We’re All in This Together

Most of us envery day runners look at elite runners with awe.  I do.  A top marathoner can run 26.2 miles in splits that  I cannot run for 1 mile.  Sigh…I guess that’s what happens when you start to run in your forties.  But I still love watching the big races.  Paris, Chicago, Boston, etc.  Most of them aren’t televised (damn you Universal Sports and your feud with Comcast) but I do get to see a few.  I love getting up early and watching the elites battle each other with a cup of coffee in hand.   I usually know some mortal runner like myself who’s doing the same race. But the mortal runners are never seen on TV.

For some reason I seem to enjoy watching the women’s races more.  Maybe they are more competitive, maybe I’m more familiar with the women elites.    But the coolest thing about the sport is that we all run the same course on the same day in the same conditions, albeit slower.   My first marathon was the 2008 Twin Cities.   As I was heading to the start line, I saw the elites warming up for the Elite TC10 Miler that takes place right before us.   I saw Kara Goucher, not knowing who she was at the time, and being a guy and uninformed I just thought wow she’s attractive.  Turns out she won that race in 53:16.  The following spring I ran the slushy and snowy 2009 Shamrock Shuffle.  That race was won by Deena Kastor in 27:15.   I ran the Chicago Marathon and was in the Brooks expo booth right next to Desi Davila ,who is now Desi Linden, because Brooks is her sponsor.  I lost to her too in case your wondering.  So when I watched the New York marathon last week I was secretly rooting for all three of them.

The wind pretty much decimated the fast times.  Desi was top American in Brooks T7 racers. (Sorry, I had to throw in the Brooks plug being one of their Fanatics).  Deena attempting to get the master record fell short.   Kara admitted she was in 2:28 shape but would not win.  The wind had other plans for her.  But we all have bad days.   Even the elites find it hard to explain why their race falls apart despite being fit.  Oh and my friend Ed who ran the same race didn’t exactly shine either.

I encourage you to read Kara Goucher’s race report.  It reads like the hundreds of Runners World forum race reports by friends and others.   Honest, frustration, doubt.  We all have it no matter how fast or slow you are.  


Big Day Tomorrow

Race day tomorrow.  The weather won’t be ideal for a perfect run.  Low 60’s at the start but the good news is that humidity will be low.   Still debating my pace.   I think I’ll go out at a 3:27:00 pace and we’ll see how I react to the weather.   3:25 is still the goal but I don’t want to crash and burn and miss a chance at sub 3:30.

I went to the race expo to get my number and freebies. A massive race like Chicago always has some interesting booths.

Massive foosball table at the Volkswagen booth
Brooks booth complete with live harp music

  I got my stride analyzed at the Brooks booth.   Turns out over the years I’ve become much more efficient.  I am a neutral runner now.  So do I try the Ghost 4 or the Pure Project Pure Flow next?

Official race shirt    
RW Forum friends Hoosier Ted and Runner X

Since tomorrow will be such a nice day the crowds should be insane.   As of right now, I expect to see family and friends at Miles 4, 5.75, 10, 11, 18 and 21.   Will it be a BQ?  To quote Steve Prefontaine, “A lot of people run to see who’s the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts”

Chicago Marathon Expo

Checked out the Chicago Marathon Expo tonight.   Enjoy since you couldn’t be there

Brooks Booth  – The Greatest running company on planet Earth

Ryan Hall.  It’s a shame he isn’t running this race after his Boston showing.  He looks like he’s 15 years old in person

Chicago Greektown. The halfway point of the marathon.  I hope to be running through here at about 1:44