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Posts Tagged ‘constantina tomesco-dita’

More positive reviews for A Race Like No Other, including the New York Post, Penthouse (Penthouse?!), Gelf, and the Roanoke Times….. My financial planner was profiled on the front page of the New York Times today… Top-notch dinner companion Mike has posted a new column on his blog Mikeroscopic, proving that it’s never too late to say something profound and literary about the Sex Pistols… JM sucessfully ran the Chicago marathon (yes I just stalked her results online) Yay Murph, could you feel me shooting you good running vibes from Mile 11 of my half today?!.. Among the elites, Lydia Grigoryeva won it, and Constantina came in fourth (Hansons-Brooks Distance Project star Desiree Davila came in right behind her!)…  Stay tuned on how this will affect the standings of the World Marathon Majors, if at all… and just a quick tease for you all, EN ran with me to another PR in the half-marathon distance this morning in Staten Island, with a chip time of 1:48:50 (that’s an 8:18 pace!). I’d like to thank my Adidas racing flats, little G, LM’s white lasagna from Friday evening, and EN (even though I had to urge you on this time through the final miles). Full report to come once I’ve stretched, rehydrated and napped.

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So, GMR participant and colleage JMK came into my office today to tell me that she was googling for information on the course of the Staten Island Half-Marathon this weekend, and Pigtails Flying came up as the fourth result. As she is another book marketing guru, she teased me and said, “You’re using search engine optimization techniques, aren’t you?”

October 12 is a big day for running–for me, for my friends & wider running community, and for the elites. I’ve got the Staten Island Half-Marathon to race; I am secure (stupid?) enough to say publicly I’m going to try and nudge my PR a teeny bit and break 1:53:34. I’m looking for even ten seconds of improvement here.  SI is an easier course than Queens, and the temps will be much more hospitable, so if my body and mind cooperate, maybe I actually have a shot. No matter what, I am confident I’ll break my record for the course (2:22:27), so at least I’ll have that. (Did I just jinx myself?) Once I cross the finish line, I can also cross off another one of my running goals for 2008.

Additionally, I am running this half-marathon as part of the Phedippidations Worldwide Half-Marathon, which is kind of like that brilliant-yet-nauseasting marketing ploy the Nike Human Race, but (BIG BUT) the PWW 1/2 is way better–completely grassroots, 100% participant-driven, and not trying to sell you any godamned thing, except maybe a sense of accomplishment and, you know, some good clean fun. If you are registered to run a half-marathon, a 10K, or a 5K this weekend, click here to sign up and participate in the Worldwide Festival of Races. It’s FREE, easy and subversive (trust me on this one, kids). If you need additional convincing, click here to download The Extra Mile Podcast, an inspiring compilation of listener contributions about their training and goals for all the different races they’re competing in this weekend. A lot of my running buddies are signed up for the SI 1/2: DT, EN, JMK, JD, and that’s just for starters. I enjoy going to races knowing there will be a lot of friendly faces out on the course, I am sure I’ll also see my dear old TNT coaches, too.

Also on October 12 is the Chicago Marathon, the second of the three World Marathon Majors races that fall in the Fall (I couldn’t resist). I know a bunch of runners signed up for this flat, movie-star doozy; but the most important one who’ll be out on that course on Sunday is JM, one of my girlfriends with whom I skied in Utah this winter. She’s an experienced marathoner (and much faster than me), having already run Marine Corps in 2006 and NYC in 2007.  JM is not only running for a PR on Sunday, she’s running to raise money for Children’s Memorial Hospital, where she works as a social worker with children who have AIDS. She’s 75% of the way to her $1000 goal, so if any of you are feeling generous, have a connection to the cause, or just need another tax deduction, click here to donate. I promise you’ll feel as satisfied as if you just completed a speed workout if you make a donation. Not persuaded? The first five people who donate $25 or more and posts a comment to tell me so will get a free copy of A Race Like No Other. Run strong and beautiful Murph, you know I’ll be thinking of you from Staten Island.

How can I let a WMM event go by without at least a nod at the eiltes? The field will be exciting. The women’s Olympic Marathon gold medalist, Constantina Tomescu-Dita, is returning to a course familiar to her (she won in 2004 and has run it four additional times already). American Colleen De Reuck is also competing, I saw her run at the Marathon Trials in Boston earlier this year, [correction: I’ve never seen her run, have just read about her in local races.–PF 10/9/08 8:57 AM] and everything I read about Colleen makes me like her–she’s had a long and successful career, and is currently the top master’s woman in the 10K distance. Plus, she’s a Boulder, CO-based athlete. (Matt–have you seen her race? And thank you, we remember from one of your earlier comments that Constantina is also based on Boulder.) 

Big stuff, this weekend.

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I’d set three different reminders for myself about the Women’s Olympic Marathon, so I would be sure to not miss a minute of coverage. As if I could forget! Even Husband had the schedule burned into his brain, since I called dibs on the TV for this Saturday night (and next Saturday, for the men’s) weeks ago. (Yes, we only have one TV. Cool, right?) My friend TS, the woman I met when Deena, Magda and Blake came to sign autographs at Central Park in June, had since moved to London for work (lucky bitch) but we’d vowed to BlackBerry each other throughout the marathon to compare US and UK coverage. She started the marathon countdown a week ago, god love her.

After my 8-mile tempo run, and hours of restless puttering, Husband took pity on me and we went to Wilkes-Barre to catch an afternoon showing of Batman: The Dark Knight. A fantastic movie, my only complaint being Christian Bale was shirtless in only one scene. On the way home we played “Who’s Hottest to You?” For me, Clive Owen trumped Bale and Johnny Depp, and Husband settled on Natalie Portman over Pam Anderson and Scarlett Johanson.

We quickly slapped together some dinner, and I planted myself in front of the television. TS and I started emailing frantically back and forth — Can you see Deena? Oh there’s Blake on the right! Liz Yelling is still leading. Please don’t mock me when I reveal to you: I cried for Deena when she had to drop out due to a foot injury at the 5k. Not sobbing, but tears of shock, disappointment, and sympathy. I wanted to hug her, but instead I commiserated with TS, who was just as broken-hearted as I was. (This morning, reports confirm she broke her foot.) Huge wishes to Deena for a swift recovery and return to form.

But, the race went on, and we rooted for Blake, and Magda, who dropped out somewhere between 15K and 20K with a knee injury. Again, NBC coverage sucks — I had no idea until I read that this morning; I clearly have givne them too much credit for at least covering our US atheletes. At some point, TS emailed saying that Liz Yelling had taken a tumble and had a huge bruise; again, we never even saw that here. When Constantina made her break, I was thrilled–someone had to do it, and Constantina Tomescu-Dita provides plenty of reasons to root for her. First, she’s 38, the second-oldest woman in the field that day. Also, she’s had a splendid career, winning Chicago in 2004 and coming in second after Deena in 2005 (if you’ve seen Spirit of the Marathon, you’ll recall that gutsy finish), but never quite getting that first-class reputation. I got choked up again when Constantina entered the Bird’s Nest Stadium, hearing the roar go up from the crowd, her blowing kisses. Catherine “the Great” Ndereba summarily dismissed Chinxiu Zhou when she made her move for silver; I swear Ndereba made it look so easy to outkick that Chinese woman around that track, as if she were swatting a fly, I wondered why she hadn’t tried to catch Constantina.  Blake Russell finished in 2:33:13, well within the top half of the field. I can’t find video yet, but if you fast-forward through the shots of Paula crying, you’ll still see a few images of the marathon. NBC has posted official results and split times. And I really like Burfoot’s opining about champions, injuries, and class acts (although he doesn’t himself use that term).

Even though it was only 10 PM, I went straight to bed, exhausted from my tempo run and needing a solid eight hours before my 16 this morning. After watching the women’s marathon, I was even more excited than usual for my Sunday long run. It was so relaxing, slowing down the pace, it feels like I’m misbehaving. I ran up Route 940 (yet again; my creativity has failed me here in the Poconos) all the way to the on ramp for I-380, then turned around and came back. When I started, the car thermometer said 55 degrees; by the time I’d returned, it said 76. My 10:25 pace felt just right, and I completed the approximately 16 miles in 2:46:37, imagining Constantina the whole way.

Curiosity is starting to get the better of me: how well will I run at the Queens Half in a month?

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Right this very moment I am watching the Flora London Marathon On-Demand webcast through WCSN.com. Okay, so the real-time event is already over and the winners have been decorated, but nevertheless I sit here cheering for Wami, Lel, Tomescu-Dita, Ryan Hall and Liz Yelling. I paid $4.95 for a month’s worth of unlimited access to race broadcasts.  Considering you can’t even walk into other sporting events for four times that amount, this is the best value in entertainment I’ve found in a very long time.

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