Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boston Follow-up

Okay, so I'm probably the most excited blogger in the world about the Boston Marathon, that is not actually running the Boston Marathon. I am just fine with that. Honestly, whether anybody followed along or not, I had a ridiculously good time yesterday morning. I realize that probably makes me a bit insane.

I do want to process some of what we saw yesterday...
  • Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest 26.2 miles ever. In the history of mankind, we have no record of any human ever running that far, that fast....ever.
  • Geoffrey Mutai does not own a world record for this feat.
  • USA Track and Field regulations state that if a course has a net downhill of approximately 137 feet or more that it is ineligible for a World Record. Boston has a net downhill of over 400 feet, yet is not known for producing fast marathon results. In fact, Running Times has an article in the April issue that rates the top 15 marathons for speed...Boston was not listed. Berlin was #1.
  • Despite coming in 4th, Ryan Hall clocked the "unofficial" American record for the fastest marathon ran by an American athlete. In fact, look at what he wrote on his shoe prior to yesterday's race...
2:04 for the poor..he ran a 2:04:58
  • Hall ran a good enough race that would have won almost any other marathon in the world. Looks like the skeptics who questioned his motives on leaving the Mammoth Track Club were wrong.
  • If you like stats, check out Ryan Hall's data from his Garmin. His pace is a flat line. I wish my pace was that consistent.
  • Desiree Davila's heroic performance, finishing a mere two seconds behind for 2nd place. Desi cut FOUR MINUTES off of her previous personal best.
  • How awesome are the 2012 Olympic trials going to be? Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher, Desiree Davila and Shalane Flanagan...and Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp for the guys. I'm thoroughly looking forward to it.
  • Lots of folks were wondering what happened to Kim Smith, who led the women's race for 18 miles. She posted an update tonight that an MRI has shown a torn Soleus muscle.

As for me? I'm chugging along without any pain.. Two weeks ago I made it back to a little over 20 miles in a week. Last week I "rested" a bit and pulled back to 18 miles. For the next 4 weeks I will do 20+ before another pull back week. We did register for a local race coming up on April 28th, which was a bit un-planned. It is called the Leftovers Prediction Run, and our running club gives out Leftover T-Shirts and prizes from all the previous year's events, plus the course is a mysterious mix of road and trail 5K. You predict your finish time when you sign up. Closest to their predicted time wins. (no watches allowed). Looks like a good time.

I want to thank so many of you who have supplied comments, or emails or phone calls on the blog. So far its been a great experience, and I've had a blast doing it. Any time if there are questions or concerns you have about running, please let me know and I'll answer them to the best of my ability (I work Google like a champ) or just make stuff up...either way.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Boston Marathon LIVE Blog (refresh for updates)

12:12 Well that's gonna do it for the live blog today folks. I hope you enjoyed it. Gotta eat some lunch, then get to work...only a half day off today. Pretty good Patriot's Day so far.

12:09 Joan Benoit Samuelson currently on a 2:48 pace through 20K. With the hills to come, she probably won't be able to hit the 2:46 today.

12:06 Had you told Ryan Hall that he would break 2:05, he would have surely thought he would win in Boston. Just an incredible pace.

12:05 Ryan Hall finishes in 4th. and break a 2:05.

12:04 Mutai will win the men's race with a course record of 2:03:02. Kids, prediction...I'll see a sub 2 hour marathon in my lifetime. Count on it.

12:03 2nd and 5th not a bad day for USA at Boston.

12:02 Kara Goucher finishes in 5th with 2:24:52

12:01 Men have 1 mile to go.

12:00 Men are going to break the course record for the 2nd consecutive year.

11:58 Last check Kara Goucher was in 6th.

11:57  What a heartbreak for Desi. Kilel looks like she's about to die. Amazing race.

11:56 Desi runs out of gas. Kilel 1st, Desi 2nd.

11:55 Kilel takes the lead...go Desi! On Boyleston!

11:54 Desi catches them..pulls ahead. This is incredible.

11:53 Kenyans pull ahead. Desi holding on.

11:52 Can you even imagine the practice that has gone into this for these guys? Those days of suffering, hill work, speed work...all for this right now. This last push. This is what its all about. This is what we run for.

11:50 Ryan Hall in 6th place in the men's race. Desi about a quarter mile from the legendary Citgo sign.

11:49 Closing in on Fenway Park...its gonna get loud for Desi folks.

11:48 Desi looks amazing. The Kenyans look more tired right now.

11:46 Looks like we might see a men's course record. Ryan Hall about a minute back.

11:46 Desi back to the lead less than 10 minutes remaining.

11:45 Twitter is actually faster than Universal Sports. Its like I can see into the future. Twitter tells me Desi regains the lead.

11:44 Dangit Kilel makes a move, and Desi drops back.

11:41 Mutai is alone in the men's race. (sigh)

11:41 Less than 3 miles to go. Desi will finish on the podium

11:40 Coverage of the men's race has gone away...focusing on the women's right now. Not sure what's going on there, but at last shot Ryan Hall was lagging.

11:37 Not Goucher's day...hopefully Desi's day. U-S-A...U-S-A..!!

11:36 Entering Boston now...3 woman race. Desi pushing the pace trying to break the Kenyans. FINISH THEM DESI!

11:35 Desi still in the lead...this is amazing. She has covered every move the Kenyans have thrown down so far.

11:33 If Ryan Hall wins today, he'll make the critics looks silly by questioning his coaching move.

11:32  Very good chance Desi gets on the podium. Looks like they are about to drop one of the ladies to make it a 3 person race.

11:31 Women's race is 4 ladies. They are at Heartbreak Hill.

11:30 Women through 20 miles. This last 10K is where the race is won or lost.

11:27 If this is your first Boston, it has probably been 30+ years since the USA have won here. We've got a HUGE chance. Two Americans LEADING this thing right now. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

11:26 Davila has caught the women's lead pack. GO USA!

11:25 Hall had caught the lead pack...now for the lead...go ryan!

11:25 Men who started 30 minutes behind the elite women, now catching some of the slower elite women.  Ryan Hall covering the move from the lead pack.. woohoo

11:22 Davila and Goucher 8th and 9th through 30k.

11:21 Interesting Cheruiyot not in the lead pack. Will be interesting to see if there is a move from the chase pack. Doubtful.

11:20 Ryan Hall has been dropped from the men's lead pack.

11:19 Davila now in 6th place with the lead pack in sight.

11:17 Women's field is now surging..breakaway of 6 women. Kilel from Kenya leading.

11:15 Pack has caught Smith.  Desiree Davila is coming up on this lead pack.

11:15 Hall does not cover the move. Still back in the pack.

11:14 Ryan Hall has been passed and the East Africans...big surge.

11:13 The chase group will catch her, and it will be Kara vs. the East Africans.

11:12 Kim Smith stops...she's hurting.

11:11 Smith is grinding...she looks like me running right now.

11:10 A local football coach here in SC likes to say, there is no more meaningless stat than the score at halftime. Can Hall keep this pace through the 2nd half? Get ready, somebody's going to push and try to break this pack up.

11:08 Kara hanging on to the back of the chase pack. Smith's lead is down to 36 seconds.

11:07 Universal Sports just offended mothers all over the world. They are talking about her gaining 35 pounds during her pregnancy. They'd better get ready for the hate mail.

11:06 The men just went through a half of 1:01:54...a Boston course record.

11:05 Kara can close...she's shown that she could in the NYC half. I'm not worried about her yet, but this women's group is going to collapse when they decide to go catch Smith. They are in the picture now on the coverage. They will catch her on the hills.

11:03 Kara Goucher is not in the top 10 in the women's group according to the stats on baa.org :(

11:00 Hall loves Wellesley...back to the lead. Giving high fives. Total rock concert vibe. I WANT TO RUN THERE ONE DAY.

10:59 Defending Champ Cheruiyot has taken the lead in the men's race. Through 12 miles the men's pace is 4:42.

10:58 Kim Smith-15 miles in 1:21:21 5:25 pace. I don't think I can ride my bike that fast...downhill.

10:57 Men's group down to 11 men. As they continue to push the pace, they will continue to break and drop more and more. Watch for the men to enter Wellesley College. Girls screaming like a rock concert.

10:55 Let me take a break here and editorialize a bit. I believe that the marathon race is perhaps the most brutal activity in all of sports. You are physically trying to break your opponents. That's all you're trying to do...balancing going faster than your opponent with how fast you can manage yourself. I think it must be de-motivational for the women's chase group.

10:51 Men through 15k (9.3 miles)

10:50 If this race was on broadcast TV, network execs wouldn't ever want to have women's marathoning on anymore. Hardly showing anybody other than Kim Smith. The chase pack is over a minute behind.

10:49 Men's lead group is down to 12 men. Hall's crazy pace keeps dropping people off the back of the pack.

10:49 Smith with a 1:10 Half Marathon. Holy crap.

10:47 Water stop? lol...I guess I should say Aid station. Nobody's stopping.

10:46 Men's chase group surge to reel Ryan Hall back in just after the water stop.

10:45 Men running under world record pace...this is awesome.

10:43 The real test will be for Smith will be when she starts the hilly part of the course. "the Newton Hills beckon" If Al Trautwig doesn't say those words today, I'll be shocked.

10:42 Kim Smith's lead is now 56 seconds. Can she keep this up? Really?

10:41 Wave 3 is off. My people! :)

10:41 Kim Smith still in the lead, Ryan Hall blasts back to the lead again.Seems as if he's testing his fitness, and testing those around him. He's gapping the group right now again.

10:40 Soejima wins the wheelchair division. An amazing moment for Japan.

10:38 Japanese wheelchair athlete just won. Didn't get the name.

10:37 Wow, these wheelchair guys are freaking amazing. 3 man race..very close.

10:35 Kim Smith still with the lead through 11 miles. Lead..40 seconds. FORTY SECONDS.

10:34 Ryan Hall has been swallowed by the chase pack. GULP.

10:33 Apparently universalsports.com has their "B team" cameramen on the wheelchair race. Yikes this thing is making me sick.

10:29 Does it rain on the BAA 5K every year?

10:27 DOH Meb Keflezighi is not running today. Seems now I remember he wasn't invited or something. Its ok, you're getting this blog update for free. I hardly know what I'm doing.

10:25 Universal Sports not giving Ryan Hall any love. Color commentator guy doesn't think Hall can win it.

10:22 Ryan Hall leading the group on a 2:02 Marathon pace. Yamma Hamma. Kim Smith still killing the women's field through 9 miles.

10:20 Wave 2 starts in Hopkinton.

10:18 Hall back with the pace group. Defending champ pulled up to within feet of Hall.

10:16  I'm telling you I wish you could have seen Hall's other outfit, it was so much better.

10:13 Group closing up on Hall a bit right now. Ladies still at 5:22 pace with Kim Smith leading.

10:11 Kim Smith's 10K time is 33:29. Ryan Hall opening a big lead. Deja Vu from last year.

10:09 My company's offices used to be in Easton Ma. I think I've been lost on some of these roads the racers are running.

10:07 Checking in with the women...Kim Smith still leading, by a lot. I think Ryan Hall needs to hang out with the Jersey Shore folks for a while. I think he's good in the Gym and Laundry...but needs the Tan. #GTL

10:05 Awesome story for runner #25, going pace for pace with Ryan Hall. That guy is what I'm talking about. He's not an elite, yet is out there running (for a while) with the greatest in the world.

10:03 Since I'm blogging this today, it would be great if Hall was in the lead/won...a lot of these African names are hard to spell.

10:02 Ryan Hall in the lead wearing the USA. He did this last year too. Until around 13 miles. Two person breakaway right now.


10:00 Any questions from the peanut gallery? How is work today? :)

9:59 These handcycle guys are just absolutely amazing. They are machines.

9:57 Ryan Hall posted on Twitter last week a choice of two outfits he would wear. Unfortunately he is not wearing the one I chose. That's a bad sign..he won't have the coffeeontherun "mojo"

9:56 Looks like Davila through four miles has been dropped from the chase pack...still everyone chasing Kim Smith. My prediction? They'll catch her by half way.

9:54 Personal note: when I'm running and I pretend I'm running a marathon, I hear Al Trautwig's voice in my head. "And now, Coffee is alone, leading the Boston Marathon, his only competition...himself. What a gutsy competitor."

9:51 Elite men lining up. Its about to get good. If you've ever been in a race, you can almost feel the emotion that these guys have at the starting line. Butterflies can't even describe it.

9:48 10:44 for 2 miles in the ladies race. 5:22 pace. wow.

9:46 I'm not familiar with Kim Smith, who is leading right now but she keeps checking her watch and continuing to gap the rest of the field....still looks really weird running though. She almost looks hurt.

9:42 Briefly on the men's side, the two USA hopefuls are Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi. Meb most notably won the 2009 New York City Marathon. Neither Meb nor Ryan had a particularly great  Boston or New York marathon last year. Ryan Hall has recently left his coaching staff at the Mammoth Track Club to be self coached. His last race was the New York City Half Marathon, where he did not have a great racePersonally I think he needs to have a great race today.

9:39 2:22-2:23 pace right now for the ladies.

9:38 Kim Smith has a very weird gait.

9:37 Kim Smith (USA) by way of New Zealand currently opening up a large lead, taking advantage of the big downhill start.

9:32 And they are off!

9:30 Two minutes til the Elite Women's race start. Current temps are 49 degrees. However, winds appear to be very gusty according to Weather.com. 14 MPH, gusting to 29 MPH. UGH. If you've followed me on Dailymile for long you'll know just how much I despise the wind.

9:25 There are of course an entire field of other female runners..but lets be honest. I'm a relative newbie, writing a blog for newbies...plus we're arrogant Americans..so who are we kidding here? Be on the lookout for Teyba Erkesso (KEN) who won last year with a 2:26:11

9:19 Although no longer considered an "elite", my sentimental favorite today has to be Joan Benoit Samuelson. Joan is truly one of the pioneers of women's marathon running. While the men were running marathons in the Olympics as far back as 1896, marathoning for women did not become an Olympic sport until 1984. In Los Angeles, Joan Benoit Samuelson took the win in epic fashion that day, and the sport has never been the same since. She is also a two time Boston champion. She is truly an inspiration to runners everywhere. And get this, she is trying today (at age 53) to run a 2:46 marathon which will qualify her for the US Olympic Trials! Wow. Go Joan!

9:14 Next up is Desiree Davila

Courtesy baa.org
Desiree is 27, and her personal best is 2:26:20, which was 4th at last year's Chicago Marathon. She is also the 4th fastest female American ever, behind Deena Kastor, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Kara Goucher.

9:07 Let's start with my favorite two. Surprise..they are American. First up is Kara Goucher.
Courtesy baa.org
Kara is fairly new to marathon distance, but turned in an excellent 3rd place finishes at both New York in 2008 and Boston in 2009. What happened in 2010 you ask? She had a bouncing baby boy named Colt last September. Ladies you will either hate or love this next stat...Six months after giving birth, she turned in an impressive 3rd place finish at the New York City Half Marathon in March 2011. She's one to watch today.

9:00 32 minutes until the Elite Women's start. Lets chat about the Women's field next.

8:55 Schedule of race-morning activities: (The Boston Marathon isn't just about running!)

9:00 a.m. Mobility Impaired Participants Start
9:17 a.m. Push-Rim Wheelchair Division Start
9:22 a.m. Handcycle Participants Start
9:32 a.m. Elite Women's Start
10:00 a.m. Elite Men's Start & Wave One
10:20 a.m Wave Two
10:40 a.m. Wave Three

This is the first year that there have been three waves. Historically, the Elite Women start on their own, then the Elite Men start with the remainder of the field.

8:50 Last year, we saw the Men's course record at Boston fall. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN) ran a blistering 2:05:52 to take the championship last year...at the ripe old age of 21. This stills stands as his personal best. The current women's record time has stood since 2002 (2:20:43). Will it fall today?

8:43 So why a Monday Marathon? The story behind the marathon is that Pheidippides ran from the battle front at Marathon approximately 25 miles inland to Athens to announce the Greek's victory. There was so much national pride about this feat at the first marathon held in 1896 at the Olympic Games in Athens that the Boston organizers decided that it would be a great idea to hold the race on Patriot's Day, which is the day that we celebrate the first battles of the American Revolutionary War...and celebrate our very own "Pheidippides" named Paul Revere. So unlike most marathons, the Boston Marathon is held on Patriot's Day each year. Happy Patriot's Day.

8:30 Good morning race fans! Can you feel the excitement in the air? Just imagine being able to play in the Super Bowl against Tom Brady or Peyton Manning...or having the opportunity to play in the World Series against the Red Sox or Yankees (or Braves for my Southern friends)...or have the opportunity to play at the Masters. Well friends that is exactly what the Boston Marathon is. If you can qualify for the field, you can run against the very best of the best in the world, and have a "chance" no chance in heck...of winning the longest, most storied event in endurance racing history. Same course..same footsteps as the best in the game. Just awesome.

I'll be updating regularly this morning. Hit F5 to refresh, or hit the refresh button on your browser for updates. The race begins at 9:32, so my pre-game show will be on until then, giving you the tips of things to watch for. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to ping questions, and I'll answer as possible.