Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Track and Field Fantasy Camp, part II

It isn't enough that all the best distance runners in America are here in Dalian, so are their coaches. It's a who's who of elite coaches milling about with their athletes: Joe Vigil, Frank Gagliano, Alberto Salazar, Terrence Mahon, Steve Jones, and several others whose names I don't remember.

I was eating dinner tonight with Deena and Andrew Kastor. Deena won the bronze medal in the marathon four years ago in Athens. She didn't realize that she was in third place until they announced "And winning the bronze medal from the United States, Deena Kastor" as she came down the final straight away to the finish. One of her competitors had dropped out in front of her at mile 21 and she passed two or three other runners in the last couple miles. It was awesome! She is racing the marathon on the 17th.

At dinner tonight, Deena told the story of Steve Jones' world record in the marathon in 1985. He had dropped out of the Chicago Marathon at mile 16 the year before after a blazing fast start. The next year, again in Chicago, he passed the designated pace setters at mile two and ran the first half under 1:02 which remains the fastest first half of a marathon. Jones slowed in the second half but still ran a stunning 2:08:05 in his first complete marathon.

It reminded me of when Malcolm (my twin brother) and I were kids and getting serious about running. We had a poster in our room of three of the best runners of the day – Steve Jones, Arturo Barrios and Ed Eyestone – gliding down the road in the pouring rain. It said something motivational like "When the going gets tough, the tough keep going." It's pretty cool that years later, I have met each of them at some point: Steve Jones here in Dalian, China and at the Rock 'N Roll Marathon in San Diego a couple years ago; Arturo Barrios at the Arturo Barrios 5km/10km that used to be held in Chula Vista; and Ed Eyestone at another Rock N' Roll event. Eyestone will also be one of the announcers of the Olympic 50km in Beijing next week. If only I had that poster and got them each to sign it for me....

One more track fantasy camp story.

I went to the Dalian horse track this morning where many of the distance runners and all of the racewalkers (all three of us) have been doing our morning workouts. On the inside of a one mile dirt horse track, there is a paved road. It measures 1350 meters and Terrence Mahon has marked every 200 meters around up to 3km. After the rains yesterday, the place had a horsey smell to it. I always feel very equestrian when I'm training there, or is the word I'm looking for "pedestrian"?

After a long warmup, I was doing some fartlek or speed play repeats on the paved loop. I don't normally go faster than 4:20/km in practice, but these were pretty short intervals so I was cruising at 4:10/km pace. The pace was quick but I was finally feeling better. My legs have felt good since I arrived, but my perceived rate of exertion has been high. My breathing and heart rate are stressed. Today, I felt fast and quick.

Then Deena went blazing past me. She was running mile repeats and cruising. Then Ryan Hall went by me like I was standing still. His stride is so long and smooth, effortless. When you see someone who has mastered his or her sport, it is such a beautiful thing. It's definitely humbling to think that I'm on the same team as these guys and competing in the same Olympics. Amazing awaits!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

This amateur racewalker is really enjoying your posts a lot. Keep 'em coming, and best wishes for an awesome 50k!!!