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Mary Cain ran a 4:04.62 1500 last night in California. It would apparently be the second-fastest 1500 ever by a US collegian (behind Jenny B.) if Cain weren’t a junior in high school. And the second-fastest 1500 runner in a US high school is Jordan Hasay, all of 10 seconds slower.
Although I’ve been paying attention to what she’s been doing I’ve not written because she has moved on. A friend who was much more knowledgeable than I could ever be pointed out to me last fall that Cain already had done the high-school team thing about which I said she would be missing. This year she’s shown on the track that she is in fact well beyond the high-school racing thing. I don’t know that she’s elite quite yet. She is knocking on the door. She’s learning how to race and is showing no intimidation. She seems to be racing a lot, but I’m sure everyone is being very careful about it. It is clear, though, that she is well past high school and may have leap-frogged most college runners (she’s beating them routinely now).
It is unfathomable what she goes through. We get anxious about our little 5Ks, races about which no one else cares. For her, there was a LetsRun thread before last night’s race speculating on how fast she’d run (including “let’s get real, sub 4:06 isn’t going to happen this season”, apparently from a Romney pollster). Every couple of weeks we get a where-is-she-going-to-college? thread (and there’s a when-is-she-going-pro? thread now).
Yet she hasn’t had a sub-par race. To the contrary, she’s faster. The last disappointing race I recall from her, going by memory, was indoors in 2012 when she was racing at a high level although not doing much speedwork so it was only disappointing that she was not winning for those who thought she was in full racing-shape at the time when she was training for outdoors. In fact, since I started paying attention, I think the only truly disappointing race she’s had was in the 1500 at Nationals as a freshman, the day after her 2:03.74 800 leg, and I think that she suffered from that 800 in the 1500. That’s a virtually unblemished record under incredible scrutiny.
She just turned 17.
I almost ran into her last week. We were both doing speedwork in the same lane at the same time in opposite directions. She deferred to me, I to her. We missed. (She was just doing end-of-workout 200 pick-ups.) Yes, there’s a reason one goes counter-clockwise doing speedwork.
I thought Alberto Salazar gave a nice interview about the race and Cain’s progress.
I wore racing flats for the first time in over a year and that may have caused the twinge I mention. Excuse the heavy breathing. I was a bit winded. But here’s a video of the Mount Vernon HS track.
When I first saw this, I thought it was a mistake:
“Shakin Boreyko Consulting (SB Consulting) provides advice, review and editing of written materials needed to help board members feel comfortable in discussing NYRR’s programs with their colleagues/friends/family.”
Yet it appears in NYRR’s tax report for the years-ending March 31, 2010, 2011, and 2012. There seems to be some overlap, but at the least SB Consulting received $64,000 for these services in this period.
UPDATE: Last month I posted about NYRR’s non-response to my query as to why the corrals closed 30 minutes before the start of the NYC HM. Apparently there’s a good reason because it’s the rule for the upcoming Brooklyn Half. This is a club race.
I thought of the Loucks 5K yesterday and wondered when it was, thinking I might give it a try. Discovered that it was today. I was planning on a Tempo last night and a long run today, but I figured another race would do me good. So I ran it.
Last time I ran it, in 2010, I did an 18:14. Today it was 19:15. It’s a fairly flat course, with a downhill stretch to a final 500 meters on the White Plains HS track.
I ran hard but under control. There were some crisis moments but it helped to know that the final mile was mostly downhill. So a time not as fast as I’d like. Still I’m pleased in that I raced it and did as well as I think I could have. I got through those bad moments and everything held together.
Per my Garmin, splits were 6:09, 6:24, 5:53, 5:30 (pace) (Garmin has 3.15 miles at 6:07 pace.)
In my last report, I mentioned the Litchfield race, on June 9. It turns out that there’s a 10K at the Rockies on June 8. I did it in its first year. It starts and finishes at Rockwood Hall. I’m torn about whether to to that instead of Litchfield.
All manner of “slow” movements have evolved — food, cities, sex — and it seems strange to include a roadrace among them yet I think it’s a fine way to describe it. Most of the races up here in Westchester qualify. A number in the City do as well. Annual races put on by towns or organizations, manned chiefly by volunteers and part of the community’s fabric. In fairness, the courses may be of questionable distance, but you can use Gmap to check. Since I’m not running for a club now the sole reason to run an NYRR “event” — the Club series — is gone for me. And once the horn sounds in any race it’s me, the course, and the guys around me.
So not having raced since September, I felt I had progressed enough to jump in. Consistent long-runs, increasing amount of speedwork. I picked the Riverdale Y 5K in the Bronx. Ten minutes away.
So I entered the 5K (there’s a 10K too) put on by the Riverdale Y in the Bronx. $20 (plus $2.50 processing fee) for the race ($25 for the 10K). Including a tech t-shirt. Of course Riverdale = hills. Apart from an all-uphill RTB leg, this was the toughest course I’ve ever run (a bit tougher than the Sleepy Hollow 10K). Turns out that in Riverdale the Bronx is up, and down, and up again. My post-race complaint to the race director received no sympathy. Course.
I hoped to go sub-19. I didn’t. I surely would go sub-20. I didn’t. 20:10. Stopped twice on one long hill, although they didn’t cost me much.
But I think it was a good race. Bobby Asher won the 10K which included the 5K course in 36, and he’s a 33 guy, which tells me that the hills cost a big chunk of time. I pride myself as a very good hill runner. I was not ready though and actually stopped twice running up Wave Hill, a long, gradual climb. Throughout, though, I kept things relatively relaxed. I wanted to have the race come to me and the object was to keep things under control, and they were.
Racing after a long lay-off is a shock to the system. Even pushing tempos or intervals doesn’t prepare one for the mental turbulence as things start to hurt on the course. So I’m bloodied, but not beaten.
I hope to run the Litchfield Road Race on June 9. It’s not quite as local as races around here. It’s one of the classic New England weird distance — 7.1 miles — races, with a notorious hill. I have five weeks to figure how to handle that one.
I’ve never thought much about the Boston Marathon. There are friends who’ve striven to obtain a Boston Qualifier and who have basked in the thrill of heading up to run the race when they did. I’ve thought that was cool and a great thing for running. Beyond that, it was a spring marathon on an unusual, point-to-point course. Give me NYC.
I’ve disowned marathons now so I did not expect to have many further thoughts on Boston.
I was wrong. On both the having-further-thoughts and on the mundaneness-of-Boston fronts.
The former is self-evident. It led to the latter. From Steve Lastoe’s pre-race posts about how thrilled he was to be part of something special to the outpouring of post-explosion emotion. I love the NYC Marathon. But it’s just another big-city marathon. Like London, Chicago.
I think it a combination of history, tradition, and the idea of a BQ. For whatever reason, Boston is special. I don’t know, don’t think, that this was intended as an attack on the running community per se as opposed to a target-of-opportunity. although it of course was an attack on us as runners, as Sham eloquently notes, and an attack on us [full stop].
As runners, then, we all have a bit of Boston-DNA embedded in us, whether we knew it or not.
We had a discussion about this on a New York Running Show episode recorded Wednesday night.
It’s not my fault. I was driving in Brooklyn, on Eastern Parkway as I recall, when I heard Brenn Jones’s description of his NYC HM on his (and Gregg Lamos-Stein’s) most excellent podcast Cloud259. He said matter-of-factly that he stood freezing in the corral for 30 minutes before the start of the race and that it took a few miles for his feet to thaw.
Having suffered similarly in NYRR races, I got to thinking. Why did the runners have to be in their corrals 30 minutes beforehand? I’ve been puzzled by the shorter periods in other races, and that is a major factor in my not doing NYRR races anymore. I don’t understand why I have to be standing for 15 minutes before the start of a 4-miler. Not to say that there’s no reason. I don’t understand.
So I posted on NYRR’s Facebook page. So as not to belabor things, it was suggested that I write to NYRR and, you know, ask. So I did and after receiving no response asked why I hadn’t received a response to my prior inquiry. And no response to that.
So I posted a follow-up on Facebook saying among other things, that I hadn’t gotten a a response from NYRR. To which I got no response from NYRR.
Then someone named Andy Greenblatt, who I believe is a woman, posted:
OMG- give up this ridiculous question. Why? because 15000 persons takes awhile to get lined up. DUH….. You don’t run NYRR events (As you have posted before) and are not a member, so stop asking just to get a reply.
Which got me thinking. And led to this response:
I guess if the runners and NYRR don’t care, I shouldn’t. If the runners and NYRR don’t care that, say, the Scotland course was short, why should I?
But I think the runners do care. Most of those I know, though, think that NYRR doesn’t care about them at all. I”m talking people always in the hunt for awards and middle-of-the-packers. As to the issue-at-hand, I would think that even the NYRR’s greatest sycophant at the NYC HM wondered, if only for a fleeting moment, why she had to be there so early.
I wanted to give NYRR the opportunity to explain. There may be a perfectly-good explanation. It may be what you say. I don’t know. I don’t know the mechanics of getting 15,000 into corrals. I don’t know how many corrals there were.
I think NYRR does care about runners. It is consistently awful, though, in letting them know it.
I try, I really try to help NYRR. Smoke-signals? Which is pretty much all I have to say on that.
[edited to add: I noticed a few weeks back that NYRR responded to complaints that one had to go to Brooklyn to pick up number for the Brooklyn Half -- and no race-day pick-up -- that it was looking into additional pick-up locations. I didn't follow what happened but Eric Freedman Goldhagen posted this on NYRR's FB Page: "NYRR compounded this problem by holding back any details [about pick-up locations] until an hour or so before registration started. It got even more confused because NYRR then stated that they were considering having a Manhattan pickup option, and without even saying ‘we looked into it and it just won’t work’ they simply announced the details of the pickup expo“, i.e., only in Brooklyn (emph. added).]
My firm is closed for Jewish holidays, and Monday and Tuesday are the final days of Passover. So I was free to do some running.
On Monday, after a solid week-end (including 1:05 with members of VCTC), I decided to venture out to Twin Lakes for some speed. I have not done anything speed-related in many a month. Many.
Twin Lakes is about 1.67 miles around. It’s a nice trail, with a couple of slight hills and a tough finishing incline. At tempo pace it should take me about 10 minutes per loop. So I thought I’d do a couple of tempo loops.
Of course jumping into speed is fraught with peril. Garmin in place, I died after about 1/2 a mile. Now latter in a season this would trouble. Right out of the box, though, I pretty well knew my target work-out would not be reached. So I struggled to make it across the new dam. Once across that, I’d have exactly a mile. Somehow I made it. A walk/jog back and I did it all over again, and died again. But I struggled to get over the dam, and did.
The pace was about 6:35 on the first, 6:25 on the second. I was spent. I was happy.
Starting speed-work is a Rubicon-crossing of sorts. I’ve started down that road, I think/hope. I don’t know why. I’m content to schlep along, striving to get in an hour at the Rockies once in a while. Still. Sometimes contentment isn’t enough.
It has been a while since I’ve posted anything of substance (apart from my poem, set to music and played at the end of The New York Running Show episode). As Brenn and I discussed in last week’s NY Running Show episode, there comes a point in blogging when one tires of writing the same basic thing again and again, let alone reading it again. And many of my favorite bloggers have significantly lessened their outputs, as others things have beckoned.
I do have an other thing. I’ve played the guitar off-and-on since college and more recently did some things on the piano. But as to the latter, I was not good enough to play rock with anything but the most pedestrian chord-banging. Then a serendipitous stop with the wife at an estate sale in Connecticut and a re-issued, rarely played 1963 Gibson Les Paul put me back on the guitar track.
Combine that with a electric bass I bought years ago at a yard sale in Mamaroneck for $25 and I ended up buying a used Fender Jazz Bass and have taken to playing that, and have done it with people several times. I’ve done a few meet-ups for acoustics, but the songs there tend to be more folk-rocky than I prefer. Plus I cannot sing.
So I’m practicing my blues bass and putting things on YouTube and playing along (although forget trying to do that with The Who (who happen to be playing on YouTube as I write). One of the tricks with the bass is finding a space between simply keeping time and playing the root on each first beat and pushing too hard to compete with everyone else. And I took that $25 bass and put a fretless neck on it. I really can’t play it, but it’s fun to mess with.
I have been running too. I had a bit of the flu after Christmas. It was never debilitating but there were bad spells and it lasted a full three weeks. That led to one of those do-I-hang-it-up stretches, but I decided not to. While with the weather and my work schedule I’m doing a chunk on the treadmill, I am also feeling good out on the roads, and on the trail when I have the chance to.
As to trails, I’ve re-worked WestchesterTrails. Much as I was proud of my coding, however primitive, it began to fall apart so I moved it to WordPress. It means a tremendous amount to me to get feed-back from people who have used the site and found it helpful.
As to running, no plans specifically. There are a few races that I have in the back of my mind as possibles, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
I once went to a party in which one of these guys led the dance band:
A Winter’s Trail
When the snow falls, and soon after it's done, I will admit, a great time for a run. The softness of stride, the muffled-out noise, Perfect to run, to savor its joys. The wind how it howls, and tickles the skin, Makes one feel sad, for those who slept in. But after a day, or maybe it's two, The lightness of snow is no longer new. The surface gets hard; prints from many a foot, It gets tough to know where your next step to put. You find yourself suddenly thrust in mid-air, Wondering just how it was that you ended up there. Or your foot gets stuck and your ankle gets bent, Leaving you non-running time during which to repent. So as for me when that snow turns to ice, Plowed roads and the treadmill will have to suffice. This responds to my friend Sham's post after a day at the Rockies.