The 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials

This morning…I went for a run.

Nothing hard.  Nothing fast.  Nothing long.  Just…a simple run.  I had one goal in mind…and that was to be back home before the coverage of the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials kicked off in Houston, Texas.  I got home just in time after doing an easy 2.25 miles.

NBC’s coverage was going to be delayed, so I turned on the computer as I made breakfast and settled in to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory while the live feed began of the beginning of the men’s race…and then fifteen minutes later…the women’s race.  Before I knew it, my DVD player was shut off and both myself and my roommate (who is so not a runner) were on the edge or our seats watching the Runner’s World live blog feed cover the race.  We couldn’t see it as it happened…but it was riveting.  We were on the edge of our seats cheering for the men and women runners who were fighting for their spots on Team USA for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

You would think not being able to see the race would be dull.  On the contrary, it was hard to leave the couch for any task.  Every update was our link to that race, and I could see it happening in my head.  A few guests posted pictures from the race as they watched it happen in Houston.  Even without a live image to watch, I couldn’t step away.  I didn’t want to.

And at 2:09:08, Meb Keflezighi broke through the tape and finished first in the men’s race.  Followed close behind, and earning the other two spots for the 2012 Men’s Olympic Marathon team were Ryan Hall, who was the favorite going into this, and came in just behind Meb at 2:09:30, and Abdi Abdirahman, also finishing sup-2:10:00 with an official time of 2:09:47.  Coming in fourth was one runner both my roommate and I were pulling for: Dathan Ritzenhein, who still finished with a respectable 2:09:55, just barely missing the chance to be on the Olympic team.  What an amazing race.  The men started off fast and maintained that fast pace throughout.  There was very little changeover when it came to leaders, although Meb did play it safe in the beginning, starting at the back of the elite pack out front and then working his way forward as the race progressed.  Hall was out in front pretty much the entire way, but his fast pace out of the starting gate might have been the precursor to his, still respectable, but second place finish.  Abdi was more of a long-shot in the elite runners, but he had such a great day in Houston.

Our 2012 Team USA Marathon Men are:

Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, and Abdi Abdirahman
Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, and Abdi Abdirahman

Now the women were a different story all together.

Where the man set out and breakneck speed from the start, the women were a little more reserved at the start of their race.  This didn’t make the competition any less exciting, however.  There were some surprises as the updates were being posted.  My roommate and I had chosen our favorites to cheer for…and those three would eventually come in and take the three spots on the Olympic team.  But they did have to battle it out over the 26.2 course in Houston.

In the end, though, breaking through the tape at the end at 2:25:38 was Shalane Flanagan, who I was amazing in this race.  She would take the lead, only to be pushed back, but in the final two miles, she pulled out ahead, got a tremendous lead, and maintained it.  Only seventeen seconds behind her, however, was the Little Engine That Could – Desiree Davila, finishing in 2:25:55.  For her tiny stature, Davila powers through her marathons.  She’s ambitious and a fighter and definitely one to watch.  And, quite happily, my roommate and I cheered for the third place contender, Kara Goucher, back from maternity leave.  I had just read her book “Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons,” so I was quite familiar with her as a runner.  Her qualifying time was 2:26:06.  Finishing fourth was Amy Hastings, who had been in the lead for awhile, and would jackrabbit up to the front and fall behind.  But she fell way behind and the three women my roommate and I had chosen to cheer for came in to earn their rightful spots.  It was an intense and exciting race.

Our 2012 Team USA Marathon Women are:

Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher
Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, and Kara Goucher

I’m so excited about watching these runners take on the world on the Olympic stage in London this summer.  I know I’ll be tuning in to watch.  Team USA has six very strong, very talented, very determined runners heading to London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.  And I’ve never been more excited to see these men and women run their hearts out for the chance of winning a medal for our country.  GO USA!!

And huge congratulations to Meb, Ryan, Abdi, Desi, Shalane, and Kara!

You inspire me with your speed and your talent.

In fact, I’m inspired to go for another run tomorrow.  A longer run.  I’m no marathoner, but I have the heart of one!


 

Enjoying a run (with a lowercase “R”)

Awhile back, Runner’s World contributor, Mark Remy, posted a blog called “The Beauty of the ‘Lowercase R’ Run”, where he waxes rhapsodic about the difference between a Run and a run…and how important taking time to go for a run (lowercase ‘r’) is.

I got back to that today, as I opted to go for a run on my lunch break.  Normally, even on days where I sporadically decide to go for a run, I log a Run.  You know…I run as hard as I can as fast as I can and I don’t stop until I’ve accomplished some goal that I set out to achieve.  It had been ages since I just logged a simple, easy run.  I get caught up in training for upcoming races that sometimes I forget the glory of the lowercase ‘r’ run.

So, what is the difference?

Let me quote Mark Remy’s fantastic article:

For nearly all of my running life, I’ve been logging Runs — uppercase-R Runs. Uppercase-R Runs are Very Important Runs. They’re things like Long Runs. Or Tempo Runs. Speedwork. Even just a few easy miles can be an uppercase-R Run, because when you’re Training (uppercase “T”), that’s a Recovery Run.

And those lowercase ‘r’ runs?  Well, he describes those as the runs that you don’t pay attention to pace, to time, to how long you’re out there.  You find yourself simply running (or jogging) and soaking in everything else.  You don’t find yourself gasping for breath at the end of it.  But you come away with this feeling of refreshment.  That you accomplished something.  And that it felt good.  No pressure.  No high standards.  Just you…your shoes…the road (or treadmill).

These runs are SO important.  And I had forgotten about how important they are.

Did I run fast?  Nope.  An easy pace of about 6.4 mph on the treadmill over at the gym.  I ran for 20 minutes.  I logged 2.1 miles.  And I didn’t find myself glancing at the clock to see how much longer I had.  I just took the run for what it was…a simple, easy run.

I’m coming off a run streak.  The days I don’t run I feel weird.  These easy, filler runs, might just be what the doctor ordered.  From running every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day to dropping back to the normal routine hasn’t been an easy transition for me.  I found the running streak has, indeed, helped me with my running.  I run faster.  I run better.  But in order to keep it going, I think these lowercase ‘r’ runs need to find their way back into my dailies.  Even if it is just for 20 minutes while on lunch break.

While you should always strive to Run…always find time, during the week, or at least once a month, for a run.

Trust me…it’s a feeling I can’t even put into words…but it reminds me just why I love running and Running so much.


A frustratingly slow start…

Three days into 2012 and already I’ve found myself in tears over running.  Not because I can’t do it.  I just haven’t.  And the Virgo, perfectionist, running junkie inside of me is screaming for a run.

Screaming.

After a very long ride home yesterday in some pretty nasty weather, the plan was to go to the gym and at least get in a run on the treadmill.  But, lack of sleep and fatigue from the car trip made that the last thing I wanted to do.

And then…after bypassing the opportunity for my first run of the season, instead…I fussed and obsessed over the fact that I have not logged any mileage yet in the New Year.  It truly bothered me.  And I knew…I knew I should have gotten on that treadmill yesterday.  I should have at least gotten in a short run if nothing else.  In the grand scheme of things, no matter what is going on in my life…I always, always feel better after a run.  If I’m tired, I wake up.  If I’m angry, I lighten up.  If I need to think, I get a lot off my mind.  And so on.

I had a lot pulling at me yesterday and even my roommate told me to go do my run.  That I would feel better.  But I’m a stubborn person and I refused.  And so…here I sit on the third day of the year with goal of 500 miles…and nothing to show for it yet.

Frustrating?  You bet!

So, it’s time for an attitude adjustment.  I have a goal.  And to reach that goal, certain things need to happen.  And I can make all the excuses I want, but I also need to be accountable to my goal.  So…taking a deep breath and starting fresh.

500 miles.  It’s definitely obtainable.  And I will not beat myself up should it feel like I’m not getting there.  I know I can do it.  And I know I will do it.  I’m just impatient.  And I’m really bad about beating myself up if I feel I’m doing nothing toward the goal.

That being said…I start today.

2012…let’s hit the ground running…together!

And I will run 500 miles…

This wasn’t the first post I intended to do in this blog…but it’s how it worked out in the end.  It’s the close of an exciting year.

I took up running early in the year, got sidetracked by illness, got back into it, ran my first 5K…followed by many more, ran my first 5 miler, got injured, ran my first half marathon, ran my personal PR, and have just kept on going, even after saying my season was over on Thanksgiving.  There were more races to run, so I entered them.  Thinking, as I am a cold weather wimp, that I would not like running in the cold.  I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite thing to do, but I love going out to races and participating.

I’m not fast enough to win.  You’ll normally find me in the middle of the pack in races.  I’ve won my age group twice this year in small races.  The fact is…I LOVE TO RUN!

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

This morning, on the eve of the eve of the New Year, I pulled out my Training Log and began to tally up the miles from when I first started keeping track (April 4, 2011 – for those wondering) to today (December 30, 2011), I have run a total of 327.12 miles.

That’s a lot of mileage.

A few days ago, my roommate told me to set a goal for 366 miles (one mile per day…because it is a leap year), for 2012.  I was satisfied with this.  But then a fellow running friend of mine threw it down…to aim for 500 miles in 2012.

So here it is…my pledge to log 500 miles over the course of 2012.

And this blog will hopefully be my place to discuss why I run, where I run, how I do, and just…in general…keep track of the mileage I put down this year.

500 miles.

Best get started…