A fantastic rant by my woman (the best of my personality has really rubbed off on her nicely) reminded me that I haven’t posted
an update anything at all here since the last day of the Olympics. That’s almost five full weeks of training and other shenanigans! I will attempt to recap here as quickly as possible.
not into incapable of the whole brevity thing, man, so you now have the option to hit the jump to see where the hell Schiff has been for the last month.
I told the guys at the bachelor party that I probably wouldn’t quite watch the whole race, but Meb got out to a strong start and Steph and I settled in, hoping for the incredible.
Then the Kenyans made moves, the Americans started dropping like flies, Meb fell back behind the chase pack into 19th, and Schiff groaned.
For some reason we continued watching. Maybe because neither of us believed that Kipsang could hold the pace that helped him get out to such a big lead. Maybe because NBC showed a whole piece on Meb’s back story, and even though we both know that story quite well, we love Meb so we had to watch. Maybe we’re just huge running nerds.
Whatever the reason, we watched on. We marveled at the Kenyans’ teamwork and the crafty tactics of the eventual winner, Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich, as he sneaked in behind the Kenyans, seamlessly moved past them around a corner, and never looked back. We discussed the cultural nuances of Kiprotich’s finish line celebration as he laid his nation’s flag on the ground and knelt upon it while thanking the heavens.
And then we nearly fell off the couch when, two minutes after the podium was finalized, there was our man Meb, charging home past a Japanese and then a Brazilian athlete, grabbing an American flag and fumbling to situate it over his head properly, pounding the Olympic pavement one last time, finishing in fourth place in 2:11:06, somehow 23 seconds faster than his Olympic silver performance from Athens eight years ago.
I have spent a small amount of time with Meb and gotten to know his brother, Hawi, a tiny bit, but every time I watch him race or hear him speak, my respect for him and his accomplishments grows. His post-race interview was perfect. His pre-race premonition, shared with his wife, that he would end up in fourth was spot-on. His celebratory nod to the heavens, I like to think, included a nod toward our mutual late friend.
The only thing out of the ordinary was his reaction to a slight that happened before the race even started. Meb’s name was not among the 10 favorites announced at the starting line, and he was hurt by it. Hell, I was hurt by it, and I didn’t even know that it happened until the day after the race.
“To accomplish what I have accomplished, to be a silver medalist, to be a New York City Marathon winner, and not be introduced to the crowd made me very sad,” Keflezighi said, his voice cracking as he choked back tears. “This is the USA and we’re in an English-speaking country. To accomplish what I have accomplished…of the 109 runners here, none of them had a gold medal, a silver medal or a bronze medal. I have that. To not get introduced, shame on the IAAF on that.”
It’s so un-Meb in character, yet it’s perfect in context. The guy who has always let his actions speak for themselves finally spoke up himself. The guy who never runs angry — despite being written off time and time again — got the last laugh on his doubters and showed the world once again what his motto of “Run to Win” is all about.
Meb Keflezighi motivated by pre-race slight [NBC] - Contains post-race interview
Only one run from last week that I haven’t covered: A Friday late morning long run (9 miles) the day after a solid interval session in advance of a weekend of bachelor party shenanigans, also known as significant bodily damage.
This was the classic bad long run. Sweltering humidity. Poor pacing. Poor route planning. Poor fueling.
The killer was speeding up to marathon pace for miles 2 and 3 after an ideal first mile. A clunky turnaround at mile 4 (at least a half mile before I wanted to reverse course) made for my slowest mile. Brought it back in check for mile 5 (just a tiny bit fast), then slowed to a pedestrian (albeit consistent) pace for the next 3. Goal for the last mile was marathon pace. Goal was not achieved, although considering how crappy I felt, it’s good that I at least came close.
Despite all the ups and downs, average pace worked out to a 9:17 (average moving pace 9:06) — right in my target range for this run.
When you look at it that way, it wasn’t too bad. It was just… not good.
I got all kinds of fired up last night because sometimes working and living and running and training is just too much for your schedule and legs and fragile little mind to take.
Then I went out and ran three miles and was pretty much fine.
Then this morning I tried really hard to get up early and FINALLY knock out this tough interval workout that has been staring at me all week, sort of failed to do so as early as I wanted but got up and went anyway, and did me some RUNNIN’.
1 mile warm-up run - 9:44
8x400m - 1:52, 1:55, 1:50, 1:43, 1:47, 1:44, 1:47, 1:37
Rest - 1:20-1:30 between each quarter
1 mile marathon pace - 8:20
1.14 mile walk/jog/cool-down thing - 11:I dont even know it doesn’t matter
I was supposed to tick off one second per quarter starting at 1:52, so obviously my pacing wasn’t the greatest there, but I was still right in the 1:44-1:52 range and blew out the last one faster because when I ran track in high school, going faster on your last quarter usually meant fewer push-ups and I have carried this mentality with me until now despite the fact that I don’t have to do any damn push-ups if I don’t damn want to.
The best part about this workout was the “marathon mile” right after the intervals were done. Even though I knew I was on pace, I still felt like I was dragging ass, so it was very cool to see that I finished up that mile even faster than my marathon goal pace. I know all too well the importance of being able to run on tired legs.
By the way, the second-best part was clearly the lack of shade on the track that gave me some solid shirtless running time to work on my tan (aka even out my uneven singlet tan lines, aka try to start a tan).
Actually screw that, now I remember the best part.
Galen Rupp. First American to medal in the 10,000 since 1964. Third American to medal in the event since EVER.
Little Leo Manzano. First American man to medal in the 1500 since the great Jim Ryun in 1968.
This is the legacy of Prefontaine — the long-awaited future of American distance running. These are the heroes I longed for as a high school track athlete 10 years ago.
As Americans, we’re spoiled. We take it for granted that “USA” will always top the medal count and somehow anything less than gold is a disappointment.
Yet while it certainly feels good to dominate, there’s something more satisfying about chasing down the supposedly impossible. Today, I’m inspired by silver, and I hope that the rest of the USA distance crew continues to be. Not just as these games draw to a close (marathoners and Galen again in the 5000, I’m looking at you), but as they continue to remind the world that the future of American distance running is right here, right now.
Once again, a week went by without you knowing every last detail of how my training went. Here’s the rest.
I wish I had more to say about this one, but some runs are just easy four-milers that you have to do to stick with the plan because Commandment #8.
Last week’s long run was an exercise in trusting the program while everyone training for the same race around you is running farther. This week’s long run was a Long Run. Seriously, it had all of the hallmarks:
Long Run. Good to be back.
And that’s Week 3! Week 4 gets underway tonight.
Not to be confused with “Finally farted,” which is what I sighed with delight when I knew that I’d finally be released from the hospital three days after my emergency appendectomy.*
This run was supposed to be on Tuesday, but it got too late.
Couldn’t do it Wednesday because Mumford and Sons.
Finally made it happen on Thursday night and it was equal parts tough and satisfying to complete the first quality workout of 2012 ING NYC Marathon Training as such:
11:00 minutes easy - 9:16 avg pace
5:00 minutes hard - 8:06 avg pace
5:00 minutes easy - 8:34 avg pace
5x2:00 minutes 10K pace with 2:00 easy after the first 4 - 6:42/9:11; 6:59/8:50; 7:26/8:51; 7:12/9:11; 7:05 avg paces
5:00 minutes easy - 9:41 avg pace
5:00 minutes hard - 8:10 avg pace
11:00 minutes easy - 9:50 avg pace
My pace recognition, as usual, could use some work, but overall I stuck to the script and finished up at an hour, which is exactly how long this was supposed to take. I didn’t even realize I had gone seven miles until I uploaded my workout this morning. Excited for a strong finish to the third week of this tough initial build-up and a relaxing Sunday of Olympic Marathon watching.
Week 3, Workout 3
6.96 miles | 1:00:50 | 8:45/mile
*Can we talk about this for a second? Modern medicine, with all of its incredible advancements, tools, and practitioners delivering miracles every day, can’t come up with a better qualification for hospital dismissal than, “Ya fart yet?”