Once again the LA Marathon will host a sizable contingent of Legacy Runners. This amazing group–about 240 strong–has run every single LA Marathon. 24 straight. And 2010 will mark a quarter century of not missing a single edition of the race. Unbelievable. They’ve kicked off their training, and “Legacy” Lou Briones recently sent me this photo of a group of them about to head out for a run at the Rose Bowl. Bravo!
How could you not be moved by this morning’s incredible New York Marathon? Both the men’s and women’s races came down to the last two miles, and Meb Keflizighi’s win makes him the first American to win the race since Alberto Salazar in 1982. Furthermore, there were 6 Americans in the top 10, which bodes well for the future of running in this country. Congratulations to Meb and all the finishers in the New York Marathon, including our own Russ Pillar and Stacy Embretson.
Finally back home after a spectacular trip to Chicago. Russ and I went together, worked the Expo booth and then ran today. We woke up to 30 degree temperatures, and there must have been 500 runners huddled in the Hilton lobby waiting until the last moment to make the freezing dash out to the starting line. I was in the D corral, which allowed me to get right up to speed in the first mile. You have to see what 40,000 runners looks like to believe it. An absolutely giant group, with logistics to match. I thought the management team did a good job with the start/finish area, water stations and post race food, given the size of the field. The course covers 29 neighborhoods throughout the city and never once goes higher than 24 feet above sea level. Talk about a place to run your PR.
Russ, not having run a marathon in 25 years, ran a very solid 4:57. His day included bolting from the 5 hour pace group and passing 1,000 runners in the last 2 miles. Way to finish strong! I ran a steady 3:51:09, helped along by the 3:50 pace group. My goal was to run consistent 8:45-8:50 miles, and I was able to do that. The first 13 miles were no problem, then the running becomes more labor intensive up to 20 miles. The last 6 miles took a lot of effort. If I didn’t have the pace group to follow I surely would have lost at least 5 minutes in the last section of the race. The group was like a carrot dangling out there urging me to keep up. At 24 miles the course finally widens out, and Dean Karnazes passed me on the left. So I had a quick chat with him, then let him go. He was running the first of 2 loops of the course for 52 miles total on the day. What a guy. By the time I finished I was completely spent, and I was happy to know that I’d “left it all on the course.” It was still in the low 40s, so the mylar heat sheet was welcome protection from the elements.
There are an incredible number of spectators on the route, holding all manner of signs out and screaming encouragement at the runners. Amazing fan support. My favorite sign read, “Trample the wounded. Hurdle the dead.” Fortunately, I didn’t have to do either!
Tomorrow morning at the office we’ll have a debrief session and discuss our learnings with the staff. Stacy ran the Long Beach Marathon today, and she’ll give us her report as well. All in all, a great weekend, and it’s good to know that training actually works.
Four months of training, and now it’s time for the rubber to hit the road. As you can see, I have everything laid out for the early morning wake up call. The reason my numbers aren’t pinned on my shirt is because I’m still waffling on my choice of layers. The forecast is calling for 33 degrees and clear at start time, with temps rising to about 40 at noon. Chilly! Do I go with a ski hat or a baseball hat? Wear the old sweatshirt I brought and discard it at mile 2? How strong will the wind be? Do I throw a garbage bag on? This will all come down to a game-time decision.
I’ve signed up for the 3:55 pace group to ensure that I don’t go out too fast, which I’ve been guilty of in the past. Besides, if I’m not constantly checking my watch, I can enjoy the scenery and the experience.
If any of you are running the Long Beach Marathon tomorrow, look for our own Stacy Embretson. She was in the Expo at the LA Marathon booth and will be running the event as well.
Russ and I had another enjoyable day in the Chicago Expo meeting participants from all over the world, but it was exhausting. So I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
I’ll report back after the race.
Now and then someone will send me a Youtube clip that is just too good to pass up. My longtime friend Tim Stapleton in New Jersey just forwarded me this segment from the Battle of the Network Stars Running Relay in 1978. A celebrity mile relay. Priceless! How about Lou Ferrigno handing off the baton to Valerie Bertinelli? Or David Letterman on the opening leg? Or Billy Crystal going toe-to-toe with LeVar Burton on the anchor leg? And Howard Cosell is calling the race. Why can’t we do this kind of thing anymore? Would stars show up for this? So entertaining.
I had the privilege this weekend to take part in the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Not as a participant, but as a crew member for my brother, John. This race has all the qualities of a great endurance event: committed and enthusiastic participants, an infectious spirit of fun, and a hard, hard test of personal fortitude. How about 32 miles on a paddleboard from Catalina to Manhattan Beach? The winner, Tyler Anderson, finished in just over 5 hours. Amazing. But even cooler, for me, was the pre-race competitor’s “meeting,” which was in fact a low key beach barbecue with a cooler full of beer. Most of us slept on our chase boats the night before the race. When all of the competitors paddled into the beach at 5 am before the start, there was a huge bonfire burning to keep everyone warm. At the finish line, a large crowd was cheering on all the paddlers as the exited the water next to the Manhattan Beach Pier. My brother had an impressive race, and all five of us on the chase boat had one of the most enjoyable weekends we could remember.
Thousands of steps to climb, and we’ve barely started.
Shouldn’t every running trail have signage this good?
We didn’t see another runner during the entire journey.
Mostly I was hanging on for dear life trying to keep up with Steve.
Note that Steve hasn’t even broken a sweat after 1,500 feet of climbing!
Warning: I brake for banana slugs
Descending down to Stinson Beach, just before ducking off the road for one of the secret short cuts, which are entirely legal in the race.
It might look like Runner’s High, but actually I’m just thrilled that I get to ride home in the front seat of a car!
While on vacation in Marin County this summer, I had the good fortune to get a guided tour of the Dipsea Trail from my friend Steve Romjue. If you’re not familiar with this famous route, it’s the home of the Boston Marathon of trail runs, the Dipsea Race. Next year will mark the 100th running of that event, and I can tell you after running the trail, I’m going to do whatever I can to get one of the coveted 1,500 slots in the race.
The trail leaves right from the middle of Mill Valley and travels about 7.5 miles over the shoulder of Mt Tamalpais, ending at Stinson Beach. It features many, many flights of steps, crazy “insider” short cuts, treacherous descents and mind-blowing scenery. I was sweating profusely trying to keep up with my uber-fit friend Steve, but still managed to snap a few photos during our journey. Next time you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend making time for this run.