Friday, November 02, 2007

Marathon madness

Like many marathon fans (those who aren't racing themselves, that is), I will be tuning in tomorrow and Sunday for the men's Olympic marathon trials and the New York City Marathon. The build-up has reached a fever pitch lately--it seems like every other news story on running concerns either the trials or the NYC Marathon. Videos, interviews, articles...I have been in heaven lately, reading about all these details.

I am most excited about the trials, because of its meaning for the participants and for American distance running in general. And also, of course, because no one knows what will happen. They've been saying for weeks now that this is the best field of American men ever assembled. Take talent, hard work, passion, the glory of making an Olympic team, the crushing pressure of what must seem like an onslaught of media attention, and throw it all together on a tough, rolling course in front of thousands of spectators, and you've got a recipe for, if nothing else, a memorable race.

I think Ryan, Meb, and Abdi have the best chance of making the team, but the beauty of this race is that all three of them could very conceivably finish out of the top three; there are other guys out there who could step up. Most of all, I think, I would like to see Brian Sell do well. His story and background struck a chord with me, and I just think he deserves it for all the hard work (160-mile weeks!) that he has put in. But really, I like all the guys that I've seen profiled and interviewed. To a man, they all seem so humble and down-to-earth, yet focused and passionate. I'm not at all religious, but I just love what Ryan Hall said about his running: "I'm taking God's gift and expressing it back to him." They all respect their sport and each other. In reality, I think I will be both disappointed and thrilled, no matter what the outcome.

And of course, the next day is the New York City Marathon, and I can't wait to see how Paula Radcliffe does. I hear both races will be streamed live here (although for Sunday's webcast they will charge $4.99). Boo.

I've had a good running week so far. It's a cutback week, so it's been very easy. In fact, it feels like I haven't been doing any running at all, but I think I will end up a mile or two over my target. I decided to forgo a tempo run on Wednesday in favor of an easy run. In the next two weeks, I will hit my average for the year so far of about 30, so I am getting back up there. I think now I am fully recovered from the marathon. I am really eager to see how things go in the 10K, 5-miler, and 8K that I have scheduled for the next month. Reading about all these fast guys has me wanting to run faster myself! :)
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