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Posts Tagged ‘olympics 2008’

I had to strategically nap, and rant at the television a few times, but I finally was able to watch the  highlights of the women’s 10,000 meter finals. Yes, the experience was diminished because NBC truly showed just highlights — the first five minutes and the last four laps — and also because I already knew where our American runners placed. (Cruise through LetsRun,com if you think I am the only person who says NBC’s coverage is biased, and sucks.) I stayed up until 1:30 AM (Saturday morning) and sat through an hour of mind-numbing coverage of other sports like swimming (I’m beginning to belive that excellence like Michael Phelps’ is just obnoxious, like the Yankees), to watch ten minutes, interrupted by commercials and other sports, of the women’s 10,000 meter.  Well, it was great, nevertheless. Kara Goucher stuck it out for the early laps, staying with the lead pack, but eventually dropped back to finish 10th in a PR of 30:55:16. (Official results.) But Shalane, when she finished third, was the picture of gratitude, and awe, and she won me over for that. Her score of 30:22:22 not only earned her the bronze, but broke the Amercan Record, which she herself had just set several months ago. It’s not surprising that she wasn’t sure in what place she finished, flashing fingers at the press box asking “third?”, because that track was a mob scene, with women getting lapped all over the place. The gold medalist, Dibaba, set a new world record of 29:54:66, and eight women ran personal bests, including Kara. That makes me a little misty-eyed: not every woman can with a medal, but every competitor has the chance to run their best race ever, and the fact that over a fifth of the field did, well, that’s just beautiful. Here is a video of T&F highlights from the day, which includes the race (fast forward to 3:50), here’s another one with highlights with voiceover (fast forward to 32:20), for three minutes only click here, and here’s an interview with Shalane (after the Women’s 8k in Central Park earlier this year, talking about Athens 2004). I was totally impressed when Shalane said that due to her food poisoning earlier in the week, she wasn’t sure how she would perform in the 10,000 meter, so she decided to just go with the flow, and “zone out.” So much for all the coaches who tell us to focus etc etc. For more reading beyond the papers, I recommend Mary Wittenberg’s blog post and analysis of Shalane and Kara’s performances.

Seven hours later, I dragged my body out of bed (it was so warm, and cozy, and I was having a lovely dream about a handsome man making me lasagna) to go do my scheduled 8-mile race-pace run. I have begun to consider these Saturday tempo runs the toughest of the week, probably because they freaking are! Also because lately I’ve been doing them on Route 940 in the Poconos, which is hilly, the last two miles all on an incline. But, I hit the pace I’d been hoping for, completing the approximate 8.4 mile route in 1:15:32.

On Friday, I forgot to tell you all, I signed up for my final races of the season with the New York Road Runners (so I have guaranteed entry in 2009 to run with my brother).  In addition to the two remaining half-marathons in the Grand-Prix (Queens and Staten Island), you’ll be able to find me at the Fifth Avenue Mile and the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff. I hope to also run a 5k before the year is out, to benchmark my improvement; the last 5k I ran was the Wall Street run in August 2007. Ideally there will be one I can find on Long Island so I can coerce my mom to sign up as a walker, too, on the promise that I’ll run my 5k in 24 minutes (wouldn’t that be fabulous) and then jog back to finish with her.

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