Posts Tagged ‘ryan hall’

We’re heading back to New York tomorrow morning, so today’s activities include (in addition to more diligent relaxing) a bit of tidying up: laundry, tucking away the final pieces of unused plasticware, changing sheets and that sort of weekend wind-down stuff. This tidying up has carried over to Pigtails Flying, as I’ve got some un-ellipses links for you, and some election results for you.

Today, during lunch, I ran a Pocono Loop x 2 again today, my last one until we return to the house next weekend. I was glad there were very scattered snowflakes falling, it added a bit of cheer to the otherwise cold gray sky. I ran 4.64 miles in 45:20, for an average pace of 9:46, with my fastest split at 8:35 and my slowest at 10:20.

Ryan Hall is running the Boston Marathon in 2009. Previously, the Flora London marathon was his Spring marathon, which was part of what inspired me to run London in 2009 in the first place–the idea that I’d be tracking his footsteps through the course, the same way I tracked Paula, Magda, Kara and Catherine this year in New York. I think it’s a brilliant and gutsy move for him to advance on to Boston, a much more challenging course which speaks to one of his strengths–running hills (funny how I mentioned this just yesterday). There is the slight chance I may go to Boston to cheer Ryan on in Boston this year–Boston is Monday, April 20th, and London is Sunday the 26th. The prospect of seeing him run in the flesh again is enticing; watching Ryan run at the Trials was so inspiring, it had a lot to do with why I started taking my own performance at the distance much more seriously.

The USATF announced their 2008 Hall of Fame Inductees(Johnny Gray, Don Bowden, Bill Carr, Bernie Wefers and Jimmy Carnes), and I realize something I knew but have forgotten: the Track & Field Hall of Fame is practically in my backyard, at the Armory (169th Street and Fort Washington Avenue). Anyone up for a field trip? Then there’s the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, in Utica, NY — they announce their inductees as part of the Boston Marathon Weekend — but what kind of dork factor would I dial up if I were to make a dedicated drive to Utica to visit this Hall?

A month ago, The New York Times published a column by Mac Montandon called “Faces in the Crowd,” about how Mac imagines stories and lives for each of the regulars he passes in Prospect Park during his daily jogs. Husband passed to to me with a murmured, “You’ve got competition,” and I wasn’t sure if he meant as someone writing about running, or simply as a runner. Mac writes:

It’s an unusual experience to so frequently see the same strangers with whom I’ve exchanged plenty of painfully commiserating glances but not a single word.

Although I don’t sketch vivid storyboards for them, I too pass many of the same diligent runners along the 59th Street Bridge, especially during the week–the Saturday/Sunday crowd is too full of interlopers & weekend warriors for me to pick out my silent partners. I especially like the slight Hispanic gentleman who regularly trains in his team singlet (plus other clothing depending on the weather) and always greets me with a huge smile and a big wave. Without fail, I run faster for having encountered him. (I also recognize many people during my commute to work on the Q32 bus, although so far none of them have yet shown themselves to be bridge runners as well.)

And lastly and finally, thank you to all thirteen of you who voted on which t-shirt I should keep out of the two assortments I put to your unflinching judgement. Dear readers, you’ve asked me to keep my Pride Run 2007 tank, and my Emerald Nuts Midnight Run 2006-2007 long sleeve tee. Consider it done, the others are being shipped off to the local Salvation Army clothing bank. (In fact, I already got rid of the 2007 Joe Kleinerman 10K, it was so fugly I wore it as a part of my throwaway wardrobe for the New York City Marathon. The Girl Scouts have it now.)

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Flatness, with Hills

Can woman exist on simple joys alone? Sometimes I wish it were so. I returned from my easybreezy run today (just fast enough to get warm) and walked down our stone path, towards the gate (which I built with my dad) on our porch to go inside. Husband was off in the woods, photographing his rock sculptures (he likes to capture them through the seasons, and in different hues of natural light) with our dog, Matilda. I didn’t know this, though, until I heard the jingling of her collar. A smile crept across my face, and I called to her. Like a brown bunny, she came streaking throught the forest, her nose pointed forward and her tail extended out, her white paws reaching out together as she exhuberantly bounded towards me. My heart leapt. I thought, Yes Matilda, yes. What could be more joyful than running through the snow towards someone you love? Just the running could be enough, but then add in a destination that makes you want to sprint with uncontainable happiness; well, that’s something to be thankful for.

This morning, I awoke briefly at 8:30 to bid my parents good-bye, then stumbled back to bed, where I stayed for another four hours, moving blissfully between a dreamless sleep and immobile moments of semi-awake recollection, in which all manner of memories scrolled through my thoughts. I’d slept for fourteen hours, thoroughly depleted from Thanksgiving Day’s cooking and entertaining. I bribed myself out of bed with the last piece of pumpkin pie, and the luxury of hours of uninterrupted time to read my best friend’s manuscript, her memoir entitled Not That Kind of Girl.  At three o’clock, I donned my running outfit reminding myself that today wasn’t a push day, today was an ease up day. No need to gun it on this workout.

Taking my foot off the gas pedal today was acceptable because I whipped myself forward through my entire Thanksgiving Day run. It wasn’t what I’d planned for yesterday, but I was so wound up by the time I hit the road, I uncoiled like a spring and shot forward the second I flicked on little G’s timer. I called on every last bit of energy and muscle I had, even feeling my abs holding my torso upright as I gritted my way through miles three and four (the hilliest). Part of me knew this was my only moment to myself all day and I should slow down and make it last, but the other part of me knew I had something to burn, and that something must be in cinders when I finally walked back in to the house to baste the turkey. So I raced on, wishing I was stronger than I was so I could hammer the hills even harder than I already was. I thought of Ryan Hall; I thought of his grace and the way his training in California flattened the loops of Central Park when he was in New York last year to compete in the Olympic Trials. I too want to run the six-mile loop and think, Park, try harder, for I scorn your so-called hills. Thanksgiving’s workout wound up at 41:05 for 4.66 miles and with somewhat erratic splits: 8:52, 8:09, 8:49, 9:37, 5:39 (that’s an 8:32 pace for the last .66 miles).

Today’s workout was significantly slower, at 46:17 for 4.57 miles. Songs I listened to today: “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “She” by Harry Connick, Jr., “Come Along with Me” by Joe Sample, “Just t he Two of Us” by Gover Washington, “September” and “In the Stone” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Maroon 5, “Let There Be Love” by Oasis, “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7, “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” by Colin Hay.

Little G has the best seat in the house. He gets his charge in the bar! For the record: the Cuervo was a “gift.” I’d never stock my own bar with that “tequila.” (Call me a snob, like a give a shit.)

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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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Lots of odds and ends to share tonight. But first, may I simply mention that I’ve taken off every Friday in August?

Runner’s Lounge Take it and Run Thursday post is up, and Julie is inviting all runners to post their Six-Word Running Memoir… Hhmm wonder where she got that idea?…. Thank you Whitey for tipping me off to this article by one of my favorite writers about one of my favorite runners. I totally cadged by boss’s copy of The New Yorker off her today so I could read its entirety… My TNT coach, Ramon Bermo, successfully ran his 100-mile Ultra Marathon last month, and has raised over $59,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Here is his amazing, inspiring and fascinating race report, as filtered through the Nike Running Blog (separately, he emailed all his donors the in-his-own-words version, which printed out to seven pages). 100 freaking miles, people! I also found this one… Speaking of raising money, a month or so ago I signed up with Team Fox to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation (for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease), and in exchange they will get me my bib to the Flora London Marathon in 2009. Stay tuned for more, but I probably won’t start fundraising until immediately after NYC…. The New York Times Book Review gives What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami a poor review, saying things like, “There are flashes of quality,” and “the potential readership… is 70 percent Murakami nuts, 10 percent running enthusiasts and an overlapping 20 percent who will be on the brink of orgasm before they’ve even sprinted to the cash register.” Yours truly gave this book a much kinder review here…I am so psyched for the Olympics, even though I acknowledge that there will be doping athletes competing, and that some of them will win medals & go undetected despite testing…There’s a ton of coverage already online, and in print, regarding last-minute athlete updates and predictions. I feel like I need a vacation to absorb it all…Even though he’s not a runner, Michael Phelps is hard to resist, I think (for me) it has something to do with his excellence… Names: Paula Radcliffe, Ryan HallLopez Lomong, Leo Manzano

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Has anyone registered for the 5-mile NYRR Anniversary Run in Central Park?  It’s on June 4th, at 5:30 in the morning!  I’m definitely running it, in fact I’ve already signed up.  Here are five reasons (one for each mile) you all should, too:

  1. It’s a NYC Marathon qualifying race.
  2. It’s free to register. (FREE, people!)
  3. Five miles before work!!  Five miles of superiority!!
  4. Celebrating our [club’s] anniversary together.
  5. Another chance to prove what a crazy runner you really are.

The Anniversary Run is a weekday race.  There’s something very summery about weekday races, as they are official, on-the-clock indications that our recreation has pushed its way out of the weekend window, and is now filling in the extra hours of daylight we all get during the week.  Corporate Challenges, the AHA Wall Street Run, Media Challenges… I’ll race ’em all!

Home from work today in under 30 minutes (29:53; 8:32 pace, 3.5 miles) for the first time ever.  Kind of a landmark event.  I’ve been waiting for it to happen, I knew it would come.  Of course, I was helped along by leaving work as late as I did — there is considerably less traffic at 7:20 PM, I probably saved 2 minutes not waiting at intersections. It still means, though, that rather than my goal being to get home under 33 minutes, I’ll now be shooting for under 30.  In the scheme of a runner’s world, I’m still not fast. But, I can feel myself becoming less slow.  My successes here, whether quotidian or personal bests, are a treasured consolation on a bad day.

All this without regular tempo runs, speed workouts, or hill training. Naughty, naughty me. Let me pull down my old Runner’s World magazines… I’m looking for the issue that presents Ryan Hall’s half-marathon training plan, as adapted for mere mortals. Here it is, on the top shelf, August 2007. What I like about this plan is that the weekly mileage never exceeds 46 miles. And oh yeah — I also like that Ryan Hall did it (or something like it).

If I follow the 10-week plan for the July 27th New York City Half-Marathon, I’ll have to start this Tuesday with Week 1. However, I don’t yet know if I’ll get in to that race through the lottery.  Really, I was planning to use this training program for the Queens Half, in August, but a quick scroll through the NYRR race calendar shows that it went from scheduled (8/23) to not even on the calendar.  WTF. By the time Staten Island Half rolls around in September, I’ll be waist-high in training for the NYC Marathon.  Considering all of this, I’m going to stick with Plan A and expect the Queens Half sometime in August, and train for that. 

On my run home today, my wandering brain took me through the following scenario.  I meet my running goals for the year (complete the Half-Marathon Grand Prix; run a sub-2-hour half; run a sub-4:30 NYC) and buy myself the self-promised Garmin Forerunner 405.  It’s a crisp November afternoon, and I’m heading home, on a recovery run.  My Garmin happily tracks my every move from midtown office to Sunnyside coop.  And what do I discover upon my arrival? The route I thought was 3.5 miles, for years, from my tracks on gmap-pedometer, is actually 3.3, (or worse, 3.1 miles) and all the “fast” runs home suddenly convert to chump runs.  For sure that would suck.  But, how bad could it be, because if that Garmin is on my wrist, it means that I still ran at the right level to meet my goals, even if my jiggity-jigs weren’t quite as jiggy as I thought.

How bad could it be, indeed.

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What a cool experience, to watch the London Marathon — the whole thing (yes I sat here for three hours working & watching) — over my computer.  Husband quickly wearied of the British announcers’ voices and my cheering, grumpily turning the volume up on his TV to levels appropriate for a nursing home. No matter, I loved every minute of it, and reveled in being able to see those clutch moments of the race when athletes would break away or fall back from the pack.

Three men finished in under 2:06, which is amazing — it’s been a while since any runner’s finished in under 2:06 at all, forget three in one race!  And, they all broke the 2:05:38 course record set by American Khalid Khannouchi (man-on-deck for the Men’s 2008 Olympic Marathon Team). Lel won London for the third time, (he also won the NYC Marathon last year) in one of the most beautiful, smooth sprints to the finish I’ve seen in my few years of avid fandom.  In the women’s race, Mikitenko won in what is only her second marathon ever (she came in second in Berlin, after Wami, last year). Agan: amazing.  Wami finished third after taking a tumble a little over halfway through the race. 

And Ryan Hall ran an exciting race, hanging in the lead pack for the first half, when they were running at world-record pace.  He finished fifth, achieving a personal best time of 2:06:17 by nearly two minutes.  I was thrilled to see him race so strongly, and recognized his even stride from the Trials in Central Park this November. This USA Today coverage & post-race inerview with Hall is good reading.

And, all the athletes finished in the pouring rain.  Even through the pixilated video from WCSN.com I could see how slick and shiny their bodies were as they crossed the finish line and slowed to a stop. 

I’d love to run this race — maybe next year, as part of Team Fox.  The course looks fantastic, as you run through charming outlying neighbrohoods with small gardens, over the Tower Bridge (where they allow crowds to line the perimiter and cheer), passing Parliament, the London Eye, Cutty Sark, and Big Ben and finishing just past Buckingham Palace.

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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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I hadn’t intended to post again tonight, but I was over at NYRR.org printing out directions to tomorrow’s race when I found Ryan Hall’s newest blog post.  Totally click over and read it.  If you’re a runner, and a fan of Ryan’s it will get you excited for what could happen in Beijing.  If you’re not a runner, you will still enjoy it because of the story he tells at the end.

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Feelin’ Groovy

One of my favorite runs through the city is the route from my apartment, over the 59th Street Bridge to its Western foot, and back. There are four fantastic hills, which are the most reliable gauge of how tired or dehydrated I am that day.  There’s the view from the bridge, the romance of running through the Big Apple, the bunches of other athletes I encounter on my route, and the comfort of familiarity.  There is also the pulse of the city — cars, buses, subway trains, bikes, taxis, the Roosevelt Island Tram, and the occassional boat or barge, all wend their way through the route. It’s 5 miles there and back, which makes it the perfect distance for a Saturday or Sunday morning run.

This is the view as I run back home through Queens Plaza.Queens Plaza

Today, my alarm went off at 8, and I was dressed and caffeinated by 8:45.  I chased an Apple Pie Cliff Shot with the dregs of my coffee, and headed out.  Man, did it feel good.  With Matt whispering episodes #90 and #1 (anniversary rewind) from his Dump Runners Club podcast in my ear, I traced a hot path up 43rd Avenue to Skillman, and right onto Queens Boulevarde, where I always remember to feel badly for all the poor suckers who have to go to work on Saturday morning. (Why else would they be up at 9am on a Saturday, if they aren’t running?)  Although, even my fellow bridge runners seemed to still be in bed this lovely morning, as I didn’t spot even one other runner until I was about a mile and a half from home.  There was hardly another soul on the bridge with me, I think I saw 3 cyclists and one construction worker (half of the bridge has been covered in plywood & tarps for months and months now as they restore & repair). 

I always say a quick word of thanks when it’s not too windy when I run over the bridge.  In the winter, the wind can really bite, and in the summer it kicks all the grit and grime into my eyes, nose and mouth.  Today, though, it was still.  In fact, the 39 degrees, slightly cloudy conditions were perfect, and I was glad to leave the hat & gloves at home.

At this point in my run, Matt was talking about how he finds it inspiring to watch elite athletes as they run, whether it’s in competition or in training (he was specifically referring to this video of Ryan Hall cranking through a 15-mile training run).  I couldn’t agree more with Matt.  Call me a romantic, but I get choked up with emotion when the elites come zooming by my spectating spot at mile 13.5 during the New York City Marathon.  And this year, watching the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials was a transformative experience for me.  Is it possible to get runner’s high as a spectator?  If so, it absolutely happened to me on November 3, 2007.  Just remembering how exciting it was to watch that race pumped me up so much that the westbound hill on the 59th Street Bridge went by in a snap.

On the bridge’s downhills I always take a moment to look out at the river.  The pedestrian path runs along the north side of the bridge, on the upper level.  Of course, the better view is from the south side of the bridge, but I’m not really complaining.  Today it was pretty overcast, and I couldn’t see too far.


I was about 10 blocks from home when I calculated that if I picked up the pace I would have a chance to make it home in 50 minutes.  So, I picked it up, and was pleasantly surprised to realize how lively my legs felt, how happy they were to go faster.  Now mind you, the last mile of this route, with a very short exception, is uphill.  Then I remembered there was no sign of cement-block feet at the beginning of my run today.  I must conclude: marathon recovery, completed!  And, my 5-mile, over-the-bridge-and-back run?  Completed in 50:12.  Will you all let me count that as a 10-minute mile pace, if you delete the time it took to stop to take two pictures, and the time I got stuck at a light?

Next project: figure out which half-marathon I will officially train for, and then build out the schedule.

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The only thing I dread more than the treadmill is running in the dark by myself.  I’ll gladly run through Central Park in the dark with my team (in fact, I’ve done so in the sleet, the rain, and the snow, as well), but running by myself before work, through the streets in the industrial neighborhood that border mine, or over the 59th Street Bridge with just the ambient light from bus headlamps illuminating the pedestrian way, is not my preferred atmosphere for swift foot travel.

Alas, in order to get in my minimum runs for the week, the treadmill it must be.  This morning I ran for 38 minutes, gently cajoling myself through every minute past the 25th.   I kept up a minimum 10-minute per mile pace, upping the pace the final half a mile.  I worked up a fantastic sweat, I haven’t sweat that much running outside since September.  I could have been a lot worse. The boredom wasn’t nearly as numbing as it could have been, I sorted out my jerky, marathon-recovery stride about 15 minutes in, and (as an added bonus) I didn’t encounter any coworkers in the locker room.

The only way I knew to get through it was to listen to Episode 89 of Matt Tartar’s excellent podcast, “The Dump Runner’s Club.”  He talked about Flow (interesting), but my favorite part of his podcast is when he gives highlights of elite running on the world stage. Based on his most recent summaries, I have to add #3 to my list:

Reasons Why I Wish I Was Running the Flora London Marathon in 2008:

1. Ryan Hall

2. Steve Mitchell (my coach)

3. Paula Radcliffe

Clearly, London is irresistible to some of the top Olympic marathoners as a tune-up race. It is shaping up to be a very impressive line up of elites. I hope it’s broadcast on television here in the US. Stay tuned for this list to be expanded as I learn more about which elites will be competing in that race. Also, sooner or later I’ll have to post about Paula, and Kara, and my planned trip to watch the Women’s Olympic Trials for the marathon in Boston.

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