Monday, April 20, 2009


Great racing today in Boston. I was looking forward to it all last week and over the weekend. After a angry shouts at the mac (quicktime not working) apparently my OS needs upgraded as it's 2 years old, I finally got the thing going so I could watch in the living room. Fortunately I found the right plugin as the standard quicktime player didn't play I only got a Q symbol with a question mark on it, then blank. So once I got that working I set up shop on the couch. I also could have watched it on my PC, which is much more powerful and has a bigger screen - and works, but I didn't feel like sitting in my desk chair the whole race.

So I set up shop and just enjoyed it all. The race started off well enough with Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher in the front of their packs with the leaders. The Kenyans and Ethiopians were right there too of course. Ryan took an early lead - which the commentators kept remarking about - "He's going to regret it" basically. I think it was a good move, if he is more fit and prepared for the Newton hills, it's an AWESOME move, because everyone else will surely die. But it's a marathon and a race isn't won over a single move or burst or strategy, it just depends on whose day it is in the final 6 miles. Today it was Merga's and once he grabbed the lead, he never looked back (well not literally, he looked back a lot).

Unfortunately Kara did not do the same, she just couldn't seem to shake loose from the pack, and with less than a mile left the woman I foresaw giving Kara a run for her money (Tune) took the lead along with Kosgei running right behind her. They both got about 10 meters on Kara, and I thought for a second she was going to put on a kick, but it wasn't there and she couldn't reel them back in. Tune ended up finishing second, falling down after she crossed the line. Kosgei outran her by a single second on the clock after Tune jostled and tried to "cut her off" by running in front of her a few times. Kara came in 9 seconds later finishing 3rd, a great second marathon performance if you ask me. The womens times suffered because of the slow early pace, although the last 5k was around 16 minutes.

Ryan Hall also finished third, although not as dramatic he was quite far back and gained momentum toward the end passing a few Kenyans and Ethiopians and nearly closed on Rono who came in second. Hall was a mere 8 seconds behind, coming back from 18 seconds at 40k. All in all it was a good day for American distance running. We got on the podium in both the mens and womens race, and really I feel like it's just the start. We have other great runners in our country, I just wish we would show them off more. I mean watching online is one thing, but dedicating a slot to it during the day - even a replay during the weekend on a major network would be at minimum a humble attempt to show non-athletic or rather non-knowledgeable Americans what we can do and what running is all about.

My run was great today other than a goofy dog who kept wanting to follow me. I don't think he meant any harm, but it took a while walking and stopping before he finally gave up. Legs were snappy and other than a little left hip soreness before/after the run I was feeling awesome. The rain actually skipped out just as I went outside, although the wind didn't, but I didn't care. It was just good to get out there and run. I actually went a little faster for an easy run, but oh well. I figure the faster I run the better, even if it is an easy day. One thing I've noticed is that since I've been running less miles it's either much easier to run fast, or I'm just getting in better shape/mechanically faster. I'm not sure which, but I really feel like it's the cutback in miles that has provided the majority of it.

I'm looking forward to Friday, it will be a fun race. I think a few of our friends may even do it as well, so that is really cool! It's downtown as most races here are, and goes across a bridge so it will probably be lit up and everything. My race doesn't start till 9:30pm so it'll be a late one! I have no real goal in mind, but I just want to run as hard as I can without dying. Three speed workouts ain't much so I'm not expecting any miracles, although it would be nice :)

Lastly I just wanted to go back to the whole running out front thing and explain it a bit better. Today we had opposite spectrum of racing for the men's and women's. The women started out at a 6:30 pace - basically that means even I could have kept up with them... not fast. The men went out fast, but nowhere near suicidal, it was a more respectable 4:48 I believe. The thing about going out fast/slow is that you have think about your competition. If you go out like Goucher did and hang back, you have to be faster over shorter distances near the end. She tried to make it up by leading, but nobody would take it back from her, nor did she create a gap. I think she really wasted a lot of energy leading around mile 20 into the wind, when she could have conserved by letting someone else do the work.

The smaller the distance it is to the finish, and the fresher the racers legs are (by going out slow) the faster you have to be to beat them. We all know about Prefontaine, he got caught in the same game, horribly slow first two miles, and he had to run a 4:04 final mile in the 5k just to get fourth - insane! If he had pushed the pace early, all those "kickers" would have had nothing left and he'd have beat them by 150 meters or at least been able to out-kick their kicks. I know a lot of that is theoretical but it's also a fact, the slower the pace, the faster you have to be to take down others at the end.

ILet's say there is a mile left in the race, and you can run a 4:20, but if someone else can run 4:10, chances are they are going to beat you in a slower race. BUT if you push the pace a two or three miles out, you string them out much farther than 10 seconds away over time, they don't have enough raw speed to run you down at the end even with the freshest of legs. I really thought Ryan was going to kick it into gear in those last few miles and he did, but the leader simply had gained too much on him, even Rono had gone out just far enough where Ryans near 4 minute max speed couldn't touch him.

So know your competition and play to their weaknesses. Goucher should have strung those girls out if she had a lot left, and if not, she should have sat on their backs and kicked at the end (just as Kosgei did to Tune) Hindsight is always 20/20 and I'm by no means saying Kara or Ryan ran bad races, they did excellent and ran amazingly well. I just thought I'd share my humble observations and thoughts.

Congrats to everyone who ran Boston, I can't imagine what's it's like to take part in it, but I have a feeling one day I might just make my way over to Boston to find out for myself.

3:22pm. home. Cloudy 61º 62%H 16mph from WSW (cool n windy)

1:13:25, bf 1310

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

I wish I could have watched! I had to work yesterday and online was only streaming it in New England:( I listened to Bostons news radio so I could hear updates and then I watched clips online later. What a great race for everyone!
Good job on your run. I've had a cat follow me...I'm a slow enough runner that he could keep up!