m a week late, but would like to extend my congratulations to Brian Sell for winning the ING Miami Half Marathon (and setting a course record) this year.  I wonder which full marathon he will run as his Olympic Tune Up.

I tried to find a video of Brian during that race, but had no luck.  I did notice though that Runner’s World posted a chat with my hero, Kara Goucher.    She had an incredible 2007, taking a bronze medal at the world championships and winning her half-marathon debut, beating out Paula Radcliffe.  And, she just won the Women’s Mile at the Millrose Games on Friday.  What’s so remarkable about this interview with Kara is that she can barely keep a lid on her excitement at what’s to come.  She’s looking towards the Olympics, she’s getting a good long look at her potential and it’s inspiring to me to read.

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