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:
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:
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!