Posts Tagged ‘shayne culpepper’

Med school bound TNT Coach Steve H. is training for his first triathlon (a half-Ironman! Steve, are you gonna shave your legs?) as a way to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Click here to help him reach his $10,000 goal…. Alan and Shayne Culpepper have opened their running shop in Louisville, CO (of  Boulder County), Solepepper Sports. I’m going to visit Brother & Co. in Lafayette later this month and will stop by…. I love how Olympic marathoner Magdalena “Chewy” Lewy-Boulet won the USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston; and I like how Andrew Carlson came in fourth (setting a PR; this FloTrak video from after the race also tells about how he’s now coached by Greg McMillan and sponsored by Brooks), less than a minute behind winner Meb Keflezighi (ever since I saw Carlson race in Central Park I’ve been a fan). Crazy though to think that the first place finishers won $12,000 each – that’s about $916 per mile…  The USATF announced that the 2009 Men’s Marathon Championships will be run at the ING New York City Marathon. Excellent, as it will (hopefully) bring some of the best American distance runners to my city in November; and frustrating, as I’ll be running the course with Brother this year and once again missing out on quality spectating….I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Bronx Half-Marathon with excitement and nervousness. It will be my first race since the New York City Marathon, and I don’t expect to PR but I would like to finish with a respectable showing. Still trying to figure out what “respectable” adds up to…. My running buddy from my first season with Team in Training, BS, is training for her first triathlon (are you sensing a trend here, people?) and raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’re balking at making a donation in these tough economic times, BS argues that “People don’t stop getting cancer when the economy is in a slump.” A sad yet valid point. Click here to help her reach her $3,000 goal…. And, better late than never, I’m linking to Running USA’s 10 Best Moments for U.S Distance Running in 2008. My favorites are #10, #6, and # 2.

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Work was intense last week, and left me feeling razed to the ground by the time Friday afternoon finally deigned to show up. I pushed through one more project, hammering it out until 7 PM, my self-imposed pumpkin hour, at which point I shut everything down, grabbed my laptop and fled as if I were running for my life. 

I took the E train downtown to Madison Square Garden, got my ticket at Will Call, and finally allowed myself to thrill at the prospect of my first-ever track meet. I’ve watched meets on TV, but I’ve never seen racers compete live on the boards, or around an outdoor oval. So I was interested in the peripheral stuff (the pole vaulters doing their warm-ups; the relayers waiting off to the side, the way they break down and reconstruct the boards to create the course for the sprint and hurdle events) as well as simply seeing Kara, Shayne, Bernard and Nick do their thing live at the Millrose Games.

Decathlete Dan O’Brien was the emcee, and he seemed to do a good job. I enjoyed watching the boys’ mile, and the relay events. In both races the winner broke away into a wicked sprint for the last quarter mile. It looked like fun, flying around the banked track to break the tape. 

Then it was the NYRR Women’s Mile. The ladies took the field, springing around for a warm up lap. There she was, my girl Kara, with her long ponytail and her massive diamond engagement and wedding rings (I swear I could see them glint from where I sat). As far as races go, it was pretty boring. Kara defended her title by a large lead, finishing nearly 4 seconds ahead of Marina Muncan–no one really gave her any competition. I liked how, once she was done, she gave a high-five to her student escort–it was the same kid who escorted her to the start line at the marathon in November from the NYRR youth development program. 

Soon after this, the guy in the row in front of me struck up a conversation with me, and before I knew it he’d moved next to me and we were knee-deep in a debate about Alan Webb (Really Great, or Not So Great?) and yammering on and on about favorite elites, running websites, and pet peeves (why don’t the women self-tan their upper thighs if they are going to race in bumhuggers? Why do sprinters wear speed suits when Haile Gebrselassie can set world records in shorts and a singlet?). JPM’s track knowledge was greater than mine (he’d raced in college) but we were equally matched as far as enthusiasm. I’d expected to spend the evening watching the meet by myself, but ended up having a blast with a talkative, opinionated stranger. Cool! 

We watched Jenn Stuczynski win the pole vault; we watched the three shot putters who had won the crowds and the medals in Beijing last year (they pumped us up again, busting out song after song by AC/DC). I thought it looked like a blast to be one of the sprinters who got to smash into the padded wall at the end of the starting-linedashes, boof! They trotted out the oldies, including Eamonn Coghlan, who was on hand to see if Lagat would tie his record seven Wanamaker wins. JPM rattled off athlete PR’s and world records; it was like having a personal factotum, a direct feed of track trivia. 

Finally it was time for the Wanamaker. I was divided; I couldn’t decide if I should root for Bernard or Nick. Mostly I wanted Bernard to defend his title, win his seventh Wanamaker, and redeem his second-place finish at the Fifth Avenue Mile against Willis; but a smaller, slightly mean part of me wanted Willis to win again, to become Lagat’s unbeatable rival. As they raced around the track, I got the chills. These men were beautiful runners, so smooth. Willis in particular–even though Lagat was in the lead, Willis’s movement looked especially effortless. Ah, it was gorgeous. With two laps to go (it was eight laps to the mile), Willis made his move and took the lead, only to be smacked down by Lagat in the final lap. It was almost as if he was racing a child, the way he just turned on the jets and put Nickie right back in his place (second, that is). After all my waffling, I was glad Lagat won (by a little less than one second). It was an historic win, and besides, how could I root against a man who had shook my hand?

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